Snohomish County health officer: Fifth COVID wave ‘unlikely’ to be the last

Nov 24, 2021, 3:36 PM

COVID wave...

Aster Mekonen with housecleaning services cleans and disinfects a room after a patient has been released in the acute care COVID unit at Harborview Medical Center in 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

(File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A small decline in more serious cases of COVID continues a positive trend in Snohomish County, but the county health officer, Dr. Chris Spitters, says the most dramatic number is the plummeting death rate.

“[There was an] almost 10 times greater number of deaths per week a year ago,” he said. “What’s the difference? Vaccination.”

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In neighboring King County, COVID-related death reports are down by 50% in the past two weeks, with an average of two deaths per day. Pierce County is reporting less than one death per week.

Hospitalizations are down in Snohomish County as well.

“The hospitals, they’re down about one third off of their peak of up over 100 hospitalized COVID cases at any one time, and now they’re down in the high 60s, low 70s over the past week or two,” Spitters said.

He noted that about one third of those hospitalized in the county for COVID-19 are on ventilators.

Pierce County’s COVID numbers continue to move downward as well, but only very slightly so far this month. King County’s cases have dropped 7% in the last week, and hospitalizations are down 17%.

That said, Dr. Spitters isn’t so confident that COVID-19 is completely gone.

“I think it’s highly unlikely that this fifth wave of COVID is the last one,” Spitters said.

“It’s likely that we’re going to be dealing with waves — hopefully of smaller intensity and duration — on into the future. It could continue for several years,” he added.

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Dr. Spitters also said that he expects public health orders will come and go as conditions fluctuate.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Snohomish County health officer: Fifth COVID wave ‘unlikely’ to be the last