New data highlights impact that delta variant is having in Snohomish County

The latest data report from the Snohomish Health District looked at all cases through July 31. In addition to confirming the impact that the Delta strain is having locally, the report also included a first look at cases by vaccination status.

July had twice as many confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,670 cases compared to 1,322 in June. Of those, nearly 80% were among unvaccinated individuals. Meanwhile, over 3,000 cases were reported during the first two weeks of August.

Month Total number of cases Number of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases Percent unvaccinated
February 2,412 4 99.8%
March 2,069 16 99.2%
April 3,936 52 98.7%
May 2,873 80 97.2%
June 1,322 138 89.6%
July 2,670 537 79.9%
Total 15,282 827 94.6%

“This rapid increase in cases over the past six weeks reflects a combination of a more contagious Delta strain, reduced mask wearing, increased social and larger gatherings, and an incomplete vaccination coverage,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District.

The Delta strain is causing people to get sick quicker, making it easier to spread and to infect more people than previous strains. This is a strain that has become very efficient at moving through communities at lightning speed. In addition to the Delta variant, the time since vaccination and age of the affected population may also be playing a role.

While the proportion of new cases among fully vaccinated residents has increased somewhat, the vaccines are still proving to be highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death. Of the 140 residents hospitalized in July, 79% (111 patients) were unvaccinated.

Month Total COVID-19 related hospitalizations COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough hospitalizations Percent unvaccinated
February 60 0 100.0%
March 66 0 100.0%
April 161 2 98.8%
May 127 3 97.6%
June 74 5 93.2%
July 140 29 79.3%
Total 628 39 93.8%

Although 20% of cases and hospitalizations occurring in fully vaccinated individuals may be concerning about trends in vaccine effectiveness, the health district said it should not be cause for alarm. For instance, older people are more likely to have been vaccinated and more likely to have severe disease if infected. That combination could result in a lower apparent effectiveness if age is not accounted for in the analysis.

Further study is underway to evaluate what recent data means for the vaccine’s current effectiveness in preventing infection and severe disease. However, age-group analysis of effectiveness data elsewhere suggests that protection against severe disease is indeed still strong in all age groups, the health district said. Local hospital leaders are also reporting that it is rare to see fully vaccinated cases in the intensive care unit, unless there are additional factors like immunosuppression or advanced age.

In its most recent statewide transmission report, the Washington State Department of Health noted that “…if the entire population were to experience the rates of hospitalizations currently seen in the unvaccinated, the hospital system would be completely overwhelmed.”

Meanwhile, the recent rise in cases has not yet been associated with an increase in mortality locally.

Month Total COVID-19 related deaths COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough deaths Percent unvaccinated
February 27 0 100.0%
March 18 0 100.0%
April 13 0 100.0%
May 21 0 100.0%
June 17 2 88.2%
July 14 2 85.7%
Total 110 4 96.4%

“From January through July, only four fully vaccinated residents died from COVID-19,” noted Spitters. “These vaccines are doing what they were made to do, and that’s to save lives.”

In addition to the report, the health district also published new heat and ZIP code maps through July 31. It’s important to note that the ZIP codes in Snohomish County with the lowest vaccination rates are also among the high case rates during that time period.

For more information about the COVID vaccine, including where to find a clinic near you, visit www.snohd.org/covidvaccine.

Mask mandate reinstated Aug. 23

Washington State Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, M.D., MPH, amended Order 20-03 requiring face masks for everyone over 5 years of age in most public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. These include places like grocery stores, malls, gyms, and community centers. Masks are strongly recommended in crowded outdoor settings like sporting events, fairs, and concerts where physical distancing is not possible. The updated order goes into effect on Monday, Aug. 23.

The order follows on the heels of the recommendations of all 35 local health officers in the state of Washington and recent changes to CDC guidance that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public settings, in areas of substantial or high transmission. With the rise of the more infectious Delta variant, every county in Washington is currently categorized as having substantial or high transmission.

Reinstating mask requirements is necessary in addition to increasing vaccinations, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Washington. The health care system is under immense strain, due in part to increased COVID-19 transmission, mostly among unvaccinated people.

There are some exceptions to the indoor mask requirement, including:

  • Children under 5 years of age. However, children age two to four years old can wear a mask under close adult supervision.
  • People with a medical or mental health condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask
  • Fully vaccinated workers who are working alone or in an area not accessible to the public
  • Athletes who play indoor sports and who are actively engaged in competition or practice (masks are still required on sidelines and in team meetings)
  • Small indoor private gatherings when everyone is vaccinated
  • Children under 2 years of age should not wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation

It is important to use and handle masks properly. A mask should fit snugly over both your mouth and nose, and it should not have holes or tears in the fabric. Cloth face coverings should be washed frequently, ideally after each use, and certainly daily. If you are not able to wash it after each use, wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.

For more information about the state mask requirements, visit www.doh.wa.gov/masks.

COVID testing site schedule

The schedule for the week of Aug. 23 is as follows:

  • Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Lynnwood Food Bank site at 5320 176th St. S.W. – open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Appointments for testing are required, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing.

Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.

15 Replies to “New data highlights impact that delta variant is having in Snohomish County”

  1. Use discernment. Power reveals character. And while we’ve defunded the police, government has empowered the every day citizen to police their neighbor, report their neighbor, encourage the use of a snitch portal – and now we have individuals suggesting we bring our certificates as proof. Government has deployed coercion to incentivize the very workers they praised six months ago.

    I sat with one of my Navy brothers who served 25 years on the SEAL teams, a PA, who is employed in private heath care – and was informed that his religious exemption doesn’t excuse him and will likely be terminated on AUG 30. His wife has stage 4 cancer, yet still teaches (Ph.D), and they can offer her no assurances that the vaccine will not impact her cancer treatment. So…she is facing termination.

    Welcome to the new yellow, purple, black, green stars (wait…you only got the J&J? We don’t consider you fully vaccinated – no entry for you, your medical and religious exemption doesn’t matter, so you are terminated.)

    If you don’t think they won’t come for you next, you are foolish. Watch Schindler’s List (I don’t get royalties) – what I am seeing is mind blowing.

  2. Mike, I agree with you. I was born in Latvia, the final Covid Variant is called Communism.

  3. I totally respect your right to speak your opinion here, Mike, but I do not agree with it in terms of Covid public policy. You are conflating the so called master race Nazi policies against the Jewish religion (it’s not a race) with public health policies that, rightly or wrongly, are meant to try to protect everyone, not punish a select few just for being who they are. There is a big difference in terms of intent and motivation for the implementation of two policies that you consider equal in potential negative consequence to the society as a whole. I don’t think the consequences are at all equal in reality or potentiality and I think your take on this is irresponsible.

    1. Clinton, thank you for sharing your take on my “take.” And you can certainly disagree with me. I take no offense in your disagreement. The execution and deployment of these measures mirror those of Communist and Nazi measures – unfortunate, but true. You and I are both readers and studiers of history. And unfortunately, my family history is very familiar with the plight of the Jewish people.

      As one who willingly served this country, I will stand by anyone’s choice to make the right decision for themselves – even in matters I don’t agree with. I hate it when people pump their bodies full of drugs, or choose abortion adoption…but, that is their choice. Once you abdicate your ability to decide for yourself to the government, you are sunk. Much like taxes – once you give a little, they will keep coming for more.

      I agree with Barbara. The health community should be talking about what people can do to help themselves – to think the government is your savior is short-sided.

      1. I agree with you about the hate portal and defunding the police being bad ideas and potentially dangerous to our Democracy. I disagree with you equating the horrendous lies and actions of the Nazi’s with vaccine and mask requirements and I still think your comparison is irresponsible in regards to helping solve a public health problem that is hurting us all in one way or another. Stoking fear is not helping the cause in any way I can see.

        1. Clinton, you are missing my point. Let’s do coffee. I’m not stoking fear. I’m shedding light to a very dark, coercive methodology that is, in it’s methodology, stoking fear. One that mirrors those of the past.

        2. Clinton, the Nazi party primary focus was public heath. Public Health was the center of nearly every Nazi ambition.

      2. Looking at Mike’s comment about “having coffee,” it just occurred to me that some sort of informal coffee get together periodically of us frequent MEN flyers might be a good idea. In the vein of honoring Terresa’s eulogy today perhaps? Probably after Covid lightens up again. Just a thought.

  4. As a former health educator, and someone with common sense, I find it deplorable that the ONLY education done concerning this virus is around the vaccination. Where is the other preventative health and disease management education campaign? Public Health officials should be shouting from the rooftops what can be done at home to help keep the body’s immune system in its best condition to help prevent disease and fight it should one become infected. “What are the best steps to take, over the counter remedies, when to call the doctor, when to go to the hospital” information is nowhere to be found. And, if anyone mentions it on social media? It is deleted or labeled misinformation/missing context. We will keep more people out of the hospital if they are treated correctly and immediately at home. And, this may reduce long-term side-effects due to the inflammation response the body experiences. My Edmonds News – I would love to see you take our public health officials to task on this and publish what our community members can do. Let’s start a more comprehensive health education campaign. “Get Vaccinated if you can, AND….”

    1. Great comment Barbara. Too many people are pouring gasoline on the Covid fire, instead of figuring out good practical ways to put it out.

    2. Thank you, Barbara! You articulated this so well. It’s common sense there should be more emphasis from national, state, and county public health officials about preventative health and disease management education. Instead we hear 24/7 “get the vaccine, mask up, stay 6 feet away from each other, or else you’re selfish, ignorant, shameful, right-wing anti-vax, etc.” Is the sky-is-falling approach the best we can do? I got the vaccine but find the underreporting of complementary ways to manage COVID troubling and suspect. And personally, I’d like to understand all avenues for treating the disease should I ever contract it.

  5. Matt, the Nazi party primary focus was not “public health.” Their so called “public health” focus was a euphemism for faux racism and scapegoating people of the Jewish faith to facilitate re arming Depression era Germany. I’ve re read everything written here so far and it just seems to me that there is an attempt to equate the forced wearing of the Star of David in Nazi Germany with the mandate (on a temporary emergency basis) by current elected public officials of the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of a disease. There is a difference between making someone wear a marker for future discrimination and death and making someone temporarily wear a common item that might prevent disease and save lives. I’m sorry, I’m just not into fear mongering whether intended or not. No one is going to be shot or deported to a death camp by Gov. Inslee for not wearing a mask. I’m done with this one.

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