King County Public Health links Snoqualmie, North Bend Covid-19 outbreak to multiple gatherings and activities

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?

Comments

  1. DB Scaramastra says

    Great article! I agree that we need to continue to be careful and (based on what I’ve seen in passing) we probably need to re-up our game a bit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Don’t we all wish that we did like Sweden? Now they are totally fine. Looks like Florida is wiser as well…

    • Not sure Sweden looks so good. 10m in population and over 5800 deaths. No herd immunity either. They’ve admitted their mistakes and have taken a different path.

    • If we’re playing “countries we wish we would have emulated” my vote is for New Zealand.

  3. Michael Baines says

    It’s no wonder, have you seen the amount of travelers coming through the Valley not to mention the huge increase in traffic. There is less people in down town Seattle

    • There has been significantly more tourism to the Snoqualmie falls lodge and people looking to float the Snoqualmie river. They’re practically parking on the highway now not to mention people parking in front of driveways. They’re probably the ones bringing the virus from larger cities.

  4. Sandra Salstrom says

    I live here. THERE ARE NO BIG GATHERINGS YOU DAMNABLE LIARS

  5. You referenced the black death as having killed 50 million people. Obviously you were mistaken because it killed twice that…you must be referring to 1918 Spanish flu which killed 60 million people? This kind of journalism is expected and mocked in mainstream journalism typically. Just ridiculous.

    • The estimated death toll for the black death is anywhere from 25 million to 200 million depending on the source. So no I was referring to the black death and yes I am aware the estimated death toll for the Spanish flu is at least 50 million.

  6. Erin Curtis says

    Yes, the resolve to avoid has weakened and from what I can tell, is mostly gone.

  7. I live in NB and the bar and grill was closed again due to 10-15 ppl being infected

    • Jessica Malcham says

      Hi Phil,
      Just for your information we have had 1 employee come done with Covid. We decided to close down against the Health Departments advice, to allow time for our staff to get tested to ensure the safety of our guests. Please do not spread rumors during times like these. Rumors such as this can force us to shut down and cause unnecessary panic.
      Thank you,
      Jessica Malcham
      General Manager North Bend Bar & Grill

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