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COVID-19 News Update for Oct. 20, 2021

Data Snapshot  

UW Medicine Hospitals: 

King County: The county reported 574 new positive cases and 7 new deaths since Oct. 19. 

Washington: The state reported 621,467 cases and 8,322 deaths as of Oct. 18.  

United States: The CDC reports 44,979,605 cases and 726,206 deaths as of Oct. 19. 

Global: WHO reports 240,940,937 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,903,911 deaths as of Oct. 19. 

Numbers update frequently, please follow links for most up-to-date numbers.  

UW Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update 

Total Vaccine Doses Administered: 386,832 

As of Oct. 19, 2021. 

UW Medicine in the News 

MyNorthwest:UW doctor: When to use a PCR versus rapid antigen test for COVID-19
Featuring: Geoffrey Baird, MD, PhD, Laboratory Medicine
“Dr. Geoff Baird with UW Medicine has a simple formula for weighing the two main test types: PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and rapid antigen. ‘If someone is symptomatic, it makes the most sense to take the test that is actually available at that time,’ Baird said. ‘The clinical performance of a rapid antigen test is good enough such that you will get a pretty good result, a pretty reliable result, in that context.’ However, he says antigen-based rapid tests aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests at detecting COVID. That’s an important difference when testing asymptomatic people who often experience more false positive or false negative results with rapid antigen tests.” 

KUOW:When hospitals are overwhelmed and out of options, they all call the same number
Featuring: Mark Taylor, RN, CCRN; Steve Mitchell, MD, FACEP; Maria Paulsen, RN; Washington Medical Coordination Center
“The Washington Medical Coordination Center (WMCC) — run by a small team at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle — is the body helping to move patients around. In normal times, when a hospital has a patient they can’t take, they handle it themselves. They call their network and find an open bed. The problem hospitals are running into these days is that the places they’d normally lean on are also full. When hospitals are out of options, they all call the same number for WMCC. ‘If they’re calling us, it’s because that system failed,’ said Mark Taylor, director of operations for the coordination center. Taylor said the pandemic is not impacting all areas equally. ‘The only strategy we have to deal with that is to balance that, to spread that impact across all of the healthcare continuum.’ This means people in Washington can still get the care they need, and hospitals avoid hitting crisis levels.” 

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