From a May 19, 2021, Snohomish County press release.
The COVID-19 case rate in Snohomish County is dropping and again below 200 per 100,000 people. This is thanks to everyone who is getting vaccinated, avoiding indoor crowds, and fighting this virus.
Snohomish County will remain in Phase 3 for Memorial Day and school graduations ahead.
In addition to all counties being in Phase 3 effective May 18th, Governor Inslee announced at statewide reopening date of June 30th. That reopening could come even sooner if 70% of Washington residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes on the heels the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that fully vaccinated people can now be mask-free in most settings. There are exceptions where required by federal, state, local, or tribal laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
For more than 383,000 residents, or 57% of those in Snohomish County that are 16 or older, this comes as welcome news. That's the number of people who have initiated vaccination and are either soon or now able to resume many of their pre-pandemic activities without a mask or social distance.
However, masks are still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation regardless of vaccination status.
The Governor’s Office and state Department of Health are working to update guidance documents to align with the CDC, with more clarity expected in the coming days on how people and businesses can implement the change.
Governor Inslee indicated that this guidance does not apply to health care settings like hospitals, long-term care, or doctor’s offices; correctional facilities, homeless shelters, or schools. Staff, customers, students, and visitors in these settings should continue to follow existing requirements for mask usage.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those who don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, are not fully vaccinated and must continue to follow all prevention measures.
What to keep doing after being fully vaccinated:
- Still follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses.
- Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others when traveling. International travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within 3 days of their flight and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip. Vaccinated individuals traveling domestically are no longer required to seek testing or self-quarantine upon return.
- Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially after being around someone who is sick. If symptoms develop, get tested and stay home and away from others.
- Talk to a healthcare provider if there are medical conditions or medications that weaken the immune system. Some people may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.
- Choose to continue prevention measures like mask usage, social distancing and avoiding gatherings if so desired.
Even with the growing number of residents vaccinated, Snohomish County is still far below the level of immunity needed in the community to stop disease transmission from happening.
There is some concern that some unvaccinated or partially vaccinated residents may opt to skip the mask, which would slow down recovery efforts.
Individuals are encouraged to keep masks handy, as well as proof of vaccination if requested by an organization.
The best path forward is for individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to continue wearing masks when around non-household members until fully vaccinated.