Chelan Douglas Health Officer Dr. Malcolm Butler described a bleak outlook when discussing the region's exponential spike in COVID cases.

With COVID rates expected to rise over the next several weeks and deaths occurring on average 2-3 weeks from when symptoms begin, Butler said things are worse than they've ever been.

"I anticipate that over the next month we're going to continue to see (an) increasing number of deaths." Butler explained, "I'm sorry to have to tell you that. It just goes with COVID. We all know this. This is not mysterious to anybody, and it's just so widespread now that for sure we're going to see more deaths."

23 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized. The two-county area is at 907.7 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days as of the health district's last update.

One problem causing a headache at Central Washington Hospital is the fact that the region has had so many outbreaks at long-term care facilities that they are no longer receiving patients from the hospital. Many elderly non-COVID patients that aren't quite well enough to go home yet, but don't normally need to be in the hospital, usually would be discharged to a rehab facility or nursing home. With nowhere to go, the hospital is filling up even faster.

Butler added that anyone who is symptomatic should be calling out sick until they know they are COVID-free.

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