Inslee and Wiesman announce pause on county progressions to Phase 4

June 27, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. John Wiesman announced today the Washington State Department of Health is putting a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 though the “Safe Start” phased approach. Rising cases across the state and concerns about continued spread of the COVID virus have made Phase 4, which would essentially mean no restrictions, impossible at this time. 

Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause. 

“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state,” Inslee said. “We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.” 

“The best thing Washingtonians can do to slow the spread of the virus and save lives is to wear facial coverings, continue to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices,” Wiesman said. “Now that testing supplies are available, it is critical to get a test if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.”

Wiesman sent a letter to local and tribal health leaders throughout the state on Saturday.

The letter states:

“Dear Local and Tribal Health Leaders,

“I am writing to let you know Governor Inslee and I have decided to pause progression to Phase 4 statewide. 

“We decided to prohibit any counties from moving into phase 4 at this time due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state and significant rebounds in COVID-19 activity in several other states. The changes between Phase 3 and Phase 4, especially with regards to gathering size and occupancy rates, could further increase the spread of COVID-19 in our state, even in communities that have very low rates of disease. The progress we’ve made thus far is at risk, therefore we are making the prudent choice to slow down our phased approach to reopening.

“In the next couple of weeks, I will work with Governor Inslee and his team to assess the need for a modified approach for moving beyond Phase 3. I will communicate that decision to you when we have more information. Counties that are currently able to apply to move from Phase 1 or 2 are still able to apply when eligible.

“Thank you for your continued work to protect the health of Washingtonians during this unprecedented time.”

To read the full News Release on the Governor’s website.

Governor’s office public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Governor’s office press inquiries | 360.902.4136
Jessica Baggett, Dept. of Health | 360.789.0058 

Inslee announces statewide mask mandate

June 23, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman today announced a statewide mandatory face covering order that will take effect Friday, June 26.

The order comes after a Saturday announcement of a mandatory mask proclamation for Yakima County starting this week. The order was in response to reports of increasing case counts and a potential overwhelming of the county’s health care system. 

After subsequent reports of cases increasing in additional counties, the governor and Wiesman extended the face covering requirement today to include the entire state of Washington.

“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us,” Inslee said during a press conference Tuesday. “Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses.” 

Starting Friday, every Washingtonian must wear a facial covering when in a public space, as mandated by the public health order signed by Wiesman. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces. 

“The science is clear that when we use face coverings, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze. While some of us are wearing face coverings in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Washington’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if, together, we act safely and follow health recommendations,” Wiesman said.

Read the full story on the governor’s Medium page

Additional Farmworker Testing Increases COVID-19 Counts

Chelan Falls Uptick in Case Count

June 11, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – Recent testing at an agricultural congregate housing facility in Chelan Falls resulted in a slight uptick of positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Chelan County. Initial testing showed some workers had positive COVID-19 test results and that led the agricultural facility to test all members of the congregate housing unit. The five (5) farmworkers who recently tested positive for COVID-19 are currenlty in isolation.

Chelan-Douglas Health District is working with the agricultural industry to educate employees and employers about the COVID-19 virus. Public health urges all public members, especially those who are in some way connected to anyone in the agriculture industry, to continue to take public health precautions seriously. These are ways you can help stop the spread:

  • Wear a mask in public;
  • Wash your hands often or use hand-sanitizer;
  • Keep you distance from others in public – 6 feet if possible;
  • Limit entire families going to a grocery store;
  • Avoid social gatherings with people outside of your household; and
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have a fever, chills, dry cough, headache or body ache, recent loss of taste or smell.

Please educate yourself and help educate others. Together, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and work our way towards healthier and safer communities. The Chelan-Douglas Health District urges you to Be a Protector – Not an infector. For more information, visit www.cdhd.wa.gov and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

2020-17 Chelan Falls Uptick in Case Count Press Release PDF – English and Spanish

Chelan-Douglas Health District Approved for a Modified Phase 1 Reopening

June 11, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – Yesterday, June 10, at 5:30 p.m., Secretary Wiesman of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) approved Chelan-Douglas Health District’s (CDHD) variance application to move to a Modified Phase I of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan. The approval takes effect immediately and includes specific conditions and limitations for activities and businesses:

Recreation: Outdoor recreation involving 5 or fewer people outside your household (not including an instructor, with 6 foot distancing (camping, beaches, exercise classes, etc.)
Gatherings: Allowed outdoors only, with 5 or fewer people outside your household per week
Travel: Essential travel and limited non-essential travel for Phase I & II permissible activities
Businesses/employers:

  • Remaining manufacturing
  • Additional construction phases
  • In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)
  • Retail – essential or otherwise, may operate at 50% of building occupancy with Phase II requirements regarding physical distancing and other infection prevention measures; businesses are responsible for controlling access appropriately. (Note that building occupancy capacity is based on Fire Marshal’s occupancy limits.)
  • Real estate at 25% of building occupancy; indoor services limited to 30 minutes
  • Professional services/office-based businesses at 25% of building occupancy; indoor services limited to 30 minutes for customers (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Hair and nail salons/barbers at 25% of building occupancy
  • Pet grooming at 25% of building occupancy
  • Restaurants/taverns:
    • All outdoor food and beverage service may operate subject to Phase II guidance at 50% outdoor capacity with all tables/chairs maintaining at least 6 feet of distance and table size no larger than 5 persons. Additional or new outdoor seating would be allowed subject to maintaining 6 feet distance between table and chairs, as well as receiving any city permit needed.
    • All indoor food and beverage services may operate subject to Phase II guidance with the exception that at no time may the number of customers be at more than 25% indoor capacity with all tables/chairs maintaining at least 6 feet of distance and table size no larger than 5 persons. Furthermore, no bar-area seating is allowed.

“Businesses must carefully study and understand the Secretary’s letter and the other advisories which apply to their business,” said Barry Kling, Administrator of Chelan-Douglas Health District. To view a full list of the conditions and the Secretary’s letter, visit: http://cdhd.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/DOH-Approval-of-Modified-Phase-I.pdf. Businesses now closed may reopen as soon as they are able to implement the standards issued by the state and operate within the limitations from the Secretary’s letter as described above. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce has a tool kit for businesses to use to help them prepare for reopening, it can be found at: http://wenatchee.org/covid-recovery-council.

This reopening guidance is not only a matter of what businesses do. What we do as individuals counts. “We still need to protect each other – not only because it is a basic civic responsibility but also because controlling COVID-19 is the best way to reopen our community and keep it that way,” added Kling. Here is some guidance for individuals to do to help keep our Valley reopened:

  • Wear face masks in public
  • Maintain at least 6 feet apart from others whenever possible
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Avoid groups of more than five people outside of your household members

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.cdhd.wa.gov and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

COVID-19 Resources:
Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
Chelan-Douglas Health District
Washington State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Modified Phase 1 Reopening Press Release PDF – English & Spanish

Board of Health Approves CDHD Reopening Proposal

Zoom meeting is hacked during discussion

June 5, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – A special online “Zoom” meeting for the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Health to review the reopening proposal was interrupted by hackers on June 5, 2020. The meeting was reconvened and recorded for members of the public to listen to the Board of Health vote on a new variance request to the Washington State Department of Health for consideration of a modified Phase 2 reopening. You can access the audio file at: http://cdhd.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/BOH-6.5.20-Mtg-Audio.mp4.
Under the proposal, businesses would be allowed to reopen with reduced customer capacity. This includes:

  • In-store retail: 50% of capacity with social distancing and employee masking and gloves;
  • Personal services & professional services: 25% of capacity;
  • Restaurants: outdoor dining at 50% of capacity, indoor dining at 25% capacity and a requirement that tables be six feet apart;
  • Pet grooming: 25% of capacity;
  • Gatherings: no more than five non-household members attending;
  • Recreation, fitness & camping: outdoor only, no more than five non-household members and maintaining six feet of social distancing.

For a complete list of the reopening provisions and a complete copy of the reopening application, please visit: http://cdhd.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/Chelan-Douglas-Reopening-Application-6-5-2020.pdf.

Chelan and Douglas counties are among only a handful of counties that remain in Phase 1 under the Governor’s Safe Start order. The Board of Health anticipates hearing soon on the proposal. For more information, visit www.cdhd.wa.gov.

Contact: Veronica Farias
Phone: (509) 886-6427
E-mail: [email protected]

Press Release June 5, 2020 PDF

Inslee issues Safe Start proclamation for county approach to re-opening

May 31, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today issued his Safe Start proclamation as the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is set to expire tonight at 11:59 PM. 

The governor announced Safe Start — Washington’s Phased Reopening plan on Friday during a press conference where he detailed the county-by-county approach. 

“Thanks to Washingtonians pulling together, we can transition fully to our county-by-county approach to safely reopen,” Inslee said. “If we remain diligent and committed to more effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will continue to save lives and open up more businesses while protecting our friends and neighbors.”

Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically. 

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page. 

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136

Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Health Addresses Safe Reopening

Board Clarifies role of the Health District

May 28, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – The Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Health passed Resolution 2020-004 on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, calling for the gradual reopening of local businesses and organizations in a way that avoids unnecessary health risks. The board emphasized that the Health District’s priority is to work in partnership with businesses, organizations and families to implement effective COVID-19 safety measures as reopening proceeds.

COVID-19 Resources:
Chelan-Douglas Health District
Chelan-Douglas Emergency Operation Center
Washington State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Press Release PDF – English
Press Release PDF – Spanish

Inslee announces religious and faith-based services guidance

May 27, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for restarting religious and faith-based services for Phases 1 and 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan. 

Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.

“As I have said before, this crisis may affect our ability to physically connect but it should not affect our power to strengthen our emotional connections,” Inslee said during a press conference Wednesday. “I have been heartened to see the ways religious groups found to not only continue to connect, but to give back and to support their communities in this time of suffering and uncertainty.” 

The religious services covered include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings and funerals.

The guidance is available here.  Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136

Inslee Announces Restart of all Medical Services in Washington

May 18, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for all elective procedures to resume. Each medical or dental practice will assess their own readiness and their communities’ COVID-19 activity to determine whether, and to what degree, they will reopen.

“Our health care system was one of the first in the nation to be hit with COVID-19 cases when there was much we were still learning about the novel virus. Because of the great work of our health care system and communities, we managed the peak of COVID-19 activity in April without having a crisis in our hospitals,” Inslee said. “This plan was developed with many partners in our health care delivery system — including nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, dentists, community health clinics and hospitals.”

Aside from being determined by the COVID-19 activity in different regions of the state, the reopening of health care services are based on three standards of care. Readiness will be determined by the availability of PPE, hospital capacity and more. 

Under this plan, each health care or dental provider must meet certain criteria to be able to begin performing elective procedures. Each provider evaluates their readiness to begin and must maintain standards to continue to see patients. Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136

Chelan County Press Release

Public Notice relating to Chelan-Douglas County Phase 2 Proposal Letter to Governor Inslee

May 14, 2020

During our Wednesday, May 13th Chelan County Commission meeting, Chelan and Douglas County Commissioners approved a detailed proposal requesting that our two-county region be allowed to move to an incremental version of Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Washington plan as soon as possible. Included in the packet are letters of support from local governments, small businesses, faith leaders, and other community leaders and organizations.

Letter to Governor – Phase Plan PDF

Chelan and Douglas Variance Request PDF