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By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

Leaders poised as vaccination roll-out continues

Mill Creek advocates for 50% capacity, in business community


Last updated 3/10/2021 at 10:42pm

As the fully vaccinated regain a little freedom, city leaders are making plans for the road ahead.

"It's not as if suddenly the vaccines come and the healing begins and everything is back to normal," said Mill Creek City Manager Michael Ciaravino in a city council meeting on March 9. "We're looking at a very long runway, financially. And we are gearing up for it. In fact, we're looking at additional ways within which we can reorganize."

Mill Creek Mayor Brian Holtzclaw, at the same meeting, said the state is working on getting Snohomish County moved to Phase 3. He learned of that goal in a 45-minute "listening tour" March 8, where Gov. Jay Inslee gathered input from county mayors as well as the Snohomish County Executive, Dave Somers.

“I think the thing (state officials) heard most loud and clear is we've got to get the businesses back up and running. And we've got to simplify whatever the next phase is, so that there's not all these distinctions between 25% here and 10%. … It needs to be uniform so it's easy to understand,” Holtzclaw reported to the council.

The regional-phasing implemented by the state is getting in the way, Holtzclaw said, because Snohomish County is getting dragged down by Pierce County. Mill Creek and other Snohomish County cities are waiting for advancement to the next phase. The state website listing what is open in Phase 3 provides information through Phase 2, as of the afternoon of March 10.

He said the timing of when Snohomish County and its cities could move into Phase 3 was not discussed. Phase 3 would allow businesses to operate at 50% capacity, a metric restaurants have stated in interviews with The Beacon is sustainable, while the lower percentages are unsustainable.

Holtzclaw mentioned that once businesses open, Mill Creek can move toward expansion of passport services. The increase in passport revenue is a budget line-item intended as a reparation for the losses during the pandemic.

As the city poises for a chance to forge ahead, health officials advise the fully vaccinated to temper their activities.

Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish County Health District shared advice in a recent news briefing.

He said people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when it has been at least two weeks since the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two weeks since a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In non-healthcare settings, that two-week wait can be followed up with visiting. But the groups remain small and precautions remain in place for the unvaccinated who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those are people with underlying illnesses mainly related to the lungs, heart, and immune-function, and those older than 65.

Once fully vaccinated, unmasked, indoor visits with other fully vaccinated people are clear, and you can sit close. The vaccinated can join the unvaccinated unmasked and indoors, if none of the unvaccinated are high risk for serious illness.

Once vaccinated, if exposed to COVID-19, no quarantine is needed unless symptoms arise, or the person exposed works in a group setting such as a jail or assisted living facility.

"Having said that, keeping gatherings well-ventilated and sparse is still a good idea until we get further down the road," Spitters said.


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