April 24, 2020
Stay Home, Stay Healthy Updates for Skagit County
Today, Public Health reported 4 new laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19. Daily updates and total case counts are available at skagitcounty.net/coronavirus. Case counts are updated at 4 p.m.
Starting next week, we will be sending these newsletters out on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Visiting your doctor during COVID-19
First: THANK YOU for staying home and staying healthy. We appreciate all the community members who have drastically altered their daily routines in order to help protect our community. Thank you so much for your efforts.
One thing that continues to be essential is visiting your doctors and seeking emergency care when needed. Emergency department visits are down nearly 40 percent from the same time last year, according to the Washington State Department of Health. As more people stay home, it’s possible that fewer accidents are happening. It’s also possible that people who have lost jobs or health coverage are concerned about the costs of an emergency room visit. People may also be avoiding hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19.
If loss of health care coverage is a reason you haven’t sought medical care, please visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org to see what coverage you’re eligible for. Losing a job or insurance is an eligible life event, meaning you can enroll outside of the open enrollment period. Additionally, through May 8, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has a special enrollment period for some individuals without insurance.
It is important that you continue seeing your doctor and seeking medical care for your needs as they arise. Vaccinations, management of chronic conditions, prenatal checkups, and routine or acute care should not wait! Please call or visit a doctor’s office or hospital to get the care you and your family need.
Our hospitals are working diligently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are well prepared to treat patients safely and comprehensively. Here are some things that Skagit Regional Health, PeaceHealth United General and Island Hospital are doing to keep patients safe:
- Skagit Regional Health and Island Hospital have set up acute respiratory clinics specifically to care for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. This allows for possible COVID-19 patients to be separated from other, non-COVID-19 patients. For more information, visit Skagit Regional Health or Island Hospitals’ websites.
- Separating patients in the emergency department and hospital so that non-COVID patients are separated from COVID-19 patients. This also helps limit the number of staff interacting with COVID-19 patients and allows hospitals to prevent potential spread.
- Putting masks on patients entering emergency departments or the respiratory clinics to prevent transmission.
- Conducting temperature screenings for all patients, visitors, and caregivers at hospitals and clinics using non-contact thermometers.
- Limiting visitation to patients. This allows staff to focus attention and limited personal protective equipment resources on patients. Exact limitations vary by hospital, so please check Skagit Regional Health, PeaceHealth United General and Island Hospitals’ websites for additional information.
- Promoting telehealth appointments to keep patients connected with their doctors during this time.
New webinar: The Economic Resiliency Team, part of the state Joint Information Center, holds a weekly webinar with key stakeholders in collaboration with the Association of Washington Business. The second webinar in a series is now online, providing news and information to help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine discuss the State's efforts to help businesses and workers. The first episode is also archived online.
- Starting Monday, April 27, Skagit County will open a drive-through testing site in Mount Vernon. Testing is open to all adults who have symptoms, who have been referred by their doctor, or who are a healthcare worker or first responder. Learn more or make an appointment on our website.
- To better support those applying for unemployment benefits, the Washington Employment Securities Department has released a new phone number for people to call with questions. If you have questions and are not yet ready to apply, you can reach ESD at 833-572-8400.