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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 10, 2020
CONTACTS: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint Information Center, email@example.com
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Snohomish County, as do the impacts on employers and organizations. While the Snohomish Health District typically does not release the names of businesses associated with confirmed cases, there are occasional exceptions based on outbreaks or potential exposure to high-risk populations. Today there are two such notifications.
A Health Officer’s Order was issued to Tender Hearts Day School in Marysville. This child care location was closed due to an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 among staff and children, and the potential for continued transmission.
As of today, there are 10 confirmed and four probable cases, primarily involving children. The Health District is continuing to work with impacted staff and families on symptom monitoring, testing status and quarantine procedures as needed. The center is currently closed through July 14.
In accordance with WAC 246-101-425, employers must be prepared to fully and promptly assist the Health District in a communicable disease case or outbreak investigation. Employers may be asked to provide the Health District with a list of employees or visitors that were onsite within a specific time period. The Health District’s expectation is that information should be readily available and sent immediately, or no more than four hours after requested.
Employers should return all calls immediately and prioritize any requests made. Identifying and contacting all close contacts of a confirmed case within 48 hours is a critical piece of being able to quickly contain and stop the spread of illness. It is also one of the metrics being reported on a weekly basis to the state to monitor the county’s progress in the Governor’s Safe Start plan.
Following COVID testing at the Everett Gospel Mission Men’s Shelter last week, results were received yesterday with one positive individual. The resident who tested positive has no symptoms and is currently in stable condition. The Everett Gospel Mission closed the Men’s Shelter out of an abundance of caution for cleaning and sanitizing.
There have been 51 residents temporarily relocated to the isolation and quarantine facility located at Evergreen State Fairgrounds. All who may have come in contact with the positive case will be tested for COVID-19 and monitored. Out of respect for the privacy and security of those ate the isolation and quarantine facility, no additional information is available at this time.
The isolation and quarantine facility was established by Snohomish County in April as part of the COVID-19 response. Isolating those who are considered infectious and quarantining those who have been exposed and may become infectious has helped to reduce transmission.
Snohomish County is required to provide resources for the safe, temporary isolation and quarantine of people who may have been exposed and are not able to safely quarantine from the virus in their own home, or who are among the county’s unsheltered population. Located in a secure building on the county-owned Fairgrounds property, residents remain under the care of the trained staff until it is determined that they no longer pose a threat of transmission in the community. A typical stay would extend from just a few days up to two weeks (occasionally longer), depending on the circumstances. Security is provided by local law enforcement and a private security firm.
The number of people seeking testing at the Snohomish Health District’s drive-thru locations has been increasing, with most appointments booked up early in the week. From July 1-8, there were 571 individuals tested and 19 were found positive for COVID-19.
Given this increased demand, the Health District will no longer be providing testing for travel-related purposes or for pre-approval needs for medical procedures. The Health District needs to ensure people who are ill or connected to a confirmed case, outbreak or high-risk population are prioritized. Individuals needing testing for travel or medical procedures are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or a private clinic.
The schedule for the week of July 13 is as follows:
Testing will be available to those who are:
Due to some system updates needed today, registration for next week’s appointments will open the morning of Saturday, July 11 at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing.
The Health District is still providing updates Monday-Friday of total confirmed, total probable, and a breakdown of cases by city. A weekly report is now being posted on Fridays, providing a more detailed analysis of cases in Snohomish County from the prior week.
The report for the week ending July 4 has now been posted, as well as the updated COVID activity snapshot that provides metrics aligned with the Phase 2 approval. Note that this week’s snapshot and the weekly report have some minor differences to last week’s, largely due to the holiday and some data being run mid-week. This week’s snapshot clarifies those numbers in the “change since last report” column.
Key highlights for the time period from June 18 – July 2 include:
There have been some questions received on why these updates do not match information on the Phases and Risk Assessment Dashboard provided by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The data online change every day when new cases get reported. This is because the newly reported cases on any given day have a variety of different specimen collection dates. DOH’s dashboard is updated frequently, whereas the Health District’s report is a weekly snapshot. Overall, these are negligible, technical differences that do not affect the information and general impression provided by the data.
To help the Health District quickly identify COVID site supervisors within each business location, an online form has been created at www.snohd.org/EmployerNotifications. The Health District is requesting that all employers in Snohomish County fill out the form, which identifies a primary and back-up contacts. Completing this form will also ensure your organization is contacted promptly, and through your preferred channels of staff appropriately trained on what to do when contacted.
Additional business guidance was included in an earlier press release, as well as updates sent to all food establishments in Snohomish County.
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.