Officials use update to share resources for support
Vaccine approval could lead to pandemic’s end in 6 to 9 months
Last updated 12/4/2020 at 5:54pm
A weekly online event to update the public on the state of COVID-19 shifted from its usual data emphasis to a partial pep talk, as officials emphasized support for businesses, older adults, and mental health.
The warnings and rundowns came next, including a change in the scheduling for COVID-19 snapshot information due to the higher case numbers causing a need for the shift. Officials still advise people take social gatherings online to Zoom and other remote-connection platforms, for the remainder of the holiday season. But gifting at a distance is encouraged, to support local businesses, many of them struggling.
One day prior to the weekly Joint Information Commission update, the Snohomish County Health District released preliminary case counts, said Snohomish County health officer Dr. Chris Spitters.
“The new two-week case rate extending up through Saturday, Nov. 28, which showed another 20% increase from 300 up to 368 case per 100,000 for the prior 14 days,” he said.
Food insecurity and isolation issues have been a problem for older adults, said Laura White, division manager for aging and disability services with Snohomish County. Testing and death rates are both increasing. Hospital staffing is challenged due to a nursing shortage and high case rates.
“COVID hospitalizations have continued to increase since last week,” Spitters said, with 89 confirmed and 6 suspected COVID-19 cases currently in Snohomish County hospitals. “Nine of these are in respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. Deaths, long-term care facility cases and outbreaks, and workplace outbreaks continue to occur at rates not seen since the first wave back in March and April.”
Spitters also made some statements about behavioral health and “general well-being.” He said to “remember that it’s normal to not feel OK in times like these. Chronic stress of this duration -- nine, ten months now -- due to health concerns, fear of catching COVID, economic impacts and social consequences of the pandemic, these are affecting us all. Anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, substance abuse are common consequences of this stress. If you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re abnormal or crazy, it just means you’re suffering through this and it’s time to reach out for help.”
He encouraged sharing feelings with friends and family, and if needed utilizing resources including a personal healthcare provider. WA Listens is at 1-833-681-0211 and the Care Crisis Chat 24/7 at http://www.imhurting.org. He also mentioned a resource in calling 2-1-1 for a free connection to local services from utility assistance, food, housing, health, child care and after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention.
Executive Dave Somers unveiled the county’s plan to support businesses in the pandemic and encouraged all to support local businesses and talked about vaccines on the horizon.
“Buy a gift card, get take-out, shop for that sort of one-of-a-kind artwork that’s available locally. We know that most businesses just need more people to take advantage of what they have to offer,” he said. The county kicked off a website to showcase local businesses, which Somers announced -- supportsnoco.com. Also implemented are a task force and an Office of Recovery, and grants are opening up again for businesses, Somers said.
“When we are done with COVID-19, and thankfully there are multiple vaccines that are showing promise, we want to have a vibrant small business community. So, I encourage everyone to shop locally this holiday season. It might only be a few bucks from each of us but together it can really make a difference for those businesses,” he said.
Laura White, division manager in Snohomish County’s Human Services Department for the Aging and Disability Services Division, presented the COVID-19 senior survey. She said it is intended to measure the impacts of the virus and how prioritize services, for older adults. It is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snocoseniors or may arrive in the mail at individual homes or health care providers.