April 18, 2024 1:45 pm

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COVID down, RSV and Influenza above threshold in Snohomish County

EVERETT, Wash., December 14, 2023—The Snohomish County Health Department announced on December 14 that due to respiratory virus indicators of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV exceeding threshold limits, healthcare facilities are to prepare for universal masking of staff, patients, and visitors. It is recommended to stay home if you are sick to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

According to the latest data as of December 8, 2023, from the Snohomish County Health Department Respiratory Illness Dashboard, influenza (flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) are well above safety metrics of 1% and 0.3% respectively.

Snohomish County Health Department Respiratory Illness Dashboard | SOURCE: Snohomish County Health Department

In response to the removal in April of the Washington State Secretary of Health Mask Order that required universal masking in healthcare, long-term care, and adult correctional facilities for people ages 5 years and older, healthcare organizations in the Puget Sound region established an overarching initial consensus statement to continue masking to protect employees and patients in healthcare facilities. However, this agreement was not required.

Over the next several months, An Ad Hoc Workgroup comprised of healthcare professionals developed regional thresholds for three respiratory illnesses—COVID-19, influenza, and RSV—as indicators to reactivate universal masking for staff, patients, and visitors of patient care areas. When metrics have exceeded thresholds for any one of the three indicators, according to the consensus statement, “facilities should strongly consider masking for visitors and healthcare workers in non-patient care areas in healthcare settings” as well.

The universal masking requirement by participating facilities will remain in effect until the indicators for all three pathogens—COVID-19, influenza, and RSV—are below their respective transmission alert thresholds AND the CDC COVID-19 hospital admission levels are below “medium” for at least 2 weeks.

Participating facilities are the following:

  • EvergreenHealth
  • Kaiser Permanente Washington
  • Kitsap County Health District
  • MultiCare Health System
  • Northwest Kidney Centers
  • Optum WA
  • Overlake Medical Center and Clinics
  • Providence Swedish Puget Sound Region
  • Puget Sound Kidney Centers
  • Seattle Children’s
  • UW Medicine
  • Harborview Medical Center
  • UWMC-Montlake
  • UWMC-Northwest
  • Valley Medical Center
  • Virginia Mason Franciscan Health
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