COVID-19 cases in Snohomish and Island counties — and much of the state — are on the upswing. However, cases in the Stanwood-Camano area have remained relatively low, according to county health data.
In Snohomish County, the infection rate increased to 71.8 per 100,000 residents during Sept. 27-Oct. 10, according to data released Monday. It is up from a rate of 41.9 cases per 100,000 people in mid-September.
Since Oct. 1, there have been 531 new cases in the county, but only 12 new cases in Stanwood.
In Island County, the infection rate has spiked from 8 cases per 100,000 people in mid-September to 40.1 infections per 100,000 residents, according to the most recent data.
However, there was just one new case reported on Camano Island since Oct. 1. The lion’s share of new cases are on Whidbey Island.
The recent uptick in cases “speaks to the fact of the persistent challenge that this virus creates and the need for us all to engage in those preventive measures,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Snohomish County’s top health officer.
Health officials in neighboring counties to the north — Skagit and Whatcom — sounded an alarm last week as new data there showed spikes in new cases.
When infection rates top 75 cases per 100,000 residents, a county is in the “high risk” category, potentially prompting school districts to reconsider reopening efforts.
Spitters said health officials are urging people to redouble their efforts to keep the virus at bay.
“Limit social gatherings. Really try to reduce the number of people you come in contact with for any reason, work, social, what have you, outside of your household contacts and definitely no more than five in a week,” Spitters said. “The more we can do to keep it to just our household and necessary encounters, the better we’ll do in flattening this third wave and getting beyond it.”
Other tips include, wearing face coverings, adhering to social distancing efforts, keeping interactions short and isolating when feeling ill.
Now that summer is over, “we’re all more or less indoors most of the time,” Spitters said. “So it really speaks to the importance of doubling down on all of these prevention efforts because we don’t have the infinite dilution of outdoor air and ultraviolet light from the sun to help us fight the virus.”
He suggests to maintain good ventilation indoors and wear a face covering when at home with people from outside your household.
Statewide, there have been more than 93,000 cases and 2,190 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
In the last 3 weeks, Snohomish County has seen an increase from about 42 COVID cases per 100,000 population to 72 per 100,000.— SnoHD (@SnoHD) October 12, 2020
We can all help fight this 3rd wave of COVID.
-Avoid large gatherings
-Stay home & away from others if you're sick pic.twitter.com/SNmGdNJeGf
Experts urge flu vaccine
State health experts are urging residents to get the flu shot this year to avoid a potential overcrowding of hospital space
“Think of it as essential to get a flu vaccine this year,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington state Health Officer. “We should all get a flu vaccine now to help protect ourselves and our communities as we navigate this pandemic together.”
Washington provides all recommended vaccines at no cost for kids from birth through age 18, available across the state.
“Flu vaccine is available everywhere, and many pharmacies now allow younger patients to get vaccinated with their families. Our health care workers need everyone’s support – the decision to get a flu vaccine is more important than ever,” Lofy said.
For more information, visit KnockOutFlu.org.
While we don’t yet have vaccines that prevent cold or COVID, there is an annual flu vaccine to help reduce the spread and severity of influenza. If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, this is the year to do so sooner rather than later. More info: https://t.co/voPfE8TkC0 pic.twitter.com/1mYaLem8v3— SnoHD (@SnoHD) October 10, 2020