EVERETT — Snohomish County has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, health officer James Lewis said Tuesday.
At Tuesday’s county health board meeting, Lewis updated members on the latest local data for case and hospitalization rates. The case rate reported at the beginning of this month, 41 cases per 100,000 people, was more than double what it was at the beginning of August.
County data showed COVID-19 patients were occupying about 5% of hospital beds. On Wednesday afternoon, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett had 24 patients checked in with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to hospital records.
“All indications show that COVID transmission is increasing,” Lewis said. “But it may be leveling off now.”
Lewis said COVID-19-related hospitalizations and positive lab tests had a slight dip this past week. Recent rates are well below previous peaks, though the data doesn’t include home tests.
“We’re not seeing any huge alarms,” Lewis said.
Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens and rural southeast parts of the county are seeing the most COVID-19 cases, county data shows.
Lewis said one potential cause for concern is the elevated case rates for Black residents compared to other races over the past few weeks. It’s not a significant number, he said, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Long-term care facilities are a significant source of COVID-19 outbreaks in the county — over 100 cases were associated with 16 facility outbreaks from July 30 through Sept. 2, according to Lewis’ report.
This week, the federal Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved new Moderna and Pfizer vaccines said to be effective against the two latest COVID-19 variants: EG.5 and BA.2.86, also known as Pirola. The vaccines are set for public distribution starting this week, according to the CDC.
“Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death,” a CDC press release reads. “Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID.”
Protection against COVID-19 and the flu requires two separate vaccines for now, but Lewis said there may be “a combined vaccine in the future.”