Coronavirus Chronicles

CDC Recommends Masking Again in These Washington Counties

You can blame high Covid-19 community levels thanks to omicron subvariant BA.5.

By Angela Cabotaje

We haven't been required to mask indoors or on public transit for a few months now, but in the world of Covid-19 and its ever-changing variants, that guidance is likely obsolete. 

Instead the Centers for Disease Control recommends masking up based on Covid-19 community levels in your county. This is determined by the number of total new Covid cases in the past seven days, the number of new Covid hospital admissions in the past seven days, and the percent of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients. (Somewhat depressing side note: The proliferation of at-home tests means it's fairly likely a significant portion of new Covid cases aren't even getting reported to the CDC.)

Depending on how your county scores across these three metrics, the CDC denotes it as having either low, medium, or high Covid community levels. Counties that tip into "high" should wear masks again in indoor settings and on public transit, according to CDC guidelines. 

As of August 5, King County is at medium, meaning indoor masking is recommended for those who are at high risk of becoming severely ill due to Covid. Here's where all Washington counties currently rank. 

High: Covid-19 Community Level

  • Adams County
  • Pend Oreille County

Medium: Covid-19 Community Level

  • Benton County
  • Chelan County
  • Columbia County
  • Ferry County
  • Franklin County
  • Garfield County
  • Grant County
  • King County
  • Klickitat County
  • Lincoln County
  • Mason County
  • Skamania County
  • Spokane County
  • Stevens County
  • Walla Walla County
  • Whatcom County
  • Whitman County
  • Yakima County

Low: Covid-19 Community Level

  • Asotin County
  • Clallam County
  • Clark County
  • Cowlitz County
  • Douglas County
  • Grays Harbor County
  • Island County
  • Jefferson County
  • Kitsap County
  • Kittitas County
  • Lewis County
  • Okanogan County
  • Pacific County
  • Pierce County
  • San Juan County
  • Skagit County
  • Snohomish County
  • Thurston County
  • Wahkiakum County

We'll do our best to keep this list updated. In the meantime, if you need it, here's where to find a PCR test in King County.

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