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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2022
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. James Lewis joined more than 30 other local health officers and health care leaders to recommend masking and other illness prevention measures this winter.
“Communities across our state and around the U.S. are experiencing an unprecedented surge in viral respiratory illnesses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19. As health officers and health care leaders working to improve the health of Washington residents, we recommend that everyone wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask when around others in indoor spaces to protect against both acquiring and spreading these infections to others.
We also urge everyone who is eligible to stay up to date on your vaccinations. Vaccinations are the most important way to protect against severe influenza and COVID-19 infections, including hospitalization and death. Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated against these diseases and those who are eligible for an updated COVID-19 booster should get it now.
Other necessary strategies include:
We expect the flu to circulate for months, so now is the time to get your flu shot!
The flu is most dangerous for:
Consult with your physician or healthcare provider about the need for testing or treatment if you are at increased risk for severe influenza or are unsure.
In addition to RSV and influenza, new COVID-19 variants are taking hold and immunity from past vaccination is waning for many people who have not yet received an updated booster shot. The surge in these viruses is resulting in many illnesses, contributing to rising absenteeism in schools this fall. This impact extends to businesses, workers, and families.
For people who develop symptoms, and for parents of young children, it’s important to know when to contact your physician or healthcare provider for advice or an evaluation.
Working together and using multiple, layered strategies to limit the spread and impact of these viruses will provide benefits to all of us during this fall and winter respiratory virus season and help relieve serious stress on our healthcare system.
Thank you to everyone for doing what you can to help.”
Local health officers
Dimyana Abdelmalek, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Thurston County Public HealthAllison Berry, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Clallam and Jefferson CountiesAnthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health DepartmentJeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer, Public Health - Seattle and King CountyAmy Harley, MD, MPH, Co-Health Officer, Whatcom County Health DepartmentFrank James, MD, Health Officer, San Juan County Health & Community ServicesSteven Krager, MD, MPH, Deputy Health Officer, Clark, Pacific and Skamania CountiesMark Larson, MD, Health Officer, Kittitas County Public Health DepartmentJames Lewis, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Snohomish Health DistrictAlan Melnick, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Clark, Pacific and Skamania CountiesGib Morrow, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Kitsap Public Health DistrictGreg Thompson, MD, MPH, Co-Health Officer, Whatcom County Health Department
Health care leaders
June M. Altaras, MN, NEA-BC, Executive Vice President, Chief Quality, Safety and Nursing Officer, MultiCare Health SystemMichael H. Anderson, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Virginia Mason Franciscan HealthMike Barsotti, MD, FAAP, President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of PediatricsTori Bernier, Chief Nursing Officer, Summit Pacific Medical CenterTimothy Dellit, MD, interim Chief Executive Officer, UW Medicine, interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and interim Dean of the UW School of MedicineMike Glenn, MHA, Chief Executive Officer, Jefferson HealthcareJennifer A. Graves, RN, MS, Vice President, Quality and Safety, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Kaiser Permanente Washington, Regional Chief Nursing Executive, Kaiser Permanente WashingtonSean Gregory, Chief Executive, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical CenterCarlton Heine, MD, PhD, FACEP, FAWM, Chapter President, Washington American College of Emergency PhysiciansMark Johnson, MD, President, Washington Academy of Family PhysiciansScott Kennedy, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Olympic Medical CenterRobb Kimmes, Chief Executive Officer, Skyline HealthDavid Knoepfler, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, FACP, FHM, Overlake Medical CenterOnora Lien, Executive Director, Northwest Healthcare Response NetworkCarma Matti-Jackson, President & Chief Executive Officer, Washington Health Care AssociationRuth McDonald, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Seattle Children’sDeb Murphy, MPA, J.D., President & Chief Executive Officer, LeadingAge WashingtonEttore Palazzo, MD, FACP, Chief Medical & Quality Officer, EvergreenHealthCharles Prosper, Chief Executive Officer, PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical CenterKatina Rue, DO, President, Washington State Medical AssociationCassie Sauer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Washington State Hospital AssociationArooj Simmonds, MD, Regional Chief Medical Officer, Puget Sound Region, Providence SwedishDori Unterseher MN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, Harbor Regional HealthLynnette Vehrs, RN, MN, President, Washington State Nurses AssociationDarryl Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer, Olympic Medical Center
Link to PDF of full statement