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Posted on: July 31, 2020

COVID-19 Activity and Testing Updates for Snohomish County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
July 31, 2020 

CONTACT: 
Kari Bray, 425.382.3184
kbray@snohd.org

COVID-19 Activity and Testing Updates for Snohomish County 


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Snohomish Health District is working to transition drive-thru testing to a site with increased capacity, allowing more people to be tested each day.

Testing plans are expected to be announced early next week. The Health District will not have drive-thru testing appointments available for Monday, August 3. Information will continue to be updated at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing.

Data Updates and COVID Activity Snapshot

The Health District is providing updates Monday-Friday of total confirmed, total probable, and a breakdown of cases by city. A weekly report is now being posted on Fridays, providing a more detailed analysis of cases in Snohomish County from the prior week.

The report for the week ending July 25 has been posted, as well as the updated COVID activity snapshot that provides metrics aligned with the Phase 2 approval. Key highlights include:

  • A case rate of 89.4 per 100,000 in the 14-day period from July 9 to 23, up from 70.8 per 100,000 from July 2 to 16.
  • Snohomish County is seeing a slight increase in hospitalizations (see graph below). The daily census of Snohomish County residents in the hospital for COVID-19 has increased to more than 30 recently, up from a low of 19 two weeks ago.
  • Cases continue to rise among younger age groups. From July 12 to 25, more than 40% of new cases were among people under the age of 30.
  • About 12% of new cases were over the age of 60. However, the absolute number of cases over 60 years of age reported in the past two weeks (104) is up 25% from last week’s report (83) and up 136% from the prior week’s report (44). This suggests that the current wave of COVID-19 activity is finding its way into older age groups and could lead to a sustained increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

hospitalizations graph

There have been some questions received on why these updates do not match information on the Phases and Risk Assessment Dashboard provided by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The data online change every day when new cases get reported. This is because the newly reported cases on any given day have a variety of different specimen collection dates. DOH’s dashboard is updated frequently, whereas the Health District’s report is a weekly snapshot. Overall, these are negligible, technical differences that do not affect the information and general impression provided by the data.

Recommendation on Remote Learning

On Wednesday, Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Health District, provided a recommendation that public and private schools in Snohomish County start the fall 2020 term with distance learning.

While school-age children are not typically a high-risk population for this illness, there are many staff and some students who are particularly vulnerable to severe illness due to COVID-19 because of age or underlying medical conditions. It also is important to remember that even otherwise healthy staff and students can have serious and long-lasting complications from a COVID-19 infection, and that transmission in schools may amplify transmission in the community.

The ability to resume in-person instruction in schools and prevent further increases in cases and hospitalizations among older adults is directly linked to the actions of the community. It’s on all of us to flatten the curve again. Steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Wearing a face cover in public
  • Maintaining at least six feet of distance from non-household members
  • Avoiding gatherings larger than five people from outside of your household, and keeping your social group consistent
  • Staying home and getting tested if you are feeling ill

Statewide Pause on Advancing through Safe Start Phases Extended

Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week that the pause on counties advancing phases under the Safe Start plan has been extended indefinitely. The Governor also released a memo with updated guidance regarding gatherings, live entertainment, restaurants and taverns, entertainment and recreational centers, card rooms, movie theaters, and weddings and funerals. Overall, these restrictions limiting discretionary gatherings offer a means to flatten the curve, prevent hospitalizations and deaths in older and medically vulnerable members of the community, and afford a pathway for our students to transition to in-person education.

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. 

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