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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Evidence continues to show the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading in Snohomish County. With 50-100 new cases per day, staying home and avoiding all non-essential contact with others is the best way to stay healthy and keep others healthy.
If you must go out, stay at least six feet apart from others at all times. Wash your hands with soap frequently and avoid touching your face. COVID-19 is highly contagious and each face-to-face interaction is an opportunity for it to spread.
Everyone, even people who are young and healthy, must stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
When distancing is difficult, non-medical masks can help limit the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations today that wearing a homemade cloth mask may provide benefits in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
The cloth face coverings should not be surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
To learn more about wearing non-medical masks, see the recent Public Health Insider blog by our partners at Public Health – Seattle & King County.
There are currently 20 assisted living-type facilities in Snohomish County with a patient and/or staff member that has tested positive for COVID-19. There are another 5 facilities with pending results.
Staff from the Snohomish Health District have been in frequent contact with facilities, and are working with federal, state and local partners to establish broader surveillance testing for those high-risk facilities with at least one confirmed case.
This does not prevent medical directors for those facilities from testing through their regular processes. Facilities must be proactive and transparent. They should not wait for multiple people to be symptomatic, and should assume that respiratory illness is likely COVID-19 and work to rule out other illnesses.
In the first two weeks of operations, the community-based testing site in Everett has tested 1,770 individuals. There have been some delays from the commercial lab and national call center in getting results to those tested. The Snohomish Health District is working with state and federal partners to address those issues as quickly as possible.
For the week of April 6, test appointments will be available incrementally. On Saturday, the portal will open for appointments from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, appointments for Wednesday and Thursday will be available, and appointments for Friday will be opened on Tuesday.
FEMA and HHS support for the community-based testing site will be transitioned starting April 10. The Health District is working with local, state and federal partners to determine opportunities to continue drive-thru testing for continuing weeks.
More information also is available at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing.
The Snohomish Health District updates case counts online at 2:00 p.m. everyday.
Starting today, the Snohomish Health District will no longer list individual deaths by age and gender. Instead aggregated demographic information and charts will be available, such as city of residence, gender, and age by decade.
Updated case counts will also be posted on the weekends, including total number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. However, the charts, graphs and more detailed breakdowns will only be available on weekdays. This is to help staff prioritize time over the weekend on case and contact investigations.
The health and safety of Snohomish County remains the Health District’s top priority. 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.