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Thurston County Public Health and Social Services on Tuesday afternoon reported three new deaths tied to COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by novel coronavirus.

There have now been 11 COVID-19 deaths and 15 hospitalizations in Thurston County in the last seven days.

Two women in their 80s and a male in his 90s were the latest deaths reported. Death certificate confirmation is pending for the 14 most recent deaths, with the county death toll standing at 33.

An additional 12 diagnoses were also made, bringing the total reported since the start of the pandemic to 1,778.

The county on Tuesday also released its weekly COVID-19 update, which gave a clearer picture into the large outbreak currently going on at Garden Courte Memory Care in Olympia. As of data available Sunday, a total 77 positive diagnoses have been made at the facility and three deaths.

The outbreak — as well as those currently being investigated by Public Health at five other facilities — has contributed to the large increases recorded in weekly caseloads.

While the death rate nationally has largely been on the decline, Thurston County has been noticing an increase in recent weeks due in large part to congregate care outbreaks, Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek wrote in a letter on Tuesday.

“The improvement in our national numbers may be due in part to a shift in the people who were becoming infected with COVID-19 who were on the whole significantly younger than those who became sick at the beginning of the pandemic and fewer people who became sick had comorbidities which would make severe illness more likely,” Abdelmalek wrote.

Abdelmalek also gave some additional information on a question she received regarding moving back into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan:

“Since our approval in June, transmission has increased in our county and around the state. In Thurston County, our hospitals have had the capacity to accommodate a surge in medical needs thus far. The county has also worked with community partners to assist with ensuring organizations in need of personal protective equipment have access to it. Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department has increased our capacity and brought on many talented people from our community to assist in our COVID-19 response and have a quarantine and isolation facility which can be used by people who have COVID-19 and need a place to isolate away from home or who meet the definition of a close contact and need to quarantine away from home,” she wrote.

“Any decision to move phases would be undertaken with consultation with the Secretary of Health, Department of Health, and the Governor’s Office. At this time, no county in Washington State has moved backwards in the phases.”

In the Yelm ZIP code, a total 154 cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the start of the pandemic; Rainier’s has reported 33 positive diagnoses and Tenino 35.

Here are some additional numbers related to the coronavirus situation, both regionally and nationally, that were reported as of Tuesday afternoon:

• The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported 62 new cases, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 9,810. There were no new deaths reported Tuesday, and the total stands at 191. According to the Department of Health, Pierce County is reporting a “high” transmission rate of 113.7 cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days.

• The state Department of Health reported 527 new diagnoses of COVID-19, bringing the total reported since the start of the pandemic to 104,027. Statewide hospitalizations stand at 8,358 and deaths are at 2,337. The number of tests conducted statewide stands at 2,362,595. The percentage of deaths over confirmed cases stands at 2.2 percent.

• The total number of deaths in the United States stands at 225,084 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total 8,680,611 cases have been reported by the agency as well, with 492,026 reported in the last seven days.

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