An abandoned face mask rests on the sidewalk along Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett on April 15. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

An abandoned face mask rests on the sidewalk along Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett on April 15. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Snohomish County on verge of slipping back to Phase 2

Meanwhile, the county is altering its vaccination effort as demand for shots begins to slow.

EVERETT — Snohomish County, like much of Washington, has less than a week to get its COVID metrics down, or else it could move back to Phase 2, local leaders warn.

That would bring less indoor capacity for local businesses like restaurants, bowling alleys, gyms and movie theaters, as well as limited spectator capacity for sports.

On Friday, the state will let counties know if they’re staying put, or sliding back in the state’s Healthy Washington plan. And on Monday, the governor’s office will announce the moves.

In Snohomish County, chances of remaining in Phase 3 are slim, as case counts and hospitalization rates are above both the state’s benchmarks.

“Everyone knows, at this stage, what we need to do,” Executive Dave Somers said during a Tuesday media briefing. “So if you don’t like wearing masks, and if you don’t like seeing businesses restricted, and if you like being able to go into a restaurant with your friends, get vaccinated.”

In the latest two-week case count, Snohomish County reported 223 new COVID infections per 100,000 residents.

That’s a slight increase from last week’s report of 206 per 100,000, which could show a plateau in new cases.

The health district is also reporting a weekly hospitalization rate of more than 5 new COVID patients per 100,000 people.

To stay in Phase 3, counties must report fewer than 200 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

That’s unless Gov. Jay Inslee changes the rules for sliding backward, like he did in March, when the majority of the state was on pace to revert phases.

Previously, counties would revert a phase if they exceeded rates for one of the two metrics. Now, they must fail to meet both to be moved back.

Inslee could prevent a massive slide by including benchmarks for vaccination rates or deaths from the virus.

But Executive Somers doesn’t expect any more rule changes, he said Tuesday.

Additionally, this week’s report likely undercounts the county’s case rate, due to issues with the health district’s fax machine.

Each week, health care providers send testing reports to the county, which compiles the 14-day totals.

Some clinics send them via fax.

On Wednesday, the health district’s system crashed, and faxes between then and Monday may be missing, officials said. That caused staff to reach back out to providers and ask them to resend their case counts.

So the 223 per 100,000 figure represents all reports submitted to the health district, as of Wednesday, and will likely grow.

Meanwhile, demand for vaccinations is slowing in Snohomish County as case counts continue to climb.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were thousands of same-day appointments available across two of the county’s seven mass vaccination sites.

Now, public health officials are shifting their focus to reaching those on-the-fence about vaccines, making it easier than ever to get a dose.

Cars line up as their occupants await Covid-19 vaccinations at the Arlington Airport on April 23. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Cars line up as their occupants await Covid-19 vaccinations at the Arlington Airport on April 23. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

In Snohomish County, the vaccine taskforce is now opening appointments at its mass vaccination sites a week in advance, instead of a day or two.

“We know that, for our residents, getting a vaccination takes planning,” county Department of Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann said Tuesday. “For some folks it means having to take off work, getting childcare, a carpool or transportation, so, we feel like releasing the sign-ups a week in advance will give our residents more time to do that planning.”

The county’s Ash Way Park & Ride site is offering evening and weekend appointments, for those busy during weekday business hours.

Outside of mass vaccination sites, the county is partnering with nonprofits and other community organizations to host pop-up clinics, targeting under-served populations.

At the same time, South County Fire and Everett Fire Department staff are going across the county to vaccinate homebound residents.

Homebound residents can sign up for a visit by reaching the county’s COVID call center at 425-339-5278.

This week, another 45,000 doses are coming to Snohomish County, evenly split between first and second shots.

Those don’t include doses heading directly from the federal government to local pharmacies.

Also on Tuesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control updated its guidelines to say it’s safe for fully vaccinated Americans to be outdoors in public without masks, as long as they avoid crowds.

“This is another great reason to go get vaccinated,” President Joe Biden said during a press conference. “It’s never been easier.”

So far, providers have adminsitered more than 500,000 vaccine doses across Snohomish County, and more than one in three adults are fully vaccinated, local data shows.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Featuring a pink blush over a yellow background, WA 64 combines qualities of Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady) for a firm, crisp, sweet and tart bite. A naming contest for the new apple runs through May 5, 2024. (Photo provided by Washington State University)
Hey Honeycrisp, this new breed of apple needs a name

Enter a naming contest for WA 64, a hybrid apple with the same baby daddy as Cosmic Crisp.

Police respond to a wrong way crash Thursday night on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)
Lynnwood woman, 83, killed in wrong-way crash following police pursuit

Deputies said they were chasing a man, 37, south on Highway 525 when he swerved into northbound lanes, killing an oncoming driver.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett inks deal with longtime Bothell restaurant

The port will break ground on two new buildings this summer. Slated for completion next year, Alexa’s Cafe will open in one of them.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.