The Kittitas County Public Health Department shared the following:

“If you have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please contact the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at509-933-8315. We are asking the public to call the EOC. Our front desk staff will continue to provide required Kittitas County Public Health Department services — all COVID-19 concerns will only be handled in the EOC.”

Corporate Food Service Partners:

Hello.  There have been considerable local, state, and national updates to COVID-19 mitigation since our update last week.  We hope your education efforts with your employees have kept your staff informed, secure, and healthy.  Please continue to use WA DOH Novel Coronavirus Outbreak website for general information and reach out to your local health department if you have specific needs related to an individual store location in Washington.

We have three updates for you this week:

  1. Our COVID-19 FAQ page for retail food establishments is now posted on the DOH website:  While most personal health information related to COVID-19 is housed on the main WA DOH Novel Coronavirus webpage, we will add information specific to food establishments on this page. This is a dynamic document and we appreciate your suggestions and questions for addition.  We are also reviewing research conducted on the virus and will be adding to the site.  We will keep you posted when updates are posted.
  2. Please note that our guidance from last week has changed for individuals that had fever with cough or shortness of breath (but no positive test result or exposure to someone with COVID-19).  Previously guidance included staying home/away from others until symptoms have gone for at least 24 hours, but this is increased to 72 hours of home isolation after symptoms have gone away.   These direct links to our website include answers to frequent questions we’ve received on employee health related to COVID-19.
  1. The Association of Food and Drug Officials is offering a webinar related to coronavirus designed for a regulatory audience on Monday that might interest you.  Please see the AFDO resource page for more information:

Here are two questions asked by you that we added to our FAQ this week. We are also working on information related to supply shortages and expanded explanations of  sanitizing and disinfecting. Please let us know if you have questions that we can help answer.

What is the role of money in the spread of COVID-19?

According to CDC, money is not likely a primary mode of transmission of coronavirus, however, it may be possible to transfer the virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. Customers and employees are encouraged to properly wash their hands often throughout the day, including after handling money, and always before they eat or touch their eyes, nose, and mouth.

Can a food worker who is symptom-free get tested? What if they’ve been asked to self-isolate for 14 days because they meet the definition of close contact to someone that might have COVID-19?

At this time, we do not recommend testing for people without symptoms because it is hard to interpret negative results. If someone has been exposed but is not yet sick, it may just be too early to detect the virus. In addition, a negative result would not decrease the isolation period. If the local health authority or health care provider indicates isolation, please complete the full 14 days to help ensure we limit the spread of the virus in our community.

In closing, several key points from last week’s update are consistent:  Actively monitor for symptoms, stay home when sick, wash hands often, don’t touch our faces, clean and sanitize regularly, be sure to get rest, and know that your efforts help “flatten the curve” to reduce illnesses in our community.

Again, thank you for your partnership and please reach out if you have questions or see ways we can help increase knowledge.

Your friends in food safety (and the general health of you and your teams).

Joseph M Graham

Food Safety Program Supervisor

Environmental Public Health

Washington State Department of Health

360-236-3305 |