COVID-19 daily report for Edmonds and Snohomish County: April 15, 2020

The Wednesday, April 15 data from the Snohomish Health District continue the trend of a steadily flattening caseload curve (sum of active, recovered and deceased), with 48 new cases added since yesterday’s report.  Wednesday’s total stands at 2,124 Snohomish County residents who have contracted the virus over the reporting period.

This figure is offset by the increasing numbers of individuals who have had the disease and recovered, currently at 1,362 as of yesterday (bottom chart, green line), an increase of 50 from the day before.

Taken together, these lower today’s count of currently active cases in Snohomish County – people still sick with the disease – to 682, a decrease of 5 from the day before.

However, there was a notable increase in cases reported in Edmonds Wednesday – 21 total, of which 19 were associated with the Rosewood Courte Memory Care facility. Snohomish Health District figures show 42 cases of COVID-19 at Rosewood Courte to date.

Darah Cooney, vice president of Poulsbo-based Northwest Care — which owns Rosewood Courte and three other Puget Sound area long-term care facilities — said these numbers are primarily due to an intensive effort by the health district to test all residents, which began this week.

“After several of our residents tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, we asked the Health Department to test every resident and staff member at the facility,” Cooney said in an email Wednesday.  “They conducted the tests on Monday, 4/13/2020; we received most of the results today but are still awaiting several more.”

Cooney said the facility is “notifying all our residents and their families of the situation, and we have taken all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 recommended by the CDC and the health department throughout these challenging times.

“This has proven to be a very difficult virus to detect among our residents,” she said. “Even now we only have three in the building who have displayed any symptoms at all, and the others who have now tested positive have not shown any outward sign of illness.”

Note that we added two new charts (above) Wednesday to help separate and clarify important trends. The New Cases per Day bar chart gives a clear visual snapshot of the steadily decreasing numbers of newly infected individuals. The Active Cases by Day bar chart tracks the numbers of individuals sick with the virus each day over the reporting period. These two charts paint a picture of a slowly but steadily retreating epidemic, and are strong indicators that our efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 are having a positive effect.

The local cities’ numbers for April 15, 2020:

* This number includes 19 new cases from Rosewood Courte identified through intensive tests conducted at that facility this week,

— By Larry Vogel

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From the Washington Department of Health

A burning question

We know air pollution is not good for our lungs. It can cause asthma attacks, reduce our lung function, contribute to heart attacks, and even lead to death. Now a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that air pollution also makes it harder for us to recover from COVID-19. The study shows that people who live for years in areas of the country with more particulate pollution in the air are more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who live in areas with less air pollution from particulates.

Father and son garden in the backyard.

One thing staying at home has taught us is that air pollution is something we have control over as a society. While we are struggling with job losses and school closures, the famously smoggy skies in Los Angeles are clear. NASA satellite data show a 30 percent drop in air pollution in the Northeast United States. We’ve seen similar improvements in air quality in other places in the world. This lesson comes at a high cost, but we know now that if we change our daily routines, we can change the world.

Outdoor burning can hurt air quality, and you

In Washington we are seeing overall improvement in levels of pollution, but there are areas where we see worsening particulate pollution. This is the kind of air pollution that comes from burning wood, garden waste, or brush. And this kind of pollution hurts everyone’s lungs, but it is especially bad for someone with COVID-19.

Outdoor burning is illegal in most urban areas, but it is legal to burn brush and yard waste in many rural settings. Even if it is legal where you live, please refrain from burning yard waste until the need for social distancing relaxes.

What can you do instead of burning?

According to our partners at the Washington Department of Ecology, chipping, mulching, and composting are the best choices. Here are some other options listed on their website:

  • Grasscycle. Leaving grass clippings on your lawn adds nutrients back into the soil and gives you a healthy, attractive lawn.
  • Composting. Most vegetation from yards can be turned into a beneficial resource by composting in a bin or a pile. Red wiggler worms can be used to create a rich worm compost for use in your garden.
  • Chipping. Chipping may be a great alternative to rid your lawn of trees and branches and provide your garden with free mulch.
  • Curbside pickup. Many cities and towns offer curbside collection of yard waste and organic household materials. Check with your local government or waste management company.
  • Community or neighborhood cleanup days. Community cleanups are events where your city or town provides free disposal of items, including yard waste. Look for the next cleanup day in your area.
  • Landfills. Many landfills offer reduced fees for yard waste.

In general, air quality is good

The good news is that air pollution levels in Washington are typically very low this time of year, according to the Department of Ecology’s air quality monitoring program, and the air has remained clean throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Even so, the effects of the crisis are noticeable: At the end of March, Ecology’s downtown Seattle air quality monitor showed a 38 percent reduction in carbon monoxide levels compared to recent years, and a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides, likely due to the reduced traffic.

 

 

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