Record number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county

EVERETT – More people than ever in Snohomish County are hospitalized with COVID-19, the Snohomish Health District announced Friday.

Hospitalizations have more than quadrupled since Christmas Eve.

As of December 24, there were 34 hospital beds in the county dedicated to patients with COVID.

As of Friday, 143 people were hospitalized with the virus.

The previous record was 128, in December 2020.

In the county and state, agencies are taking action to survive a new wave of the pandemic. In a pre-recorded video, local doctors urged people to be extra careful.

“You may have heard that omicron causes milder disease,” said Dr. Jay Cook, chief medical officer of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. “However, it is so contagious that it is already flooding our emergency departments, our hospitals and the entire healthcare system.”

In the week ending New Years Day, more than 5,500 people tested positive for COVID-19, according to the health district. Thanks to omicron, the doctors’ project, the historic increase in the number of cases will continue to increase in the coming weeks.

The tests did not follow the request. Appointments with most providers take a week or two, and people wait for hours at walk-in clinics. So many cars have lined up at a site in Everett, causing disruption in the neighborhood, that the city is looking to relocate it.

Hospitals are again canceling elective procedures and restricting visits. Health officials advise people to book emergency care or emergency room visits only for emergencies. (But don’t delay if there’s a real medical emergency.) People with mild symptoms of COVID are urged to stay home. Telehealth visits are encouraged.

“We keep asking them more and more,” County health officer Dr Chris Spitters said in a statement. “They are being taken out of service and we are on the verge of a very dangerous situation.”

Meanwhile, State Senator John Lovick D-Mill Creek announced on Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after taking a precautionary test before the legislative session. In a statement, he described his symptoms as “very mild”.

“I’m fine, I have a bit of a cold, but other than that I feel great,” said Lovick, 70. “One thing is certain, I am relieved to be both vaccinated and boosted.”

“I wear my mask, wash my hands about 20 times a day and still have it,” her statement continued. “This virus is not a problem and we all need to do our part to protect ourselves and each other. ”

The legislative session begins Monday. For the second year in a row, all hearings and ground sessions will be virtual, due to concerns about COVID. This will be Lovick’s first time as a state senator. The former representative was appointed to the post on December 6.

Earlier this week, Snohomish County Director Dave Somers announced he had contracted the virus.

Courts statewide are taking precautions. In Snohomish County, the Everett District Court has stayed jury trials until January 31. Likewise, neighboring counties of Skagit, King and Pierce have suspended felony trials.

In a letter sent to presiding justices on Wednesday, Snohomish County District Attorney Adam Cornell asked the Superior Court to do the same. He noted that an increasing number of his employees have contracted or have been exposed to COVID-19. He believes the same is happening in the public defender’s office, he wrote.

“The health and safety of members of our legal and judicial community, as well as that of their families and loved ones, are increasingly threatened as the pandemic rages on,” he wrote. “Jury trials only compound the threat of infection and spread.”

Trials are going as planned so far, but it’s a daily conversation, Superior Court Administrator Andrew Somers said.

“Things are very fluid,” he said.

And while most of the county’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 students have resumed in-person learning, school districts are warning that a sudden pivot to distance learning may be possible.

In a letter sent to families on Friday, Everett Public Schools Superintendent Ian Saltzman said a transition to distance learning would be based on direction from health officials or the district’s ability to dispose sufficient staff. If a school closes, it will be closed for 10 calendar days, he wrote. High school athletics would continue, but all other extracurricular activities would cease.

“I want to stress that right now we are not talking about a district-wide closure, but whether an individual school is to close,” Saltzman wrote. “There are no plans to implement a district-wide closure. ”

As for how to navigate life with the fast-spreading omicron variant, doctors are delivering the same message they’ve delivered over and over again: get the shot, get a booster, and hide in the presence of other people. , preferably with a better face coatings like an N95 or KN95.

And don’t lower your mask to talk to people.

“It defeats the purpose,” said Dr Connie Davis of Skagit Regional Health in the pre-recorded video.

Dr Patrick Gemperline, of the SeaMar Community Health Center, also urged people to avoid crowds and unnecessary travel. If you are meeting with other people, “be brief,” he said in the video, and make sure the area is well ventilated.

“If you feel bad, even a little, stay home,” he said.

Herald writer Jake Goldstein-Street contributed to this story.

Zechariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; [email protected] Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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