Photo by Karina Andrew / Whidbey News Group
A crowd attends the Oak Harbor Music Festival during the Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Karina Andrew / Whidbey News Group A crowd attends the Oak Harbor Music Festival during the Labor Day weekend.

COVID increase may be due to Labor Day gatherings

The 14-day case rate for Sept. 2-15 was 281 per 100,000 people.

A jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases earlier this month was likely due to events and social gatherings over Labor Day weekend, according to Island County Public Health.

Case rates had been declining in recent weeks, after a spike in mid-August as unvaccinated people were contracting the fast-spreading delta variant.

The 14-day case rate, which is what the state looks at, declined in Island County from 335 per 100,000 people during Aug. 13-26 to 198 per 100,000 Aug. 27-Sept. 9.

Then the cases increased again, with 173 new cases during a seven-day period. The 14-day case rate for Sept. 2-15 was 281 per 100,000 people.

An additional person died from COVID last week, bringing the total to 37 in the county.

The latest COVID briefing memo from Don Mason, COVID response manager for the county, indicates that the upward trend in cases may not be over.

“We believe this increase in cases over last week is associated with several community factors, but likely represents the leading edge of a 2-week case increase associated with social gatherings around the 3-day Labor Day weekend,” he wrote. “We will likely see another increase in the data next week due to this.”

The Oak Harbor Music Festival was the biggest event to take place that weekend. Hundreds of people attended the crowded event downtown and many, if not most, did not wear masks.

Gov. Jay Inslee did not issue a mandate requiring masks at outdoor events with more than 500 people, regardless of vaccination status, until a week after Labor Day.

Outdoor events are considered to be a much lower risk of COVID transmissions, but hundreds of people have been infected at “super-spreader” events across the state, according to Washington State Department of Health.

The good news, according to health officials, is that the vaccination rate has been increasing. The county reported that at least 583 county residents got their first dose and 660 people became fully vaccinated in a week.

The county reports that 67% of the eligible population has received at least one dose.

More in News

Council looks to state rep for help with ferry woes

State Rep. Dave Paul was invited to a Langley city council meeting to speak about recent ferry cuts.

Service temporarily restored to Clinton-Mukilteo ferry route

Despite major slashes, the first weekend of an abridged ferry schedule saw some pleasant surprises.

Tides presentation set for Oct. 20

Phyllis Woolwine, president of Shearwater University, will deliver a presentation Oct. 20.

Vasquez speaks via Zoom during his clemency hearing.
Commutation reduces sentence in 1998 crime spree

Rogelio Vasquez’s extraordinary redemption story culminated when the governor signed a commutation.

Beluga last sighted near Whidbey

The beluga whale that first made an appearance in Puget Sound two weeks ago seems to have moved on.

Hospital candidates talk staff retention, compensation

Candidates for the WhidbeyHealth board of commissioners talked about improving employee retention.

Boy accused of stomping phone following fight

The boy was charged in Island County Superior Court with malicious mischief in the third degree.

Real estate prices continue to climb on island

Despite a slight lull in August and September, it continues to be a seller’s market on Whidbey.

Clockwise from top left: Nancy Conard, Paul Rempa, Ward Sparacio, Morgan White.
Election will bring significant change to Coupeville School board

Four newcomers are vying for two open seats on Coupeville School Board.

Most Read