Local firefighters union tells governor it opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The union representing South County Fire’s nearly 300 firefighters has sent a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, stating that union members “respectfully disagree” with the governor’s proclamation requiring that all state firefighters be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or lose their jobs. “IAFF Local 1828 is not against vaccines, however we are…

Snohomish Health District announces shift in COVID-19 testing operations

Given the increased demand for COVID-19 testing and the high level of COVID transmission happening locally and regionally, the Snohomish Health District said Friday it is making some adjustments to testing operations. This includes a closure of one site, but the addition of two new locations. In just seven days, roughly 15,000 people were tested…

Snohomish County’s weekly COVID-19 case rates again near peak levels of pandemic

The rate of new COVID-19 cases reported in Snohomish County amid the ongoing spread of the highly infectious delta variant continue to remain near peak levels seen since the pandemic began last year. Last week, 2,042 new cases were reported through Saturday, Aug. 28. “Together with the 1,700 cases from the prior week, that corresponds…

Health district: Attendees at Arlington basketball tournament should consider testing

The Snohomish Health District has identified at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with the 3on3X Basketball Tournament held at the Arlington Airport Aug. 14-15. Other investigations are pending and staff are working with event organizers to get a list of all participants. However, not all spectators can be identified, and the health district…

Health Department: Ivermectin should not be used to prevent or treat COVID-19

The Washington State Department of Health on Thursday warned that people should not take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, following a Health Alert Network advisory released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug used commonly in humans and animals. Although it is approved by the U.S. Food and…

‘Small’ COVID-19 outbreak reported involving Snohomish Health District staff

The Snohomish Health District Tuesday confirmed a small outbreak involving employees at the district’s headquarters located at 3020 Rucker Ave. in Everett. Those individuals remain isolated at home and close contacts have been notified. In accordance with the spirit and letter of health care privacy laws, the health district said it won’t be commenting further…

County COVID briefing: With cases increasing, delta is ‘the only virus in town’

OK — we’re past the point of wanting to hear more about Snohomish County’s COVID outbreak. We are overwhelmed with information, bombarded with opinion from all sides, drowned in data and counter-data. We are suffering COVID fatigue. We are suffering information overload. Our circuits are melting. “People are tired of it,” County Executive Dave Somers…

New data highlights impact that delta variant is having in Snohomish County

The latest data report from the Snohomish Health District looked at all cases through July 31. In addition to confirming the impact that the Delta strain is having locally, the report also included a first look at cases by vaccination status.   July had twice as many confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,670 cases compared…

Statewide updated mask order goes into effect Monday, Aug. 23

A reminder that starting Monday, Aug. 23, face masks are required for everyone over 5 years of age in most public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. These include places like grocery stores, malls, gyms and community centers. Masks are strongly recommended in crowded outdoor settings like sporting events, fairs and concerts where physical distancing…

Inslee announces vaccine mandate for K-12, higher ed employees; reinstates indoor mask rule

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that all employees in K-12 and higher education will be required to be fully vaccinated by mid-October. Inslee also announced an expansion of the statewide indoor mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. In response to rapidly rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, Inslee said during an Aug. 18 press conference…

Department of Health: Delta variant driving dramatic spike in COVID cases statewide

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are accelerating across Washington state, and the state health department says that unvaccinated people are being hit hardest. Officials are urging those who have not yet received the shot to get vaccinated, and also say now is the time to redouble efforts around the key behaviors that keep the virus from…

Snohomish County requiring masks indoors for all over age 5, starting Thursday

Beginning this Thursday, everyone in Snohomish County, age 5 and up, “must wear masks in indoor public places.” County leaders say new COVID-19 cases are surging, hospital intensive care units are now 90% full and positive test rates jumped from 2-3% of people tested to more than 10% now. The mask directive issued by the…

Resources available for residents facing eviction

Resources remain available for residents facing possible eviction as the potential end date for the state’s moratorium draws closer. Anyone in Snohomish County needing rental assistance can start by calling 211. The 211 call center connects people with human and social services. It is operated by Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW). The nonprofit has…

Deputy Seattle mayor tapped to lead COVID-19 recovery efforts in Snohomish County

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mike Fong as the county’s chief recovery and resilience officer and senior advisor. Fong will serve as a member of the executive’s leadership team and cabinet. Fong is currently the senior deputy mayor of Seattle, serving under Mayor Jenny Durkan, and has previously served…

Department of Health: Masks required for all K-12 students and staff heading back to classroom

The Washington State Department of Health Wednesday released updated guidance for the 2021-2022 school year aimed at helping students, teachers and staff return safely to the classroom. The department said in a news release that its guidance “aims to minimize transmission and maximize in-person instruction and is informed by the latest science, recently released Centers…

County health officials urge wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

COVID-19 case rates have increased in recent weeks and Snohomish County health officials are recommending that all residents wear masks when in indoor public settings such as grocery and retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues where the vaccination status of other people is unknown. Snohomish County’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters — along with…

Premera Blue Cross Mountlake Terrace campus reopens Tuesday

After more than a year of being away from the office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees of Premera Blue Cross began returning to the Mountlake Terrace campus Tuesday, July 6. Tuesday marked the first day since March 9, 2020 that workers at Premera corporate headquarters in Mountlake Terrace have been open since March 2020….