Communicable Disease

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Communicable Disease

Director: Jennifer Johnson


Page Updated 10-15-21 8:44 a.m.

COVID-19 INFORMATION


September 28, 2021
Public Health Expanding Hours of Operation at the Fairgrounds Site Beginning October 4; Pfizer Boosters By Appointment Only
The Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will be expanding its hours of operation next week to better serve the community and reduce wait times.

September 10, 2021
Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate in Effect August 23 Following Governor Press Conference; New Educator Vaccination Requirement
Existing statewide mask mandate will be expanded to once again include vaccinated individuals in indoor settings effective Monday, August 23.
**For complaints, please go through either the Governor's Office for general complaints or through L&I for business related complaints.


COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION


Find COVID-19 testing providers here.



 

 


Weekly COVID update October 15, 2021


Video series addresses questions about Covid-19
 

NEWS UPDATES *

COVID-19 News and updates from Skagit County
Sign up for Press Releases from Skagit County

News updates from Washington State

COVID-19 CASES IN SKAGIT COUNTY RESIDENTS

Community transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring in Skagit County. Skagit County Public Health only tracks COVID-19 cases of Skagit County residents to avoid duplication in reporting. Facilities in our community may be caring for patients who are from another county.

Note: Data is based on available information at time of reporting. Further case investigation can result in corrections to numbers originally reported. This data is changing rapidly as labs conduct tests and discover new cases.

PLEASE NOTE

Beginning July 1, DOH will report new COVID-19 epidemiological data to the DOH COVID-19 dashboard Monday-Friday, instead of seven days a week. This transition is a milestone toward more sustainable COVID-19 reporting and a response to recent declines in COVID-19 disease activity, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Beginning August 11, 2021, Public Health will include antigen-positive COVID-19 cases in cumulative and historic case count data on our website. People will now be able to see total positive cases, broken out by PCR (molecular)-positive and antigen-positive. Antigen-positive cases are treated the same way at the County as PCR-confirmed cases, with investigative follow-up by our staff and mandatory isolation. Due to the wide availability and popularity of antigen tests, it is appropriate at this time to include these numbers in our cumulative count. With this inclusion, the County will provide a more accurate picture of community transmission and help guide efforts to respond to COVID-19.

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) began including antigen-positive case counts on the dashboard on December 16, 2020 and can be found here. Note: Confirmed cases are those where individuals had a positive molecular test result for COVID-19. Probable cases are those where individuals had a positive antigen test result for COVID-19, but no positive molecular test result. Our dashboard includes antigen test results dating back to June 2020, when they were first reported in Washington.

Updates to the dashboard are made at 10 a.m. on weekdays. If you would like to see the State data, click here   

Date TOTAL Cases* PCR-positive Antigen-positive +/-* Deaths Hospitalized**
10/15/21 10,266 8,215 2,051 +83 105 589

*Total number of deaths decreased from 92 to 89 on 9/15/21. WA DOH made corrections to the data, as these deaths that were reported as preliminary numbers were people found to have died from other causes.

**Total PCR and antigen-positive cases known to Skagit County Public Health. +/- indicates increase or decrease in number of positive cases since last update.

***Total number of positive cases who were hospitalized at any point during their illness.

 





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OTHER DATA

Skagit County Historic Case Counts and Demographics

Washington State Department of Health Data Dashboard: Case counts and demographics

Public Health 2020 COVID-19 Data Report

Confirmed Cases by Skagit County Zip Code Map 





COVID-19 Choir Cluster Investigation

(Posted 5/12/20)
Skagit County Public Health has completed an investigation of the cluster of COVID-19 cases associated with a local choir event this March.

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WHO TO CALL

(Updated 8/13/21)

PUBLIC HEALTH: If you have questions for Skagit County Public Health, need help locating a vaccine or testing provider, or are in need of assistance picking up supplies or food while in isolation/quarantine, you can call (360) 416-1500 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 


DOH Hotline: If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #, or text Coronavirus to 211-211.

**For mask mandate complaints, please go through either the Governor's Office for general complaints or through L&I for business related complaints.

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PREVENTION

(Updated 9/20/2021)

COVID-19 is most likely to spread indoors, when people are in prolonged close contact, unmasked and unvaccinated. Until an individual is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, avoid indoor gatherings, practice physical distancing, and wear a mask. These are important practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19; however, they only work if unvaccinated individuals do them all the time, even during private social events.

The best tool for preventing COVID-19 is vaccination. Everyone 12 years of age and older are eligible to get vaccinated at this time. For local vaccine providers, visit our vaccine webpage.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after receiving the single dose J&J vaccine.

MASKS: Masks are required for all people 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public places in Washington State, including restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, as well as at outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, including sporting events, fairs, parades, and concerts.

Face masks remain an important tool in preventing transmission of the virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets when infected people, many of whom do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, cough, sneeze, or talk. Evidence shows that wearing a mask reduces an infected person’s chance of spreading the infection to others.

Children younger than 5 and people with certain medical conditions are not required to wear a mask. Children age 2-4 are not requird to wear a mask, but are strongly encouraged to do so when in indoor public spaces.

**For mask mandate complaints, please go through either the Governor's Office for general complaints or through L&I for business related complaints.

For more information, visit the CDC's website.

 

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ROADMAP TO RECOVERY// RE-OPENING GUIDANCE

(Updated 8/13/2021)

On June 30, 2021, Washington state moved beyond the Roadmap to Recovery Phased Reopening to fully reopen. Certian restrictions/guidances will remain in place for large events, such as spectator sporting events, but most businesses will be able to function at full capacity without restriction.

Note: The lifting of restrictions does not end the State of Emergency. Additional restrictions could be put back in place if Statewide ICU occupancy reaches 90 percent or higher.

Guidelines for long term care facilities, K-12 education, and childcare have been created separately by the WA Department of Health.
For more information see:

General guidelines for K-12 education (updated 8/11/2021)

Guidance for Child Care, Youth Development & Day Camps (updated 7/6/2021)

Guidance of Long Term Care Facilities



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IF YOU ARE SICK

(Updated 8/13/21)

Those experiencing COVID-like symptoms are strongly recommended to get tested, even if symptoms are mild.
Symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Click here for local testing options.

If you are experiencing moderate symptoms of COVID-19, including fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and cough, please seek care through your healthcare provider, or through a local urgent care; please call first before arriving. People experiencing shortness of breath or other serious symptoms need to seek medical consultation immediately. Call your provider, urgent care, or emergency department first before going in.

If you need to be seen for other medical concerns, please call your provider. Many are offering telehealth, and have taken extra measures to protect anyone that needs to be seen in person. Do not put off medical concerns.

If you are enrolled with Apple Health and do not know who your medical provider is, you can call your health plan directly for assistance. Nurse Helplines are available 24/7.

If you are uninsured or worried about your legal status and concerned about your symptoms, you may call Community Health Plan of Washington’s 24/7 Nurse Helpline at 1-866-418-2920.

GUIDANCE ON ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE

(Updated 8/17/2021)


Isolation and quarantine recommendations are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. Isolation and quarantine recommendations for vaccinated individuals continue to be updated by the CDC as we learn more about the real-world effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. For up to date information, please visit the CDC's website.

For unvaccinated individuals, Public Health's recommends the following:

Isolation
:

Isolation timelines have not changed. Individuals who test positive for COVID, or have COVID symptoms and a known exposure, must isolate for at least 10 days following symptom onset (or test date if they have never had symptoms). They can stop isolation when:

If an individual has COVID-19 and have symptoms, they can stop your home isolation when:

  • They’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication AND
  • Their symptoms have gotten better, AND
  • At least 10 days have gone by since the symptoms first If the individual has a severe immunocompromising condition, they should talk to their primary care provider. A care provider may recommend that immunocompromised persons isolate for longer.

If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, but have not had any symptoms, home isolation can end when:

  • At least 10 days have gone by since the date of the first positive COVID-19 test, AND
  • The individual has not developed any COVID-19 symptoms

Here is a handout on isolation from Skagit Public Health (and in Spanish).

Quarantine:

The CDC, Washington State Department of Health, and Skagit County Public Health still recommend a quarantine period of 14 days from last exposure. The incubation period of the COVID virus is still 2-14 days. Once exposed, it can take as long as 14 days for the virus to replicate sufficiently in the human body for an infected person to then become contagious. This timeline is still critical in high-risk settings where there is serious risk of superspreading or severe outcomes (e.g. jails, shelters, long-term care or assisted living, congregate settings, health care, and those living with immune compromised persons, etc). If an exposed person lives with or cares for someone who has COVID, the COVID+ person has to finish their infectious period (isolation) before calculating the quarantine period.

There are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine if there are financial, personal, or other hardships that prevent a 14-day quarantine from last exposure (see more here). These shortened options still bear the risk of developing and transmitting COVID; if at any point an exposed person develops COVID symptoms during the 14-day incubation period, they must stay home, isolate, and ideally seek testing.

If someone cannot manage a 14-day quarantine due to financial, personal, or other hardships, they can end quarantine in the following circumstances:

If a person who is in quarantine has no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10 from last exposure date. They still need to monitor for symptoms through day 14. If they develop symptoms, they need to isolate.

If a person who is in quarantine takes a test on day 5 or later that results as negative AND continues to have no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 7 from last exposure date. They still need to monitor for symptoms through day 14. If they develop symptoms, they need to isolate.

 


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FOR BUSINESSES/EMPLOYEES


(Updated 9/20/2021)

On June 30, 2021, Washington state moved beyond the Roadmap to Recovery Phased Reopening to fully reopen. Certian restrictions/guidances will remain in place for large events, such as spectator sporting events, but most businesses will be able to function at full capacity without restriction.

MASKS: Masks are required for all people 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public places in Washington State, including restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, as well as at outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, including sporting events, fairs, parades, and concerts.

Face masks remain an important tool in preventing transmission of the virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets when infected people, many of whom do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, cough, sneeze, or talk. Evidence shows that wearing a mask reduces an infected person’s chance of spreading the infection to others.

Children younger than 5 and people with certain medical conditions are not required to wear a mask. Children age 2-4 are not requird to wear a mask, but are strongly encouraged to do so when in indoor public spaces.

**For mask mandate complaints, please go through either the Governor's Office for general complaints or through L&I for business related complaints.

For more information, see links below:

General Information

Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Recommendations

WA Dept of Health Guidelines for Screening Employees and Visitors

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

King County Planning For Coronavirus

Guidence for Essential Businesses

WA.gov business and worker info

Financial and Benefits Resources

EDASC COVID-19 Resources for Businesses, Employees; COVID-19 Resource Guide

U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Information

Employment Security Department COVID-19 webpage

Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Governor’s Office Resources for Businesses

Setting up a safe and healthy workspace for teleworking

Governors Office Support for Small Businesses

If you are not able to work because of this pandemic, check out these resources from the state Employment Security Department:

Resources for filing for unemployment benefits that provide temporary income when you lose your job through no fault of your own.

The Employment Security Department has information for workers and employers impacted by COVID-19.

The state Employment Security Department has made significant changes to its website to help workers find the information they need including: 

A simplified website design for easier navigation to the pages people need most right now. 
A new guide to help self-employed, independent contractors and others affected by COVID-19 apply for regular unemployment benefits, expanded benefits (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) and submit weekly claims. 
A new checklist to get ready to apply for expanded unemployment benefits (pdf) (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). 

Disaster Cash Assistance Program: WA Department of Social and Health Services has opened coronavirus relief funding to people without citizenship status or proof of a Social Security number. People not eligible for other COVID-19 assistance programs can apply if they meet income and resource thresholds. Single individuals can claim up to $363, and the amount increases depending on the household size up to $1,121 for eight or more in a home. Applicants receive a one-time payment in a 12-month period.

Immigrant Relief Fund: This fund provides relief for individuals who are not eligible for federal COVID-19 assitance programs due to immigration status. You can find additional information in multiple language on the Washington state COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund website here.

Facilities Resources

Public Health - Seattle & King County and CDC have provided resources and facility-based guidance. In the interest of maximizing staff time for response efforts, we are sharing what our peer local health jurisdiction has recommended, rather than recreating materials or guidance.

How to Disinfect

Information for Solid Waste Providers

Information on handling biological waste

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations 

 

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FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS & SENIORS

(Updated 8/19/21)

Washington State is currently vaccinating all people ages 12 and up. The best tool to protect against COVID-19 is vaccination. Visit our vaccine webpage for more informaiton or to find a provider.

MASKS: As of August 23, 2021, masks will once against be required for all people 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public places in Washington State, including restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices.

Face masks remain an important tool in preventing transmission of the virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets when infected people, many of whom do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, cough, sneeze, or talk. Evidence shows that wearing a mask reduces an infected person’s chance of spreading the infection to others.

If exposed and in quarantine or if ill with COVID-19 and in isolation:

Your health and the health of those you care about are important, and it is recommended that you try to stay at home and away from other people during this time. Preparing for this requires some planning.

Make sure you can contact your regular healthcare provider when you need advice. Some clinics use the “patient portals” to communicate and most of them will have staff who can take your calls to give advice. Please keep in mind that they will likely be very busy, so try to anticipate your needs.

Make a list of medicines that you need regularly and ask the pharmacy or your healthcare provider if you can have an extra supply or prescription. Mail order is a good option to help avoid going to the store.

Have a plan for if you get sick. CDC has a form on which you can list your current health conditions and treatments: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/pdf/Complete-Care-Plan-Form-508.pdf. If you have a caregiver, determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.

Talk with your neighbors and plan for ways you can help take care of one another. Ask for support and help if you need it.

Consider stocking up on extra food or personal hygiene supplies. Call your local stores and national chains to see if they have a curbside pickup or home delivery option available. This will help you avoid going into the store where there are lots of people. If you are trying to avoid public places and have to go to the store, consider your ability to go during times when it is less busy.

Practice good health habits, including washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when you don’t feel well.

For more information on Meals and Wheels and frozen lunch pick-up program options, please call your local senior center: 

Mount Vernon Senior Center, 360-416-1585, Kristl Hobbs or Nickie McNulty
Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, 360-855-1531, Ellen Schweigert or Merrilee Komboukos
Burlington Senior Center, 360-755-0942 or 360-755-0102, Jackie Cress or Cheryl Kaufman
Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 360-293-7473, Amanda Miller or Annette Saling

If you are an at-risk individual who is on quarantine or isolation and you find yourself in need of assistance with getting/picking up supplies or food, or knowing where to call to get such resources delivered to you, call the Skagit County Resource Assistance Line at 1-360-416-1892 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.

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CARE FACILITIES

(Updated 8/13/21)

Skagit County remains a high risk county. If your family member or loved one is in a long term care facility, contact the facility directly for further information about their visitation rules and requirements.

Some helpful links:

Safe Start for Long Term Care Recommendations and Requirements: Adult Family Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Enhanced Services Facilities

A Safe Start Recommendations and Requirements: Certified Community Residential Services and Supports

Safe Start for Long Term Care Recommendations and Requirements: Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

 

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CHILDCARE

(Updated 9/17/21)

Child care providers must be able to meet health and safety requirements, which includes updated guidance available here. For more information, call Public Health's Division of Child & Family Services at (360) 416-1500.

RESOURCES FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS

Department of Children, Youth & Families COVID-19 Early Learning & Child Care page

Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction guidance for child care

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:  Schools and Child Care Programs

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open

Snohomish Health District child care page

Public Health Seattle & King County child care page

Sample Notification Letters for COVID-19 Exposures: English | Spanish


RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES

Family Fun ideas

Skagit Kid Insider

Skagit Bright Beginnings local resource page

ParentHelp123

Help Me Grow Washington resource line: 1-800-322-2558

Parent Trust for Washington Family Help line: 1-800-932-4673

Vroom

 


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SCAM ALERTS

(Updated 5/17/21)


Sadly, scammers seize the opportunity to take advantage of people in times like this. Please be cautious about potential scams. There are a lot of new websites popping up offering PPE, a place on the vaccine distribution list or a COVID-19 test in exchange for money or personal information. These are not real offers. Do not give out your credit card or personal medical informaiton to an unverified party.

Medicare coronavirus scam

Stimulus payment scams

COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips | FCC

If you spot a scam, please tell the Federal Trade Commission. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General also has information and resources for reporting scams.

 

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GENERAL RESOURCES FOR SKAGITONIANS

PUBLIC HEALTH: If you are an at-risk individual who is on quarantine or isolation, and you find yourself in need of assistance with getting supplies or food, call 360-416-1500 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.


LOCAL FOOD BANKS:
If you need food or supplies from local food banks, please call first to learn about revised pickup options and hours of operation. List of local food banks and contact information.


FOOD ASSISTANCE:
 Learn more about emergency food access during the COVID-19 response.
WIC: WIC is for pregnant people, new and breastfeeding moms, infants, and children under five. Find out if you’re eligible and sign up here.

SKAGIT COUNTY GROCERY AND PHARMACY RESOURCE INFORMATION: English | Spanish


HOUSING:
Skagit County has received $8.9 million in funding through the Washington State Department of Commerce and funded by Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP). The intention of this emergency funding is to prevent eviction for households who have been financially impacted by the COVID pandemic. Low income households living in Skagit County can receive funds to cover past due, current, and future rent as well as past-due and current due utility bills.

Funding is available for either renters or landlords who have lost income due to COVID-19 and are struggling to pay or collect rent. An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of an eligible household.

The Skagit County Rental Assistance Program is currently active. Information about the program and application is available here.


HEALTH INSURANCE:
If you recently lost your insurance due to a job loss or another event, you may be eligible to enroll for health insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Individuals who are currently uninsured can contact an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker or Enrollment Center to start the special enrollment process. These insurance experts are available by phone and can also answer any questions consumers may have and help them get enrolled. Consumers can find local experts using the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or visiting here.

If you are uninsured or worried about your legal status and concerned about your symptoms, you may call Community Health Plan of Washington’s 24/7 Nurse Helpline at 1-866-418-2920.

Washington State’s COVID-19 Resource Page has links to State data, opening phases, family and business guidance, and more.
General educational materials, in PDF form and multiple languages, are available here from the Washington State Department of Health.

Coronavirus and health insurance: Information about coronavirus and health insurance for consumers, insurers and medical providers is now  available in six languages.

Apple Health clients: The Health Care Authority is taking several steps to help ensure Apple Health (Medicaid) clients have access to high-quality physical and behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 



FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:
The pandemic is causing financial hardship and uncertainty for many of us.  If you are in need, here are a few resources that may help:

Employment Security Department has a brief video on YouTube to explain some of the changes that benefit Washingtonians.

The state’s coronavirus website has information to help sort through other benefits that may be available to you, such as paid family leave, workers compensation, and resources for small businesses.

Financial assistance for everyone

Frequently Asked Questions about the new federal stimulus package, known as the CARES Act.

 

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ANIMAL CARE AND FEEDING


Skagit County residents struggling to afford food for their animals may contact the following local organizations for assistance :

Household Pets- Humane Society of Skagit Valley by phone at 360-757-0445 or 360-757-2568 during business hours.

Livestock/large animals - Skagit Animals In Need – by phone at 360-708-9506 or by email at skagitanimalsinneed@gmail.com – for an application.

The Hay Burner Project at thehayburnerproject@gmail.com for assistance with equine needs.

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