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March 3, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Skagit County Public Health is closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Washington State. While there are no cases in Skagit County at this time, many people are understandably concerned and have questions about the virus. The Washington State Department of Health has set up a call center, (call 1-800-525-0127 and press #) to answer questions on the status of the outbreak in Washington, how the virus spreads, and what to do if you have symptoms.  The risk of COVID-19 to the public is still considered low, but this may change as cases begin to appear more frequently around the state.

How to protect yourself from COVID-19:

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus virus that has now been identified around the world. For many individuals, coronaviruses cause mild, flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever. This type of virus is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through: the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact like shaking hands, or touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. While your health care provider may ask you to wear a mask in the waiting room while you are sick, it is not recommended to wear a mask in public for protection against COVID-19
Some things you can do to protect yourself and others include: 

  • If you have mild symptoms of a respiratory illness, stay home and avoid close contact with others. Please save visits to the emergency room for emergencies.
  • If your symptoms worsen, call your primary health care provider to discuss your symptoms.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.

How to be prepared at home:

  • Have a plan to care for family members should they get sick or schools/offices be closed.
  • Know your workplace telecommute options and school/daycare policies.
  • Stock up on food supplies and prescription medications now, so you don't have to leave your home if you or someone in your household becomes infected.

What Skagit County Public Health has done to prepare for COVID-19:
Though there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Skagit County, cases are likely to arise as the situation evolves around the state. Skagit County Public Health has prepared to address COVID-19. Public Health has been working very closely with the Washington State Department of Health, healthcare facilities, local schools and a number of other organizations to ensure preparedness, as the outbreak in Washington continues to expand. Some other preparedness activities by Skagit County have included:

  • Activating our incident command structure to streamline response to COVID-19.
  • Facilitating testing of suspected cases as necessary. Note: all Skagit tests have been negative thus far.
  • Actively communicating with and providing 24/7 response to hospitals and school administrators to maximize collaboration.
  • Working with other local government agencies and sectors to coordinate preparedness.

Recommendations from reliable sources, such as DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are an important part of preparedness, and more information can be found on these websites:

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Skagit County, visit our website, at