Joint Information Center (JIC), Snohomish County Emergency Coordination Center
Heather Thomas, Snohomish Health District
Kent Patton, Snohomish County
Snohomish County Leaders Continue Monitoring COVID-19 Activity
Still too soon to determine if ready to apply for Phase 3
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., June 26, 2020 – Based on current COVID-19 activity and other metrics, an application for Phase 3 will not be submitted today by Snohomish County officials. Executive Dave Somers and Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters remain cautiously optimistic about the course of the disease in general and will continue monitoring data in the coming days to determine when to proceed with an application to the Secretary of Health.
“The current uptick in cases that we are experiencing is concerning. As we are seeing across the country, increased activity is directly related to increased infection rates,” said Executive Somers. “To move to the next phase, we need the community’s help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Since we’ve made so much progress, now is not the time to backslide. We will continue to closely monitor the metrics and other counties in the region to track regional progress against COVID-19.”
The Phase 2 approval letter required monitoring for at least three weeks before Snohomish County would be eligible to apply for Phase 3. The Snohomish Health District has been providing weekly reports to the Washington State Department of Health, and the most recent snapshot is now available for June 2-20, 2020.
“As I shared earlier this week, we saw a sharp increase in cases on Monday and reports of large gatherings over the weekend,” said Dr. Spitters. “Proceeding at maximum velocity into Phase 3 would be quite risky at the present moment given these recent findings. We need a week or two to assess and control the current situation, monitor the trend in new daily case reports, and track COVID hospitalizations to know whether this was a blip or an early signal of more to come.”
Residents and businesses in Snohomish County, as in Pierce and King Counties, must plan to follow Phase 2 restrictions through the 4th of July weekend. This means limiting social gatherings to no more than five people outside the household in a 7-day period. If people do venture out, they should wear face coverings, keep their distance and practice good hand hygiene.
“Getting to Phase 2 was exciting and first step in re-opening Snohomish County, but we can’t celebrate too soon,” said Stephanie Wright, Chair of the Board of Health and County Councilmember. “We are counting on everyone doing their part to keep their family, friends and neighbors healthy.”
Even when Snohomish County reaches the next phase, allowing more businesses and activities to reopen, it will not mean it will be business as usual. There are guidelines that employers will need to follow through all of the phases. More detailed information is outlined in the Safe Start Plan. Businesses must also wait until they have industry-specific health and safety guidance before reopening within the proper phase. The governor’s office maintains a list of guidance for industries.