Washington state health officials are pleading with people to continue social distancing as the holiday season approaches and the temptation to congregate indoors increases.
The state last week saw an all-time high number of new COVID-19 cases, with nearly 1,500 people testing positive for the disease. While officials did not say whether another stay-home order is on the horizon, they didn't say one was off the table, either.
As of Tuesday, Washington has seen more than 120,000 known COVID-19 cases and almost 2,500 deaths. Nationally, COVID hospitalizations have hit a record high and the death toll stands at over 239,000, according to John Hopkins University.
Since this past summer, state and local health officials have warned that coronavirus infection rates could skyrocket as people begin moving their social activities indoors to avoid the cold.
Now, those fears are quickly becoming a reality.
"Unfortunately, this accelerated growth in case counts is widespread, occurring in both western and eastern Washington," said state health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy during a Tuesday press briefing.