FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2021
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
Snohomish County to Advance to Phase 2 of Healthy Washington Plan
Eased restrictions for indoor dining, entertainment and recreation takes effect Monday
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Governor Inslee announced a modification to the Roadmap to Recovery plan, allowing regions to move forward if three of four metrics are met. The Puget Sound Region met three metrics and will move to Phase 2.
The following activities will now become permissible when Snohomish County moves to Phase 2 on Monday, February 1:
- Social gatherings – indoor gatherings of no more than five people outside the household, and a maximum of 15 people for outdoor gatherings. Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to two households, and face masks and physical distancing still apply.
- Dining – indoor dining available at 25 percent capacity, with a max of six people per table and a limit of two households. Alcohol service must end by 11 p.m., but bars that do not serve food must still remain closed.
- Weddings and funerals – ceremonies and indoor receptions, wakes or similar gatherings are permitted, following the appropriate venue requirements. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. Dancing is prohibited.
- Recreation and fitness – indoor fitness, training and sports at 25 percent capacity. Low and moderate sports competitions are permitted, with high risk sports competitions permitted outdoors only.
- Entertainment – indoor entertainment venues may have a maximum of 25 percent capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues may have a maximum of 200 people at the venue, with individual groups no larger than 15 people and limited to two households.
Rather than weekly updates, the Washington State Department of Health will update data by region every other Friday. Regions that continue to meet at least three of the four criteria will remain in Phase 2. However, if a region drops to two of four metrics, it will move back to Phase 1.
“This is good news and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts and sacrifices to get us here, but we can’t celebrate too soon or let our guard down,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “While case counts and hospital numbers are going down, absolute numbers and rates of cases, deaths, and hospitalization are still at very concerning levels. We have lost more than 70 residents to COVID since the beginning of the year. We’re far from out of the woods and still in a precarious position.”
Update on B.1.1.7 Variant
As announced earlier this week, two cases of the B.1.1.7 variant were detected in Snohomish County through laboratory surveillance testing. While potentially identifying details about the individuals cannot be released, they have recovered and were not hospitalized. Public health interviews found no travel involved and they acquired the infection in Snohomish County.
Although these are the first detected B.1.1.7 variants in the state, current estimates suggest that 0.2% of COVID infections on Washington State are due to this strain. It is likely that other cases exist and will be found through ongoing surveillance. While cause for concern, there is no need for alarm. It was only a matter of time for one of the variants to emerge here in Washington.
This variant has been shown to be more transmissible, meaning it’s easier to spread from one person to another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipates that due to this faster capacity to spread, the B.1.1.7 variant may be the predominant circulating strain in the United States within a few months.
“The jury is still out on whether this strain is associated with greater severity of infection, but according to public health officials in England that is a realistic possibility” noted Dr. Spitters. “Also, the higher rate of transmission associated with this strain could lead to more cases, increasing the number of people who need hospitalization and further burdening an already strained health care system. That’s why it is even more important than ever that we all continue to consistently take the steps we’ve been doing for a year to prevent the spread of the virus.”
OSPI and Kaiser Announce ‘Get Ready’ Plan for School Employees
State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal and Kaiser Permanente Washington president Susan Mullaney announced plans to equitably and safely vaccinate Washington educators and school staff. The plan is designed to be launch ready Washington moves into Phase 1b2 of the phased prioritization plan. Superintendent Reykdal estimated that would happen in approximately 4-6 weeks.
The plan will include dedicated vaccine resources and space provided by Kaiser Permanente at its owned and operated clinics as well as K-12 school locations for both member and non-member school employees. School districts are encouraged to maintain existing vaccination plans already in development, but a website will offer centrally accessible information about timing, scheduling, and more.
For more information, see OSPI’s press release.
Schedule for Drive-Thru Testing
The Health District has made schedule modifications to its community based testing sites:
- 3900 Broadway site in Everett – remains open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Everett Community College site at 915 N. Broadway – now open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lynnwood Food Bank site at 5320 176th St SW – open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and now Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Evergreen State Fairgrounds in the front parking lot off of 179th Ave SE in Monroe – open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sultan Elementary School site at 501 Date St – this location is a walk-up test site, and is open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Testing is by appointment only and registration is now open at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.
Testing is open to anyone, regardless of symptoms, but remains strongly encouraged for individuals that fit the following criteria:
- Anyone with any of the following COVID-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea); or
- Close contact of a confirmed case; or
- Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting; or
- Work in healthcare, EMS, law enforcement or other fields where work settings have a higher risk of catching or spreading COVID-19; or
- Part of a family or social network that has had a case.