Last week, cars were lined up on Wetmore Avenue as people waited to get a drive-up COVID-19 test. On Monday, the testing site changed to walk-up only. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Last week, cars were lined up on Wetmore Avenue as people waited to get a drive-up COVID-19 test. On Monday, the testing site changed to walk-up only. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

County’s reported infections surpass earlier grim estimates

Meanwhile, traffic caused by an overwhelmed north Everett COVID-19 testing site has been resolved.

EVERETT — COVID-19 infections are surpassing grim estimates made by Snohomish County’s top health official just two weeks ago.

With 10,965 more residents testing positive in the past week, the county’s two-week known-case rate is now at 2,023 per 100,000, according to the Snohomish Health District.

That’s well above the sobering “general forecast” sketched out by health officer Dr. Chris Spitters just before New Year’s. Those earlier “rough estimates” of how effectively the omicron variant could sweep through the county included a peak weekly case count of 6,000, paired with a case rate of about 1,500.

Both have been eclipsed, and both dwarf the level of infection that characterized shutdowns and restrictions earlier in the pandemic.

The skyrocketing infections began around Christmas. The most recent metrics once again show an approximate doubling of local cases.

On Monday, the health district also reported 33 more locals had been hospitalized for the illness, meaning a total of 176 hospital beds dedicated to COVID patients across Snohomish County.

When that number hit a record 143 going into last weekend — a quadrupling of Christmas Eve numbers — the health district shared an “urgent message,” asking residents to stay home, get their booster dose and switch to high-quality masks.

Over the weekend, two more COVID patients were reported dead from the disease. According to the state’s data dashboard, the virus has killed 859 Snohomish County residents now.

Meanwhile, it’s still tough to find a COVID-19 test. Even with incoming state and federal help, local officials say demand could outstrip supply; they’re urging residents to save tests for people with symptoms or those who have been exposed.

Both COVID testing sites run by Snohomish County show no available appointments online.

The free testing site that choked a north Everett neighborhood with traffic has since shifted to walk-up only. With no appointment required, hours-long lines accumulated at the site. But on Monday, the bumper-to-bumper traffic that caught the attention of the Everett City Council last week had been resolved. Instead, pedestrians lined up on the pavement, mostly fitting into the parking lot.

“The site operator noted that walk-up turnaround times are faster and makes the process a lot smoother,” city spokesperson Julio Cortes said in an email Monday.

Officials are still exploring the idea of moving the testing location elsewhere in the city so cars can line up without blocking homes and parking.

For now, the testing site — which isn’t listed on the state or county websites — is running 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 2606 Wetmore Ave.

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @yawclaudia.

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