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Quick Read:

  • COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline but we should maintain commonsense precautions as we enter autumn.
  • The best way to protect yourself and others is to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot, which is available now; it is safe to get the new booster with your annual flu shot.
  • UW Medicine employees will be required to be up to date on their COVID-19 boosters and flu shot or complete a declination process.
  • New monkeypox cases are declining in King County.

There is a lot to be optimistic about in the latest COVID-19 data. Cases and hospitalizations, although not yet at the lower levels we saw in the spring, are headed in the right direction. The new booster is bolstering our vaccination efforts. And the COVID-19 community level in King County remains “low.”

This is good news for the region and our health system. But it must be balanced with what we know of the virus — and what we have experienced over the past two and a half years. We’ve seen how quickly the newer COVID-19 subvariants spread, particularly indoors, so as the changing seasons bring us back inside and our children back to school, we should continue to take reasonable, commonsense precautions to protect ourselves, our patients and our loved ones.

Right now, one of the most important things you can do is get boosted. The new COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer and Moderna target the original strain of the virus and the newer omicron subvariants for even better protection against serious COVID-19 illness. UW Medicine employees can schedule their booster through our online portal at Non-clinical employees in the School of Medicine should schedule by calling 844.520.8700.

As a reminder, UW Medicine is requiring that all employees, except for those in non-clinical roles in the School of Medicine, receive the latest booster or complete an online declination. More details on the timing of this requirement will be provided soon.

It is safe to get the new COVID-19 booster and your flu shot at the same time. Regarding the latter, we will kick off our annual influenza prevention program on Monday, Oct. 3, so please be looking for more information about that shortly.

Another important milestone will come at the end of October when Gov. Inslee lifts Washington’s COVID-19 state of emergency, which has been in place since February 2020. While this is a notable moment and yet another signal that we have moved to a new phase of the pandemic, it will not change how we operate at UW Medicine. We are staying the course with our masking and vaccine requirements and will continue to follow our current policies for keeping people safe and reducing the spread of the virus.

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 511,621 total cases and 3,154 deaths as of Thursday, Sept. 15. The number of new positive tests over the past seven days is currently at 91.2 per 100,000 people.

Washington: The Department of Health reports 1,796,023 cases and 14,148 deaths as of Sept. 11.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 60,558 new cases, 95,228,289 total cases and 1,046,195 deaths as of Sept. 14.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 607,745,726 confirmed cases and 6,498,747 deaths as of Sept. 15.


In addition to the decreases in COVID-19 activity, we also are seeing dramatic drops in monkeypox infections. Locally, monkeypox cases are down to their lowest levels since late June — a great sign that our interventions and community activities are making an impact. Special thanks to our colleagues at the Sexual Health Clinic and Infectious Diseases Clinics for all the work they have done, and continue to do, around treatment and engagement.

Let’s keep the positive momentum going. Together, we can do it.



John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine