EVERETT – COVID-19 infections beat dismal estimates by Snohomish County’s top health official just two weeks ago.
With an additional 10,965 residents testing positive last week, the county’s two-week known case rate is now 2,023 per 100,000, according to Snohomish Health District.
That is far above the sobering “general prognosis” that the health officer Dr. Chris Spitters sketched out just before the New Year. Those earlier “rough estimates” of how effectively the Omicron variant could penetrate the county included a weekly peak of 6,000 cases, coupled with a case rate of around 1,500.
Both have been dwarfed, and both dwarf the levels of infection that marked shutdowns and restrictions earlier in the pandemic.
The infections that exploded started around Christmas. The latest metrics show again an approximate doubling of the local cases.
On Monday, the health district also reported that 33 more locals had been hospitalized for the disease, making a total of 176 hospital beds for COVID patients across Snohomish County.
When that number hit a record 143 last weekend – a fourfold increase on Christmas Eve – the health district issued an “urgent message” urging residents to stay home, get their booster dose, and switch to quality masks .
Two more COVID patients were reported dead over the weekend. The virus has now killed 854 Snohomish County’s residents, according to the state’s data dashboard.
In the meantime, it’s still difficult to find a COVID-19 test. Even with in-depth state and federal aid, demand could outperform supply, local officials say. They urge residents to keep tests for those with symptoms or those who are exposed.
Both COVID test sites operated by Snohomish County are not showing any available appointments online.
The free proving ground, which choked a neighborhood north of Everett with traffic, has since shifted to walk-up only. Without making an appointment, long queues gathered on site. But by Monday the bumper-to-bumper traffic that caught the attention of Everett City Council last week had been resolved. Instead, pedestrians lined up on the sidewalk, which mostly fit into the parking lot.
“The site operator found that the turnaround times for walk-up are faster and make the process much smoother,” said city spokesman Julio Cortes in an email on Monday.
Officials are still exploring the idea of moving the test site to another location in town so cars can line up without blocking homes and parking lots.
Currently, the trial site – which is not listed on the state or county websites – runs from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at 2606 Wetmore Ave.
Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; [email protected] Twitter: @yawclaudia.