4-7-20 4:17 pm
Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID19) | Español
Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in Skagit County.
Now is the time to follow Health Officer Recommendations and protect our community.
WHO TO CALL
(Updated 4/7/20 5:005pm)
PUBLIC HEALTH: If you have questions for Skagit County Public Health, you can call 1-360-416-1500 between 8:30am and 4:30pm 7 days a week.
RESOURCES/ASSISTANCE/FOOD: 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 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.
To report groups of people not practicing social distancing: Call 360-416-1892, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. They will pass the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
To report an open nonessential business: First, determine if the business is considered nonessential. Visit the Governor’s What’s Open and Closed page to see a list of business types. A supplemental memorandum provides more information about general construction. If you believe a nonessential business is in operation, you can fill out an online form to report the violation or call 360-416-1892, between 10 a.m. and 2 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. Click here to see a PDF list of local food banks and contact information.
Community Action is providing daily updates of services changes for members of the community needing assistance.
DONATIONS: Skagit Community Foundation at www.skagitcf.org has started a fund in conjunction with EDASC and United Way to accept donations that they will grant to nonprofits helping those in need due to this crisis. Local animal organizations are accepting donations of animal supplies as well.
DOH Hotline: If you have questions about what is happening in Washington or how the virus is spread, please call 1-800-525-0127. Phone lines are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
INSURANCE: Without insurance? The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals. This special enrollment period runs through April 8, 2020. Call 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 1-855-627-9604, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, or a local certified broker or navigator.
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.
Click HERE for Washington State’s COVID-19 Resource Page
General educational materials, in PDF form and multiple languages, are available here from the Washington State Department of Health.
(Updated 4/4/20 3:00pm)
Social distancing measures are the only tool we have to combat COVID-19 and protect our loved ones. If the community does not take these measures seriously, our health care system will be overwhelmed and not able to care for those who need it. By order of the Governor, the Skagit County community must do its part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:
- Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.
- Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).
- Going to work at an essential business.
- Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of 6 feet is maintained.
- What does it mean to stay home?
NOTE: You cannot gather socially with anyone other than your immediate household members, even outdoors. You cannot invite family members who live outside your household into your home.
If you are at-high risk of complications from COVID-19, you should self-isolate now. High-risk people include:
- People 60 and older
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
- People who have weakened immune systems
- People who are pregnant
- All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open.
- Effective immediately: All gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are prohibited. This applies to both private and public gatherings which include everything from sleepovers for children to weddings and funerals. All of these types of events must be postponed for public health and safety.
- Effective midnight on March 25, 2020, All businesses, except for essential businesses. Businesses that can operate using telework should continue to do so. For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the Governor’s Office will provide guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of "essential critical infrastructure workers." If a business believes that it is essential, or if it is an entity providing essential services or functions, they will be able to request designation as an essential business. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least 6 feet.
This order is effective until midnight on May 4, 2020 and may be extended or amended.
Food assistance: Learn more about emergency food access during the COVID-19 response.
COVID-19 CASES IN SKAGIT COUNTY RESIDENTS
(Updated 4/7/20 4:23 pm) Skagit County Public Health has reviewed information from confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), community calls to Public Health, and the science on this pandemic. From our review we would like Skagit County residents to be aware that community transmission of novel coronavirus is occurring in Skagit County. Confirmation of cases through laboratory screening is not able to keep pace with ongoing community transmission.
Beginning 4/5/20, case counts will be updated daily at 4:00pm
Please be advised that 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.
Washington State Data by County
Due to an increase in cases and a need to prioritize contract tracing, Public Health will no longer be providing more detailed information on cases.
*Total lab confirmed cases known to Skagit County Public Health.
**Total number of positive cases who were hospitalized at any point during their illness.
Note: This data is changing rapidly as labs conduct tests and discover new cases.
(Updated 4/6/20 5:00 pm)
In line with new Centers for Disease Control guidelines, Skagit County Public Health is now recommending that all people wear fabric masks in public. Skagit County Public Health Officer Dr. Leibrand is recommending that face masks/coverings be worn in public and for any group gathering, including workplaces, to maximize the opportunity to prevent the spread of infection. Dr. Leibrand recommends that all protective measures should be used for any group gathering, and that wearing a mask is considered an additional layer of protection. This recommendation is not a substitute for existing guidance to maintain 6-feet of physical distance from others and frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer. Wearing cloth face coverings will not prevent the spread of COVID-19 without these other protective measures.
For the full guidance document from DOH, click here.
IF YOU ARE SICK & TESTING INFORMATION
(Updated 4/7/20 4:00pm)
Healthcare providers with limited testing capacity need to prioritize testing for people with highest risk. Be advised that COVID-19 testing is for patients exhibiting symptoms only. Our hospital and clinical partners are not testing patients without symptoms at this time. Testing is occurring according to CDC and State guidelines. Many people will have mild to moderate symptoms of novel coronavirus and will not have laboratory confirmation of illness.
Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and cough. However symptoms can also start out very mild and can include fatigue, phlegm, shortness of breath, muscle or joint pain, sore throat, headache, chills, vomiting, stuffed nose, diarrhea, and nausea.
People with symptoms of novel coronavirus need to isolate themselves at home for at least 7 days or 72 hours (3 days) after fever and other symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. The end of symptoms must be marked from the time after you have stopped fever reducing medication. Having a positive test result does not change that advice. It is essential that all people with symptoms of novel coronavirus follow these isolation recommendations.
Do not go to the hospital or ER for testing unless your symptoms require emergency medical care.
We need to assure that our medical system is available to care for people with serious illness, including symptoms such as shortness of breath. People experiencing shortness of breath or other serious symptoms need to seek medical consultation. Call your provider, urgent care, or emergency department first before going in.
- 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.
Skagit Regional Health is offering Acute Respiratory Clinics at two locations. These are walk-in clinics, no appointment necessary.
Hours: Saturday – Sunday: 8:00am to 4:00pm
Monday – Friday: 7:30am to 7:30pm
- Riverbend Location, 2320 Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
- Main Location, 120 South 13th Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Island Hospital is offering a respiratory clinic at one location. Please call before going in.
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 2601 M Avenue, Suite C, Anacortes
United General Medical Clinic is offering a respiratory clinic at one location. You may call first or walk in.
PeaceHealth Sedro Woolley Clinic
1990 Hospital Drive, Suite 110
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
SKAGIT COUNTY SENIOR PROGRAMMING
The Washington Insurance Commissioner has posted important information on Medicare coverage and COVID-19.
Skagit County takes the Health Officer’s recommendations seriously and is adapting its senior services programming as follows based on the most recent guidance.
Meals on Wheels
There are currently no changes to the Meals on Wheels Program. Skagit County Public Health will continue daily hot meal delivery, Monday through Friday, and frozen weekend meals for Meals on Wheels clients as long as staffing and volunteer capacity allows.
Congregate Lunch Program
The congregate lunch program will be closed until further notice. Frozen meals are available for pick up. Please call your local senior center for details.
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
Senior Center Programs and Activities
All Senior Center programs and activities are discontinued until further notice. This includes after hour use of the Mount Vernon Senior Center. All groups and activities will be cancelled.
Public Health understands that these changes have significant impacts on community members. They are designed to protect the health of those at serious risk from complications due to COVID-19. Public Health is committed to ensuring seniors are able to access nutritious food during this very difficult time.
WHAT IS PUBLIC HEALTH DOING?
Since the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus was confirmed in the United States, Skagit County Public Health staff have been monitoring this outbreak and taking steps to prepare and protect our community.
Our first actions were focused on screening and monitoring travelers or others with high-risk exposures to try to contain the outbreak. We regularly communicate with our hospitals and clinics on screening and preparedness, and have staff available 24/7 on call to answer questions from health care providers. As the situation evolves, we are increasing our focus on community preparedness and response.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to work closely with hospitals, health care clinics, EMS, neighboring health departments, and our county emergency management. We will also work with schools, childcare facilities, senior centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to plan best practices to slow and mitigate serious impacts from the outbreak.
HOW TO PREPARE AND RESPOND
(Updated 4/3/20 2:45pm)
If you are able to donate or manufacture Personal Protective Equipment, we need your help. Please click here.
Practicing social distancing is the best way to reduce the risk of catching or spreading illness. Washington State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released guidance for individuals and organizations on COVID-19 preparedness and response. These trusted sources of information are the best way to stay informed on the novel coronavirus:
DOH has specific guidance for different sectors, such as employers, event planners, faith-based organizations and many others. It is especially important that employers, schools, parents, childcare providers, healthcare providers, travelers and people in high-risk groups stay informed on the latest guidance and resources from DOH and CDC.
This pandemic is causing financial hardship and uncertainty for many of us. If you need resources, here are a few resources that may help::
(Updated 4/7/20 4:00pm)
Without insurance? The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals. This special enrollment period runs through April 8, 2020. Call 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 1-855-627-9604, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, or a local certified broker or navigator.
The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner has additional important insurance information Insurance providers, including Medicare, are updating reimbursement policies to allow for telehealth.
The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner has additional important insurance information Insurance providers, including Medicare, are updating reimbursement policies to allow for telehealth.
(Updated 4/6/20 5:00 pm)
On April 6, Governor Inslee announced a statewide school closure through the end of the 2019-2020 academic school year . This applies to all schools - K-12 plus 2-year, 4-year, community and technical schools. Social distancing measures, such as school closures, are the best tool we have to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Skagit County.
Closing schools now will help significantly reduce the negative impacts of COVID-19 on our residents’ health. Although children are not likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they can spread it to others who are at high risk, like teachers, grandparents, and coaches. Additionally, as the number of COVID-19 cases in our community increases, it will be very difficult for schools to ensure adequate staffing levels.
Because our elders are at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19, please be respectful of people over age 60 trying to isolate themselves at home, even if they are begging to provide childcare. For the health and safety of the loving grandparents, consider whether it’s possible for your family to find an alternate source of backup childcare. Reach out to teenagers you trust, who are also out of school, and see if they are interested in helping out.
It is important that students and families continue to monitor communications from their local school districts.
The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has released additional guidance for schools.
(Updated 4/2/20 2:45 pm)
If you are able to donate or manufacture Personal Protective Equipment, we ned your help. Please click here.
The COVID-19 outbreak across the globe has - and will continue to have - significant health, social, and economic impacts on our community. We understand this impact will fall heavily on the business sector. Your business is an important part of our community.
Essential Employers should:
- Maximize telecommuting options for as many employees as possible
- Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits
- Stagger start and end times to reduce large numbers of people congregating at the same time
- Abide by the latest guidance for disinfection and cleaning
Resources for businesses, workers and employers are being made available every day.
Financial and Benefits 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.
FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS & SENIORS
(Updated 3/24/20 3:00pm)
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 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.
Persons who are older or who have underlying health conditions are at higher risk to develop complications from this virus. 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.
- 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.
Countries worldwide are reporting increasing numbers of cases. Those who have traveled to affected areas or have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 are at higher risk of becoming ill.
There are travel alerts for multiple countries. The list of countries with coronavirus-related alerts may grow and change quickly, and people are encouraged to check CDC travel alerts. Returning travelers from affected countries are advised to self-monitor for 14 days and, if they develop symptoms like a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, to self-isolate and seek medical guidance by calling their health care provider.
For those traveling locally and using public transit, SKAT has been changing their routes as needs change. Please contact SKAT at https://www.skagittransit.org/ to check routes before you leave.
(Updated 4/6/20 5:00pm)
Long-term care facilities are doing critical work to protect our loved ones and keep staff safe. As part of our healthcare system, these long-term care facilities are likely to see cases of COVID-19. Our entire healthcare system is impacted by COVID-19, and like hospitals and clinics, long-term care facilities are closely following WA Department of Health infection control measures. Long-term care facilities are also a state priority for receiving personal protective equipment. Skagit County Public Health and Department of Emergency Management continue to work closely with these facilities to assist with limiting the impacts of COVID-19.
This is an especially difficult time for those living in long-term care facilities and for those with loved ones housed in these facilities. Individual facilities may implement different protocols, but some statewide measures have already been put in place to protect vulnerable seniors who are more at risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
Governor Inslee issued new rules to protect residents of nursing homes, adult family homes, and assisted living facilities. The governor’s rules require that:
- Visitors, including friends or family, are not permitted. This prohibition does not apply to end of life situations or to visits by attorneys, administrative law judges, advocates or similar persons who represent a resident.
- Employees or volunteers must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift.
- People who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and who test positive for COVID-19 must be isolated from other people.
- Owners, operators, staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.
These rules remain in effect until April 9, 2020. Your loved one’s facility may have implemented stricter protocols based on guidance from the Washington State Department of Health. You can learn more about that guidance here.
(Updated 3/30/20 4:00pm)
Skagit County Public Health is strongly encouraging parents and guardians who can keep their children home at this time to do so. Keeping children at home, hiring a nanny or babysitter to provide one-to-one care, or sharing care responsibilities with other parents in groups of no more than two or three children will help reduce the risk of spreading this disease.
At this time, child cares have not been advised or required to close, although individual providers may decide to close due to staffing or health issues.
Child care providers play a crucial role in ensuring that those who cannot work remotely, like first responders and health care workers, still have a safe place for their children. Class sizes in child cares tend to be relatively small and child care facilities are generally smaller than schools.
Child care providers must be able to meet health and safety requirements, which includes updated guidance available here. Requirements include excluding sick employees from work; sending sick children home; meeting all CDC recommended cleaning and disinfecting procedures; and ensuring proper hand hygiene and sanitation are readily available to all children and staff.
Child care providers and community partners (libraries, parks and recreations, community centers) that are interested in organizing emergency child care for medical professionals and other priority workforce groups around the state, please contact EmergencyChildcare@dcyf.wa.gov
EmergencyChildcare@dcyf.wa.gov or 509-544-5712. Medical professionals are one of the priority categories that we must continue to serve and provide child care, especially in the health emergency our state is facing. Department of Children, Youth & Families is looking for partnerships with hospitals and child care providers who are serving medical professionals.
THOSE WHO NEED EMERGENCY CHILDCARE
Essential workers who need child care should call the Child Care Aware Family Center: at 1-800-446-1114 or go to their website.
Alternately, essential workers can contact their school districts directly (info below) or contact the Skagit Valley Family YMCA
The Skagit Valley Family YMCA is offering emergency childcare to first responders, healthcare providers, supply chain workers, grocery store staff and pharmacy workers. This drop-in service is available for school-age children (K-6). There is a short registration process prior to attending to verify employment. Children will need to be signed in and out by a guardian.
When: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30
Where: The Y @ 1901 Hoag Road, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Fees: Full and half-day rates available.
ADDITIONAL SITES PROVIDING CARE
LaVenture, Washington & Whitney are currently open for ages 1-6
Burlington is currently open for ages 30 months-6 years
Hours (all sites): 7am-6pm
For additional information, please contact districts directly:
- Anacortes School District
Child care contact: Nicole Mortimer, firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 333-9961
- Burlington-Edison School District
Child care for first responders, medical professionals and families in greatest need will be available starting next week.
- Concrete School District
District office: 360-853-4000
- Conway School District
If you are considered an essential worker in the following areas: health care, pharmacy, grocery store, or first responder and need assistance please click here.
- La Conner School District
We are working with local organizations who may be able to support this need. If you are a family who requested this service, we will be reaching out to you soon to determine your needs and see how we can help.
- Mount Vernon School District
Childcare is for school-age children of health care workers and first responders, for children who are currently enrolled in MV Schools. Learn more here.
- Sedro-Woolley School District
Child Care Services will begin April 1 for children of parents on the governor's essential personnel list. Childcare will be limited to students currently enrolled in the district in kindergarten through sixth grade. If you or someone you know falls into one of these categories, please fill out this online survey to apply for a spot.
ESDs statewide are populating a google map that shows childcare and meal service locations. Some data is still being added: https://www.esd113.org/family-services-map/
Nutrition in the NWESD Region: Due to extended school closures related to COVID-19, school districts in the NWESD region are distributing meals to students in need. For the most up-to-date information, visit your school district’s website. Distribution plans vary by individual school district. https://www.nwesd.org/news/school-district-meal-resources/
(Updated 4/6/20 5:00pm)
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; please be cautious about giving out your credit card information.
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.
(Updated 4/6/20 5:00pm)
-It is recommended that animals and their owners co-house as often as possible. It is also recommended to plan for animals in your care in case you or your entire house are unable to care for your pets.
-If a person in the home becomes ill, it is recommended that the ill individual limit their contact with the animal and have another family member care for the animal/s if available.
- Animals may be walked outside on a leash, but should not have contact with other animals or people as long as ill owner is on isolation. It is recommended that animal be bathed after isolation to remove any virus possible on the fur.
-If an owner is ill, hospitalized, or deceased and there is no known family to care for the animal, Animal Control, or Law Enforcement may be contacted for removal or care of the animal as deemed appropriate and safe.
Humane Society of Skagit Valley
- Donations of dog, cat, small animal feed can be left near the front door of the new building. If donors want a receipt they ask they leave a note with the donation and they will mail a receipt.
- Please ensure any donated food is for domestic household pets, and is not past its expiration date.
- Individuals who need dog, cat, or small animal feed should call the shelter at 360-757-0445 during business hours to arrange pick up or delivery of feed. Call 360-757-2568 if at the shelter and needing immediate assistance.
Red Rover Grant available for private boarding of pets.
Skagit Animals in Need (SAIN)
To donate livestock food OR request food for your livestock, please call or email SAIN to request an application form
Please contact the Hay Burner Project by email at email@example.com. This is a local equine food bank that is accepting donations and offering food to equine owners in need.
The pandemic has created many new civil legal needs in Washington. Legal aid programs are ready to help low-income people and displaced workers affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
General information and assistance:
- Northwest Justice Project’s Know Your Rights Guide to COVID-19 on www.WashingtonLawHelp.org
- CLEAR statewide hotline 1-888-201-1014 /over 60 can also call 1-888-387-7111
Unemployment benefits, paid family and medical leave:
COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Complaint form: The Office of the Attorney General created a hotline for complaints about evictions in violation of the governor’s moratorium on certain residential evictions during the COVID-19 public health emergency Mortgage assistance available for those affected by COVID-19: The Department of Financial Institutions is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 restrictions.