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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Snohomish Health District has rolled out a refreshed look for its COVID webpages. The homepage at www.snohd.org and COVID pages were updated to make it easier to find the most visited content on the site. In addition, www.snohd.org/covid, www.snohd.org/testing and www.snohd.org/casecounts were created as shortcuts so people can find key pages more quickly.
On Monday, the Health District released the new snapshot and weekly report aligned with the Safe Start metrics, with data through September 12.
Updated case counts published Monday thru Friday now have a new column showing the change in confirmed and probable cases since the previous update. Wednesday’s update showed an increase of approximately 200 new probable cases. This was the result of an integration from the old reporting system to the new CREST system rolled out by the Washington State Department of Health in August. The final reconciliation needed to be done by hand and then verified before inclusion. As a reminder, probable cases are not included in the rolling case rate or target metrics.
The Health District has also created three new maps that were published on Friday:
While all guidance and threshold decisions are based on county-level case rates, these new maps do provide some additional insight over time and more recently. The Health District will be publishing these every two weeks, with the next update of the maps tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 5.
Numbers are continuing to trend downward, however that decrease has plateaued in Snohomish County. As schools begin to slowly bring back students, it is critical that people remember to wear face coverings, keep six feet apart, and avoid large gatherings. The opportunity for students to have stable, in-person learning is dependent on everyone’s actions in this respect.
Testing will continue at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett next week, with the Health District operating 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, September 29. Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5320 176th St SW.
For a step-by-step look at the Health District’s drive-thru testing, check out a new video release this week: https://youtu.be/5tmSEPt5Nis
Testing remains strongly encouraged for individuals that fit the following criteria:
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 new phone line has been established 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.
The Health District has developed an online table with more information on testing options in Snohomish County for the general public. This table provides information on which clinics have language services available and which ones also provide travel testing.
People are encouraged to call those locations directly, as information may change. They should also check with their insurance company on coverage. If the testing is for travel purposes rather than medical purposes, some insurance companies may deny the claim or only partially pay, so individuals should be prepared for the possibility of having to pay out of pocket for the testing.
While the Health District is currently offering travel testing at its drive-thru locations, results average 3-4 business days. The Health District cannot guarantee that results will be received within the timeframe required by a final destination, nor can tests be rushed or expedited. Some locations do accept proof of testing for preliminary entry, so the Health District has rolled out a new process to provide proof of testing that individuals can use to show for travel-related needs.
It is also a good reminder that non-essential travel is not recommended at this time. If you do need to travel, do your research first. Many international locations are off limits for United States residents for the time being. For those countries or states where you are permitted to travel, check with the final destination about quarantine or testing requirements, and remember that travel requirements may change at any time. Lastly, consider planning your travel and personal arrangements to accommodate the possibility that your return could be delayed by public health authorities or other circumstances at your destination.
When making travel plans, ask about cancellations or refunds. Countless plans already have been disrupted, and we’re not through this pandemic yet. If booking a vacation, even months in advance, be flexible and understand that you may have to cancel or drastically modify plans.
There are people who have travel plans, and there are essential reasons to travel related to their work or a family emergency. But now is not a good time for a vacation that takes you far from home. Instead, explore the great places that Snohomish County has to offer—with a face mask, of course.
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.