By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek, July 27, 2021.
In reaction to rising Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations in the past few weeks and information showing the highly contagious delta variant is more widespread, health officers in most Western Washington counties advise the public to again wear masks indoors when visiting public spaces.
They advise both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to especially mask up in grocery and retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers “to help ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.”
According to the Washington State Department of Heath the delta variant is now the dominant Covid-19 strain in the state, “The latest genetic sequencing data show delta variant cases made up almost 58% of sequences with specimens collected between June 20th and July 3rd. Model-based projections estimate that on July 19 92% of cases may be attributable to the delta variant.”
A July 26th Snohomish Health District news release stated, “The health officers of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan, and Grays Harbor counties have joined together to pass on their best public health advice to protect you, your family, and our communities.”
It went on to say, “We recommend all residents wear facial coverings when in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of those around you is unknown. This step will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many parts of the state and decrease the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.”
Snohomish Health District’s Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters added, “Our goal is to up the community’s game in masking by ensuring easy verification for all present in these types of public indoor settings that unvaccinated people are masked and to encourage vaccination for all eligible unvaccinated people as soon as possible.”
He went on to say, “Even fully vaccinated people can maximize their protection through this added layer of prevention. Protect yourself, protect others. Mask up in public and get vaccinated now.”
According to the Washington State Department of Health only about 50 to 60% of Snohomish County residents are now fully vaccinated.
In a July 27th press release the Department of Heath stated, “While overall population immunity continues to increase, the pace has slowed considerably and more vaccination is needed to keep cases from spiking higher.”
Snohomish County rolling two week Covid-19 case rates, July 17, 2021. Image courtesy of Snohomish Health District.