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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 1, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Earlier today, Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced the extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31. The Snohomish Health District continues to partner with its local and state partners on this phased approach for resuming recreational, social and business activities.
Washington and Snohomish County remain at Phase I. As a reminder, Health Officer Order 20-061 is in effect until modified or terminated by a subsequent order.
“Today’s news of another month of these orders is difficult, and I know frustrations are growing for many,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Each county is experiencing this pandemic differently, but our case counts are still too high here to ease up on restrictions now.”
Public health, government partners and the healthcare system are working hard to continue ramping up capacity for testing, tracing and PPE. However, the number of cases being reported daily is highly dependent on residents and businesses remaining vigilant in their efforts to stay home and healthy.
The Snohomish Health District began piloting new rapid test machines at a drive-thru testing site in Lynnwood this week. There were 89 people tested; 42 on Wednesday and 47 today. The rapid test machines produce results in approximately 15 minutes, and all tests came back negative.
All individuals seen on Wednesday were also asked to collect a second specimen. Those were sent to the Public Health Lab for another round of verification. Those 42 test results were all returned today, confirming the original negative results.
Next week the Health District will continue piloting limited rapid testing at a community-based location. However, testing for May 6 and 8 will be located in the east county.
More information will be released on Monday, including location details and updated registration links. Staff are finalizing details for a north county location for the following week. Updates and information is available at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing.
The Health District has focused on surveillance testing at several long-term care facilities around the County. Since April 13, staff have completed surveillance testing on nine facilities. Two of those facilities still have results pending.
At the remaining seven, a total of 809 individuals were tested. That included 405 residents and 404 staff tested. Of the residents, 65 were positive (16 percent). There were 35 staff that tested positive (8.7 percent), for a total of 100 out of 809 tests.
The Health District will continue this surveillance testing to facilitate control and prevention of spread in those settings. However, it is important to note that these new cases in long-term care facilities represents approximately one-third of the total new cases per week.
Updated case counts are done daily Monday through Friday. The Health District is no longer updating the counts on its website on Saturdays and Sundays, in order to prioritize time for case investigation. New cases from the weekend will be reflected in Monday’s 2 p.m. update.
The community is encouraged to help prevent the spread of illness and to support the response to this outbreak by staying informed and sharing reliable information. This is a very fluid situation and information will be updated at www.snohd.org/ncov2019 and the Health District’s social media channels.