City Hall Is Open to the Public on a Limited Schedule
Hours are Tue-Wed-Thu, 9a-5p
We will close for lunch 12p-1p
April 12, 2021
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Snohomish County remained in Phase 3 on Monday as Gov. Jay Inslee announced the rollback of three counties that did not meet the Phase 3 Healthy Washington metrics for reopening activities.
Pierce, Cowlitz, and Whitman counties all failed to pass both of their COVID metrics, which track case rates and hospitalizations.
As the state’s third-most-populous county, Snohomish is eligible for Phase 3 as long as it keeps new COVID cases below 200 per 100,000 in a two-week period and hospitalizations below 5 per 100,000 across seven days. The county’s COVID case rate during the review period was 152.3 per 100,000 residents and the hospitalization rate was 3.1 per 100,000.
“These metric trends are driven by the virus and we must continue to do everything we can to sharpen our focus and keep COVID-19 activity down. We are so close to the end of the tunnel here — we have made tremendous progress and we must keep our focus,” Inslee said. “It’s like a football game; we have done 95 yards on a 99 yard-drive. We can’t let up now. These are not punitive actions; they are to save lives and protect public health.”
“The vaccine is a crucial tool that will help us end the pandemic, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t yet have enough Washingtonians fully vaccinated to rely on this alone to keep our communities safe from the virus,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for COVID-19 response, Department of Health. “We need to focus on lowering disease transmission in the next several weeks ahead as we continue our vaccination efforts in order to avoid a fourth surge of cases. This means wearing masks, watching our distancing, and keeping gatherings small and outdoors.”
Read the full announcement.
Supporting your child’s transition back into the classroom
As children make the trek back to school (by April 19, all public K–12 schools in Washington will offer in-person learning at least two days a week), it’s important to be mindful of how the transition will affect them. While getting students back into the classroom is certainly progress in reopening our state, and good news for many parents, kids may react in all sorts of ways.
It’s critical to remind all children to practice the “three W’s” to stop the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask (children over two years old), wash your hands, and watch your distance. But beyond the basics, different age groups often require different types of support and understanding.
See the full blog post for tips on what to expect and how to best support your child while they transition back into the classroom.
Appointments required, eligibility verification changing at mass vaccination sites
The mass vaccination sites operated by the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce remain by appointment only for those eligible in the phased approach to vaccination. However, verification requirements for eligibility are changing.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has announced that, as of Wednesday, March 31, the Phase Finder tool (www.findyourphasewa.org) will be shut down and will no longer be required as proof of eligibility for vaccination appointments. Without that tool, and given the variety of people who are now eligible based on health, age, employment, or living situation, it is no longer practical for the vaccine task force to perform spot checks of eligibility as people arrive for first dose appointments at the mass vaccination sites. Following state guidance, we will rely on self-attestation from patients that they are currently eligible. Eligibility information will continue to be provided at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine.
Although Phase Finder is shutting down on March 31, people who signed up before then for a notification when they become eligible will still get that notification, according to DOH.
The vaccination sites continue to be by appointment only, and people will be asked to provide verification that they have an appointment as well as a form of ID to show that they are the person for whom the appointment was booked. If it is a second dose appointment, they should also come prepared with documentation of their first dose. If they’ve lost their vaccination card from their first dose appointment, they can download their vaccination record from http://wa.myir.net.
Everyone is strongly urged to follow the phased approach to vaccination. If you are not eligible, you should not sign up for an appointment at this time. The demand for vaccines remains higher than the number of doses we are receiving. Getting vaccinated ahead of your turn may take an appointment away from someone who is at higher risk than yourself. This includes elderly residents, individuals with multiple underlying conditions, and high-risk workers in congregate settings, many of whom still are seeking vaccination appointments.
Eligibility continues to expand and all adults are expected to be eligible no later than May 1. If you are not in the current phase, your turn will come soon. Please be patient as appointment availability remains limited at this time based on the supply of the vaccine.
People should not arrive at the mass vaccination sites without an appointment seeking extra doses. New appointments are made available at the registration links at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine, and updates on available appointments are shared via Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management social media channels.
The vaccine task force also is taking additional steps to avoid confusion around second-dose-only clinics. People who received their first shot at mass vaccination sites, including Arlington and Monroe, will begin receiving invitation-only links to register for their second dose appointment. They should watch for that email near the target date for their second dose. This is a new tool through the PrepMod registration system that ties the second dose registration to email addresses. Each patient will be able to register but the link cannot be shared and used to book appointments beyond those second dose patients. This should help prevent confusion around people booking first dose appointments at second dose only clinics.
This is a new feature in the registration system. If invitation-only links become problematic for patients registering for their second dose appointment, the taskforce may return to sending clinic links that are not protected by tying registration to email addresses, with a request not to share those links.
For those who do not have email access, the COVID-19 call center for Snohomish County is assisting with second dose registration. The call center is at 425-339-5278 and is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information on mass vaccination sites in Snohomish County, including eligibility guidelines, visit http://bit.ly/snocovaccine.
Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination expands
Starting Wednesday, March 31, eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination is expanding again in Washington. New additions are: people 16 years or older with two or more underlying conditions; people age 60 or older; people, staff, and volunteers in certain congregate settings, specifically correctional facilities, congregate settings where people experiencing homelessness live or access services, and group homes for people with disabilities; and other at-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings, specifically restaurants and foodservice, manufacturing and construction.
The Washington State Department of Health is shutting down the Phase Finder tool on March 31. Eligibility will be kept up-to-date at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. Please refer to that eligibility information before you book an appointment at any of the mass vaccination sites in Snohomish County.
COVID case counts by city going weekly
Snohomish Health District epidemiologists are busy crunching numbers and putting out a lot of data and reports about COVID trends and vaccine efforts. Starting this week, case counts for cities will only be updated on Mondays instead of each day. It usually takes a couple of days for confirmed cases to be reported to the health district by the labs and providers, so moving to this weekly reporting of case counts will allow more accurate case trends.
Daily case counts and COVID deaths for the county are still available on the state’s data dashboard.
Spending on masks and other PPE is tax-deductible during COVID
The Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2021-7 PDF Friday clarifying that the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.
The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).
For more information see the full press release.
Consider your peeps this Easter Sunday
Your group of peeps may be bigger than you think. Keeping Easter gatherings small and safe is an easy way to help stop the spread of COVID. And celebrating outside is a good idea, too.
Community asked to help stop vaccine appointment rumors, leaked links
Everyone can help vaccination efforts go smoothly by seeking and sharing reliable information about vaccination sites, appointments, and eligibility.
All Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce mass vaccination sites are for those who are eligible in the phased approach to vaccination. Check www.findyourphasewa.org if you are not sure if you’re eligible and to get verification. The mass vaccination sites do perform spot checks for eligibility and people without verification can be turned away at the site.
The list of who is eligible has been expanding, and by May 1 all adults are expected to be eligible. Please be patient. We know the wait can be frustrating.
Rumors circulated this week that sites were administering surplus doses to anyone. Those rumors are false. Doses administered at the sites are not surplus. Appointments continue to fill when they are available.
People who are eligible can sign up for vaccination appointments using the links under “Register” at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. When new appointments are open for online registration, updates also are posted to the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management social media channels.
Some of the links circulated this week also were specifically for second doses. Unfortunately, they were shared with inaccurate information suggesting anyone could sign up for a first dose. The taskforce sent emails to those who booked appointments and shared updates via social media and to the call center to inform people to cancel appointments if they mistakenly signed up for a first dose. Hundreds of people were turned away from the vaccination site in Arlington because they arrived for a first dose at a second dose only clinic. This slowed down operations, and it was understandably frustrating for those asked to leave without a shot.
Second doses are requested and received based on first doses administered, so it is crucial that these designated second doses go toward fully vaccinating people who received their first shot.
While sharing a second dose clinic link with friends or family who need first doses may be tempting, as may sharing posts or messages you see about surplus doses, please be cautious with what you share. Misinformation hinders vaccination efforts.
Please also remember that the PrepMod system is for appointment registration. It does not serve as eligibility verification. People should check their eligibility using www.findyourphasewa.org and also refer to eligibility information provided on the mass vaccination webpage and in the PrepMod clinic information before signing up for appointments. Bring verification of eligibility to the appointment (i.e., your Phase Finder confirmation), as you may be asked to provide it.
Increase in cases involving school sports
The Snohomish Health District has been seeing a growing number of cases involving youth and school sports. Within the last week, the team has investigated at least 10 cases that played or practiced on school sports teams while contagious. Those cases have led to more than 100 close contacts being identified and quarantined.
Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had cases associated with numerous sports, including football, volleyball, soccer, swimming, basketball, hockey, and softball, as well as general weight training.
“Schools, teachers, and students are doing a great job with prevention measures in the classroom, but we need players, coaches, and families to keep that up on and off the court, field, rink, or pool as well,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “The impression we get from contact investigations, and the findings from elsewhere related to sporting outbreaks, is that the breakdown in prevention is happening amongst teammates off the field or court.”
This means in locker rooms, on the bus, or in a carpool to and from games, in the parking lot, when breaking for snacks or water, and during get-togethers after the games.
“We remain in the midst of a pandemic and remain vulnerable to getting hit by a fourth wave, particularly if we let our guard down prematurely,” added Dr. Spitters.
To help keep sports and other aspects of life going safely and smoothly:
- Masks should be on when you are around people you don’t live with unless visiting with one other household and fully vaccinated.
- Spread out when riding in a bus and limit carpools where possible.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, as well as sanitizing high-touch surfaces like door handles, seatbelts, steering wheels, cell phones, etc.
- When indoors or in a vehicle with people outside your household, maximize ventilation and keep the windows open.
Vaccine progress in Snohomish County
Based on data through March 23, more than 114,000 Snohomish County residents are now fully vaccinated. That represents 17 percent of all residents 16 years or older in the county.
With the increasing number of vaccine doses being administered, it is becoming harder to extract data on a regular basis and to differentiate between the type of vaccine administered. To simplify those efforts and provide a clearer bottom line on our progress, the Health District has adjusted how data will be released, as shown in the table below and online at www.snohd.org/covidvaccine.
Snohomish Health District COVID-19 drive-thru testing schedule
The schedule for drive-thru testing for the week of March 27 remains as follows:
- NEW Everett location located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lynnwood Food Bank site at 5320 176th St SW – open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Evergreen State Fairgrounds in the front parking lot off of 179th Ave SE in Monroe – open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.
Estimated timeline to fully vaccinate 600,000 Snohomish County residents
Even with improving supply, it will take quite some time to get Snohomish County fully vaccinated. The goal remains to achieve complete vaccination of all eligible individuals who want to be vaccinated.
National estimates suggest up to 80 percent of adults want to be vaccinated or are interested in vaccination. In Snohomish County, a target figure of 600,000 people represents roughly 90 percent of those adults whom we estimate are interested in being vaccinated.
The speed of vaccination progress is largely dependent on supply. At mass vaccination sites in the county, the capacity to administer vaccines exceeds the current supply.
Looking at future allocations, including state allocations to providers and federal allocations to pharmacies, we anticipate nearly 50,000 doses per week. At that pace, the target of 600,000 vaccinated adults could be reached by mid-August.
If the supply is less, say closer to 35,000, that timeline stretched to mid-October. At 25,000, it would take until around the new year to vaccinate 600,000. These are hypothetical scenarios, but they point out that even with an ideal vaccine supply, it will take at least several months to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated.
Governor adopts CDC guidance on distance between students
The Governor announced in a Thursday afternoon press conference that school districts can immediately adopt new CDC guidance changing the required distance between students in the classroom from 6 feet to 3 feet. The decisions were made based upon the latest data from the CDC and will give school districts the flexibility to make the best choices for their students, teachers, and families. School districts still have the option to maintain 6 feet of distance. The new guidance is available on the DOH website.
The Governor also provided brief updates on the state’s vaccination efforts, reporting 97% of doses received in the state have been administered and over 1 million Washingtonians are now fully vaccinated.
Watch the press conference on TVW.
DOH updates guidance documents
What’s a COVID-19 vaccination card and why should I keep it?
When it’s time for your second dose, remember to take your vaccine card with you! Your provider will update it with the new information. This is proof that you got both of your doses.
¿Por qué guardar la tarjeta de registro de vacunación contra el COVID-19?
Cuando reciba su primera dosis de la vacuna, su proveedor le dará una tarjeta impresa de registro de vacunación. Esta tarjeta le ayudará a mantener un registro de la información de su vacuna contra el COVID-19. Con éste registro, puede asegurarse de recibir su segunda dosis en el momento adecuado.
IRS Criminal Investigation Division pledges to continue investigating COVID-19 fraud
The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) marks the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act by pledging its continued commitment to investigating COVID-19 fraud.
Over the last year, IRS-CI has been combatting COVID-19 fraud related to the Economic Impact Payments, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Employee Retention Credit. The agency has investigated more than 350 tax and money laundering cases nationwide totaling $440 million. These investigations covered a broad range of criminal activity, including fraudulently obtained loans, credits and payments meant for American workers, families, and small businesses.
IRS-CI encourages the public to share information regarding known or suspected fraud attempts against any of the programs offered through the CARES Act. To report a suspected crime, taxpayers may visit IRS.gov.
Read the full release.
Is it allergies or is it COVID?
It's allergy season again! Here's how to spot the difference between allergy and COVID symptoms. Allergies are usually chronic and can occur off and on for weeks or months, so keep this in mind when symptoms emerge.
For more information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/infographic-overlap-symptoms.html
The latest on masks: Layered and snug
We are no longer strangers to wearing masks in Washington. They’ve been a daily part of our lives for most of the past year. Even though vaccination rates are improving in Washington, we still need to be careful. There are new COVID-19 variants showing up now that remind us we cannot drop our guard yet. In light of this, and with new guidance from the CDC, we thought we should take a moment to talk about masks again.
Read the full blog from the Department of Health.
Lo último en mascarillas: su uso en capas y de manera cómoda
¿Qué mascarillas son más eficaces?
Siga leyendo mientras analizamos la información mejor y más reciente que hemos aprendido durante el año pasado.
Coping with COVID-19: Suicide prevention
Most of us have experienced feeling burnt out, exhausted, and overwhelmed as we navigate the challenges of COVID-19. The risk of suicide, depression, hopelessness, and substance use is typically highest during the disillusionment phase of a disaster, and it’s what we’re seeing right now. Contrary to common belief, the greatest risk of suicide is during the spring, not winter. It’s important we learn how to talk about suicide and suicide prevention when people in our lives may be struggling.
Read the full blog.
Effective April 6th, City Facilities will open to public on limited schedule, TUE-WED-THU, 9am - 5pm
Read the full press release here
This Week's Notable Information
On Thursday Governor Inslee also announced that visitation at long-term care and nursing home facilities may resume, eliminating visitation phases. This change is effective immediately and in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can find additional information here.
Last week Governor Inslee extended the statewide eviction moratorium through June 30 to continue protecting families struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the moratorium (20-19.6) was first instituted, hundreds of millions of dollars have gone toward rental assistance — for both tenants and landlords. Additional rental assistance will be available through the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act from the federal government. The governor also extended the proclamation related to utility shutoffs (20-23.15) through July 31. You can find additional information here.
On Friday Governor Inslee rescinded his travel advisory from November 2020. He is advising Washingtonians and others visiting Washington to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. You can find additional information here.
Lastly, the Department of Health has launched a new web tool to help Washingtonians find a vaccination appointment. The tool looks at various scheduling options from multiple providers to find a vaccination appointment easier and is available in multiple languages. You can find additional information here.
Snohomish County fire agencies part of massive effort to get residents vaccinated
Snohomish County fire agencies are taking a lead role in the massive effort to vaccinate our communities against COVID-19. All 23 county fire agencies are collaborating as part of the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce to operate mass vaccination sites and mobile vaccination clinics.
Mass vaccination sites where Snohomish County fire agency staff are administering vaccines include the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe and Arlington Municipal Airport. Mobile vaccination units are also currently visiting adult family homes and high-risk communities throughout Snohomish County. Trained firefighters and other healthcare personnel are administering vaccines by appointment to residents eligible under Washington state’s vaccine phases.
The Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce is one piece of an extensive effort to vaccinate people and brings together fire agencies, public health, emergency management, law enforcement, human services, transit, public works, and other partners throughout the county. All taskforce vaccine clinics are run under the guidance of the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.
“Vaccinating Snohomish County residents is an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Jason Biermann, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director. “This massive undertaking is only made possible through teamwork among many people and organizations. Our county fire agencies have taken a lead role from the very beginning. Their operations expertise is invaluable, and we know the way out of this pandemic is everyone working together.”
To find out if you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.findyourphasewa.org. Eligible residents can schedule vaccination appointments at drive-through locations online at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. Appointment availability may be limited, based on vaccine supply.
Residents without internet access or needing language interpretation can call Snohomish County’s COVID call center at 425-339-5278.
While our residents patiently await vaccinations, we can all help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, social distancing and frequently washing hands. For more resources, visit Snohomish County’s Coronavirus Response and Community Resource Hub at bit.ly/SnoCoHub.
Drive-thru Testing Scheduled March 15 - March 20
Testing at 3900 Broadway, Everett
Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing at 5320 176th St SW, Lynnwood
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing at Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing is for COVID-19 and is by appointment. Results should be available in 2-3 calendar days. Register for an appointment and find more info at www.snohd.org/testing
Starting March 22, all counties will move into Phase 3. To stay there, Snohomish County must continue to keep COVID case rates below 200 per 100,000 population (the rate currently is 84 cases per 100,000) and to maintain a seven-day rolling average of less than five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 population. The first scheduled check-in under the plan is April 12, with reviews coming every three weeks. A county that fails to maintain all the metrics can be moved back one phase. Unlike the earlier version of the Roadmap plan, progress fighting COVID now will be monitored on a county-by-county basis instead of being tracked across multi-county regions
Mask wearing and social distancing are still required, but some pandemic restrictions will be eased, allowing restaurants and other businesses to double occupancy, from 25% to 50%, for example. Spectators also will be allowed to attend outdoor venues with permanent seating with capacity capped at 25%. The change affects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial covering are still required.
Starting March 17, everyone in Phase 1B2 of the state’s vaccination plan will be eligible for the COVID vaccine. That is five days earlier than was planned. Those who will become eligible for vaccine include workers in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, and public safety. The list also includes people over the age of 16 who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high-risk.
See the governor’s Medium page for more information or the Snohomish Health District press release for more details about changes coming under Phase 3 of the recovery plan.
Department of Health adopts CDC guidance on safe behaviors post-vaccine
The state Department of Health on Tuesday adopted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for people who been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Under the new guidance, fully vaccinated people now can opt to:
- Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask, and
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.