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County health officials strongly recommend wearing a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status

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On July 26, Dr. Chris Spitters, Chief Health Officer of Snohomish County, provided updates via Zoom on masking recommendations as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase.

Case rates for COVID-19 have increased in recent weeks, and Snohomish County health officials have said that indoor public, such as grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, and recreational facilities, have unknown immunization status to others. The venue recommends that all residents wear masks.

Dr. Chris Spitters, Chief Health Officer of Snohomish County, issued a statement on July 26, along with health officials from King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan, and Grays Harbor counties. .. Facial coverage in the light of increased case numbers, hospitalizations, and highly contagious delta variants of the virus, regardless of vaccination status.

“With other health doctors in the area, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated, everyone wears a mask when going to public places indoors, especially if the vaccination status of the people around them is unknown. I recommend that, “Spitter said. He said the advice was a recommendation, not a requirement, but something that was not done lightly.

By doing so, COVIDs containing highly contagious delta variants can reduce the risk of spreading to the community, including corporate customers and workers, and steadily increase the recent increase in confirmed cases and hospitalizations. ..

“We are now on the fifth transmitted wave here in Snohomish County,” Spitters said in a media briefing Monday afternoon. “A total of 634 new cases were reported in the week ending last Saturday, July 24. A 20% increase from the previous week, with a minimum of 4 weeks later reported only 4 weeks ago 280. 125% increase from the case. Wave. “

He currently has a two-week rolling case rate of 140 per 100,000 inhabitants, and Snohomish County is at high risk of infection with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and patients who need to be admitted to the county. He added that it shows the number of. “It has increased by 50% in the past week and currently has 34 active COVID hospitalizations.”

Spitters said the return to increased infection and hospitalization rates was “mostly preventable” and was driven by three main factors. “One deadlocked vaccination that leaves about 240,000 eligible adults found throughout the county, in addition to 125,000 children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination,” he said. .. “In public and private environments, we have reduced the number of masks worn by unvaccinated individuals by two, and the third is a much more contagious delta variant, currently in state and country cases. It occupies the majority. “

Local authorities continue to recommend wearing masks in public indoor spaces, as vaccinated people can still get sick. They warn that there are still many unvaccinated communities, such as children under the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated and immunosuppressed residents who have an impaired response to the vaccine. .. Universal masking helps protect these populations and also serves as an additional layer of protection by highly contagious variants that circulate within the community.

“The overwhelming majority of data from and real-world settings show the safety and effectiveness of cloth masks in reducing the aerial propagation of COVID,” Spitters said.

“Recent increases in the number of cases have reduced the practice of precautionary measures in the community, including reduced compliance with the state’s ongoing requirement for unvaccinated people to wear masks in public places indoors. It’s no coincidence that it’s related, “he said. In addition, state masking requirements continue to apply in medical settings, public transport, and facilities such as schools, prisons, and homeless shelters, regardless of individual vaccination status.

Many business owners are reluctant to check the vaccination status of their customers and to make sure that unvaccinated people are wearing masks in the space for the safety of others. Maybe or unwilling, the Spitters sought their help. “Given the delta variants, incomplete vaccination efforts, increasing cases and hospitalizations, this is only a concern at this time,” he said. “The easiest way to make sure that all unvaccinated people wear masks in such settings is to wear masks in those settings.”

“I didn’t recommend (masking) if I didn’t think it was necessary,” Spitters said. “I do not have a robust system in place to ensure that such public place owners and organizers are masked, especially for all unvaccinated staff and patrons in the building. We recommend that you support the recommendations. ”Other benefits of masking are inexpensive, not difficult, and can also help protect and reassure the wearer with others. It is included.

He acknowledged that changes to the recommendations could be confusing or frustrating for many, including those who are already fully vaccinated. “But things are back,” Spitters added. “In reality, if we don’t now rally and raise games about masking in public places, higher prices could be paid.”

In addition to wearing a mask, the importance of proper ventilation was advertised to help remove airborne droplets of the virus present from coughing, sneezing, and even talking and breathing people. According to Spitters, COVID is prevalent in people primarily through the Airborne Infections Act. “Good ventilation dilutes the virus and blows it away,” he added. “With poor ventilation, we can all breathe in.”

In addition to wearing masks, vaccinations and ventilation, health officials continue to recommend hand washing and indoor social distance measures as other strategic measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Anyone who experiences viral symptoms is encouraged to stay home and be tested. “Remember the test. Early self-quarantine by a symptomatic person can help reduce new infections,” Spitters added.

He said the rate of breakthrough infections has also risen recently, “but this is not unexpected and not a failure of the vaccine program,” he said. A breakthrough case is a person who tested positive more than two weeks after receiving the last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Breakthrough cases are expected events as more and more people tend to be less severe than unvaccinated people.

“All vaccines have breakthrough cases, and as the vaccine population grows, there are even more cases,” Spitters said. “It’s just the crossroads between high vaccination rates and occasional, but much less common cases in that vaccinated population. COVID vaccines are very effective in preventing infection, Not perfect. No vaccine. “

Even when the delta mutant is circulating, the effectiveness of the vaccine is “vaccine to everyone is really enough to control COVID,” he added.

A total of 507 groundbreaking cases were reported in Snohomish County from February to July 20. Vaccinated spitters were recorded.

Breakthrough cases tend to be less severe than unvaccinated people. “Most breakthrough infections are mild or asymptomatic, but hospitalization and death may rarely occur in breakthrough cases,” he said.

Those who have not yet been vaccinated were urged to be vaccinated as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety and efficacy of your vaccine, we recommend that you consult your healthcare provider and look for reliable sources, including the county’s health district. Washington State Health Department, CDC, And other well-established and reliable sources of information, such as the University of Washington and other major medical research colleges such as Medscape and Mayo Clinic.

“Most of the information disseminated or transferred on social media platforms is inaccurate or misrepresents false information or misrepresents data, discouraging vaccination and other COVID prevention measures. I’m going to let you do it, “he said.

“The bottom line is that vaccination remains our number one tool for preventing COVID and reducing its impact on our health and life,” Spitters said. He told the vaccinated people, “Talking to the people of your life who have not been vaccinated, how it went, and how you now have achieved it. Tell them what they are feeling. “

Clinical trials for vaccine access to children under the age of 12 are ongoing. “Experts involved in the work suggest that an application for an emergency use authorization for a child may be made at some point later this year or early next year. The CDC will immediately use the vaccine. We recommend it, “said Spitters.

He shows that current CDC data show that fully vaccinated people do not benefit from receiving additional doses in the form of “booster shots,” even those with an impaired immune system. I added that.

Residents who are eligible for vaccination but are interested in receiving injections but have difficulty getting doses can contact the Snohomish Health District. www.snohd.org/covidvaccine Or call 425-339-5278 for help.

Anyone who has been exposed to or has developed COVID-19 can contact their healthcare provider or go to one of the drive-through testing sites for testing. You also need to stay in quarantine at home until you receive the test results. This week, drive-through test site locations will open in Everett and Lynnwood.

If you want to take the test, we recommend you to make a reservation. Registration is available at the following URL. www.snohd.org/testing.. If you do not have internet access or need language assistance, you can contact the Snohomish Health District call center at 425-339-5278 to schedule an appointment for an examination. The call center has staff from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Callers outside business hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned the next business day.

— By Nathan Blackwell

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