EVERETT — COVID-19 metrics “all but guarantee” that Snohomish County will fall back next week to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, the Snohomish Health District said in a news release Friday.
Locally, and across much of Washington, new cases and hospitalizations are above the state’s benchmarks for staying in Phase 3. On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee is to announce which counties are sliding back.
To turn the tide, public health officials are pleading with Washingtonians to get vaccinated as demand for shots continues to slow.
“We all have it within our power to end this pandemic and it’s going to take all of us,” state Assistant Secretary of Health Michele Roberts said Friday. “It’s about the behavior of each one of us. If we want the economy reopened, if we want to not wear masks, it depends on people making the choice to be vaccinated.”
Across Snohomish County, 34% of adults are fully vaccinated.
With a steady supply, all 600,000 county residents 16 and older could be fully vaccinated by the end of the summer, the health district estimates.
“These estimates all hinge on the community taking their shot when available. If not, this could take much, much longer,” county health officer Dr. Spitters said. “If every resident follows the CDC mask guidance and unvaccinated people pursue vaccination as quickly as possible, we could be back in Phase 3 soon. Mask up when appropriate and vax up now so we can keep progressing toward enjoying all the things COVID has put on hold.”
Despite the recent slowdown, Washington is still averaging more than 60,000 vaccine doses administered each day.
“We cannot lose sight of what’s happening,” Roberts said. “There still is a pretty consistent demand, and that’s fantastic.”
But going forward, the state and local governments are shifting their focus to those on the fence about vaccines and making it easier than ever to get a shot.
That includes shifting from mass vaccination sites to mobile clinics, partnering with trusted community groups to sign people up, opening sites with flexible hours and combating misinformation.
“That’s what’s going to be the challenge,” Roberts said. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”
In Snohomish County, the vaccine task force has expanded hours at some of its seven mass vaccination sites to include weekend and evening slots.
Additionally, appointments at the mass clinics are being opened a week in advance.
On Tuesday, the Arlington Municipal Airport site will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and appointments are not required to get a shot.
Those without internet access can schedule vaccine appointments through the county’s COVID-19 call center at 425-339-5278.