Snohomish County sees drop in cases
Health officials: vaccines and masking are the reason why
Last updated 5/25/2021 at 5:36am
The case rate for COVID-19 infections has finally started dropping in Snohomish County, for the first time in more than two months.
Snohomish County Health District reported a significant decrease for the two-week period ending May 15: 193 per 100,000 residents, down from a rate of 226 for the previous period, according to data from the Snohomish County Health District. A heat map from the health shows Mill Creek remains nearby the infection-concentration for the virus, and health officials encourage unvaccinated people to remain vigilant with masking and a plan to vaccinate.
The overall figure of infections still represents 700 to 800 reported cases weekly in Snohomish County, officials warn. As of May 21, the county showed 42 people hospitalized for COVID-19 and six on ventilators.
Data through April 30 shows the fourth wave's activity in the county was largely driven by an increase among those under ages 20-49 and, to a lesser extent, children and adolescents, a news release from the district states. Officials encourage people under the age of 50 to access vaccines, to reduce risk for themselves and help end the pandemic, said Jason Biermann, Director of Emergency Management, reported in a recent meeting of the Joint Information Commission.
In a past meeting, Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the county's health district, said it would not hurt anything for those at high risk for disease to continue to mask up.
A full list of underlying illness risks for severe illness from COVID-19 is here: https://bit.ly/3hNxfGd. If people with underlying illnesses that increase risk for severe illness from the virus become ill, they should contact their individual doctor to determine whether COVID-testing or early treatment is appropriate. Spitters said the group of concern even after vaccination are those with immune-function challenges, such as those currently being treated for cancer.
Some de-masking is being allowed in public places, but businesses and other agencies will be free to apply their own rules as workers continue to find their way to vaccine access, and the pandemic, though slowing, continues to sicken some.
A recent change in eligibility for youth to be vaccinated may help turn that around in future case-rate data. The CDC and FDA agreed recently that kids between the ages of 12 to 15 could safely access the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Studies are underway to free up one or both of the mRNA vaccines for children as young as 6 months of age.
Parents in the county responded and that mass vaccination sites were seeing high numbers of youth. Biermann reported that up to 50% of vaccines one week were administered to youth. That data would draw from mass vaccination sites at Ash Way Park & Ride and Arlington Airport, the two sites that offer the only vaccine available to people between the ages of 12 and 18: Pfizer-BioNTech.
Currently the infection rate reduction is leading to more freedom from restriction, but in a past meeting Spitters said he hopes the unvaccinated public will continue to mask up. In most places, vaccination status is on the honor system and visitors are not asked to prove that they are fully vaccinated.
Full vaccination is defined as two weeks past an mRNA vaccine such as Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, with both doses from the same brand of vaccine. J&J vaccination requires just one shot, and full vaccination is defined as two weeks past that one shot.
Health officials in the county and beyond continue to encourage vaccination as conspiracy theories challenge the best-practices encouraged by medical science. The BBC debunks some conspiracy theories here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zgfgf82.