covid rates

After about six weeks of decline, state health officials are seeing COVID-19 cases increase throughout Washington.

Snohomish and Island counties are also seeing upticks in virus cases.

“I think this highlights how relentless this virus is and any time we let down our guard and think we can go back to doing things how we did before the pandemic, we often will see increases in disease activity,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state’s health officer, during a news briefing last week.

In Snohomish County, health officials said they are seeing more COVID-19 cases in workplaces. The Snohomish Health District’s business and employer response team has worked with more than 80 employers on outbreaks, plus dozens more on single cases and implementation of workplace precautions. 

“More people going back to work means more in-person contact, which is how this disease spreads,” Health District officials said in a statement. “Creating safe and healthy workplaces is crucial if we want to increase and sustain economic activity during the pandemic. However, even with best efforts, cases can happen. This disease is good at getting around.”

For the second week in a row, the rate of coronavirus infections has increased —this after eight weeks of declines. 

As of Monday, the infection rate per 100,000 people increased to 54.8 per 100,000 during Sept. 20-Oct. 3. It is up from 46.4 during the previous two-week period.

Island County has seen a surge to 30.7 infections per 100,000 people, up from 8.3 cases per 100,000 residents two weeks ago.

On Sept. 23, a Camano Island resident died of complications from

COVID-19. The man, 82, died in Skagit County. To date, two Camano residents have died from COVID-19.

Statewide, there have been nearly 90,000 cases and 2,142 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. 

Halloween suggestions

Health officials are urging families to avoid trick-or-treating door-to-door this Halloween.

The Snohomish Health District, the state Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend opting for household-only and virtual activities.

Health officials suggest activities such as scavenger hunts, movie marathons, and costume or pumpkin carving contests online.

Most traditional activities such as indoor haunted houses, trick-or-treating on Main Street and Halloween parties aren’t happening this year. However, many u-pick farms, pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the Stanwood-Camano area have activities being offered following the Safe Start’s agritourism guidance.

“Many children and families in Washington are wanting to know what happens on Halloween this year. This holiday, along with most of our holidays, will look and feel a bit different,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19. “The good news is that with some changes, we can find meaningful and fun ways to celebrate while still working to reduce COVID-19 transmission in our state.”

Drive-thru testing

The Snohomish Health District continue to offer drive-thru testing at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett for those with any symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea). Register at snohd.org/testing or call 425-258-8425

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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