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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 14, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Snohomish Health District is continuing testing at 3900 Broadway in Everett. Testing will be in the large parking lot near Everett Memorial Stadium.
The entrance for testing is off of Broadway, following signage and cones. There have been some issues with people trying to access other entrances, or approaching staff in the Community Resource Center for questions. Testing cannot be accessed off of 41st Street.
For the week of August 17 the schedule is as follows:
Eligibility criteria remains the same as previous weeks. Registration is now open at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing. The Health District is working to establish a phone number for those without internet access or needing an interpreter. Look for more details when that is up and running.
On Wednesday, DOH announced changes in how they report negative tests. Testing data will soon reflect the total number of tests completed, rather than the total number of unique individuals ever tested negative.
This will not impact how positive test results are reported or calculated. While there may be some minor fluctuations in Snohomish County’s positivity rate while DOH makes the adjustments, the Health District will still be able to track and follow-up on positive cases.
Finally, while the positivity rate is one metric being tracked, it is not the only one. As shown in the Health District’s weekly snapshot, there are a number of metrics being monitored. This snapshot is what many of schools and businesses monitor most closely. In the current moment, Snohomish County’s high case rate is the dominant factor in deliberations and guidance regarding public health interventions. Statewide and regional findings inform the Health District’s situational awareness, but disease control decision making here in Snohomish County are based on local data.
DOH and Public Health – Seattle & King County released a new report on Friday by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) that measures the tradeoffs between minimizing COVID-19 related health risks and maximizing educational benefits for students when Washington’s K-12 schools resume instruction. While the educational benefits of in-person learning are well established, the report shows there are still significant risks associated with returning to in-person instruction. This is especially true at the current level of COVID activity in the community.
As the start of the 2020-21 school year nears, parents and guardians of school-age children have been hit again with one of the ongoing, growing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic: remote learning is recommended to start the school year.
“It’s also important to note that the modelers’ results and existing DOH guidance all suggest that as rates come down, a staged return to in-person learning can be achieved given proper countermeasures and a prioritization toward younger students,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Health District. “Even then, reopening schools to in-person learning will not be a zero risk activity and should be cautiously implemented.”
The challenges presented by COVID-19 also are being felt keenly by child care providers who must adapt to new health and safety measures, and by families who cannot keep children home from child care.
The Health District continues to recommend remote learning to start the coming school year, as well as continuing to keep children home from child care when it is possible to do so. These are important for fighting the COVID pandemic, but these recommendations do create hardships.
Many people have shared concerns and questions about schools and child care. A new blog released on Wednesday aimed to address some of them. Decisions around schools and child care are not made lightly, nor are they made without consulting others. The Health District continues to work with our public health partners throughout the state, the county’s Department of Emergency Management, and schools and child cares in Snohomish County.
With temperatures rising this weekend, Snohomish County residents are reminded to take extra precautions for themselves and loved ones. While cooling stations, libraries and movie theaters may not be open, there are still ways to keep cool in hot weather.
When at home or work:
Using a fan to circulate air is another recommendation, but they should not be relied on as a main cooling device during an extreme heat event.
“Electric fans may provide comfort, but they will not prevent heat-related illness in when temps get into the mid- and high-90s,” notes Dr. Spitters. “Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned area, is a much better way to cool off.”
Know the signs of heat stroke, and call 911 if someone exhibits any of them:
People should also look out for others. Check in on elderly or vulnerable neighbors. Make sure pets have easy access to water. Never leave a child or pet in a car unattended. Remember that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Stay home as much as possible, but wear face coverings when you leave. Take mask breaks away from others, and then wash your hands after replacing the mask.
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.