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.


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.


Want COVID data? The Data Dashboard has you covered!

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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.


Skagit County Fairgrounds to Reopen Testing Services on Thursday, January 6

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January 5, 2022

The Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will reopen on Thursday, January 6 following a shutdown due to extreme weather conditions. Public Health has deemed it safe to reopen the site, assuming this evening’s weather forecast doesn’t result in more snow than anticipated.

The Fairgrounds will reopen tomorrow, Thursday, January 6 from 3pm-7pm for testing services only. Vaccination services will resume on January 10, 2022. The Fairgrounds is located at 501 Taylor Street in Mount Vernon.

Testing continues to be limited to those who live, work, or go to school in Skagit County and who are currently symptomatic or have been recently exposed to COVID-19. Please be expecting longer than usual wait times this week and next due to extremely high demand for testing services.

For a full list of other testing providers in Skagit County, please go to our website at www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus.

The Fairgrounds will recommence full services—both testing and vaccination—beginning on Monday, January 10. As of January 10, the site’s hours of operation will be changing to 3pm-6pm, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Public Health intends to extend testing and vaccination services at the Fairgrounds through February.

Additionally, beginning January 10, vaccinations will no longer be provided by drive-through at the Fairgrounds. Those dropping in for a primary vaccination, or those coming for a booster or pediatric vaccine appointment, will be directed to walk into the A/B Building at the Fairgrounds to receive their dose.

To schedule a booster or pediatric vaccine appointment at the Fairgrounds beginning next week, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine, or call Public Health for assistance at (360) 416-1500.

Public Health will also continue to offer booster vaccines—by appointment—at the downtown Public Health office at 700 S 2nd Street in Mount Vernon. When scheduling an appointment online, please be sure to note which location you are selecting. If coming to the Public Health office for a vaccine appointment, please enter through the 1st floor elevator lobby.


Fairgrounds Site to Remain Closed Due to Weather; Vaccine and Tests Available At Public Health Next Week

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December 30, 2021

The Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will remain closed until further notice due to severe weather conditions. Once it is determined that it is feasible to reopen the Fairgrounds location, Public Health will announce via usual channels including press release and social media.

In lieu of the Fairgrounds location, Public Health will be making new evening COVID-19 vaccination services available next week at the Public Health office. A limited supply of at-home testing kits will also be provided next week at the downtown location during evening clinic hours—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3pm to 7pm (while supplies last). Kits will be limited to one kit (two tests) per household.

All vaccines, including primary doses, pediatric, and booster doses will require an appointment at the downtown location—please, no walk-ups. The Public Health office is located at 700 S 2nd Street in Mount Vernon on the 3rd floor.

Some booster appointments are currently available for next week during daytime hours. Links for these appointments can be found on our website at www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. Booster appointments are available to anyone 16 years and older who are currently time eligible; details about eligibility can also be found on our website.

New primary vaccine, pediatric vaccine, and evening booster dose appointments for the week of January 3rd will be added on Thursday, December 30th at 5pm. To access these appointments, please go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. If you need assistance, call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.   

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.

Also, please know that since individuals will be administering their own tests at home, Public Health will not be able to verify tests results and will not be able to provide record of a positive or negative test for those who need proof for school or their employer. 

For-purchase at-home testing options are also available at locations such as Walgreens, Rite Aids, Bartell Drugs, CVS, Walmart, Safeway, and Albertsons. Additionally, test kits can be ordered online directly through retailers.

For a full list of testing providers in Skagit County, go to our website at www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus.

For those who are feeling ill and cannot get tested, please isolate at home until you are able to do so. Do not gather or visit with other people if sick or recently exposed to COVID-19. Please get familiar with the CDC’s newly updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance by going to https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html. If you have questions or concerns, call the state’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-525-0127.


Skagit County Health Officer Releases Statement on Omicron Variant Reports in Skagit County

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December 16, 2021

Today, Skagit County’s Health Officer, Dr. Howard Leibrand, issued the following statement:

This afternoon, we received confirmation from the Washington State Department of Health that the Omicron variant has been identified in three Skagit County residents. Omicron is circulating in our community, and we expect that infections from this new variant will continue to increase over the next several weeks.

It can be unsettling to hear news of a new variant, particularly as we approach the holidays. There are still things that we do not know. Early reports have suggested that the Omicron variant may re-infect people who have since recovered from COVID-19 at greater rates than with other variants. There is also some concern about whether vaccines and antibody treatments will work effectively against Omicron, but the CDC expects that current vaccines will remain effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

What we do know is that we have the necessary tools to slow the transmission rate of omicron in our community: the layered protection of vaccination, boosters, masking, and testing.

We know what works to prevent the spread of viruses that cause COVID-19, including: wearing high-quality and well-fitting face masks or respirators; improving indoor air quality through ventilation; avoiding crowded indoor spaces and physical distancing; and getting tested and staying home when sick or exposed. These precautions, layered with vaccination and getting a booster dose when eligible, are the best and most important things we can do to protect against COVID-19 and the spread of Omicron.

New variants are unfortunate, but expected, especially when there are still large percentages of our population who are unvaccinated. This variant may pose new, or different challenges that will require a quick response by Public Health and our healthcare partners. But compared to the early days of the pandemic, we know much more about COVID-19 now, and we’re better prepared to respond.  

Until we know more, every person should take steps to reduce their risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19. Remember: your choices can have positive or negative consequences. When making decisions about travel or gathering this holiday, please use all necessary precautions to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe.  

I wish you all a happy—and safe—holiday season!


Omicron and Masking: Is it time to update your mask collection?

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The new Omicron variant is now circulating in Washington State. Although we do not yet have an official report of the variant here in Skagit County, now is the time to be taking precautions. There is still much that experts don’t know about this new variant. What we do know, though, is that we already have the tools we need to fight the spread of omicron.

The CDC has listed vaccination, boosters, testing, and masking as the best ways to keep omicron under control. We know that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death, and the CDC recommends that those 16 years and older who are eligible for a booster go and get theirs now.

As for masking—we know that face masks offer protection against all variants, including omicron. The CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status. Here in Washington, the statewide mask mandate requires that all people five years of age and older must wear a mask in public indoor settings and at large, outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, including sporting events, fairs, parades, and concerts, regardless of vaccination status.

We’ve been masking up for 21 months at this point, and some of us have amassed quite the collection! Some of those masks may be getting a bit worn, or maybe they’re not fitting as snugly as you’d like. If you’re wondering if those cloth face masks from 2020 are still offering the right amount of protection, please read on.

NOTE: No child under the age of two should wear a face mask for safety reasons.

It comes down to fit and quality.

When choosing a face mask, it comes down to fit and quality. So, let’s discuss fit first.

Masks that are loose, with gaps around your face or nose, are not as helpful in protecting you or others. A mask should completely cover your nose and mouth and should fit snugly against the sides of your face without any gaps.

To ensure a proper fit, you can choose masks with a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. You can also use a mask fitter to help ensure a snug fit with a cloth mask. For visuals of these tips, visit the guidance for improved mask use from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Knotting and tucking is also a good way to improve the fit of a medical procedure mask. Knot the ear loops of the mask where they join the edge of the mask, then fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges. (For instructions, see the following https://youtu.be/GzTAZDsNBe0)

Wearing a mask with at least two layers is also important. Some people even opt to wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. (Note: N95/KN95 masks should not be layered with other masks.)

And for quality…

The highest quality masks are designed and tested to ensure they meet a standard. That means they perform at a consistent level to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The level of quality you need will be dependent on the situation. Sometimes a cloth mask will work just fine, and at other times, a higher quality mask may be called for.

The highest quality, in order, are:

  1. N95 and KN95 (as well as KF94) are the most effective, provided they are genuine and have been tested to meet a standard. These are disposable, so you will need to replace them (depending on how much you wear it). These are not available in children’s sizes and are more expensive.
  2. Surgical masks that have been tested to meet a national standard (ASTM 2/3). These are also disposable.  
  3. Cloth masks that have a double layer. These can be washed and re-used.

When to consider wearing a N95 or KN95 mask. 

For the best protection against COVID-19 variants such as omicron, there are times when folks may want to consider a higher quality mask. However, it is important to note that if you do not have this type of mask available, a high-quality, well-fitting surgical or cloth mask will do just fine.  

The following scenarios may warrant the need for better protection against COVID-19:

Should you use N95 and KN95 masks for everyday use?

The supply of high-quality N95 and KN95 masks have definitely improved since the early days of the pandemic. These are better at filtering the virus and now are more widely available for the public. Even still, the CDC does not recommend the use of N95 respirators for protection against COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings, stating that these masks should be prioritized for healthcare personnel and for other workers who are required to wear them for protection against other hazards. An exception to this would be for scenarios such as the ones listed above.

These types of masks are highly effective when used properly. They are tight-fitting respirators that—when fit properly—filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles. These masks meet a standard of quality, meaning that they are designed and tested to ensure they perform at a consistent level to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As stated above, N95 and KN95 masks are not available in children’s sizes and can be more expensive. If folks decide to go this route for everyday use, that is perfectly fine. But remember: a high-quality, well-fitting surgical or cloth mask are great everyday options for the whole family (minus those itty bitty kiddos and babies).

For N95 and KN95 masks, fit and quality are key.

Most people outside of health care settings don’t have access to fit testing to ensure proper use with minimal air leakage. If an N95 does not fit tightly, you won’t get the full benefit. Aside from fit testing, some people might find that N95s are less comfortable for everyday use. For these reasons, you should use your best judgement on how much value these types of masks add in a particular scenario.

Counterfeits are a challenge, so find a reputable dealer and make sure the product is legitimate. KN95 masks are commonly made and used in China. Some KN95 masks sold in the United States meet requirements similar to those set by NIOSH, while other KN95 masks do not. It is also important to know that about 60% KN95 masks in the United States are counterfeit (fake)and DO NOT meet NIOSH requirements. Some N95 masks also are counterfeits, described in this article from the CDC.

Need a good resource to ensure the quality and legitimacy of your mask? Project N95 aims to help people find a credible source for buying N95 and KN95. 


As we learn more about omicron, please use everything in your toolkit to keep yourself and your family safe. Mask up, get tested and stay home when sick or exposed, and—most importantly—get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. To find your vaccine, go to Vaccine Locator today or give the COVID-19 Info Hotline a call at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.


Pfizer COVID-19 Boosters Now Authorized for 16- and 17-year old’s

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December 9, 2021

Today, the FDA amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, authorizing the use of a single booster dose for administration to individuals 16 and 17 years of age at least six months after completion of primary vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. This means that 16- and 17-year old’s can now get a Pfizer booster dose 6 months after their second dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Beginning immediately, Skagit County Public Health will provide booster doses for these newly eligible individuals—BY APPOINTMENT—at the Skagit County Public Health Office, located at 700 S 2nd Street (3rd floor) in downtown Mount Vernon, as well as the Skagit County Fairgrounds, located at 501 Taylor Street in Mount Vernon.

The Downtown Booster Clinic will operate Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Fairgrounds Booster Clinic will operate Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Appointments can be scheduled online by going to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ and searching for “Skagit County Public Health” under the Name of Location box. For assistance, call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

Appointments are limited at this time. If no appointments appear to be available when you search online, please know that new appointments will be added each Monday at 9:00 a.m.

Please be sure that you are scheduling for a Booster Clinic appointment and select the Pfizer vaccine option. Be sure to note which clinic location you have signed up for.

No insurance is required for these clinics. Please bring your Vaccination Card with you to your appointment. Consent to vaccinate will also be required from the minor’s parent or legal guardian and can be provided either in-person or by phone at the time of the appointment.

As a reminder, prime COVID-19 vaccinations and antigen testing are still available at the Skagit County Fairgrounds location until the site closes permanently after January 28. Pediatric vaccines are also provided at this location by appointment only.  

For a full list of vaccination providers in Skagit County, visit our website at www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #. 


Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays

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Getting together with friends and extended family during the holiday season is a tradition for many folks. Though we have seen COVID-19 cases spike after nearly every holiday since the beginning of the pandemic, this doesn’t necessarily mean that people can’t—or shouldn’t—get together. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions, protect the health of your loved ones, and keep COVID-19 from spreading. Read on for 5 tips as you plan for the holidays this December…

#1: If you are not yet vaccinated, now is the time to do so.

With delta still spreading, and the emergence of the new omicron variant, the recommendation is still to get vaccinated as soon as possible. At this time, this includes anyone 5 years and older. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, as well as those who are not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children.

If you’re eligible for a vaccine booster, it’s a good idea to get it before the holidays. To find a vaccine provider near you, go to Vaccine Finder or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

#2: Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth if you are in indoor public settings.

This includes everyone five years and older, regardless of vaccination status. In Washington State, the statewide mask mandate requires that people wear their mask when in indoor public spaces, including malls, grocery stores, and chain outlets. It also applies to certain outdoor settings, including large events. Remember: Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.

#3: Gather with safety in mind.

If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you should consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.

This is especially true if some people are not vaccinated, including young children. If gathering with folks who are not vaccinated, the safest thing to do is for everyone to mask up, and to keep gatherings outside when possible. Proper ventilation and avoiding crowded spaces will be key in these types of scenarios.

People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask.

#4: Know when to stay home.

If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. Period. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. For a list of testing providers in Skagit County, go to our website here.

#5: Travel safely.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. The CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people. If you will be traveling in a group or family with unvaccinated people, choose safer travel options.

Also, everyone—even people who are fully vaccinated—must wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.


The 5 tips above are nothing new, but they are tried and true. By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends. Happy holidays, everyone!


COVID-19 Boosters Available at Downtown Public Health Office Beginning Monday, December 13

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December 6, 2021

Beginning Monday, December 13, COVID-19 booster doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine will be available by appointment at the Skagit County Public Health Office, located at 700 S 2nd Street (3rd floor) in downtown Mount Vernon.

Appointments will be available to all individuals 18 years and older who are time eligible. This would include those who are at least 6 months past completion of their Moderna or Pfizer vaccine series, or those who received their single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago.

The downtown booster clinic will operate Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled online by going to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ and searching for “Skagit County Public Health” under the Name of Location box. Please be sure that you are scheduling a Booster Vaccine, as there are pediatric vaccine appointments also listed.  No insurance is required for this clinic. Please bring your Vaccination Card with you to your appointment. For assistance, call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

“Public Health is opening a second vaccination clinic focused only on booster doses to increase capacity at the Skagit County Fairgrounds for prime doses—including children 5 years and older,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “This second clinic will also improve local access to booster appointments, which is critical as we begin to see Omicron spread here in Washington State.”

Omicron is expected to spread rapidly over the following weeks. Experts continue to urge people to get vaccinated, as this is the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants. Vaccination is especially important for children and adults with chronic conditions that place them at higher risk for severe disease from COVID-19, as well as those who are not yet vaccinated. If you are not yet vaccinated, it is imperative that you do so.

Pediatric and prime COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be provided at the Skagit County Fairgrounds location until the site closes permanently after January 28. Antigen testing is also provided at the Fairgrounds until the site closes.

If you are due for a booster, get scheduled at a pharmacy, Public Health, or at your provider clinic as soon as you are able. For a full list of vaccination providers in Skagit County, visit our website at www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.