I have to admit it. I’m not a hugger. Going to the hairdresser is agony and I’ve never had a massage. The very thought of it makes my skin crawl. I have a rather large personal bubble. This social distancing business is not a hardship for me.
However, for some, having to stay away from other people is utter torture. I worry about very young children and all the “pandemic pups” I’m seeing daily. I wonder if that crucial socialization need is being met so they don’t end up like me, touch averse.
It seems that for some in the Snoqualmie Valley, the resolve to avoid is weakening.
According to King County Public Health Communications Specialist Gabriel Spitzer, the past three weeks have seen an unusually high number of COVID-19 cases in the Snoqualmie and North Bend Reporting Area (zip codes 98045 and 98065, including unincorporated areas).
Spitzer said there were 54 positive cases based on samples collected in the three weeks between July 24th and August 15th. This number is 80% higher than the number of cases (30) in this area from the three weeks prior between July 3rd to July 23rd and 100% higher than the number of cases in June (23).
The age distribution for these positive cases is as follows:
- 0-19 – 24
- 20-39 – 12
- 40-59 – 15
- 60-79 – 2
- Unknown – 1
According to King County Public Health:
“Transmission in the area appears to be linked to multiple gatherings and activities with people from different households, such as visiting together at a friend’s house, car travel with friends and informal, pickup-type sports, and not necessarily to particular large parties or events.”
As reported by [contact tracing] investigators, two sub-clusters were identified, accounting for 39% of cases in the outbreak. One includes 11 cases, mainly teens age 16-17, and the other consists of 10 cases, made up mostly of 14 and 15-year-olds. Many of the teens met up for social activities and travel. Those teens likely infected family members.
Public Health said it identified many different social gatherings, but could not pinpoint exactly where the transmission occurred because the exposure may have happened more than once in that time frame.
Note: There have been no new coronavirus-related hospitalizations in North Bend or Snoqualmie since spring. Since the pandemic began, there has been one death in the unincorporated area of North Bend.
Whenever a story of this nature comes out, there are accusations of fear-mongering. Personally, I’m not fearful, but I do want to know all of the facts so I can behave accordingly.
In my household, we each have an elderly parent, and we aren’t getting any skinnier with age. It seems wise for us to keep our distance. Even though connecting to other people is part of being human – with modern devices such as smartphones and tablets – we’ve got it much better than people did during “The Black Death” years when an estimated 50 million died.
So, while I realize its easy for me to talk being a “large personal bubble” person, I’m going to keep up the social distancing and avoid being a part of one of those outbreaks.
The folks at Public Health advise:
“Given the rise in cases from multiple social gatherings, important actions community members can take now are to follow a few basic rules about social engagements. Every time we talk, laugh, cough or sneeze, we may be spreading the virus, even if we don’t have any symptoms or know we have COVID-19. The key is to keep your household’s social circle small. Limiting how many people we socialize with gives COVID-19 fewer chances to spread. Short gatherings are safer than long ones. Outdoor gatherings are generally safer than indoors because of the breeze and open air. Wear your face covering as much as possible, especially when less than six feet apart.”
That seems relatively easy for me. It is a short-term pain in the neck for a long-term benefit. I know it feels like it’s been forever, but let’s face it, 2020 is kind of a wash at this point anyway, right?