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No changes: Snohomish County remains in Phase 1 for upcoming week

Entire state stays in first phase of recovery plan


Last updated 1/22/2021 at 4:42pm

Based on the latest regional data published by the Washington State Department of Health, Snohomish County will remain in Phase 1 for the week of Jan. 25.

The Puget Sound Region currently meets only two of the four criteria laid out in the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery. The reported metrics for the Puget Sound Region published Jan. 22 are as follows:

• A region must have a 10 percent or greater decrease in the rate of COVID cases per 100,000 population in most recent 14-day period measured compared to the prior 14-day period. The Puget Sound Region had a 23 percent increase Dec. 27 through Jan. 9 compared to Dec. 13 through Dec. 26, which does not meet the target.

• There must be a 10 percent or greater decrease in the rate of new COVID hospital admission rates per 100,000 in most recent 14-day period measured compared to the prior 14-day period. The Puget Sound Region had a 9 percent decrease Jan. 3 through Jan. 16 compared to Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, which does not meet the target.

• Test positivity should be less than 10 percent for the most recent 7-day period measured. The Puget Sound Region had a 9 percent test positivity for Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, which does meet the target.

• Total ICU occupancy within a region must be less than 90 percent for the most recent 7-day period measured. The Puget Sound Region continued to meet this metric with 84 percent occupancy for Jan. 10 through Jan. 16.

The Department of Health compiles updated data by region every Friday. Regions that meet all four criteria above are eligible to move to Phase 2 on the following Monday.

Update on vaccine distribution and prioritization

On Monday, Jan. 18, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that the state was expanding vaccine eligibility to include Phase 1b1. This expansion means approximately 150,000 more residents in Snohomish County are now eligible for the vaccine

Phase 1b1 eligibility includes residents 65 years or older, as well as those who are 50 or older and living in a household with multiple generations. Those eligible in multigenerational households are defined as:

1. People who are over the age of 50 and are not able to live independently who either:

are receiving long-term care from a paid or unpaid caregiver, or

are living with someone who works outside the home

2. People who are over the age of 50 and are living with and caring for a grandchild

No one under age 50 is eligible, and no one over age 50 caring for a partner, friend, or child (except a grandchild) is eligible.

“This clearance for us to move ahead to vaccinate our older adults in the community is good news, but we sadly don’t yet have 150,000 vaccines to give out today,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “While we currently have the capacity to give at least 30,000 doses per week, vaccine supplies are extremely limited and nowhere near where we need them to be to achieve that speed. That means we need people to balance perseverance with patience as the vaccine supply ramps up, appointments become more available, and they wait for their turn in line.”

More than 25,000 Snohomish County residents have received their first dose in the first five weeks, but vaccine supply has slowed to a trickle. Snohomish County received just over 3,000 doses this week, with close to 200,000 people eligible under Phase 1a and 1b1 vying for limited slots for their first or second dose. This has led to local providers, as well as the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce’s sites, to be quickly booked out.

Appointments will be added for the county’s drive-thru sites when supplies are available. People should not show up at a site unless they have an appointment, regardless of eligibility. People should continue to monitor the following websites every couple of days: under the “COVID-19 Vaccine” button

Eligible individuals are also encouraged to contact their healthcare provider, clinic or local pharmacy to determine what their availability and scheduling plans are. Again, it is expected to take 1-3 months to work through Phase 1b1. People will get appointments for their shots, but it will take time.

“It’s also important to understand that where people currently land in the prioritization and phases is not a reflection on their value in this community,” added Dr. Spitters. “If we had unlimited vaccine supply and clinical capacity to administer the vaccine, prioritization would not be necessary. But neither of those are the case.”

This is why, until vaccines start flowing into Washington and Snohomish County at a higher and more predictable pace, there is a need to prioritize the limited capacity not necessarily toward those at higher risk of acquiring COVID, but rather for those most likely to become severely ill, require hospitalization, and/or die if they get infected.

These phases and tiers reflect the work of multidisciplinary teams working at both the federal and state level to maximize societal benefits, support essential functions of society, and address inequities in access to services. This work has involved medical scientists, social scientists, ethicists, and outreach to community stakeholders.

While waiting for your turn, here are four things you can do to help:

1. Go to to see if you’re eligible for Phase 1a or 1b1. If you aren’t, you can sign up to be notified when your phase opens.

2. Please don’t try to jump the line. If you hear of a place with vaccines, let people who are eligible know.

3. When it’s time for you to get a vaccine, register, and keep your appointment.

4. Do the three W’s: Wear a Mask, Wash your Hands, Watch your distance.

Planning for second doses of vaccines

Just as supplies are extremely limited for people trying to get their first dose, similar challenges are the case for those needing their second dose. There may be the need for healthcare providers to postpone or cancel appointments if vaccine supplies do not arrive as expected. Others may not yet be scheduling appointments for the second dose yet because the supplies are so limited and unpredictable.

According to federal guidelines, individuals should receive two doses of the Moderna vaccine at least 28 days apart and 21 days apart for the Pfizer vaccine. These are considered the minimum intervals or amount of time needed to separate the two doses, but there is no maximum or cut-off. It is recommended that doses be given as close to that 21 or 28 days as possible, but people should not be concerned about the two-dose series’ efficacy if the second dose is delayed by a few weeks.

The Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce is working on a process to register people for their second dose to ensure the brand of vaccine currently offered matches what an individual received for their first dose. It is not recommended to mix brands, such as Moderna for the first dose and Pfizer for the second, unless absolutely necessary.

The Health District is encouraging people to wait until they are closer to their 21- or 28-day mark before seeking to schedule an appointment for the second dose. In the meantime, people need to save the immunization card received during their first dose appointment. If possible, take a photo or scan a copy to have just in case the original is lost. Also know which brand of vaccine that was originally received and ask the vaccine provider if they are giving the same brand of vaccine.


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