By Snohomish County Executive Dave Sommers on Friday, March 13, 2020.
As you know, Governor Inslee announced the mandatory closure of all public and private K-12 schools in Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties no later than March 17, 2020. Having spoken with our county’s superintendents and many families, I support this action, even though we know it is very disruptive.
I strongly believe that we need consistency across our region, and these closures will give schools time to plan for the needs of students and staff. Shutting down schools and canceling large events have been shown to disrupt transmission of disease and flatten the curve of infection rates. It is one of the most effective tools to ease the expected burden on our health system.
I have been told by our medical experts that we should expect to see infection rates increase for the next few weeks and then we should see some positive impacts from these social distancing measures. It won’t stop COVID-19, but it will ease the impacts on our health care system and give us time to adapt.
Let me assure you that the county has every one of our departments responding to COVID-19. Our Department of Emergency Management is activated and is coordinating the county’s response. Our entire Executive team and other county leadership are working non-stop to anticipate needs and build plans to help address those needs. We also continue to fulfill our other obligations to the residents of Snohomish County.
We are all facing a pandemic for the first time, creating anxiety for many. I know we are all concerned for the well-being of family, friends, and neighbors, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. However, we have been through challenging times before and have always helped each other when it is most needed.
I will continue to live my life as normally as possible, walking Hewitt, staying active, and working. But I will do all of that using social distancing tactics. We can live in this strange moment and also help out our neighbors who may have more needs than we do. We are at our best when we help each other, and this pandemic will be no different.
I know there are many questions you may have. If you need more information on COVID-19, please refer to the following websites:
- Washington State Department of Health
- Snohomish Health District
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
How to Prevent COVID-19?
Prevention is the single best way to avoid COVID-19. For seniors and those with underlying health conditions, prevention measures are crucial, since these are the most vulnerable populations. Here are the tips from our health professionals guiding our response:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Also, if you need to get a license or otherwise use the services of Snohomish County, please try to do it on-line or over the telephone first. We want to avoid close contact whenever possible to keep both our staff and the public safe.