Skagit County is seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations as new cases continue their record-breaking climb.

As of Friday, 19 have been hospitalized due to the virus since the start of November, more than in either August or September.

“What it says is obvious,” said county Health Officer Howard Leibrand. “This is the cusp of further problems.”

In the coming weeks, he said the county will see more hospitalizations and deaths as the virus continues to spread.

Overall, since the pandemic reached Skagit County, 124 county residents have had cases severe enough to require hospitalization, and 26 have died.

Twenty-three people were hospitalized during the last spike in July, according to county data.

Preliminary state data puts Skagit County at 236.1 cases per 100,000 residents in the 14-day period ending Wednesday. That number is higher than any previous spike.

However, Leibrand said this number is likely to increase as more tests are completed and reviewed by the state Department of Health.

Because of the number of tests being performed statewide, the county is waiting more than three days to get results. This is the longest the county has had to wait since the start of the pandemic, he said.

“From the 15th on, it’s definitely incomplete data,” Leibrand said.

The recent moving of the county’s drive-thru testing site to the Skagit County Fairgrounds is also impacting the data, Leibrand said.

On Thursday, the county tested 291 people. At its prior site at Skagit Valley College, it regularly tested more than 400 a day.

Leibrand said he believes that once staff have more experience working at the new site, they will be able to test a comparable number of people.

— Reporter Brandon Stone:, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH