FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2020
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
COVID-19 Testing, Data Updates, and Reminders
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Snohomish Health District is continuing testing at 3900 Broadway in Everett, in the large parking lot near Everett Memorial Stadium.
For the week of August 31, the schedule is as follows:
- Monday, August 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 1 from noon to 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Thursday, September 3 from noon to 7 p.m.
- Friday, September 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to the Everett site, the Health District will also be offering testing at the Lynnwood Food Bank on Tuesday, Sept 1. Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5320 176th St SW.
COVID-19 testing is available to anyone, and strongly encouraged for individuals that fit the following criteria:
- Anyone with any of the following COVID-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea); or
- Close contact of a confirmed case; or
- Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting; or
- Work in healthcare, EMS, law enforcement or other fields where work settings have a higher risk of catching or spreading COVID-19; or
- Part of a family or social network that has had a case.
Registration is now open at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing. Insurance information is collected and the lab will bill insurance. There are no co-pays for COVID-19 testing. If you do not have insurance, the test will be provided at no charge.
Data Updates and COVID Activity Snapshot
The Health District is providing updates Monday-Friday with total confirmed, total probable, and a breakdown of cases by city. The report for the week ending August 15 has been posted, as well as the updated COVID activity snapshot that provides metrics aligned with the Phase 2 approval. There continues to be a slight decrease in overall transmission, which is encouraging.
As a reminder, countywide data is available through an interactive dashboard from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) online at www.snohd.org/524/COVID-19-Data-Dashboard. Additional information also is available through DOH’s Risk Assessment Dashboard at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/covid-19-risk-assessment-dashboard.
New State Testing Metric and Methodology Updates
DOH made changes earlier this week on the processing and reporting of test data statewide. These were made in an effort to account for the true volume of tests being done and to better benchmark progress at both county and state levels. The following changes include:
- Total tests. The DOH data dashboard, and the risk assessment dashboard will now report on the total number of tests instead of the total individuals who were tested. This is a change from the old approach, which counted just one test per person, even if they tested multiple times. By ensuring that every test is counted, this new data will now fully reflect the actual testing volume. This change was made to be more in line with methodologies used by other states, as well as the CDC.
- Percent positive. The percent of total tests that are positive will also shift from being based on the percentage of unique individuals who test positive to the percentage of tests that are positive. While the data will change, and the percent positive is anticipated to decrease somewhat given reporting of total tests, the dashboard visualizations will stay the same.
- Daily Testing Rate. This is a metric on the risk assessment dashboard. This additional measure helps understand the per capita testing levels in the state and by county. The new measure allows easy comparisons of counties and other locations to better benchmark progress. It is calculated by dividing the average number of molecular tests performed over the past week by the population in the county or state, and then multiplying by 100,000. DOH has not included any targets at this time, but that could change. This metric now replaces the one previously called “Individuals tested per new case” on the risk assessment dashboard. That was an additional way of expressing the “percent positive” metric. In other words, one divided by the percent positive (e.g., 2% positive = 50:1 ratio).
Again, all of these updates and additions are being done to increase transparency and provide a full picture about COVID transmission and activity in Washington. It’s important to note that these changes on how tests are reported do not impact case counts. Even if an individual has multiple positive results, they are still only listed as one individual case.
COVID-19 Testing Still Advised
Guidance from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Snohomish Health District around testing has not changed: if you have symptoms, you need to get tested. If you’re a close contact of a confirmed case, you need to get tested. Close contacts of confirmed cases also need to stay at home away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after the last exposure even if they test negative for COVID-19, because it is possible for people who test negative to still be incubating the virus, and become contagious later.
People with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should make testing their first priority. However, timing is key. Testing too soon after an exposure may give you a negative result, even if you’ve been infected. If exposed and you develop symptoms, testing that day or the next is recommended. If exposed and you don’t develop symptoms, waiting 5-6 days after exposure to get a test is recommended. People must stay in quarantine for the entire 14 days, even if a test is negative. Read DOH’s full news release here.
Vaping Associated with Increased Risk of COVID-19
Recent state data show adults ages 20 to 39 represent a higher percentage of coronavirus cases than any other age group in the state. This comes as vaping among teens and young adults in our state has also skyrocketed, with nearly 30 percent of high school seniors saying they use vapor products. A new study shows young people who reported ever having used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than non-users. The reason for this association remains to be determined and could lie in a biological effect of vaping itself, in related behaviors that increase risk of transmission (e.g., touching face, sharing vaping equipment), or both.
Teens and young adults who want to quit vaping or smoking can get access to several resources in Washington state. In January, the DOH began offering This is Quitting, from Truth Initiative. This first of its kind, free teen-friendly texting program for quitting vaping, was created with input from teens and young adults who attempted or succeeded in quitting e-cigarettes. This is Quitting is tailored by age group to give supportive text messages and information about quitting vaping. To enroll, teens and young adults can text VAPEFREEWA to 88709. Read the full news release here.
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.