Senior parade in question as Phase 2 rollback looms
Mill Creek is waiting for word before planning community event
Last updated 5/6/2021 at 1:55pm
Editor's Note: The county is staying in Phase 3 for now. Gov. Jay Inslee announced a pause through May 18, and will reassess metrics in hospitalizations and infection-rates after that.
The Snohomish Health District is predicting a rollback to Phase 2 by Saturday, May 8.
The news is what the City of Mill Creek is waiting for, before making plans for a parade to honor high school and college graduates, this spring. Both Jackson and Glacier Peak high schools are making commencement plans, as are other high schools in Snohomish County. Gathering restrictions could get in the way of that. In the April 27 Council meeting, council members discussed waiting for the phasing announcement before planning a parade, like the one in 2020 within the City.
Announcements at the meeting were around a "strong indication" that the county as a whole could revert back to Phase 2. Mayor Brian Holtzclaw attends a regular meeting of state mayors, and receives direct information from the state.
Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health are scheduled to release county-level data according to the Roadmap to Recovery metrics on Tuesday, May 4. Recent trends "all but guarantee Snohomish County will move back to Phase 2 effective Saturday, May 8," a news release from the Snohomish Health District states.
The next review will be on May 25, and that gives the community a chance to return to the metrics that will restore Phase 3. High school graduation activities are scheduled in June, and businesses continue to struggle with repeated pivots in and out of more restrictive activity, according to reports to The Beacon.
In order to get numbers down so that Snohomish County can get back to Phase 3 in late-May, residents are urged to get their vaccines, health officials say.
"The number of vaccines coming into our county has increased recently, which means the stress of finding an open appointment has largely gone away," said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. "These vaccines are so safe and effective that they've virtually eliminated outbreaks in our long-term care facilities. We need all residents 16 and up vaccinated, and quickly, so that we can see that same impact countywide."
The county has mass vaccination clinics, and vaccines are also available at most pharmacies, many health clinics and at Costco. All require pre-scheduled appointments. Vaccines can be scheduled by directly contacting pharmacies or health clinics. Costco and Fred Meyer take appointments for COVID-19 vaccines as well.
The Health District has updated its estimate on how long it will take to fully vaccinate 600,000 residents in Snohomish County based on recent allocations and projections for upcoming weeks. This estimate shows that timeline has shortened significantly in the last month as supplies have increased. The timeline for vaccinating 70% of the county population is estimated as early as mid-August, Spitters said in a JIC meeting. He has said at 80% health officials can consider lifting restrictions, which will help businesses thrive and people feel as if they are getting back to normal again.
For now, the advice comes at a time when it is not too late to up the possibility that high school graduations will be more normal, and less distant and pandemic-odd.
Events are in the planning stages now at both Everett Public Schools and Snohomish School District.
Prevention and vaccination are key
Wear a mask
COVID-19 is less likely to transmit when masks are worn, according to consensus from the science and medical communities. One study by the National Academy of Sciences, a "preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high." The study is here: https://bit.ly/2PFsjYx.
Medical professionals train in hand-washing, because it is effective at preventing germ-spread. Lather 20 seconds by singing Happy Birthday to time the wash. Rinse with clean running water and dry with a clean towel. Use sanitizer on hands if no hand-washing station is available.
CDC guidance and the science behind hand-washing is here: https://bit.ly/3nD9IZC. Sanitize often used surfaces and items.
Public health advice continues to support physical distancing. Fully vaccinated people have complicated rules that Spitters says can be made more simple. He recommends if people are in a room with anyone who is not fully vaccinated, mask up. Outdoor gathering is safer and groups should remain small.