Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing: As cases rise, end of federal assistance a worry and schools in a holding pattern with remote learning

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Snohomish County, and that is sparking concerns that federal assistance money will run out by the end of year, long before the pandemic is under control. That’s the big takeaway from the county’s weekly COVID-19 update Tuesday. The loss of that money, said SnohomishCounty Councilmember Stephanie Wright, would leave…

Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross says it’s eliminating 285 jobs

Pointing to COVID-19’s impacts on both the economy and its customers,  Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross confirmed Monday that it will be eliminating approximately 285 “non-customer-facing” positions- — about 8% of its workforce — this week. The health insurance company, with 3,442 employees. is headquartered in Mountlake Terrace, but also has a North Creek campus in…

Snohomish Health District drive-thru COVID-19 testing continues week of Oct. 12-16

The Snohomish Health District will continue drive-thru testing at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett Monday-Friday, Oct. 12-16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. With daylight hours decreasing, and testing volumes seen earlier in the day, the Health District will no longer be offering evening testing appointments. In addition to the Everett site, the health…

After governor’s guidance, Sno-Isle Libraries developing plans for in-building services

New guidance from Gov. Jay Inlsee has opened opportunities for public-library services during COVID-19 restrictions, and Sno-Isle Libraries says it looks forward to resuming some in-building services soon. “As we near the seven-month mark since closing our libraries in response to the pandemic crisis, we are cautiously optimistic,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer…

Inslee loosens restrictions on restaurants, movie theaters, sports

Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday loosened restrictions on a range of businesses and activities, from movie theaters to restaurants to sports, under his four-part coronavirus reopening plan, our online news partner The Seattle Times reported. The move came after Washington this summer stopped counties from advancing to further stages of reopening under that plan. In a news…

Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing: Officials see worrying trend with rising numbers

I confess I’m not a numbers guy. But this week’s Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing has a paint-by-numbers storyline. And those numbers show a worrying trend. County Executive Dave Somers opened the math lesson this way Tuesday morning: “We’re starting to see our cases rise again in Snohomish County.” It looks like a coronavirus roller coaster…

Tips for a safe and fun Halloween from the Department of Health

  Halloween will look and feel a little bit different this year because of COVID-19, so it will be important to identify safer alternative activities to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The Department of Health wants Washington residents to have a fun Halloween while remembering a few key actions you can take to…

Washington State Department of Health prepares to deploy new rapid COVID-19 tests

Within the next five to 10 days the Washington State Department of Health will receive and distribute the first batch of Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test kits for COVID-19 from the federal government. These are rapid tests that can return results in as little as 15 minutes. The first batch will include 149,000 kits, and the…

Volunteers of America fundraising campaign aims to support those impacted by pandemic

Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) is conducting a fundraising campaign — Give Hope 2020 — with the goal of raising $200,000 to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Here at VOA we’ve seen surging needs through the county and the region, and so launched a two-week campaign to give food, shelter and support…

State announces new COVID relief funds to support nonprofits helping youth

The need for youth programs that provide learning, mentoring and social-emotional support to students and young adults has never been greater, but COVID-19 has significantly impacted the ability of many nonprofits to keep their doors open. The Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with School’s Out Washington to distribute approximately $9 million in state…

Snohomish  County Council passes resolution recognizing importance of school meal programs during COVID-19 

The Snohomish Count Council on Wednesday passed a resolution recognizing the efforts made by Snohomish County school districts to maintain and expand their meal programs to continue serving children during school closures due to the Covid-19 epidemic.  With Snohomish County residents among the earliest known cases of COVID-19 in the country, local school districts had to rapidly develop…

Snohomish Health District resumes drive-thru COVID-19 testing

With the air quality starting to improve, the Snohomish Health District said it is resuming its drive-thru testing operations at the 3900 Broadway site in Everett. The new schedule is as follows: Saturday, Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 from noon…

Reminder: New emergency grants available to small businesses in Snohomish County

The Economic Alliance Snohomish County (EASC) will be accepting applications for emergency grants up to $10,000 each, intended to cover a variety of expenses associated with the impact of COVID-19. For-profit businesses located in Snohomish County with up to 20 employees, especially those in unincorporated areas of the county, are encouraged to apply. Funding comes…

Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing: Wildfire smoke, flu season add to health complications

Wildfire smoke, coronavirus and the flu season headline this week’s Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. What a perfect way to help observe September, which just happens to be Disaster Preparedness Month. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers added a little irony to the briefing: “Tt seems’, he says, “like we’ve been in a disaster all year.”…

Elementary schools can start planning for in-person learning, county health officer says

Citing “ongoing moderate but declining COVID-19 transmission,” Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said that officials can start planning for in-person learning at elementary schools. The guidance for public and private K-12 in Snohomish County– based on the Washington State Department of Health’s Decision Tree for In-Person Learning framework — defers to schools on how to…