By Steve Powell
MARYSVILLE – The coronavirus hit a Kirkland care center extremely hard with 22 of the state’s 30 deaths there, so at least one center in Marysville is on high alert to keep its clients and employees safe.
Terry Parker, executive director at the Marysville Care Center, said that they are taking the temperature of everyone who comes to the facility on Grove Street to make sure they don’t have a fever. When residents become ill they are isolated and monitored.
“We’ve done a lot of preventive measures,” Parker said, adding staff and families of residents also have been educated about it. “We’ve definitely stepped up procedures.”
Parker had one bit of advice for everyone. “Wash your hands, wash your hands. It’s something we should be doing everyday anyway.”
Later in the week, when a pandemic was called for and three people had coronavirus at a Stanwood care center, including one man in his 80’s who died, Gov. Jay Inslee said residents in such facilities should only have one visitor per day. A woman in her 80s later died, the third in Snohomish County out of 75 who’ve tested positive and 82 more suspected to have it. Statewide, there have been 366 confirmed cases.
Inslee also banned large events in SnoCo of 250 people or more, except for schools and workplaces. Health experts say the outbreak will peak in the next month or two then subside. They are basing that on outbreaks in Italy and China, where it originated. An Everett man in his 30s who went to China, who was the first known case in the U.S., has recovered.
City and county leaders late last week recommended gatherings of 50 or more to be limited, per advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, because the closer the contact the higher the risk of transmission, the health district is recommending that people keep a safe “social” distance from each other of around 6 feet. It also recommends working from home if possible.
Meanwhile, at the Everett Clinic at Smokey Point a tent was put up in the parking lot for people to get tested for coronavirus, so they wouldn’t go inside and potentially infect other patients. Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington did the same thing.
Medical facilities are swamped with the numbers growing exponentially daily and officials ask those with minor symptoms not in the high-risk categories to think twice before going in. Healthy children seem to be resilient to the disease, but they can infect at-risk people, health professionals say.
Church on video
The coronavirus threat has canceled many local events, including church at Marysville United Methodist.
Normally there are three services, but there was only one online Sunday. A few people attended, but they were mostly board members there to announce that the pastor, Jenny Smith, is being transferred to a church in Edmonds.
Other churches in Marysville also were affected, as there were noticeably fewer cars in parking lots.
The Grove Church in Marysville, which usually has four services, also had just one online service. Pastors took a free drink out to people in their cars who didn’t get the message. They were following the advice of the CDC. Check online at Grove.church to see about any other closures.
Allen Creek Community Church had service, but followed health district recommendations, encouraging anyone sick or who may be vulnerable to stay home.
“Attendance was down,” pastor Dan Hazen said, adding the service was live-streamed like always online.
Youth centers will be closed on the Tulalip Reservation for at least a week for extensive cleaning after a resident tested positive for COVID-19. They plan to ban large gatherings, per Inslee’s request.
Tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin says on a video posted on the Tulalip News Facebook page: “…The important thing is to make sure that our elders are OK – checking with them on a daily basis, assisting them with getting groceries or food or whatever they may need, so they don’t have to be in public – because they are most at-risk.”
Gobin said some employees are being encouraged to work from home, so some services may be limited.
At the Tulalip Casino properties they use hospital-grade sanitizers, disinfectants and Lysol wipes. They have 100 hand-sanitizing stations at the three properties and recently added 20 more at the resort. And they have added additional rounds of disinfecting high-touch areas including slot machines, public counters, door handles, railings and restrooms.
Many stores, such as Grocery Outlet in Marysville, are having a hard time keeping cleaning supplies, bleach and hand sanitizer in stock. As soon as a new order comes in it’s gone within a few hours, an employee said.
Bartell’s and Albertson had toilet paper, but hand sanitizer is a hot commodity everywhere.
Other businesses, such as the Whistlestop Cafe in Marysville, are actually closed until they feel their customers are safe. Other restaurants, like The Village, has seen a drop in customers but not a drastic one.
The Marysville Strawberry Festival Royalty Pageant Saturday night has been canceled. Maryfest volunteer Sandie Phipps said Wednesday that requirements for an event for over 50 people were too much for the small volunteer group to handle.
She said they were being asked to have everyone fill out a questionnaire and sign a release form; take people’s temperatures; and have the facility inspected. “We can’t do that,” she said. “It went on and on.”
Earlier in the week Phipps said the event would be cut back because the Marysville School District would not allow Maryfest to use the Marysville-Pilchuck auditorium because of coronavirus concerns.
The pageant was moved to the Maryfest office on First Street.
They had planned an abbreviated event, but now it will be cut back even more. There are nine candidates and nine escorts. Each can have two guests so that’s 36, plus some Maryfest board members. So that’s all the event can handle to stay under 50 people.
Purchased tickets can be returned.
Phipps said there will be no more judging Saturday night. The top three winners will be decided based on public appearances already judged.
“They’ve worked so hard,” she said of the candidates. “But we want everyone to be safe.”
Phipps had said the event couldn’t be delayed because their first parade is April 4 in Tacoma.
But with the new restrictions she doesn’t think the Daffodil Parade will happen this year.
“It’s toast,” she said. “The unknown has everyone on edge.”
•City events until the end of the month, including:
Elvis impersonator concert March 29 moved to May 3
Pearl Django concert moved to May 31.
Cedar Field grand opening March 28.
Mother-Son Superhero Dance March 14 moved to June 6.
•Sno-Isle Libraries all events through March 31
•Historical Society Museum through March 31
What’s a pandemic?
An epidemic occurs when the incident rate of a disease substantially exceeds what is expected. A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that spreads through human populations across a large region.
What is coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses or upper throat.
Most spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.
Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, coronaviruses are more common in the fall and winter.
Symptoms are similar to other upper respiratory infections, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat and sometimes a fever.
•COVID-19: In early 2020, after a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
•Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS): About 858 people died from MERS, which first appeared in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.