Tougher vaccine mandates coming from state, county executive warns

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speeks to reporters via Zoom Tuesday.

New vaccine mandates are coming to Snohomish County – not just to business, but to city governments, organizations, even non-profits – to any workplace that employs more than 100 people. That’s a key takeaway from the county’s Tuesday COVID briefing.

New federal guidelines already mandate vaccination at businesses of more than 100 employees. The state requires vaccinations of public school and health care workers.

County Executive Dave Somers warned reporters that he expects the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry will impose even tougher rules than the feds. In addition to covering all workplaces, he thinks the new state rules mean COVID testing will no longer be allowed as an alternative to getting vaccinated. He expects details in about a month.

Snohomish County has 2,800 employees. Latest numbers show that 70% have been vaccinated. What happens if the other 850 do not get the shots? Somers acknowledged the resistance to them, adding “we haven’t yet, but do expect to lose some people.”

He said that among staffers who continue to refuse the shots, “we continue to see just loads of misinformation, misunderstanding and fear that is driving a lot of people’s decisions,” but added that the vaccine mandate is the “path forward.”

County Chief Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters sought to clarify some confusion for people who have recovered from coronavirus. Some employers, he said, are now suggesting that workers who stayed home for 10 days after a positive test should be retested before they return. But, Spitters said, “it is not necessary; retesting those folks doesn’t change the disease control, it wastes limited resources to keep testing.” Again, that’s as long as they have quarantined for 10 days after a positive test.

A total of 367 COVID cases have been reported in county child care settings, schools and youth sports. “We’re being inundated with cases,” Spitters told reporters. An additional 2,000 Snohomish County K-12 students are now quarantined at home after they were exposed in class.

Quarantined students must still stay home for 14 days after they’ve been exposed. Spitters said with the fast-spreading delta variant, the county does not want to cut quarantine periods too short; that with 11 school districts countywide, the two-week quarantine “is what we have to do to make it work.”

“I regret the individual impact” on a school, a student or a family, he added. Spitters reminded people that the county school quarantine supersedes anything a doctor or nurse may tell families.

There is, said Spitters, a silver lining in the school COVID numbers. With 200,000 K-12 students in the county, 2,000 on quarantine is just 1% of the total. He said there may be a classroom or two that needs to be temporarily closed but he does not expect that to affect an entire school, reiterating the goal of keeping students in-person, in classrooms.

For vaccinated students/staff, the health district website says:

“If a fully vaccinated student or staff member is notified that they are a close contact, they do not need to quarantine as long as they remain well and symptom-free. They should seek testing 3-5 days after last exposure. If they develop COVID symptoms, they should report that to the school, remain home, and seek testing as soon as possible.”

Visit the Snohomish Health District website for complete details on COVID and kids.

Two-thirds of Snohomish County’s eligible residents are now fully vaccinated, with another 6% partly covered. Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood all show at least 71% are vaccinated fully. The county says new case counts (1,750 last week) are a slight drop from the previous week; the new case rate is also off the recent record highs.

But the new COVID cases continue to affect unvaccinated individuals at a higher rate, with 800 new cases per 100,000 people in those who have not received the shot compared to 200 new cases in those who have been vaccinated.

“We keep reassuring people, the vaccines are safe,” Somers concluded.

— By Bob Throndsen

9 Replies to “Tougher vaccine mandates coming from state, county executive warns”

  1. This topic is officially closed. The options in this state are down to one. We’ll see how this pans out but don’t expect more than one side of the discussion. Not exactly what my ancestors worked for. Segregation, censorship, unlawful imprisonment, illegal border policies, rampant homelessness and drug addiction. Washington state utopia.


  2. People would be less likely to resist vaccination if they felt the government honestly addressed all aspects of the pandemic. However they have not done so. Instead they have cherry picked the data, given us incomplete information and ordered mandates. One glaring example is how the government and its infectious disease czars have totally ignored the issue of those individuals who have had the disease and recovered. It was shown in Israel that previous infection provides more immunity against reinfection than vaccination for most people. If true, there is no evidence that this large segment of the population would benefit from the vaccine. Indeed, vaccinating those who have recovered from covid could expose them to increased possibility of complications from the vaccine. This would be easy to confirm or refute. We haven’t heard a word of this from the official sources.
    Unfortunately, the State and federal governments are ignoring the issue of immunity from previous infection while dictating mandates that have no relationship to “the Science”. Americans expect transparency and honesty from their government; we’re still waiting. We don’t respond well to mandates from our elites who are “losing patience” with us but often tend to flout their own mandates. So they shouldn’t be too surprised if there is resistance. If the various branches of government would deal with this matter openly, honestly and in accordance with the “Real” science they might get more compliance.


  3. Sincerely, Mr. Gray, may you enjoy relocating to another state. I moved to Washington from the Great Lakes State, not because I disliked Michigan. Quite the contrary. And as with Washington it produces delicious cherries and apples.
    Wow, Mr Nelson, what a list of troubles!
    My first ancestor to come to the USA was a draft dodger from the Balkan War. Other family members followed. They worked hard mostly in the coal mines and steel mills of western Pennsylvania. They had an advantage. They were white. As eastern Europeans they were not as accepted as other whites, especially white Anglo-Saxon protestants, but they were not black or naive Americans.
    Marijuana was grown by the Jamestown settlers in the 1600s. In the late 1800s Coca-Cola used an active igredient of cocaine. Certainlly drug addiction, especially alcoholism, is nothing new.
    Try reading the many stories similar to those experienced by families in the novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Homelessness is nothing new here.
    Unlawful imprisonment: the Japanese internment camps during WWII, Jim Crow chain gangs, the forced transfer of native Americans onto reservations.
    When has our immigration system ever made sense? In terms of illegal entry of people, a good story is that of the last ship of slaves to arrive on our shores. The Clotilda landed in Alabama the year that the Civil War began and 52 years after Congress outlawed their importation.
    Heck, why did my ancestors come? The USA has been a mess from the beginning! Why am I still here!
    I am not sure how censorship is a problem in this country. There are lots of people saying lots of nonsense all the time.. This is nothing new. There have always been Chicken Littles seeing the sky falling.
    Yet, somehow we progress. It won’t matter in the end when the Sun becomes a red giant in about 5 billion years. Then we are all toast.


  4. Thanks for making my point for me. We improved life in this country for many years and there is absolutely no reason why we should return to that life. I have no interest in stepping in human feces or on a needle or being silenced or any of the other things I mentioned and have no intention of doing so.


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