FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2020
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
COVID Updates and Reminders for Safer Holidays
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Snohomish County reached a grim milestone this week as it surpassed 250 deaths due to COVID-19. As of November 19, 263 residents have lost their lives because of this virus. This is nearly 25 times the number of influenza-related deaths (11) and more than twice as many opioid overdose deaths (113) in 2019.
Currently, 53 confirmed and 8 suspected COVID cases are hospitalized with 8 requiring mechanical ventilation. Hospitalizations are up approximately 150% compared to 2-3 weeks ago, but they have been stable this week. The Snohomish Health District has also seen a sharp increase in the number of outbreaks happening in long-term care facilities across the county.
While the outbreaks at Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood and Regency Monroe have garnered much of the attention because of their size, there are 23 total facilities currently with cases. Those include 12 skilled nursing, eight assisted living and four adult family homes with a combined total of 349 cases since late-October. Of those 349 cases, Josephine has 141 cases with seven currently or having been hospitalized and nine deaths, and Regency Monroe has 91 cases with seven currently or having been hospitalized and 12 deaths.
This serves as a crucial reminder that these settings are highly vulnerable to sustained transmission. Healthcare workers should model best practices for COVID prevention not only in the workplace, but outside of it. Friends and family members need to find ways to support loved ones in these facilities without accidentally bringing COVID in. Alternatives to in-person visitations must be the norm for the time being, until community transmission significantly decreases.
High hospitalization numbers, increasing outbreaks in long-term care facilities, and a nursing shortage are further compounding an already strained healthcare system. For these reasons and more, the Health District is again reminding Snohomish County to Give Thanks, Not COVID. There are also gratitude journal pages and other activities online at www.snohd.org/activities.
This is an incredibly challenging time for everyone in the community—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. For those who are able, consider donating to one of the amazing non-profits working in Snohomish County. Order out your Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant and desserts from the bakery in town. Support local businesses that are working to remain nimble while following new restrictions. Pay it forward if possible. Practice compassion with one another and yourself.
It’s okay to not be okay. If you’re struggling, reach out for help. Here are some resources:
- North Sound 211 – dial 211 or www.voaww.org/northsound211
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- 24 Hour Care Crisis Line (VOA) 800-584-3578
- Care Crisis Chat 24/7 www.imhurting.org
- Catholic Community Services (mental health) 425-257-2111
- Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-252-2873
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- Crisis Connections: 866-427-4747
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org
- WA Listens (crisis line for stress related to COVID-19): 1-833-681-0211
Added Dates and Locations for Testing
Drive-thru testing at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett has been completely booked up most days this week, seeing 450-500 people daily. To accommodate the increased need, the Health District is expanding operations to include weekends at this location starting Saturday, November 21.
Beginning on Monday, November 23, the Health District will also open an additional location in Everett. The second site will be at Everett Community College, located at 915 N. Broadway in the parking lot immediately south of the WSU Everett campus. Testing will be available at this location five days a week starting in December.
Both of the Health District’s testing sites will be closed on November 26 and 27 for Thanksgiving. However, additional testing locations around Snohomish County operated by the Health District will be announced soon.
All testing is offered 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., by appointment only. Registration is now open for appointments through the end of November. All information can be accessed 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.
Steps to Address Increased Suicide Risk
Since August of 2020, there have been four student suicides in Snohomish County reported to public health. These tragedies appear to be unrelated to one another and are an increase from recent months and from the same time period last year. Local data and disaster research suggest that suicide rates throughout our population may rise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The Health District, in coordination with the local Child Death Review partners, issued a health alert to highlight best practices and support the community in promoting well-being and safety. The COVID pandemic and civil unrest in our country has increased uncertainty for all of us, including our youth, and we cannot underestimate the impact. Physical and social distancing, increased isolation as cold weather approaches, school concerns, changes in relationships, and worries for family and friend’s health and the future of our country all contribute toward increased anxiety and despair. We must work to mitigate this to prevent further tragedy. This health advisory addresses the increased behavioral health challenges during this disillusionment phase of disaster response and provides resources.
This is a difficult time for everyone. The on-going pandemic and the corresponding exhaustion and emotional fatigue that we are feeling continues, combined with seasonal changes and more difficulty connecting with the people and supports that typically help us cope. Young people may be even more at risk due to less access to their typical social networks. To learn more about prevention steps and community resources, see the health alert.