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County and state health officials are bracing for a possible spike in the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the weeks following Labor Day weekend. 

“We saw an increase in our cases following the Fourth of July weekend, many of which are attributed to gatherings that occurred over that weekend period,” Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek said in a video prior to the holiday. “I’m continuing to monitor our case data and will continue to monitor it over the coming weeks.”

The call by state and local health officials was to have the public abstain from large gatherings throughout the weekend in an effort to curtail the health crisis caused by COVID-19. There had been 77,545 cases and 1,953 deaths in Washington state as of Tuesday morning press deadline. 

In Phase 3 counties, physically distanced gatherings of up to 10 people are currently allowed, and up to five people living outside your household are allowed to gather in Phase 2. 

In a press release the Friday before the long three-day weekend, the state Department of Health urged people to implement social distancing and wear face masks, skip hugs and handshakes, and keep away from any communal food sources. 

“If you are to take part in a small social gathering this weekend, just make sure it’s outdoors, with well-placed bottles of hand sanitizer, chairs (and therefore people) spread at least six feet apart, and masks aplenty,” the release read. 

The Department of Health also recommended alternative activities that could be done outside and from a safe distance such as walking, running, hiking, biking and camping. 

As of Tuesday morning press deadline, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reported 1,055 diagnoses and 15 deaths caused by COVID-19. A total 856 of those cases have reported recoveries. 

The county is currently investigating six ongoing outbreaks at congregate care facilities. 

During the week of Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, the county reported 50 cases, which is about half of the weekly counts that were being reported about a month ago. 

The county has reported an average of about 8.5 new cases daily over the last two weeks.

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

• Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported 30 new cases on Monday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 6,966. No new deaths were reported; the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in Pierce County stands at 155. The average number of cases per day over the last two weeks stands at about 39.8.

• The total number of cases in Washington stands at 77,545, according to numbers updated Sunday night on the Department of Health’s website. The state has recorded a total 6,913 hospitalizations and 1,953 deaths. The total tests statewide stands at 1,573,044. The percentage of deaths over confirmed cases stands at 2.5 percent.

• Nationwide, a total 6,261,216 total cases have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been approximately 188,513 coronavirus-related deaths recorded.

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