There are now more than 7,000 COVID-19 deaths in Washington.

The latest totals from the Washington Department of Health show the death rate has roughly doubled in recent months.

The department has reported about a thousand COVID-19 deaths in the past two months, compared with the same number reported during the previous four months.

The new death totals come as new cases of the virus are tapering off after surging since early July.

Chelan-Douglas Health District Administrator Luke Davies says the combination of a high number of deaths along with a slowing rate of new cases could indicate the most recent surge of the virus may have reached its ceiling.

He said hospitalizations tend to lag behind new cases by a couple of weeks.

Davies said there's hope that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths will taper off over the next six weeks.

New cases of the the virus began to spike in early July when the more contagious Delta variant became widespread across the U.S.

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