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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 10, 2021
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SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – In addition to masks being required in most indoor settings, Governor Inslee announced yesterday that masks will also be required for large outdoor gatherings. This expanded mask order takes effect statewide on Monday, September 13, and applies to all outdoor venues with 500 or more attendees. This includes festivals, fairs, concerts, and sporting events.
The current statewide indoor mask mandate has been in effect since August 23, requiring that all people over the age of 5 wear a mask in indoor public settings, including places like restaurants, grocery stores, and malls. State and local health officials in Washington are strongly recommending masks outdoors in crowds of any size if social distancing could not be maintained, in the hopes of increasing public protection against COVID-19.
“In order to prevent further deterioration of the situation in our county’s and region’s hospitals and give our healthcare workers a break, we need everyone’s compliance with masking in public. This means indoor or outdoor, vaccinated or not,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Furthermore, while many people still feel uncertain about getting vaccinated for a variety of understandable reasons, the benefits in preventing severe illness, reducing transmission to vulnerable people, and bringing the healthcare system back from the brink of disaster overwhelmingly outweigh any risks, be they real or perceived. The time is now.”
The Health District also recommends everyone consider delaying or moving non-essential events and meetings to a virtual format. If it does not need to happen in-person, it is in everyone’s best interest to reschedule or hold gatherings online for the time being.
The situation in the county’s hospitals remains grim, with 110 COVID cases hospitalized and 23 requiring mechanical ventilation. This is exacerbating an already heavy medical care surge. Hospitals, clinicians, and other healthcare workers have already endured an 18-month ordeal only to be once again struggling to find beds for patients, provide staffing, and avoid having to transition further toward crisis standards of care.
Current COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Snohomish County are higher than they have ever been during the pandemic. Meanwhile, preliminary data show a doubling in deaths due to COVID-19 from July to August in Snohomish County residents (15 and 31 deaths, respectively).
“We need to decrease transmission as quickly as possible or begin to face even more serious problems in accessing healthcare,” added Dr. Spitters.
President Biden also released a six-pronged strategy that lays out the “Path Out of the Pandemic.” This plan includes the following:
The testing schedule for the week of September 10 is as follows:
Appointments for testing at the District’s locations are required, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.
Safe Kids Snohomish County announced a record-breaking number of child window falls. There have been at least 10 incidents in 2021, with three in the last week.
The community is urged to take the following steps to help prevent further accidents:
Safe Kids Snohomish County is led by South County Fire, which provides dedicated and caring staff, operation support and other resources to assist in achieving our common goal of keeping your kids safe. The Snohomish Health District is a member of the coalition, as well as the coordinator for local child death reviews. For more information, visit www.safekids.org/coalition/safe-kids-snohomish-county.