EVERETT — On Sunday, Snohomish County reported more than 140 new COVID cases — the highest single-day total of the pandemic, according to Snohomish Health District data.
Meanwhile, a two-week case count ending Saturday showed 126 new infections per 100,000 residents, nearly reaching the previous peak from March, which was 129.
However, the current tally is only slightly higher than it was a week ago, indicating a third wave of infections could be slowing.
“Relatively speaking, that’s an improvement in the trajectory,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, the county’s health officer. “But the absolute level is still much higher than we would like to see. The bottom line is, let’s try to keep bending that curve and get it pointing downward.”
Mask-less, indoor social gatherings, both large and small, continue to drive new infections, he said. That’s because the disease is transmitted through droplets generated when people talk, sneeze, cough or breathe.
Wearing a mask helps prevent you from spreading your droplets and blocks others from getting to your mouth or nose. And good ventilation helps push away the droplets.
While data could be showing that the virus is beginning to slow, there’s also concern that large Halloween parties over the weekend might be leading to more cases.
Previous holidays, like the Fourth of July and Labor Day, each preceded a jump in infections.
Spitters said he was aware of a large holiday gathering in Marysville which was interrupted by law enforcement.
It will take a week to two to see any rise from Halloween reflected in the numbers, though.
“We’ll certainly be watching,” he said. “That’s just the first of many holidays on the calendar coming up.”
Cases are rising among all age groups, including those most vulnerable to dying from the virus.
That has public health officials worried that hospitalizations and deaths from the virus could rise.
For months, the number of people in county hospitals due to COVID at any given time has hovered from the teens to the mid-30s.
Currently, 25 people are hospitalized with the virus, seven of whom require ventilators to breathe, Spitters said.
Infections have also jumped in long-term care homes.
More than 50 of those cases are at Regency Care Monroe, which is dealing with a large outbreak.
Eleven other facilities have one or more cases, Spitters added.