As of May 14, there are 17,951 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state, an increase of 178 cases in the last 24 hours. you can visit the Department of Health’s website for cases by county, demographics, and more.
Statewide Response Updates
Washington State COVID-19 Joint Information Center telebriefings will continue to happen on Tuesdays at 2:30 PM PST, but we will no longer hold the Thursday briefings. Rest assured we will continue to keep you updated on any emergent issues.
Governor Inslee extended four proclamations in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamations impact truck driver hours, CDL licensing waivers, garnishment and accrual of interest, community associations meetings and late fees. A letter from the Legislature extends proclamation 20-49 until May 21 and proclamations 20-48 and 20-51, until May 31.
The statutory waivers and suspensions cited in 20-22.1 are extended until June 14, to align with the federal extension. The four proclamations are as follows:
- Truck Driver Hours
- CDL Licensing Waivers
- Garnishment and Accrual of Interest
- Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees
Gov. Jay Inslee today issued guidance for construction, golf and photography in Phase 2. Through the Washington “Safe Start” plan, more businesses and activities will re-open in phases, with adequate safety and health standards in place. Each phase will be at least three weeks.
Additionally, counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply for a variance to move to Phase 2 of “Safe Start” before other parts of the state. County variance applications will be approved or denied by the secretary of the Department of Health. Nine counties have received the variance.
For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, all construction, including new work, is allowed, effective May 15.
Inslee also issues guidance for partially resuming dine-in restaurants and tavern industry in Phase 2.
Construction guidance documents:
Inslee also released guidance today regarding professional photography services which may resume, effective May 15, for counties approved to move to Phase 2.
Photography guidance documents:
Today’s guidelines on golf updates the original guidance for golf requirements in Phase 1. For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, additional golf activities may resume effective May 15.
Golf guidance documents:
- Golf Phase 1 Clarifications and Phase 2 Requirements
- Phase 1 Golf Restart Clarifications to COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations
- Phase 2 Golf Restart COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations
Don’t be fooled by misinformation
Public health officials regularly ask people who are sick with an infectious disease or may have been exposed to an infectious disease to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. This strategy has been used for decades to combat the spread of tuberculosis, measles, Ebola and SARS. Our experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and with other infectious diseases shows the vast majority of people we ask are willing to follow recommendations and isolate or quarantine themselves. Isolation and quarantine at home continues to be the best option and our recommendation for those who can do so safely.
However, all of these actions are voluntary and confidential, despite the misinformation being spread by some. We hope people will continue to protect their families and communities by following public health recommendations. For more information visit here.
Voluntary contact information as part of phased reopening
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement today on voluntary contact information for patrons as part of phased reopening.
“We are asking visitors to voluntarily provide contact information in case of COVID-19 exposure. We only need information for one person per household. If we learn you may have been exposed to COVID-19 during your visit, the information will only be shared with public health officials. They will contact you to explain the risk, answer questions and provide resources. This information will not be used for any other purpose, including sales or marketing. If this list is not used within 30 days, it will be destroyed,” Inslee said. “This will not be required of anyone.”
There is no mandatory isolation/quarantine order in place
Contact Tracing is completely voluntary by both businesses and patrons. While local health officers and the state secretary of health have authority to issue isolation and quarantine orders, the law is designed with protections for people’s rights in mind. Local health officers must first seek voluntary compliance before issuing an order, unless doing so would itself create a risk of serious harm, which may be the case if a large group of people needs to be ordered into isolation or quarantine. Orders may be issued to groups of people, though each has hearing rights individually. For more information here is the CDC guidelines for contact tracing or click to read State Board of Health’s rules for contact tracing.
Helping kids to wear cloth face coverings
Are your children wearing pants? Do they know where their shoes are? We’re off our routine, the kids aren’t really leaving the house and some of us have changed our standards for appropriate daily wear. However, now that the weather is getting warmer and the state parks are open, the outdoors are beckoning. Time to get the kids in shoes and cloth face coverings. Click here for more information.
2020 Wildland Fire Season & COVID-19 telebriefing
Warm, sunny days have arrived for the state of Washington. This weather also marks the beginning of the wildfire season as the grasslands and forests begin to dry out. The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation that has not been encountered before in wildland fire management. This telebriefing covers ongoing planning efforts and considerations for this wildfire season from state and local natural resource, forestry, and wildland fire officials. Click here to watch.
Whitman County approved to move to Phase 2
Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved the variance application for Whitman County to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan. This brings the total to 9 counties. Businesses in the counties approved to move into Phase 2 must wait to reopen until guidance has been released for their industry on how to keep workers and the public safe. They must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in that guidance to reopen. Click here for more information
To apply for a variance, counties must have a population of less than 75,000 and no new cases of COVID-19 in the last three weeks. The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals, and the county commission/council. Learn more about county variances and the statewide response to COVID-19 at coronavirus.wa.gov.
Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can contact Washington 211 COVID-19 call centers at 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.
Interested in volunteering during disasters and significant events like COVID-19? Register with the Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.