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Snohomish County coronavirus cases increase 20% at end of November

As of Nov. 28, Snohomish County’s two-week coronavirus case rate is more than 14 times higher than the state goal.

EVERETT, Wash. — In the last two weeks of November, coronavirus cases spiked 20% in Snohomish County, according to health officials.

During a Monday briefing, Snohomish Health District Health Officer Chris Spitters said the most recent two-week case rate ending on Nov. 28 increased from 300 new cases per 100,000 people to 368 cases. This is more than 14 times the state’s goal rate of 25 cases.

Hospitalizations have increased as well with 95 confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients in Snohomish County hospitals. Nine of those patients are on mechanical ventilators due to respiratory failure, according to Spitters.

“Time will tell, but signal’s not good given the high number of hospitalizations,” Spitters said.

Outbreaks in long-term care facilities continue to be a concern. The county is responding to two active outbreaks with more than 50 cases. The Josephine Caring Community outbreak in Stanwood has grown to 107 cases after it was first reported in late October, and an outbreak at Regency Care Center in Monroe has grown to 83 cases, according to Spitters.

Health care workers are still bracing for a continued surge in cases and deaths after Thanksgiving. Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, said symptoms tend to start five to seven days after infection, and deaths follow infection by 17 to 21 days.

If cases don’t plateau, Spitters warned these trends could impact recently implemented coronavirus restrictions on indoor dining, gyms and social gatherings, which are set to expire Dec. 14.

“If we don’t see mitigation in our case numbers and don’t see an improvement in the hospital capacity, which is becoming ever more concerning, it would seem unwise for us to reopen what has been closed down at a time when we’re not seeing the fruits of that effort,” Spitters said.