State and local health officials warn that the region is on the cusp of a fourth COVID-19 wave with case numbers and hospitalizations rising.
Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated and continue avoiding indoor gatherings to help slow further spread of the virus.
“We have to prevent this from taking over the state of Washington,” Inslee said in a news conference Thursday, adding that newly reported COVID-19 cases in the state has grown to more than 1,000 a day, up from 700 a day in February.
In Snohomish County, cases rose Monday for the fifth straight week to 205 cases per 100,000 residents — now above one of the key metrics used to evaluate if a county can remain in Phase 3.
Contact tracers at the Snohomish Health District said they are seeing a growing number of cases that attended sports events, work or gatherings while symptomatic. Some had fevers or a cough, while others thought they were just fighting allergies.
“Unfortunately, we’re hearing reports of parents or friends urging people not to get tested to avoid an isolation or quarantine period,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “I cannot stress enough just how important testing, isolation of cases and quarantining of contacts are to our fight against this virus. We can’t interrupt transmission or prevent others from getting sick without them.”
Health officials urge anyone, vaccinated or not, to seek testing and remain home while feeling ill.
“We are also getting requests to appeal their quarantine, or confusion because a clinic or provider told them they were cleared,” Spitters siad. “The test is just an indication from that moment in time, but the research has shown infection can occur up to 14 days after exposure. That’s why it’s so important to quarantine for the full incubation period.”
Stanwood, Camano cases
Virus cases increased again last week in Stanwood.
Stanwood recorded 29 new cases during last week, about the same as the previous week’s 30 cases, according to Snohomish Health District data released Monday.
On Camano Island, there were nine cases detected in the most recent during the past week, up slightly from five during the previous week, according to Island County Public Health data as of Monday.
In Island County, the COVID infection rate fell slightly after seeing a spike in early March. The rate is now at 45.6 cases per 100,000 people, according to the state Department of Health.
Inslee said he hoped increasing vaccination numbers and encouraging people to not congregate indoors will continue to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
“We have knocked down this virus already three times, but we have to knock it down a fourth time,” Inslee said.
In Washington, there have been more than 355,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 5,360 deaths.
In Island County, more than 63,000 doses had been administered as of April 16. About 85,000 people live in the county.
Snohomish County had administered more than 445,000 doses as of April 16. About 844,000 people live in the county.
The state paused using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine last week while U.S. health officials investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
The pause forced the cancellation of last week’s vaccine clinic on Camano Island, which was set to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This week, Camano clinic is open, administering the Moderna vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said announced last week an investigation into unusual clots that occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48; there was one death.
The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to AstraZeneca, a vaccine not yet approved in the U.S.
More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.
“I’d like to stress these events appear to be extremely rare. However COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority,” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said at a news conference.
A CDC committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases, and the FDA has also launched an investigation into the cause of the clots and low platelet counts.