Snohomish County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a motion to integrate Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County. According to a county news release, the move was made “to strengthen public health in Snohomish County and ensure public health remains the focus of our region.”

The integration of the two entities has been contemplated for several years and includes the creation of the Ruckelshaus and Gossett reports in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Discussions with key stakeholders accelerated in December 2021, with presentations to Snohomish Health District staff, the District Health Board and Snohomish County Council in April and May 2022. On May 31, the Snohomish Health District Board of Health voted unanimously on a resolution to support the integration of the health district and county.

“Our priority is to strengthen public and environmental health in Snohomish County,” said Megan Dunn, County Council Chair and Board of Health Member. “As Snohomish County grows, we must adapt to ensure we will be able to meet the needs of our residents. Today’s action ensures that we are prepared for the future public health needs of our county.

Jared Mead, Vice Chairman of Snohomish County Council and member of the Board of Health, who represents the council’s 4th district, including Brier and Mountlake Terrace: “While the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet completely over, now is the time to begin the transition to prepare for whatever happens next. A unified public health effort will ensure that we are as efficient as possible and take advantage of every opportunity to leverage county and public health assets for the benefit of all residents,” Mead said.

“Today’s action is another step towards providing more robust public health services to our residents,” said Stephanie Wright, Snohomish County Council Member and Chair of the Board of Health, whose 3rd district includes Edmonds, Lynnwood and Woodway. “We will find every opportunity to strengthen public health, working to restore and expand clinical services, while addressing the threats of today and preparing for those that may arise tomorrow. “

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said he is “personally committed to considering an expansion of direct services, including improving access to vaccinations, mental health care and other services. vital. We will work in partnership with the Board of Health, County Council and other stakeholders to continue to improve public and environmental health.

Following Wednesday’s vote, the Snohomish County Executive will notify the Board of Health that Snohomish County will withdraw from the health district on December 31, 2022. On January 1, 2023, the new County Health Department will begin to operate . All Snohomish Health District staff will become employees of the new county health department on January 1, 2023 and administrative integration will take place to ensure finance, administration and other technical details are aligned.