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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2022
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA – With the recent Omicron surge, many Snohomish County residents have been looking to upgrade their masks for better protection. Thanks to a partnership between Snohomish County, the Snohomish Health District, Everett Public Library and Sno-Isle Libraries, residents can now get free KN90 masks at their local libraries.
“Our commitment to the community goes beyond library related resources, and we are thrilled to partner with the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County and Sno-Isle Libraries to offer assistance with this initiative by providing convenient locations for mask distribution,” said Abigail Cooley, Director of Everett Public Library. “The Library has provided cloth and disposable surgical masks since 2020, but we’re thankful for an opportunity to provide the additional protection of KN90 masks to our patrons and community.”
Upgraded masks, like KN90, KF94 or N95, offer a higher level of protection compared to cloth or disposable procedure masks. Unfortunately, that higher quality comes with a higher price tag, especially when they can only be worn a few times before having to be discarded.
“We’re pleased to continue our partnerships with the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County, Island County and Everett Public Library to make it even easier for everyone in our community to get a high-quality mask,” said Lois Langer Thompson, Executive Director of Sno-Isle Libraries. “With 23 libraries across both counties, we provide easy access to information and resources, including masks.”
Both the Washington State Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend universal masks indoors, including in school settings. Snohomish County’s most recent case rate was 1,662 per 100,000 residents for the two-week period ending February 5. Although the downward trajectory of COVID cases is a relief, the level of transmission and the ongoing strain on the healthcare system remains. There needs to be more progress in getting rates down before lightening up on masking in public.
“While masking requirements are likely to be downgraded in the near future as the Omicron surge wanes, they will still need to be worn by people completing isolation or quarantine,” noted Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “This will also be true for some medically vulnerable individuals, in some high-risk settings, and by all of us the next time cases and hospitalizations go back up.”
The masking requirement is established at the state level by the Secretary of Health’s order for masking in public indoor settings and the Governor’s proclamation with requirements for worker health and safety. Governor Inslee has indicated masking requirements are under review and adjustments are anticipated. Until that time, the Health District recommends, and the Local Health Officer’s order requires, that residents, employers and organizations continue to follow the state requirements.
“We’ve made great progress getting through the pandemic together, and these masks will allow those who need them to stay safe,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “While the Omicron threat is receding, we don’t know what’s in the future. With these supplies, we are ready for whatever comes next.”
For more information about masks and where to find free masks at the library, visit www.snohd.org/masks.
Starting next week, the testing and vaccine schedule at the Ash Way Park & Ride site will be adjusted. The site will move to offering testing on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and vaccines on Fridays and Saturdays. Operations for all days will continue to be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing will also be available at the Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue, open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds location seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The vaccine clinic at the Everett Mall is remains open 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Anyone age 5 or older can be vaccinated at this site, though a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under the age of 18.
Appointments are encouraged for testing and vaccines, but walk-ins are accepted based on availability. To schedule an appointment for testing, visit www.snohd.org/testing. Visit www.snohd.org/covidvaccine for vaccine appointments, as well as to view a calendar of community mobile clinics or other providers offering vaccines in Snohomish County.
Those without internet access, needing language assistance, or requiring additional support in scheduling can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing or vaccine appointment. Callers after hours or on holidays or weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.