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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 22, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – As the community heads into a scaled-back Memorial Day weekend, the Snohomish Health District is stressing the importance of remaining resolute in staying home and staying healthy.
In a Zoom media availability this morning, health officer Dr. Chris Spitters shared an overview of where Snohomish County currently stands in regards to a Phase 2 variance. Guidelines and criteria were provided to the Health District earlier this week.
It is clear that Snohomish County still has a way to go before meeting the target for new cases over a 14-day period. Dr. Spitters shared the calculation below, and the full video and transcript are now available online.
Partners are working to pull together all of the necessary data points, and updates on progress will be shared later next week.
As a part of the CARES Act package in Snohomish County recently approved, $10.9M was appropriated to the Snohomish Health District. These funds will be used to add more staff and resources focused on disease investigation, testing and community outreach.
“We are grateful for the continued partnership with Snohomish County in this coordinated response,” said Shawn Frederick, administrative officer for the Health District. “The allocation authorized by the County Council will allow us to quickly ramp up contact tracing and testing capacity needed to meet the Phase 2 variance criteria released this week.”
As announced in a joint press release this morning, there has been one case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 in an adolescent from Snohomish County. The patient received treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
This case is one of only two reported in Washington state residents to date. Health care providers in the United Kingdom were the first to recognize cases in late April, and providers in other states have identified cases as well. Following increased reports of previously healthy children presenting with a severe inflammatory syndrome with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory last Thursday with a case definition.
The current case definition includes the following:
Parents or caregivers should call their primary care providers if their child is showing new or unusual symptoms, such as a persistent fever or headache, abdominal pain with or without diarrhea, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath.
“While the vast majority of children appear to have mild or asymptomatic infection, it’s important to remember that—although rare—some children can develop serious complications like these,” said Dr. Spitters. “Our thoughts are with the young patient, their family and the care team at Seattle Children’s, and we wish for a speedy recovery.”
Given privacy concerns, public health officials will not release additional information on these cases.
The pandemic has amplified existing challenges in the community. Where there were cracks before, they’ve gotten wider, and people who were struggling to climb out are facing more obstacles. Many in Snohomish County are dealing with illness, loss, disconnects from social circles and supports, and/or economic hardship.
Domestic violence is one of the issues that is exacerbated during this crisis. This can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of children and adults.
A full understanding of just how much of an impact this pandemic has had on those experiencing domestic violence won’t be possible for many months or, more likely, years.
But to get a better understanding of what is being seen now, what resources are available, and how people can help, the Health District reached out to some local experts. A new blog on domestic violence and COVID-19 was published today. It includes insights and resources shared by Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center, Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse, and Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County.
Due to the shorter week, the Snohomish Health District will have one day of community-based testing next week. Testing appointments will be on Thursday, May 28 outside the Sno-Isle Libraries branch located at 311 Maple Ave in Snohomish. Registration will open on Tuesday morning, with appointments beginning at 9 a.m. and the last slot starting at 2 p.m.
These community-based testing sites are being operated by the Snohomish Health District, with volunteer support from the Medical Reserve Corps. This test will not use the rapid test machines, but rather the regular nasal swabs that are sent to a lab. Results are expected to be communicated back to individuals within 2-3 days.
Criteria for testing and registration details remain the same. Updates and registration information is available at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing.
Just as testing is a key piece of the long-term response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), disease investigation and contact tracing are crucial, as well.These topics have generated a number of questions, as well as concerns and rumors. The Health District published a new blog on contact tracing this week to help address some of those questions.
Updated case counts are done daily Monday through Friday, with any changes over the weekend included in the Monday updates. Yesterday the Health District published its updated weekly report on COVID-19 and long-term care facilities.
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.