FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2020
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
Updates on Local and State COVID-19 Guidance
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Transmission of COVID-19 continues to increase throughout Snohomish County and around the state. After eight weeks of sustained decreases through the summer, the rolling two-week case rate and number of cases reported daily has been steadily climbing since late-September.
The Snohomish Health District also updated three maps now being produced bi-weekly:
While the heat map shows a concentration of new cases in south county, primarily along the I-5 and Highway 99 corridors, that aligns with denser populations. When looking at the case rate map, which calculates the number of cases over a two-week period compared to the population within that zip code, it is clear that all parts of Snohomish County are continuing to be impacted. The majority of our new cases are the result of too many people in close settings, especially without face coverings.
“Without a doubt, wearing face coverings, maintaining distance, and avoiding gatherings prevent spread, reduced hospitalizations, and save lives,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Health District. “These are all proven strategies that work, and it is incumbent on all of us to keep at it. Our school-age students, businesses and vulnerable adults are counting on us.”
Safe Start Guidance
Governor Inslee announced a series of changes to the Safe Start plan on Tuesday. Although all Washington counties remain in their current phase, this announcement significantly expands permissible activity.
- Libraries - some indoor activity now permitted at 25% capacity in Phase 2.
- Youth/Adult Sports - many school and non-school sports now permitted based on risk criteria. (see below for additional details)
- Movie Theaters - operation permitted in Phases 2 and 3 with capacity, distancing, and masking requirements.
- Restaurants - household member restriction lifted, maximum table size expanded to 6 in Phase 2 and 8 in Phase 3, alcohol service extended to 11 p.m.
- Wedding Receptions and Funerals - capacity extended to 50 people in Phase 3, alcohol service and receptions can now go until 11 p.m.
- Retail Events - outdoor retail events such as holiday bazaars now permitted with up to 200 people in Phase 3 counties.
- Real Estate - open houses now permitted and up to five people permitted at viewings, inspections, etc.
- Outdoor Races - new guidelines established for organized outdoor events
- Water Recreation- permits operation of water recreation facilities on an appointment basis, including hotel and HOA pools, except for those with play features.
More on Sporting Activities
The new guidance for school-based and other sporting activities bridges low, moderate and high risk activities with the county’s COVID activity being at low, moderate and high levels. COVID activity is designated as follows:
- Low Level County COVID Activity – a case rate of less than 25 per 100,000 over a 14-day period AND a testing positivity rate less than 5 percent.
- Moderate Level County COVID Activity – a case rate of more than 25 and less than 75 per 100,000 over a 14-day period AND a testing positivity rate less than 5 percent.
- High Level County COVID Activity – a case rate of more than 75 per 100,000 over a 14-day period OR a testing positivity rate higher than 5 percent.
According to the state’s risk-assessment dashboard, Snohomish County is considered a moderate level county. This dashboard is updated weekly, and is the official determination of county activity levels. Based on this, sports activities may resume under the following conditions:
- Attendance rosters should include group contact information. Each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a “return to play” safety plan. Any practice or training activities that can be done outdoors should be done outdoors.
- Scrimmage, intra-team competitions, and league games allowed for both low and moderate risk sports. Scrimmage, intra-team competitions, but no competitions of any kind against other teams, allowed for high risk sports.
- No tournaments allowed.
- No spectators allowed except for one adult parent/guardian/caregiver for each minor-aged participant allowed. Spectators must maintain physical distance of at least six (6) feet between each person. No spectators allowed for participants 18 and older.
- Multi-use venues can rent out space to sports teams or leagues, but not to individuals.
- External venues, such as arenas and convention centers, cannot be rented out and used for fitness purposes (like dance conventions or gymnastics competitions) at this point in time.
- Indoor facilities must also follow the Indoor Fitness & Trainings COVID-19 Requirements document for capacity, etc.
Drive-Thru Testing Schedule
The Snohomish Health District will continue drive-thru testing at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett next week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Friday. With daylight hours decreasing, and testing volumes seen earlier in the day, the Health District will no longer be offering evening testing appointments.
In addition to the Everett site, the Health District will also be offering testing at the Lynnwood Food Bank on Tuesday, October 13. Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5320 176th St SW.
Testing 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.
Registration is now open at www.snohd.org/testing. Insurance information is collected and the lab will bill insurance. There are no co-pays for COVID-19 testing through the Health District. If you do not have insurance, the test will be provided at no charge.
A phone line is available for test registration help, particularly those without internet access or needing language interpreter services. That number is 425.258.8425, with calls returned from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. This number is not for checking on test results.
Labor & Industries Update on Mask Compliance
Since mid-July, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has looked into mask complaints concerning more than 4,200 retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the state. In the vast majority of cases, the businesses that were violating the rules complied after L&I staff explained the requirements, or the initial complaints to the state were not substantiated.
L&I can cite employers who refuse to follow masking and other requirements. The agency has fined eight companies for violating the state public mask mandate and endangering their workers’ health. Three others were cited after public mask complaints led to L&I finding worker mask violations.
Read more in their October 7 press release.
If you or anyone you know is having difficulties managing stress, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method. Resources and self-help tips are available on walistens.org.
New Information and Updates from the State
A few state agencies released additional information and updates this week:
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/covid and the Health District’s social media channels.