FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2020
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
Recap of Board Briefing and Other COVID-19 Updates
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Given the continued increase in COVID-19 transmission through Snohomish County, a special Board of Health briefing was held on October 29. The briefing featured updates from County Executive Dave Somers, Department of Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann, and Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters.
“Back in March, I said that I had confidence in the people of Snohomish County and in our ability to take care of one another, and I still strongly believe that,” said Stephanie Wright, County Councilwoman and Board of Health Chair. “Like anything, preventing the spread of illness works best when we work together. We all need to be taking steps to stay healthy and to keep others healthy, too.”
The Snohomish Health District had technical difficulties with the livestream, but all materials are now available online.
“We’re now at a level of overall transmission that parallels what we saw back in the first wave in March and April,” said Dr. Spitters. “We’ve had an uptick in deaths over the last couple of weeks. Hospitalizations have increased a little, but are stable at the moment. Cases in older adults and long-term care settings are up. These are all little signals that what’s going on in the community and what we’re seeing is real.”
Schools recommendations provided October 20 remain unchanged for the time being. However, each school district and private school is making decisions with those recommendations in mind. Staff, students and families should monitor their school for updates.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan Update
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. DOH is encouraging healthcare providers to prepare to enroll as approved COVID-19 vaccine providers, and an official letter was sent to them with information on how to enroll. Provider enrollment is the first step in setting up approved COVID-19 vaccine provider locations.
Long-term care facilities can also enroll in a program that will provide COVID-19 vaccine for their residents and staff. On October 16, the White House announced a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents in long-term care facilities when available. These facilities should strongly consider registering for this program. Participation is critical to ensuring that their vulnerable residents are among the first to receive a vaccine when it becomes available.
The Health District continues working with the Department of Emergency Management, health care system partners, other local partners and DOH on plans for COVID-19 immunization in Snohomish County. Although no COVID-19 vaccine product has yet been reviewed and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, our goal is to be ready-to-go when a safe and effective vaccine becomes available.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the DOH coronavirus vaccine page.
Scammers Posing as Health Officials in Schemes Targeting Medical Providers
Warning to health care professionals with Washington licenses: Beware of scammers falsely claiming to represent the Washington State Department of Health – and don’t send money to anyone without being certain of the recipient’s identity. Read DOH’s full news release here.
Five Key COVID-19 Safety Requirements for Employers
Emergency law requires five key workplace safety practices for all employers. Employees must practice social distancing and mask up. Employees must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. Workplaces must be routinely sanitized. A plan must be written and in place to address worker illness. Finally, employees must be educated about COVID-19 and how to work safely.
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 no longer offers evening testing appointments.
In addition to the Everett site, the Health District will also be offering testing at the Lynnwood Food Bank on Tuesday, November 3. 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.