Snohomish County COVID-19 briefing: ‘If people still think it’s a hoax, that’s really sad’

Swedish Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sandeep Sachdeva speaks during Tuesday’s briefing via Zoom.

The language was blunt, and occasionally harsh, from county leaders during Tuesday’s Snohomish County COVID-19 media briefing.

“If people still think it’s a hoax, that’s really sad,” said County Executive Dave Somers. “COVID is a horrible way to die.”

”You don’t have to have (underlying) complications to get horribly sick,” said Dr. Sandeep Sachdeva, chief medical officer at Swedish Edmonds and Mill Creek.

And County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said “there are no imminent plans,” moving forward, to apply for additional reopening of business, dining and recreation.

Officials’ concerns come as county data shows that for the sixth week in a row, new cases spiked. There have been 140 new cases since Friday. Countywide, there were an average of 97 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents in the last two-week period — “right about even to where things were in mid-March,” during the initial surge of coronavirus, Spitters said.

One of every two new cases (55%) are now reported in people between the ages of 15 and 39. People over 70 now only account for 5% of new cases. Both doctors agree that coronavirus tends to be less severe in younger age groups, but Dr. Sachdeva says 20% of the patients Swedish Edmonds admitted since March are less than 50 years-old. A total of 205 people have been hospitalized at Swedish Edmonds for COVID-19.

Statewide, hospitalization rates are on the rise again. That has not happened in the county, but both doctors warn it could. At Swedish Edmonds, since March, 21% of patients admitted have died; but in June, that number had dropped to 7%, as doctors learn more about how to treat the disease, said Sachdeva.

During the briefing, a question was asked if it was time to “crack down” on people who don’t social distance, mask up or follow restrictions. All three leaders agreed that would be difficult. Spitters admitted that “we live in a social and political culture where that measure of control is not part of our makeup.”

One question that has come up again and again: If coronavirus can be less severe in people in their 20s to 40s, why not just quarantine the older and more vulnerable? Even if you “cocoon” the vulnerable, that’s not a guarantee to stop the virus, Sachdeva said. “My worry is that eventually this will reach the vulnerable segment of the population; it is just a matter of time.”

Added Spitters: “To impose restrictions on one age group so others can have their way, it is not the best way to go.”

On Thursday, new statewide restrictions take effect to try to slow the spread of COVID.


New Safe Start Restrictions

  • Indoor restaurant dining five per table all from the same family.
  • Outside-mixed groups up to five per table
  • Restaurants stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.
  • No inside service at any bar/tavern/distillery/winery/brewery.
  • Indoor gyms/pools/fitness centers – only five people at a time.
  • No mini-golf, bowling, indoor card rooms until phase 4.
  • Weddings/Funerals as of Aug. 6:
    • Limited to 20% of capacity or 30 people, whichever is less.
    • Includes outdoor weddings
    • No on-site receptions

Starting Monday, Aug. 3, the county is moving its drive-thru COVID-19 testing site from McCollum Park to the original site on Broadway near Memorial Stadium and Everett School District.  That will allow the county to double the number of tests per week to 500.

For information and appointments visit the health district webpage here.

In other briefing topics, County Executive Somers reported that county employees will now work remotely until the end of the year. “We want to keep everybody as safe and healthy as possible,” he said, adding that the remote system is working well.

Sachdeva said that none of the Swedish Edmonds Intensive Care Unit COVID-19 treatment staff contracted coronavirus. Some other hospital staff did get COVID, but it was traced to contacts they had outside of the medical center, he said.

Recognizing the mental and physical stress on all hospital staff, Swedish is using its counseling website and counselors to provide up to 10 free sessions for anyone feeling work anxiety or stresses in their daily life, Sachdeva added.

He also shared that the hospital developed a new treatment process that has helped some COVID patients breathe better. Swedish studied whether rotating patients onto their stomachs helped their breathing. It did and the procedure is now used at Providence Hospital in Everett as well.

— By Bob Throndsen


  1. Are the health care doctors using hydroxychloroqine/zinc/Azithromycin in this state? I keep hearing on MANY different avenues: Mayo Clinic, media, Doctors that it not only works but it works on people with pre-existing medical problems. Doctors today went to the Whitehouse so media would cover the fact that they are not only treating these patients with the medication, some had 100% recover of over 350 Covid patients. The Doctors that work on Covid patients Take the formula so they don’t get the virus.

  2. Hydroxychloroquine is such a hot button topic, I swear there are a lot of people around the country that would prefer it doesn’t work than does just because Trump mentioned at a March news conference he heard some good things about it. Media shifted that statement to Trump says its a cure, people took sides and 4 blue states the next day banned not only the use but even testing. Some of the same medical people I know that chose to take it as a prophylactic Feb-May are the ones that moaned and groaned about Trump “hyping as a cure” but didn’t stop taking it. One nurse friend told me the day before that news conference about all these positive reports out of Europe, talk to her today and she acts like it killed thousands.

    Interesting to note that 205 Covid patients at Swedish and not a single case of them transmitting it to a nurse or doctor despite the talk in March and April of the critical shortages of PPE. But then shortages was always misleading as what it actually meant at the time was that if the current trend continued to double and redouble cases until the hospital ran out of beds (and they got no resupply) then within two weeks they would be out of PPE. Not that they were out of PPE at the time as the media implied. Similar to the critical shortage of ventilators but nobody was reporting exactly where a facility was out and then it turned out nobody in the whole country actually went without a ventilator.

    When some people talk of Covid and mention hoax I think it is more talking about the level of fear reporting for ratings or to push an agenda.

  3. The current McCollum testing site does not process tests over the weekend nor give results. If we are serious about contact tracing and quarantining, we need timely diagnosis. 4-5 days is way too long to wait for results. .

    1. Tried to respond to this but message keeps getting cut off in the window or 503 error if I use a cut and paste.

      1. Please stand by on this. We are testing some options for limiting overall word count of comments but it wasn’t supposed to be live yet.

        1. To all — as of today, there is a 300-word limit on comments. I have been considering implementing this for a while in my effort to encourage those who want to explore a topic in a longer format, do so as a letter to the editor or a commentary. I came up with 300 words after spending a lot of time looking over the comments and figuring it was an approximate average of the comments we receive. If you want to write longer, just send me a letter to the editor. Thanks.

        2. I believe that limiting the length of comments is a very good move. Thank you, Teresa.

    2. Speed of testing is a supply chain issue, money has been there since April they just can’t get some of the base components fast enough. Also a shortage of techs to process orders at level needed along with all the regular work.

      My current concern with testing is the reports (seen half a dozen from around the country) of unused swabs being mistakenly found to be positive. Conspiracy theorists of course are saying that the swabs are positive in the package and are giving the virus to people, but even the “normal” explanation of testing or clerical errors is not good.

      Another thing, reports of people that scheduled a test but then didn’t take it being informed they tested positive. A person I came in contact with said that a person they came in contact with came in contact with a positive and everyone in the chain was suggested to get tested. Not too worried, I found a place in Lynnwood to get tested the next day, right before I left to the site got an emergency call from a friend and couldn’t make it. Called the following day and was told now couldn’t get in for a few days, waited to see if people higher in the chain tested positive thinking they would get results before I could get tested. Four days later got a letter in the mail saying I’m positive. Nobody in the chain above me tested positive but went in and got tested, it came back negative. Seems likely I was sent the positive result for someone else. Hopefully that person after not being notified called in and got his/her results over the phone. Am I being counted somewhere as positive and recovered on some stat sheet, who knows.

  4. We know this was man made in a lab. And we know we were lied to. We know the testing is flawed. We know the death rates are inflated.

    1. I read you comment first as “We know this was man was made in a lab.”

      I thought, man! Conspiracy theories are starting to go wild! Haha

  5. I put hoax in my comments and they were deleted so my Edmonds news does not like opposing views I guess.

    1. I have not deleted your comments.You may need to scroll through a bunch of others to read them.

  6. 15 days to “flatten the curve”, then, shut the entire nation down till we have a cure, then, millions will die, then, everyone stay in your homes, then, masks do not work, then, no one can do anything till there is a cure, then, businesses must sacrifice and die for the cause, then millions must lose their jobs, then everyone must wear a mask, then we cannot allow anyone to live their lives as before and kids cannot go to school, but, the death toll numbers in this state are barely newsworthy compared to the population = HOAX.

  7. Since no regular participant here hardly ever changes his/her mind or makes much of any attempt to see the other person’s viewpoint; I’m trying to keep my content pretty much to zero words now days, so I appreciate this move, Teresa. (I include myself in the population I’m referring to here. There is nothing I hate more than a hypocrite and I try not to be one but sometimes fail).

    All, this public comment is pretty much a waste of time and energy. Just a form of entertainment, I’m afraid. The factual articles and information dissemination in MEN, are still priceless, though, in my estimation, and I intend to continue to support the paper financially when I can.

    1. You make a broad-brush statement “all this public comment is just a waste of time and energy”. I don’t understand why you would make such a disparaging statement. I think there is more at play here than just being a hypocrite.

      1. You are right, Martin, about my comment being too much a broad brush and I sincerely thank you for pointing that out to me and others here. By way of explanation, I have found myself saying the same thing over and over in different ways. I think I have become a bore to myself and others here. For me this had become a form of entertainment. I had no right to project that concept of it on others. That is for them to decide.

        I guess my big problem with this venue is that I find that too few people, make too many long comments without ever changing their stance or giving fellow commenters credit for changing their minds on one given issue or another; or praising public servants for good actions and forgiving them some of their mistakes.

        So often it feels to me like people yelling at each other and never really listening to anything anyone else has to say. For example I was guilty of picking on our former Mayor too much and too personally in this venue and I apologize to him and you all for that. I admire many of the things he’s said here since leaving office. It has taken courage on his part to say them and I complement him for it.

        This is a dangerous time in America. Edmonds is a good place to be. I just hope we can all work together to keep it that way. Today our President suggested we might need to look at suspending the Nov. election, as I predicted he would about three days ago. Millions of people are desperate and will certainly do desperate things. Enough said. I’m scared and I’m sure many of you are too.

        1. Trump is yanking the chain of Democrates with that talk because of all their talk that he will refuse to leave office if he loses and their push to allow people to vote up to 17 days after the election. Should he be doing it, no, but you simply have to know that Presidents don’t set the date of elections, the Congress does. Unless you think Nancy Pelosi is going to delay the election you don’t have much to worry about.

  8. Personally I see a lot of good information, questions and ideas mixed in with the less useful stuff. These discussions cause me to look up a ton of information about various things that maybe I would not be bothered to examine otherwise. At the least it gives people an outlet to vent, a certain 69 year old would have been better served in here going on a pro-police rant instead of out there spray painting. Look back to 3 years ago when outlets like CNN shut down their comments sections because so many of their articles were debunked in near real time. Have people come together and gotten nicer since then without those forums to fact check the media and disagree with each other, I would say its been the opposite trend.

  9. 5% of the world population and 25% of the world’s cases. America definitely has it’s strengths, but we are absolutely terrible at controlling this Virus!

    We are extremely unique in the world in how absolutely abysmal we are that this. Other countries get to reap the financial benefits of being able to nearly fully open up again, and we just still keep failing again and again and help back another grade again.

    Its too bad that we lack competent National leadership on this, and sensible citizens who take their affect on this country seriously.

    Oh well I guess… Just hope that myself and all of the people that I love and won’t die from this.

  10. “5% of the world population and 25% of the world’s cases.”

    Someone could just as easily say 5% of the worlds population and 50% of the worlds testing. If India was testing at the same level we are they would need to have completed 200 million instead of 15 million tests, think they would show more positives than they currently show? If we had completed only 4 million tests, found about 320,000 positives and changed the way we counted deaths to show 40,000 would that have been better?

    How is it a failure of national leadership when the states make mistakes, are you saying the federal can make the states do things, have you not been paying attention to all the lawsuits the last few years any time the federal tries to set any national policy?

    Guidelines have been there since March, most states did not follow them. There were purchasing recommendations in 2015, most states ignored it. That is across 2 administrations of different parties. Biden proposed a 10 point Covid plan a week back, everything on it was already being done as far back as February, he gets elected and nothing changes other than the media will portray it vastly different so most people will feel better, that is it. Think that’s wrong, New York did the worst job of any state, made some truly stupid decisions, yet most people give Cuomo the highest governor rating, why, media coverage.

    You can’t have states rights just when you personally want them and a strong central government just when you personally want it. If you cheered when states sued, and won, over travel bans and sanctuary cities and walls and… then you have to live with it when the federal can’t force states to do the “right things” as well.

  11. I like the chance to read diverse opinions on M.E.N. As Teresa says, if you want to have more words , write a letter to the Editor. We need to discuss and be respectful. Is that so difficult?

  12. For young people, having coronavirus is safer than riding a motorcycle.

    Cloth masks don’t work. Only medical grade, fitted work. Cloth masks are like wearing a seatbelt on a motorcycle.

    There are more [new] suicides and drug overdoses likely due to lock-down depression than coronavirus deaths.

    What’s sad is that the media politicizes and promotes [now retracted] studies on Hydroxychloroquine:

    … while ignoring double-blind gold standard tests that promote hydroxychloroquine.

    People think this is all a scam because the experts are biased, floundering, blaming others, not following their own advise, and censoring people. Coronavirus is about twice as bad as the flu for old people and four times as good as the flu for young people. There was maybe 80k flu deaths last season:

    If we get infected no matter what, then quarantine just the old people and those who are symptomatic, deploy a bunch of tents hospitals for those getting treatment, give them hydroxychloroquine and zinc, vote for Biden if you hate Trump instead of banning a drug.

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