We’re Moving! Fairgrounds COVID-19 Testing Site Relocating After March 4th

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March 1, 2022

The Skagit County Fairgrounds COVID-19 Testing Site will be relocating after Friday, March 4, 2022, with a new location scheduled to open in mid-March. More information will be available on this relocation by next week.

“A relocation is necessary right now in order to right-size our services,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “Making these types of changes can be logistically challenging, so we appreciate the public’s patience as we enter this next chapter in our COVID response.”

There continues to be several testing other options available in Skagit County. An updated list of testing providers can be found on our website. Free at-home test kits are also still available through the state and federal governments’ online ordering portals. For those who have not yet ordered their free COVID test kits, please use the following links to order:

For more information about Public Health’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination services, go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.


Moving Beyond the Statewide Mask Mandate

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On February 17th, Governor Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on March 21st, 2022. This mandate, which includes indoor locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, has been in effect in some capacity since June 24, 2020. Beginning on March 21st, the mandate will also be lifted for K-12 schools and childcare locations throughout the state.

For many people, this is going to feel like a big change. After all, we’ve been required to wear a face covering for nearly two years now. If you have questions or concerns about this shift in direction—if you are feeling big emotions like frustration, anger, fear, or apprehension—please know that all these responses are valid.

Current Disease Summary

We are still experiencing a level of disease activity across the state that is considered high by the CDC, with case, hospitalization, and death rates still well above what we would have considered “acceptable” prior to the Omicron surge. So, you may ask, why end the mask mandate now?

The governor’s decision is based on science and our current statewide data. While rates are still high, we have been seeing a decrease in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for several weeks now and, as a result, our hospitals are better able to care for patient loads. The date was selected based on our hospitalization trends and where the state predicts we will be in the next several weeks. It has been determined that by March 21st, Washington state will be at a safe level of disease activity, which will allow our hospitals to operate at a sustainable level.

We have also seen similar trends around the globe where Omicron surged before us. Many experts are predicting that the pandemic may be on the way to becoming endemic, meaning most cases will be less severe, and the disease’s impact on society will be more predictable and (in theory) less disruptive.

By the end of March, statewide COVID-19 hospital admissions are projected to fall to levels that no longer overwhelm hospital systems.

Another big factor? More than 73 percent of Washingtonians are now at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and over 2 million boosters have been administered. The large number of people who were infected during the Omicron surge will also likely result in some additional community immunity, at least for the short term. However, because we don’t know yet how long this immunity lasts or have a way to test for it in individuals, vaccination is recommended for everyone, even those who have been previously infected.

Change Will Be A Gradual Process

It is important to remember that change will be gradual. The governor began the process last Friday by lifting the outdoor mask mandate, which included large outdoor gathering and events with more than 500 attendees. Now, folks are free to attend outdoor concerts, street fairs, and farmers markets sans mask—something that many of us wouldn’t have considered doing back in the thick of 2020 or 2021.

The lifting of the indoor mask mandate on March 21st will also not include certain indoor settings considered to be high-risk for disease spread, like healthcare settings, long-term care, and correctional facilities.

Also still in effect is the federal mask mandate that requires masking on all forms of public transportation, including buses, trains, and airplanes, and in transportation hubs. This mandate is still in place, though the White House is reviewing data and may announce changes in the near future.

And though the mandate will be lifted for K-12 schools on March 21st, schools will still be required to report COVID cases and outbreaks and work with local public health departments to monitor disease activity. Routine testing, isolation, and quarantine protocols will also remain in place per the CDC’s guidance.

Feel Empowered to Mask Up

For those who are weary about taking off their mask, please know that Washingtonians can make their own decisions about when it may be appropriate to wear a mask, even after the mask mandate ends. This goes for businesses, as well, which still retain the right to choose stricter requirements.

Those who want or need to wear a mask in public can continue to do so. If you are at greater risk because of factors such as your age or underlying health conditions, you are encouraged to continue to take more precautions. There also may be certain settings where wearing a mask makes sense, like when caring for someone who is high-risk, if you are sick, if you’re in a location where social distancing isn’t possible, or if you are not fully vaccinated.

And if you are choosing to wear a mask in certain settings, you may wonder what mask you should wear. The answer is simple: Wear the mask that you will use consistently—and correctly.


For additional information on Governor Inslee’s announcement, please read the full press release or call the State COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127. For local questions related to COVID-19, you may contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500.


Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate Lifting on March 21

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February 17, 2022

This afternoon, Governor Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Monday, March 21, 2022. This mandate, which includes indoor locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, has been in effect since August 23, 2021. Beginning on March 21, the mandate will also be lifted for K-12 schools and childcare locations throughout the state.

As a reminder, the statewide outdoor mask mandate is scheduled to end tomorrow, Friday, February 18. The state will stop requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to large events beginning on Tuesday, March 1.

K-12 schools will still be required to report COVID cases and work with local Public Health Departments to monitor disease activity. Routine testing, isolation, and quarantine protocols will also remain in place per the CDC’s guidance. Current “requirements” regarding distance, ventilation, and sanitation in schools will be downgraded to “recommendations”, with new guidance expected from the state by March 7.

The lifting of the indoor mask mandate will not include certain indoor settings considered to be at high-risk for disease spread. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities. Additionally, the federal mask mandate is still in effect and requires masking on all forms of public transportation, including buses, trains, and airplanes, and in transportation hubs.

Following the lifting of the mandate, Washingtonians can continue to wear a mask if they so choose. This goes for businesses, as well, who will retain the right to choose stricter masking requirements if desired.

There may be certain settings where wearing a mask makes sense, like when caring for someone who is high-risk, if you are sick, if you’re in a location where social distancing isn’t possible, or if you are not fully vaccinated. Those who are at greater risk because of factors such as their age or underlying health condition are encouraged to continue to take extra precautions.

For additional information on Governor Inslee’s announcement, please visit wwww.governor.wa.gov or call the State COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127. For general questions related to COVID-19, you may contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500.


Changes to our weekly COVID-19 updates and what you should expect

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You might have noticed that Skagit County Public Health is using a new graphic to show local weekly COVID-19 data. If you are actively monitoring our data using the state’s Data Dashboard, you might be wondering why the data we’re putting out doesn’t seem to be matching up with what you’re seeing on your screen. For some background information and some answers to questions you might have, we’ve put together the following Q&A.

What’s going on with the state data dashboard? Why are the numbers not lining up?

There are a few things happening right now that are causing our local numbers and those appearing on the state’s Data Dashboard to not line up exactly. Firstly, it is important to remember that the state Dashboard typically updates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, meaning numbers on the Dashboard today are actually representative of the data several days ago. Since the Omicron surge, the state systems have experienced a substantial slowdown in processing new cases and as they are caught up, the data on the Dashboard will be updated as well.

Another cause for the discrepancy is that sometimes data on the Data Dashboard contains duplicate information and it takes several days for corrections to be made. That’s why looking at the Epidemiologic Curves tab is the best place to view the level of COVID-19 activity, since these numbers have been verified both by the state and by local health jurisdictions like ours.

We are working with the state to correct the Cumulative Data on the Dashboard, but please expect to see some differences until these corrections can be made. In the meantime, our local epidemiologist is crunching our numbers to ensure that we can provide Skagitonians with the most accurate data possible.

Is the data really reflecting what’s going on when more and more people are using at-home test kits and maybe not reporting positive test results?

Now that at-home test kits are more widely available and are being used in greater numbers by the public, it is safe to assume that some positive test results are not being reported. That said, we know that many people continue to call either the state COVID hotline (1-800-525-0127) or Skagit County Public Health (360-416-1500) to report their positive results.

As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, and as our testing practices evolve, we can still look to key data indicators to determine whether we are trending upward, or downward.

One of the best indicators is our 7-day hospitalization rate. We can look to how our hospitalization rates are trending to determine the severity of a surge or wave. With Omicron, we experienced more new cases per week than at any other time during the pandemic, and as a result, we saw the greatest number of hospitalizations. While the majority of folks experienced milder COVID-19 during the Omicron surge, the number of hospitalizations increased proportional to the new cases.

Another helpful indicator is to look at other parts of the globe that are further along in the Omicron surge. We can look to other countries to see how their waves have played out. While not an exact science, this can help us predict our own timeline here in Washington.

What about the new changes to contact tracing and investigation? Could this impact the data?

Beginning on February 14, the state has changed its system for case investigation and contact tracing (CICT). Instead of reaching out to every person who tests positive for COVID-19, the state will now focus CICT efforts on four key areas:

  • Outbreak Investigation
  • Case investigations in high-risk settings
  • Targeted case investigations among those at risk of more severe illness
  • Targeted case investigations among those with unusual illness presentation

The state will continue to receive reports of all electronically received lab results and will upload these positive results into the state reporting system, and encourages those using at-home tests to report positive results using WA Notify.

The fundamental difference now is that individuals who tests positive for COVID-19 will be solely responsible for reaching out to friends, family members, and colleagues who may have been exposed, and to encourage others to get tested and quarantine to reduce further spread. For this reason, there is a likelihood that some positive cases will go unreported and thus, wouldn’t appear in the state’s data reporting.

Where is the best place to go to see daily case information?

As previously stated, the best place to go for accurate data is to look under the Epidemiologic Curve tab on the Data Dashboard. Here, you can see both verified case count data, but you can also view our 7-day and 14-day trends.

At this point in the pandemic, looking at trends is going to be the best way to gauge current risk, and to see where we are heading. After all, looking at trends—instead of daily case counts—helps to tell the full story, whereas daily case counts do not show you how are numbers compare week to week, or month to month.

In an effort to help folks better understand our local data and to highlight key indicators that best represent our current risk status, we are changing the way that we provide our data updates each week. You will notice that we have a new graphic (updated each Wednesday) that highlights the following indicators:

  • 14-day case rate
  • 7-day hospitalization rate
  • Total number of deaths
  • Vaccination rates
  • CDC Level of Disease Activity

It is our hope that you will find these updates helpful. Of course, if you have questions, you can reach out to Public Health by calling (360) 416-1500 or emailing me directly at danicas@co.skagit.wa.us.


Free COVID-19 At-home Test Kits Now Available Online

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January 21, 2022

Today, the Washington State Department of Health launched an online ordering portal for free COVID-19 test kits in partnership with the Say Yes COVID Test Program. Beginning today, Washington state residents will be able to visit www.sayyescovidhometest.org to order rapid-antigen COVID tests online and will receive those tests delivered at no cost. People can order up to 5 free tests per household.

Note: Supplies are limited at this time and demand is quite high. If you have trouble ordering, please contact the state hotline at 1-800-525-0127 (press #).

A federal online ordering portal also launched earlier this week. Every home in the U.S. is now eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests by going to www.covidtests.gov. The tests are completely free, and orders will usually ship within 7-12 days through USPS.

Antigen test kits are available for purchase, as well, through participating pharmacies like Walgreens and Rite Aid. Check with your local pharmacy frequently, and in person, for availability.

If choosing to purchase kits through a pharmacy, please know that your health insurance company may reimburse you for up to 8 at-⁠home tests per month for each person on the plan. For more information, call your provider or visit https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free.

Those seeking a PCR test or other testing options can go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/TestingforCOVID19/TestingLocations#region4 for a full list of locations in our region.

For information about the Skagit Fairgrounds testing site, please go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

Testing supplies continue to be limited due to extremely high demand. As our federal, state, and local governments continue to work to increase testing resources, we encourage Skagitonians to utilize the options listed above to gain access to testing. 

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Kits de prueba gratuitos de COVID-19 en el hogar ahora disponibles en línea

Hoy, el Departamento de Salud del Estado de Washington lanzó un portal de pedidos en línea para kits de prueba covid-19 gratuitos en asociación con el programa de pruebas Say Yes COVID. A partir de hoy, los residentes del estado de Washington podrán visitar https://sayyescovidhometest.org/casa.html para solicitar pruebas rápidas de ANTÍGENO COVID online y recibirán esas pruebas entregadas sin costo alguno. Las personas pueden pedir hasta 5 pruebas gratuitas  por  hogar.

Nota: Los suministros son limitados en este momento y la demanda es bastante alta. Si tiene problemas para realizar pedidos, comuníquese con la línea directa del estado al 1-800-525-0127.

Un portal federal de pedidos en línea también se lanzó a principios de esta semana. Cada hogar en los Estados Unidos ahora es elegible para ordenar 4 pruebas gratuitas deCOVID-19 en el hogar yendo a https://www.covidtests.gov/es/. Las pruebas son completamente gratuitas, y los usuarios generalmente se enviarán en 7-12 días a través de USPS.

Tambiénhay disponibles kits de prueba de ntigen para su compra,  a través de farmacias participantes como Walgreens y Rite Aid. Consulte con s u farmacia local para conocer la disponibilidad.

Si elige comprar kits a través de una farmacia, tenga en cuenta quenuestra compañía de seguros de salud puede reembolsarle hasta 8 pruebas en el hogar por mes para cada persona en el plan. Para obtener más información, llame a su proveedor.

Aquellos que buscan una prueba PCR u otras opciones de prueba pueden ir a https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusTESTsites.htm para obtener una lista completa de ubicaciones.

Para obtener información sobre el sitio de pruebas de Skagit Fairgrounds, visite www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus o llame a Salud Pública al (360) 416-1500.

Los suministros de prueba continúan siendo limitados debido a la demanda extremadamente alta. A medida que nuestros gobiernos federal, estatal y local continúan trabajando para aumentar los recursos de prueba, alentamos a los habitantes de Skagiton a utilizar las opciones enumeradas anteriormente para obtener acceso a las pruebas.


Extended Testing Hours at the Fairgrounds Beginning Today

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January 18, 2022

Skagit County Public Health is pleased to announce that beginning today—Tuesday, January 18—hours of operation for COVID-19 testing at the Skagit County Fairgrounds will be extended! The site will now be open to testing every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Please note that testing will also be available this week on Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm to make up for the long weekend.

Public Health put the call out for volunteers on Friday afternoon and our residents answered! Over the weekend, more than 50 individuals reached out to our Volunteer Coordinator about assisting at the site.

“The response from the community was incredible,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health. “With your help, we have been able to extend our hours at the site, potentially doubling the number of people we can test each day.”

Rapid antigen testing is provided for free and is available to anyone 5 years and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Skagit County. Individuals must be symptomatic or have had recent exposure to COVID-19 to qualify for service at the site.

For testing, please come to the South Gate entrance at 501 Taylor Street in Mount Vernon. Note that gates open at 11:30 am, with services starting at noon. Even with the new extended hours, please expect long wait times. Please do not block public or private driveways and be mindful of pedestrians.

For a full list of other testing providers in the region, go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/TestingforCOVID19/TestingLocations.

Vaccinations at the Fairgrounds will continue to be offered weekly from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Both pediatric vaccines and boosters are available by appointment only. To make an appointment, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. Please come to the North Gate entrance for vaccinations at 1409 Virginia Street in Mount Vernon.

Boosters are also available at the downtown Public Health office at 700 S 2nd Street (3rd floor) in Mount Vernon—by appointment only. For appointments, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.

For more information about Public Health’s testing and vaccination services, go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call (360) 416-1500.

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Horario de pruebas extendido en el recinto ferial a partir de hoy

¡Salud Pública del Condado de Skagit se complace en anunciar que a partir de hoy, martes 18 de enero, se extenderán las horas de operación para las pruebas de COVID-19 en el recinto ferial del Condado de Skagit! El  sitio  ahora  estará abierto a pruebas todos los  lunes, martes, jueves y viernes de 12:00 pm a 7:00 pm.

Tenga en cuenta que las pruebas también estarán disponibles esta semana el miércoles de 12:00 pm a 7:00 pm para compensar el fin de semana largo.

¡Salud Pública hizo un llamado a los voluntarios el viernes por la tarde y nuestros residentes respondieron! Durante el fin de semana, más de 50 personas se comunicaron con nuestro Coordinador de Voluntarios para ayudar  en el sitio.

“La respuesta de la comunidad fue increíble”, dijo Jennifer Johnson, de Salud Pública del Condado de Skagit. “Con su ayuda, hemos podido extender nuestras horas en el sitio, lo que podría duplicar el número de personas que podemos probar cada día”.

Las pruebas rápidas de antígenos se proporcionan de forma gratuita y están disponibles para cualquier persona de 5 años o más que viva, trabaje o vaya a la escuela en el condado de Skagit. Las personas deben ser sintomáticas o haber tenido una exposición reciente a COVID-19 para calificar para el servicio en el sitio.

Para las pruebas, por favor venga a la entrada de South Gate en 501 Taylor Street en Mount Vernon. Note que las puertas se abren a las 11:30 am,con servicios a partir del mediodía. Incluso con las nuevas horas extendidas, espere largos tiempos de espera. Por favor, no bloquee los caminos de entrada públicos o privados y tenga en cuenta a los peatones.

Para obtener una lista completa de otros proveedores de pruebas en la región, vaya a https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/TestingforCOVID19/TestingLocations.

Las vacunas en el recinto ferial continuarán ofreciéndose semanalmente de 3:00 p.m. a 6:00 p.m. Tanto las vacunas pediátricas como los refuerzos están disponibles solo con cita previa. Para concertar una cita, vaya a www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. Por favor, venga a la entrada de North Gate para vacunarse en 1409 Virginia Street en Mount Vernon.

Los refuerzos también están disponibles en la oficina de Salud Pública del centro de la ciudad en 700 S2 nd  Street (3rd  floor) en Mount Vernon, solo con cita previa. Para citas, vaya a  www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.

Para obtener más información sobre los servicios de pruebas y vacunación de Salud Pública, visite www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus  o llame al (360) 416-1500.


Calling All Volunteers! Volunteers Needed at the Fairgrounds Testing Site

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January 14, 2022

The demand for COVID-19 testing has increased dramatically since the end of December 2021. The new Omicron variant has proven to be highly transmissible, causing a rapid spike in new cases over the past two to three weeks. Aside from vaccination, boosters, and masking, testing is one of the best tools that we have to slow the spread of the virus in our community.

Skagit County Public Health has been working diligently to provide no-cost, low-barrier testing services to Skagitonians since April 2020. The current operation at the Skagit County Fairgrounds allows for an average of 300 tests per evening, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

While demand for testing services have ebbed and flowed over the course of the pandemic, present demand is overwhelming our Public Health and hospital systems. To address this strain, Public Health is seeking to expand testing hours at the Fairgrounds as soon as possible.

As many know, staffing shortages due to COVID-19 are impacting workplaces across the country. Unfortunately, the Skagit County Fairgrounds has also been affected by these struggles.

“A minimum of 15 staff and volunteers are required to run the Fairgrounds each day,” said Site Manager, Julie de Losada. “To expand our hours, we would need to quickly expand our workforce as well. Without new volunteers, it just isn’t possible.”

Public Health is calling on the community to help support the testing site. If you are 16 years of age or older and can commit to at least one shift per week through the end of February, the site could desperately use your help.

If/when staffing allows, Public Health is hoping to add an early afternoon shift to the current operating schedule on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. A volunteer would need to be available either between 11:30am to 3:00pm or 2:30pm to 7:00pm on these days.

All positions are open: testers, administrative help, traffic, and greeters. No experience is required; training will be provided on site. To be eligible, a background check is required, and only those who are fully vaccinated can volunteer at the site.

Please know that Public Health has had considerable success in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at the testing site. All volunteers and staff are required to wear a surgical face mask (at minimum) at all times.

If you are interested, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at ralpert@co.skagit.wa.us or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

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¡Llamando a todos los voluntarios! Se necesitan voluntarios en el sitio de pruebas del recinto ferial  

La demanda de pruebas de COVID-19 ha aumentado drásticamente desde finales de diciembre de 2021. La nueva variante de Omicron ha demostrado ser altamente transmisible, causando un rápido aumento en los nuevos casos en las últimas dos o tres semanas. Aparte de la vacunación, los refuerzos y el enmascaramiento, las pruebas son una de las mejores herramientas que tenemos para frenar la propagación del virus en nuestra comunidad. 

Skagit County Public Health ha estado trabajando diligentemente para proporcionar servicios de pruebas sin costo y de baja barrera a los skagitonianos desde abril de 2020. La operación actual en el recinto ferial del condado de Skagit permite un promedio de 300 pruebas por noche, todos los lunes, martes, jueves y viernes.  

Si bien la demanda de servicios de pruebas ha disminuido y fluido en el transcurso de la pandemia, la demanda actual está abrumando nuestros sistemas de salud pública y hospitalarios. Para hacer frente a esta tensión, Salud Pública está tratando de ampliar el horario de pruebas en el recinto ferial lo antes posible. 

Como muchos saben, la escasez de personal debido a COVID-19 está afectando a los lugares de trabajo en todo el país. Desafortunadamente, el recinto ferial del condado de Skagit también se ha visto afectado por estas luchas. 

“Se requiere un mínimo de 15 empleados y voluntarios para administrar el recinto ferial cada día”, dijo la gerente del sitio, Julie de Losada. “Para ampliar nuestros horarios, también tendríamos que ampliar rápidamente nuestra fuerza laboral. Sin nuevos voluntarios, simplemente no es posible. ” 

Salud Pública está pidiendo a la comunidad que ayude a apoyar el sitio de pruebas. Si tiene 16 años de edad o más y puede comprometerse a al menos un turno por semana hasta finales de febrero, el sitio podría usar desesperadamente su ayuda. 

Si / cuando el personal lo permite, Salud Pública espera agregar un turno temprano en la tarde al horario operativo actual de los lunes, martes, jueves y viernes. Un voluntario tendría que estar disponible entre las 11:30 a.m. y las 3:00 p.m. o de 2:30 p.m. a 7:00 p.m. en estos días.  

Todos los puestos están abiertos: probadores, ayuda administrativa, tráfico y saludadores. No se requiere experiencia; la capacitación se proporcionará en el sitio. Para ser elegible, se requiere una verificación de antecedentes, y solo aquellos que están completamente vacunados pueden ser voluntarios en el sitio. 

Tenga en cuenta que Salud Pública ha tenido un éxito considerable en la mitigación de la propagación de COVID-19 en el sitio de prueba. Todos los voluntarios y el personal deben usar una máscara facial quirúrgica (como mínimo) en todo momento.  

Si está interesado, comuníquese con nuestro Coordinador Voluntario en  ralpert@co.skagit.wa.us o llame a Salud Pública al (360) 416-1500. 


Joint Statement on Local Healthcare Capacity & COVID-19 Transmission Rates

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January 13, 2022

Skagit County hospitals have seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals admitted for inpatient care due to COVID-19 over the past week. This recent spike has only further exacerbated our already overburdened healthcare system both locally and across the state.

Today, our local hospitals together with County Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand are coming together to ask Skagitonians to help in easing the current strain on our healthcare system. Each person can take action to help alleviate this strain on our providers. Please, take necessary precautions to decrease COVID-19 transmission rates and be conscientious of seeking emergency medical services.

Vaccination continues to be the best tool in preventing serious illness due to COVID-19. While we know that breakthrough infections are expected with the Omicron variant, current data has shown that the vast majority of breakthrough infections have resulted in mild to moderate symptoms that do not require medical attention.

Transmission rates are also of grave concern. The Omicron variant is extremely transmissible and has resulted in more than a doubling of COVID-19 cases this week compared to last. Skagitonians can help to control the spread by taking precautions and not gathering when sick or if recently exposed. For this reason, it is our recommendation at this time that people postpone all large indoor gatherings, regardless of the vaccination status of those gathering.

Masking is also still an extremely important tool that people must use when congregating in indoor public settings and certain outdoor public settings. Ensure the quality and fit of your mask by going to the CDC’s masking guidance webpage here.

We understand that testing options are limited at this time, both in Skagit County and throughout Washington. If you are symptomatic or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 and cannot get access to a test, please follow the CDC’s updated isolation and quarantine guidance. Essentially:

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS but do not need medical care and can’t get a test, assume you have COVID-19.  You should isolate for at least 5 days to keep from spreading the virus to others. Monitor your symptoms.

IF YOU WERE EXPOSED to someone with COVID-19 and need to quarantine and are unable to get a test 5 days after your last close contact, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have not had symptoms; wear a mask for 10 days after last contact.

Our hospitals and urgent care facilities have the capacity to care for those who are acutely ill. These are not the locations to go for COVID-19 testing if you are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild COVID-like symptoms. Please look to community testing sites and local pharmacies for testing options.

Severe COVID-19-related symptoms that would require emergency medical attention include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.

“From looking at previous waves, we know that this current surge will level out in time,” said Dr. Leibrand. “Now is not the time to get together or socialize. That time will come, but it isn’t right now. It is essential that we work together to see ourselves out of this current wave.”

To find a vaccine provider near you, please use the Vaccine Locator or call 1-800-525-0127 (press #). For a list of local testing providers, please go to the Testing Locations page here.


Fairgrounds Testing & Vaccination Site to Close Until January 18

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January 13, 2022

Due to staffing shortages, the Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will be closed until Tuesday, January 18.

During a time when we are seeing many workplaces across Washington State being affected by staffing shortages due to COVID-19 infections and exposures, Skagit County Public Health and the County at large are unfortunately seeing similar impacts.

“Operating the site requires a minimum of fifteen staff and volunteers each evening, including traffic personnel, administrative staff, and registered nurses,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “Without the necessary staffing, it just isn’t feasible to operate.”

Testing demands are still far exceeding availability at this time. If you cannot get access to testing, please refer to the CDC’s Isolation and Quarantine Guidance found here: https://bit.ly/3JQLIwF.

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS but do not need medical care and can’t get a test, assume that you have COVID-19 and isolate for at least 5 days to keep from spreading the virus to others. End isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.

IF YOU WERE EXPOSED to someone with COVID-19 and need to quarantine (meaning you are not up to date on vaccinations) and are unable to get a test 5 days after your last close contact, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have not had symptoms; wear a mask for 10 days after last contact.

For a full list of testing options in Skagit County and the surrounding area, please visit the state’s Testing Locations webpage here. You may also be able to find for-purchase testing kits at your local pharmacy.

If testing at home and you receive a positive test result, please call the state’s COVID-19 Hotline as soon as possible at 1–800–525–0127 or the Skagit County Public Health office at (360) 416-1500.


Want COVID data? The Data Dashboard has you covered!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

[UPDATE: Significant changes were made to the Data Dashboard on January 21, 2022. Read the full press release for more information.]

As of January 3rd, 2022, Skagit County Public Health is no longer updating ongoing COVID-19 case, hospitalization, death, and demographic data on its website. Instead, Skagitonians are asked to refer to the statewide COVID-19 Data Dashboard for all COVID-19 related data.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable navigating a new website, especially when you’ve gotten used to using a different one. As we transition away from updating COVID-19 data on the Public Health website, please know that we’re here to help! Below you will find a video with directions on how to navigate the Dashboard. This video can also be found on our website at www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus.

If you need further assistance using the Dashboard, please call the state COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. You can also contact Skagit County Public Health directly at danicas@co.skagit.wa.us.

Data Dashboard Navigation Video – Skagit County Public Health

Video Transcript:

Hello, my name is Danica Sessions and I’m with Skagit County Public Health. In this video, I will be providing some directions on how to navigate the Washington state COVID-19 Data Dashboard, seen here on my screen.

This dashboard is updated Monday through Friday by the Washington State Department of Health and includes a variety of COVID-related data sets and helpful reports. This is the best tool to use to stay up-to-date about current state and county-level case, hospitalization, and death rates. It is also a helpful tool to see current our current vaccination status here in Skagit County—and throughout the state.

To get to this dashboard, please go to www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/DataDashboard.

Once here, scroll down slightly to find the dashboard.

The first thing you’ll see is our state’s current status. In order to narrow it down to Skagit County, find the “select county” box along the left of the dashboard and scroll down to Skagit County. Click the box to select.

So once you’ve clicked on Skagit County, you’ll see our current status. This includes total confirmed cases, as well as total hospitalizations and deaths to date. You’ll also notice a few other helpful data points.

To see how we compare to other counties, you can go to the tabular view here. To get back to maps, click on the Map View button.

You’ll note that in the upper-right hand corner, a different date will appear instead of today’s date. This is because all of this data must be verified by the state before it is published. Typically, data will lag by 2 to 3 days. You’ll also notice that the state no longer updates data on the weekends.

To find our vaccination status, click on Vaccinations when you’re still in the “Current Status” tab. Please note that sometimes when you move throughout the dashboard, the county will unselect. To ensure that you’re looking at Skagit County data, make sure that the box is checked.

Here you can see total doses administered in our county to date. By clicking here, you can see our percentages of partially and fully vaccinated populations. You can also see who is getting vaccinated by clicking here. Data is broken out by sex, age, and race/ethnicity.

If you’re looking to see historic case counts or you’d like to know how many new cases we’re seeing each day, go to “Cumulative Counts” here. Click Skagit County. You can navigate by hovering on the blue line. To see our current status, go to the far right. You’ll see our total cases to date, as well as how many new cases were reported since yesterday.

As you can see, we’re seeing some of our largest daily increases right now compared to any other time during the pandemic.

You can see similar data for hospitalizations and deaths by toggling between these tabs here.

If you’re looking for case, hospitalization, and death rates (essentially trends over time), click on “Epidemiologic Curves,” then click “rates.” You can see 7 day or 14 day averages. The waves of the pandemic are very obvious here. This is also a good place to go to see whether we will be trending upward or downward. Please note that the grey dots are an estimation based on prilimary data, and numbers can change.

Find hospitalization and death rates by toggling between the two buttons here.

There are a few more helpful functions including demographics, COVID-like illness hospitalizations, and healthcare system readiness (which shows statewide ICU occupancy). Play around with these different functions to gather more information.

Lastly, I wanted to highlight some really awesome reports that are available on the dashboard webpage. Scroll down to Reports. Some that I have found very useful are the COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status Report, the Sequencing and Variants report, and the Breakthrough Surveillance Report.

Most reports are updated weekly or bi-monthly so it is helpful to check back for the most recent information.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable navigating a new website, especially when you’ve gotten used to using a different one. As we transition away from updating COVID-19 data on the Public Health website, please know that we’re here to help.

If you need further assistance with the Dashboard, please call the state COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. You can also contact Skagit County Public Health directly at danicas@co.skagit.wa.us.

Thank you for watching.