COVID uptick hits just before the holiday season
Health officials: take precautions to reduce further spread
Last updated 10/26/2020 at 11:48am
As the most recent numbers show, COVID-19 is still very much circulating throughout Snohomish County.
The 2-week rolling case count through Oct. 10 was nearly 72 per 100,000. The Snohomish Health District has been receiving more than 60 new cases each day this week, with the Oct. 22 preliminary total of 114 new cases being the third highest day since the pandemic started.
Up to date information is posted on the Snohomish County Health District website: https://www.snohd.org/546/Local-Case-Counts
It is fully anticipated that the case rate will increase significantly in next Monday’s update. There are some key takeaways from new cases that the district is asking the community to help mitigate:
• Approximately 1 in 5 confirmed cases do not respond to Health District staff’s attempts to reach them. It is important to respond to those calls. Public health wants to ensure you are well and taking proper steps to protect yourself and your circles.
• A growing number of cases are refusing to provide the Health District with names of their close contacts or locations visited while potentially contagious, or employers are hesitating to provide information on their employees. Not only is this a failure to comply with WAC 246-101 and Gov. Jay Inslee’s Proclamation (20-25.6), but it severely hampers the Health District’s ability to do contact tracing efforts needed to stop the spread of disease.
• The majority of new cases are the result of too many people in close settings, especially without face coverings. Even in limited social gatherings, people should still wear masks when around people outside of their household. People can be contagious up to two days before they start to feel any symptoms.
“Rather than people worrying about another ‘stay home’ period, it would really be a better use of everyone’s energy and efforts if we limit our social gatherings now and mask up,” said Shawn Frederick, administrative officer for the Snohomish Health District. “If we practice good social distancing and use masks when around people outside of our household, we don’t need to worry about the what-if’s. We absolutely have the ability to control this now with our individual efforts.”
Safer gatherings: The COVID chat
Whether you want to draw boundaries, are feeling tempted to push others out of their comfort zone, or just need some ways to figure out if an upcoming event meets your standards for safety, here’s some help.
• Respectfully say "no." Saying “no” to people you love is never easy. Be clear, offer alternatives, and be honest. Don't feel pressured to keep the conversation going.
• Respect others' boundaries. Hearing “no” from family and friends can be hard. It helps to remember they feel bad too — no one enjoys turning down invitations. Show you care, and learn where they are coming from.
• Establish ground rules. To avoid surprises, hurt feelings, or situations where you feel unsafe, be sure to set expectations in advance. Be clear about your boundaries. Gather your thoughts, and consider alternative activities you could suggest. Keep responses simple, and don't feel pressured to negotiate.
For more information and tips on having the COVID chat, visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/gatherings.
Voting and COVID
The Snohomish Health District supports the Washington State Department of Health’s statement that voting is safe in Washington. Voting by mail doesn’t present a risk of spreading the virus as COVID mostly spreads through the air. It is safe to send in ballots by mail or a drop box.
For info on elections and voting in Snohomish County, visit https://snohomishcountywa.gov/224/elections-voter-registration.
Drive-thru testing schedule
The Snohomish Health District will continue drive-thru testing at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett next week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Friday. With daylight hours decreasing, and testing volumes seen earlier in the day, the Health District no longer offers evening testing appointments.
In addition to the Everett site, the Health District will also be offering testing at the Lynnwood Food Bank on Tuesday, Oc. 20. Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5320 176th St SW.
Testing remains strongly encouraged for individuals that fit the following criteria:
• Anyone with any of the following COVID-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea); or
• Close contact of a confirmed case; or
• Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting; or work in healthcare, EMS, law enforcement or other fields where work settings have a higher risk of catching or spreading COVID-19; or part of a family or social network that has had a case.
Registration is now open at http://www.snohd.org/testing. Insurance information is collected and the lab will bill insurance. There are no co-pays for COVID-19 testing through the Health District. If you do not have insurance, the test will be provided at no charge.
A phone line is available for test registration help, particularly those without internet access or needing language interpreter services. That number is 425.258.8425, with calls returned from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. This number is not for checking on test results.