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COVID-19 trends prompt concern of fourth infection wave

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Rising COVID-19 case counts locally, despite mass vaccinations, has officials quivering that Snohomish County will fall down a phase in the state’s reopening plan if a fourth wave of COVID-19 infection cases escalates.
The verdict will come May 3 when the state makes a periodic reset for which county is in which phase based on current trends.
It takes two things to drop a phase: A case rate above 200 per 100,000 county residents, and for in-county hospital capacity to be over 5 percent filled with COVID-19 patients.
Snohomish County’s case rate, by population, stood at 205 confirmed cases per 100,000 people between April 4 and April 10, the latest figures available at press time.
By person, there were 950 new cases reported between April 4 and April 10.
Hospital admissions for COVID stood at 44 admissions as of April 23.** When the state published its last review of county statistics for April 12, Snohomish County had 26 hospitalizations. The hospitalization rate at that time was 3.1.
In an earlier review, Pierce County and two others dropped a peg to Phase 2, while all others stayed at Phase 3.
The Snohomish Health District is reminding residents to stay home and quarantine if sick. It notes COVID-19’s symptoms include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle pain or body aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion or a new loss of taste or smell.
“The exception to quarantine requirements for contacts to COVID-19? Being fully vaccinated,” the Health District says.
Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration and details are available at  
Since the first case was found in January 2020, 567 Snohomish County residents have died of the coronavirus as of April 19, of which 433 were age 70 or older. Two residents died in mid-April.
Prior peaks were at the onset of the pandemic, and then in late November and again in early January. Gov. Jay Inslee shut down much of the state and pleaded with people to hold off on gathering for Thanksgiving in response to help avoid making the late November surge worse.

New vaccine site
The county opened a seventh mass vaccination site at the Ash Way Park and Ride, 16327 Ash Way, Lynnwood, last week in conjunction with Community Transit.
The site offers a combination of drive-thru and walk-up vaccination. Transit riders can take the bus to the location and will be directed to the walk-up vaccination station and waiting area. Anyone who arrives in a car will use the drive-thru vaccination station – the location is not designed for on-site parking for walk-up appointments.
The other existing sites are at the Arlington Airport,
Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Edmonds College, Boom City in Tulalip, Angel of the Winds Arena in downtown Everett and at the Boeing Activity Center near the Boeing campus.
Appointments are required. People can schedule an appointment online at
All Washingtonians age 16 and up are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine re-authorized
Late last week, federal health authorities from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined to restart the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Over the weekend, Washington state gave an all-clear to restarting administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The state is part of a Western States pact which jointly decided late Friday evening to give the all-clear.
Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was paused for use April 13 after six reports of vaccinated people having complications with blood clots, including one Oregon woman in her 50s who died after taking the vaccine.

In the print edition of this story, numbers on hospitalizations were updated during last-minute editing, but the hospitalization rate in the same sentence was not. The county's hospitalization rate is not 3.0 percent as reported.



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