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County moves into Phase 2

Move means reduced restrictions on indoor dining and entertainment

 

Last updated 2/4/2021 at 6:57pm



Snohomish County has moved to Phase 2 in Washington’s Roadmap to Recovery plan effective, Feb. 1.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a modification to the Roadmap to Recovery plan, allowing regions to move forward if three of four metrics are met. The Puget Sound Region met three metrics, allowing the move to Phase 2.

The following activities are now permissible in Snohomish County:

• Social gatherings – indoor gatherings of no more than five people outside the household, and a maximum of 15 people for outdoor gatherings. Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to two households, and face masks and physical distancing still apply.

• Dining – indoor dining available at 25 percent capacity, with a max of six people per table and a limit of two households. Alcohol service must end by 11 p.m., but bars that do not serve food must still remain closed.

• Weddings and funerals – ceremonies and indoor receptions, wakes or similar gatherings are permitted, following the appropriate venue requirements. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. Dancing is prohibited.

• Recreation and fitness – indoor fitness, training and sports at 25% capacity. Low and moderate sports competitions are permitted, with high risk sports competitions permitted outdoors only.

• Entertainment – indoor entertainment venues may have a maximum of 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues may have a maximum of 200 people at the venue, with individual groups no larger than 15 people and limited to two households.

“We are getting closer to finding our way out of this mess, but we aren’t there yet,” Inslee said during a press conference. “We have sacrificed too much to let our frustrations get the best of us now when the finish line is in sight, however distant that may seem in our field of vision.”

Rather than weekly updates, the Washington State Department of Health will update data by region every other Friday. Regions that continue to meet at least three of the four criteria will remain in Phase 2. However, if a region drops to two of four metrics, it will move back to Phase 1.

The four metrics remain the same. They are:

• Trend in case rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100K population;

• Trend in hospital admissions rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100K population;

• Percent ICU occupancy: Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds; and

• Percent positivity: 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests.

The metrics provide an overview of current COVID-19 trends and health care system readiness in each region, ensuring that health care systems will efficiently and equitably respond to potential future outbreaks.

“This is good news and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts and sacrifices to get us here, but we can’t celebrate too soon or let our guard down,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “While case counts and hospital numbers are going down, absolute numbers and rates of cases, deaths, and hospitalization are still at very concerning levels. We have lost more than 70 residents to COVID since the beginning of the year. We’re far from out of the woods and still in a precarious position.”

Update on COVID variant

Two cases of the B.1.1.7 variant were detected recently in Snohomish County through laboratory surveillance testing. While potentially identifying details about the individuals cannot be released, they have recovered and were not hospitalized.

Public health interviews found no travel involved and they acquired the infection in Snohomish County. Although these are the rst detected B.1.1.7 variants in the state, current estimates suggest that 0.2% of COVID infections on Washington State are due to this strain.

It is likely that other cases exist and will be found through ongoing surveillance. While cause for concern, there is no need for alarm, the health district indicated, adding that it was only a matter of time for one of the variants to emerge here in Washington.

This variant has been shown to be more transmissible, meaning it’s easier to spread from one person to another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipates that due to this faster capacity to spread, the B.1.1.7 variant may be the pre-dominant circulating strain in the United States within a few months.

“The jury is still out on whether this strain is associated with greater severity of infection, but according to public health officials in England that is a realistic possibility” Dr. Spitters said. “Also, the higher rate of transmission associated with this strain could lead to more cases, increasing the number of people who need hospitalization and further burdening an already strained health care system. That’s why it is even more important than ever that we all continue to consistently take the steps we’ve been doing for a year to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The Snohomish Health District will be providing updates at https://www.snohd. org/532/Coronavirus-Information.

 

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