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Island County News for 11/25/2020

by Island County 25th November 2020

 

 

This page is constantly being updated:  Please check back for the latest

11/25/2020

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We update guidance bi-weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Numbers and data

 

At the time of this writing, Island County has 583 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12 deaths. This number is expected to change after this evening’s online case count update. A case rate of 152.09 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was calculated for the two-week period of 11/08/20-11/21/20. The message from DOH health officials remains the same: disease transmission is widespread throughout WA and we are experiencing the highest risk we have been at throughout the entire pandemic. Hospital occupancy is rapidly increasing alongside spikes in transmission. “This situation is extraordinarily urgent, and we need everyone in Washington State to take action now to stop the spread of COVID-19 before our hospitals and frontline healthcare workers are overwhelmed,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy.

 

Holiday Celebrations

 

As we continue to move through this holiday season, many of us have encountered difficult decisions and disappointment. Island County Public Health sincerely thanks all of our dedicated community members who have made responsible choices and found creative ways to boost morale, support one another, and remain persistent throughout this challenging pandemic. We know this is not easy - please continue to protect the people you are thankful for during this upcoming holiday and know that your efforts are meaningful and appreciated.

 

Due to the recent surge in COVID transmission, gathering with friends and family outside of your household is strongly discouraged at this time. Current statewide restrictions prohibit indoor gatherings with people residing outside of your household, unless all individuals quarantine for 14 days prior to the event.  Outdoor gatherings must be limited to five people from outside of your household. Testing facilities and data processing systems do not have capacity to support additional demand for testing due to individuals choosing not to follow current guidance. If you choose to gather, please follow the recommended 14-day quarantine rather than seeking COVID testing.

 

Coping with COVID

 

The eight-month pandemic response has introduced great uncertainty and additional strain into our lives in a variety of ways. If you find yourself reacting more negatively to things you experience, you are not alone. Feeling angry or frustrated is a normal response during a pandemic, but there are things you can do to manage those emotions. Many support services are available at this time, including:

 

  • DOH has launched a “Coping with COVID” podcast series with expert hosts discussing the causes of strong emotional reactions and what we can do to feel more in control during stressful times.

 

  • If you or anyone you know is having difficulties managing stress, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211 Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m) and Saturdays and Sundays (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method. Resources and self-help tips are also available on org.

 

  • If you are feeling anxious, scared, or are in need of resources related to mental health, please call the Island County Helpline at 360.678.2346 (M-F 10am – 6pm) or complete the online referral form.

 

Financial support for families and businesses

 

On Friday, Nov. 20, Gov. Inslee and Lisa Brown (Director of WA State Commerce) announced additional financial support funds for families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Business support grants will focus on the hardest-hit industries. Information about rental and energy assistance is also available. Included in the $135 million economic support is:

 

  • $70 million in business support grants - $50 million for a new round of Working Washington grants and $20 million for businesses who applied for earlier resiliency grants.
  • $30 million for the recovery loan program - this longer-term financing tool will be available early next year.
  • $20 million for rental assistance.
  • $15 million for energy bills for low-income households.

 

Vaccine availability

 

There is no FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine at this time.  Once a safe and effective vaccine is approved, the vaccine will be distributed to critical populations in phases, as supply becomes available. A date for widely available vaccine is still unknown at this time. While we do not yet have an available COVID-19 vaccine, we can all take action to get our flu vaccines! As we move through flu season, we need to save local healthcare resources for the COVID-19 response by doing our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu.

 

Embrace available resources

 

  • The Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) intends to prevent evictions that would contribute to the spread of the virus by paying past due, current due and future rent. The ERAP is targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably. To request assistance, please complete the online application or call before December 31, 2020 (Whidbey Residents – (360) 678-8284; Camano Residents – (360) 629-5257 ext. 1009). If you are struggling with Homelessness, call the Housing Support Center at (360) 678-8284.
  • As the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, more families are taking advantage of free meals provided by school districts. While all students may be provided free meals through the end of December, families are strongly encouraged to complete a School Meal Application now. This application determines a student’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. Read more here.
  • The WA State Department of Commerce is collaborating with organizations to provide support through the Small Business Resiliency Assistance Support is available for small businesses and nonprofits in a variety of ways, including recovery and re-opening planning, employee retention, and translation services.

 

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page. The Island County call center may be reached at 360.678.2301; Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

 


 

Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization Vehicle Electrification Study

 

The Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization is conducting a survey to determine current use and need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and increase electric vehicle awareness for Island County residents and visitors. This survey is intended to get a sense of the general level of awareness of electric vehicles and their benefits, and to pinpoint locations where charging stations are most desired.

 

Please submit your responses by November 30, 2020

 

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW … https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V37RQRL

 


STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19  (CORONAVIRUS) 

 

Due to the exponential growth in new cases of COVID-19 over the past two weeks throughout  Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee has issued an executive order containing new mitigation  measures that go into effective Monday, November 16 at midnight through December 14,  2020. Details of the order can be found on the Governor’s Medium page. 

 

The new mitigation measures apply to the entire state. If an activity/business is not listed, it  should follow its current guidance. All K-12/higher education and childcare operations are  exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not  apply to courts and court related proceedings. The new mitigation measures are as follows: 

 

  • Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited. 
  • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 5 people from outside your household.
  • Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size limited  to 5 for outdoor dining. These restaurant restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m.  Wednesday, November 18.
  • Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may  still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above. Drop  off childcare in fitness facilities and gyms are closed.  
  • Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service. 
  • Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only  professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed.  Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer. 
  • Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still permitted  and must follow the current drive-in movie theater guidance.  
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.  
  • Real Estate open houses are prohibited.  
  • Wedding and Funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more  than 30 people. 
  • In-store retail limited to 25% indoor occupancy and must close any common/congregate non-food related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is  closed.
  • Religious services limited to 25% indoor occupancy no more than 200 people,  whichever is fewer. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service.  Soloists are permitted to perform. Facial coverings must be worn at all times by  congregation members and no congregational singing. 
  • Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when  possible, and to close offices to the public. If they remain open, occupancy is restricted  to 25%.
  • Personal services are limited to 25% of maximum occupancy. 
  • Long-term Care Facilities outdoor visits only. Exceptions can be made for essential  support person and end-of-life care.  
  • Youth (school and non-school) and adult sporting activities limited to outdoor only for  intra-team practices, masks required for athletes.  

 

These measures were chosen based on the most current science about how COVID-19 is  transmitted. The aim of these measures is to limit close, indoor contact among individuals  where the risk of transmission is highest. The Governor recognizes that these measures will  cause financial hardship for many businesses and is exploring ways to mitigate these impacts. We need all residents of Island County to do their part in following these measures in order to  limited transmission in our county and reduce the burden on our healthcare system. 

 

For additional information: 

 

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and  Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm) 

WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

 

 


Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We update guidance bi-weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Numbers and Data

At the time of this writing, Island County has 380 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12 deaths. A case rate of 43.62 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was calculated for the two-week period of 10/11/20-10/24/20. A data edition of the community guidance is released between bi-weekly comprehensive community updates, as appropriate.

 

Stay Safe – Vote Safe

 

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation and guidance memo temporarily suspending any COVID-19 related orders that could be interpreted to restrict access to voting centers and student engagement HUBS by persons intending to register to vote, obtain a ballot, receive assistance with a ballot, deposit a ballot or use other voting-related services. "The right to vote is one of the cornerstones of our democracy," Inslee said. "Even in the middle of a pandemic, it's vital that everyone’s voices are heard. We are dedicated to ensuring that anyone can cast their ballot in a safe manner and we are protecting the crucial election personnel and volunteers that make this democratic process possible." All elections personnel and voters should practice physical distancing and use face coverings, as recommended by the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

 

Fall Celebrations!

 

From beautiful changing foliage to delicious comfort foods, many of us are embracing the joys that the fall season brings. While participating in seasonal activities, please be sure to continue following modified Phase 3 guidance in support of the health and safety of yourself and fellow community members.

 

In addition to mask-wearing, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, and physical distancing, DOH offers helpful tips for celebrating this Halloween weekend: Choose lower-risk activities, such as online costume or pumpkin carving contests, Halloween movie marathons with household members, and at-home scavenger hunts. Should you choose to trick or treat, stick with members of your own household. If you hand out treats, consider placing individually wrapped treat bags on a table to reduce the number of people who would typically touch items in a communal bowl.

 

If you attend or plan a small gathering, visit the WA State Safe Gatherings webpage for helpful COVID-19 resources including planning tips, communication strategies, and a safety checklist!

 

Avoid confined spaces and indoor gatherings (outdoors is best).

 

Stay home if you are sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.

 

Grant Relief to Address Disproportionate COVID-19 Impact

 

Historical inequities in funding for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) organizations could deepen as COVID-19 response and recovery continues. Recent data also shows that communities of color in Washington State are experiencing disproportionately higher percentages of COVID-19 cases and unemployment. Several groups have case and hospitalization rates from seven to 10 times higher than for white people and death rates two to over three times higher. Regional analysis indicates this is true across rural, urban and suburban communities.

 

The Washington State Department of Commerce is collaborating with Philanthropy Northwest to provide $2 million of relief funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act with a focus on community-based nonprofits and Tribal organizations most impacted by COVID-19. Grant applications from eligible organizations are due by Nov. 6. Find all information and application materials here. Free technical and language assistance is available to help with the application process, as well as an information session on Oct. 29, 7 - 8 p.m.)

 

The Importance of Consistency

 

A recent study released by the Institute for Disease Modeling suggests that consistency among COVID-19 mitigation policies is an important component to reducing spread across populations and geographic areas. Lack of consistent policy can lead to increased travel between counties, resulting in increased movement of disease to areas with lower COVID-19 activity. This phenomenon can have a greater impact on vulnerable populations.

 

Embrace available resources

 

The Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) intends to prevent evictions that would contribute to the spread of the virus by paying past due, current due and future rent. The ERAP is targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably. To request assistance, please complete the online application or call before December 31, 2020 (Whidbey Residents – (360) 678-8284; Camano Residents – (360) 629-5257 ext. 1009). If you are struggling with Homelessness, call the Housing Support Center at (360) 678-8284.

 

Recent closures and mandates for social distancing can have an impact on you and your family. If you are feeling anxious, scared, or are in need of resources related to mental health, please call the Island County Helpline at 360.678.2346 (M-F 10am – 6pm) or complete the online referral form.

 

As the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, more families are taking advantage of free meals provided by school districts. While all students may be provided free meals through the end of December, families are strongly encouraged to complete a School Meal Application now. This application determines a student’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. Read more here.

 

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) has been awarded $1 million in CARES Act funding to support housing stability for youth who exited the Extended Foster Care Program at age 21 between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. Apply for a stipend before November 13, 2020.

 

The WA State Department of Commerce is collaborating with organizations to provide support through the Small Business Resiliency Assistance program. Support is available for small businesses and nonprofits in a variety of ways, including recovery and re-opening planning, employee retention, and translation services.

 

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page. The Island County call center may be reached at 360.678.2301; Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

 


Updated Community Guidance
October 14, 2020

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community bi-weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Numbers and Data


At the time of this writing, Island County has 349 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12 deaths. A case rate of 25.94 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was calculated for the two-week period of 9/27/20-10/10/20.
• A new data edition of the updated community guidance will be released in between bi-weekly comprehensive community updates, as appropriate. These documents are available in the community guidance archive on the Island County Public Health webpage.
• The September Epidemiology Brief for Island County was released earlier this month, showing a majority of COVID-19 cases in Island County as assigned male at birth, with most cases experiencing symptoms. For the month of September 2020, COVID-19 demographic trends remained similar to those from July & August, with higher incidence: among 20-39 year olds, in Oak Harbor, and among Hispanic/Latinos in greater proportion than the total population percentage.
• DOH released a new Statewide Outbreak Report, identifying food service/restaurant, retail/grocery, and agriculture/produce packing among the top three outbreak settings reported.
• While conducting daily activities, please be sure to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing, wear a cloth face covering, and practice proper handwashing and hygiene. Non-essential travel outside of the county and state remains highly discouraged. Please recreate and shop as local as possible. Follow additional precautionary measures if you are caring for someone who is at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 and/or caring for someone with COVID-19.


Updated Guidance


Governor Inslee recently released several updates to guidance housed under the Safe Start reopening plan, effective immediately. A complete list of updated guidance is available on the Governor’s reopening webpage. Some recent changes are listed below for your convenience.

 

  • Visit the new WA State Safe Gatherings webpage for helpful COVID-19 resources including planning tips, communication strategies, a safety checklist, and frequently asked questions!
  • Further clarification regarding sporting activities is now available on the Governor’s recently released Frequently Asked Questions document.
  • Under miscellaneous venues guidance, retail events (including consumer trade shows/exhibits) are only permitted in outdoor settings in Phase 3. Outdoor capacity is limited to 200 people, provided all relevant guidance requirements are met.
  • Libraries are permitted to provide limited in-person services to customers at 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower. See the complete guidance here.
  • Youth and Adult Sports guidance will allow more school and non-school sports, both indoor and outdoor, according to a combination of local metrics. At this time, additional Island County restrictions remain in place regarding number of participants and interaction with external counties.

 

Additional guidance is also available for movie theaters, restaurants, wedding receptions, real estate requirements, various sports competitions, and water recreation facilities.
Embrace available resources


• The Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) intends to prevent evictions that would contribute to the spread of the virus by paying past due, current due and future rent. The ERAP is targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably. To request assistance, please complete the online application or call one of the following phone numbers before December 31, 2020:


o For Whidbey Residents – Call Housing Support Center at (360) 678-8284
o For Camano Residents – Call Community Resource Center Stanwood-Camano at (360) 629-5257 ext. 1009.
o If you are struggling with Homelessness, call the Housing Support Center: 360-678-8284


• Recent closures and mandates for social distancing can have an impact on you and your family. If you are feeling anxious, scared, or are in need of resources related to mental health, please call the Island County Helpline at 360.678.2346 (M-F 10am – 6pm) or complete the online referral form.


• As the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, more families are taking advantage of free meals provided by school districts. While all students may be provided free meals through the end of December, families are strongly encouraged to complete a School Meal Application now. This application determines a student’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. Read more here.


• The WA State Department of Commerce allocated $1 million in CARES Act funding to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). In an effort to support housing stability, stipends will be provided to youth who exited the Extended Foster Care Program at age 21 between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.


• The WA State Department of Commerce is collaborating with organizations to provide support through the newly launched Small Business Resiliency Assistance program. Twenty partner organizations are available to help small businesses and nonprofits in a variety of ways, including planning for recovery and safe re-opening, retaining and supporting the work force, access to translation services, and more.


If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page. The Island County call center may be reached at 360.678.2301; Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

 


 

Orca Recovery Day in Island County

 

 

In recognition of Puget Sound Orca Recovery Day and to take a moment to focus on the important work of Island County Marine Resources Committee and our partners, I want to share a few opportunities with all of you. 


The Board of Island County Commissioners passed a resolution this month recognizing the importance of our iconic Southern Resident Orcas. Please join our community in effort to learn and take action to protect this important species and their habitat. 

 

Thanks to all our many partners across the County who make this possible.

 

Helen Price Johnson

 

Announcements

 

Throughout the month of October, join the MRC, Whidbey Island Conservation District, Snohomish Conservation District, Northwest Straits Foundation, Orca Network, and other partners in recognizing Orca Recovery Day. There are several activities you can participate in!

 

  • EcoChallenge: Join the “Island County MRC and Friends!” EcoChallenge team or create your own team and log actions that you take this month to support orca recovery. Report your actions to earn points and win prizes!
  • Orca Forum, Wednesday, October 14, 5:30-7pm: Join this virtual workshop to learn from local experts about orca recovery research taking place in Puget Sound.
  • Orca Trivia Night, Thursday, October 15, 7pm: Challenge your friends (or team up with them!) in this fun evening full of questions about orca, salmon, and marine habitat.
  • Orca-Inspired Art Contest: Young and old alike are invited to show their artistic creativity to depict orca recovery or the human connection with orcas. Entries are due Saturday, October 31.

 


Shore Friendly Mini-Grant Program Launches!

 

We are excited to announce the launch of our Shore Friendly Mini-Grant Program. Shoreline landowners in Island County are invited to apply for funding to enhance nearshore habitat and prevent the need for hard shoreline armor. Mini-grant amounts will range from $500-$5,000 and can be used towards bulkhead removal, soft shore protection, native vegetation, drainage management, and house or septic relocation. Landowners may apply for technical assistance, design and permitting services, or project implementation. To learn more about the program and eligible activities, click here.

 

 

 

 

 


Island County COVID-19

 

Updated Community Guidance
September 29, 2020

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Increase in Island County COVID-19 cases


Island County has been undergoing a steady rise in the COVID-19 case rate since early September. Please do your part to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

 

  • Island County has had 44 new cases of COVID-19 between September 9 and September 25, 2020. This is a significant increase from case rates in late August and early September. A majority of the new cases in Island County have been linked to travel and gatherings, with transmission then occurring among family members.
  • Non-essential travel outside of the county and state remains highly discouraged. Please recreate and shop as local as possible. Before necessary travel, research destinations to assess exposure risk using the Phase and Risk Assessment Dashboard and COVID-19 Data Dashboard. For those who need to travel, new requirements for commercial airlines and recommendations have been announced for airlines throughout Washington State

 

Fall has begun!


From the beautiful changing foliage to delicious comfort foods, many of us are looking forward to embracing the joys that the fall season brings. While participating in seasonal activities, please be sure to continue following modified Phase 3 guidance to support the health and safety of yourself and your fellow community members.

 

  • WA Department of Health (DOH) has issued guidance for individuals participating in Halloween celebrations this season. In preparation for fall season events, updated guidance is also available for agritourism activities such as animal viewing, hay rides, and corn mazes.
  • Social gatherings should include 10 people outside of your household per week or fewer. Whether indoor or outdoor, group activities must follow the gatherings limitation.
  • We may not have a vaccine yet for COVID-19, but we DO have a vaccine for influenza. The flu vaccine can prevent you from getting sick with flu during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young children, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions, and those aged 65 and older are at high risk of complications from flu illness. As we move into flu season, we can all help save healthcare resources for COVID-19 response in our communities by doing our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu.

 

Vaccine planning update


From local to federal government agencies, vaccine planning is well underway. Credible science will be used to critically evaluate the safety and efficacy of new vaccines before they are distributed to Washington and Island County residents.

  • The federal government is leading the planning efforts around the dissemination of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, and they have released initial planning guidance to the states.
  • We still do not know when a safe and effective vaccine will be available, but Island County is preparing for distribution of the vaccine in an equitable manner for Island County residents once it is available.
  • Both Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Island County Public Health are committed to basing decisions upon credible science needed to critically evaluate these new vaccines for their safety and will be monitoring the FDA approval process.

 

Embrace available resources


• Financial supports are available to help families impacted by increased childcare needs/ school schedule changes. This is time limited, so families will need to complete and submit a referral by October 2. Please complete the online referral form or call the Human Services Help Line at 360.678.2346 to learn more.


• The WA State Department of Commerce is collaborating with organizations to provide support through the newly launched Small Business Resiliency Assistance program. Twenty partner organizations are available to help small businesses and nonprofits in a variety of ways, including planning for recovery and safe re-opening, retaining and supporting the work force, access to translation services, and more.

 

  • The Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with School’s Out Washington to distribute approximately $9 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to respond to the impact of COVID-19 by supporting programs serving school age kids and young adults facing the most significant challenges to educational and economic opportunity.
  • State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million in “CARES” Act funding to operate a rent assistance program. The program will focus on preventing evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current and future rent, for eligible participants. The end date is December 31, 2020.
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the waivers that allow the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to offer remote services to participants. In lieu of in-person visits, WIC may enroll new applicants, provide nutrition education and breastfeeding support and issue food benefits by phone or video chat.

 

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page. The Island County call center may be reached at 360.678.2301; Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

 

 


Links for you:  WA State Coronavirus webpage

Washington State Smoke Information

Washington State Coronavirus Response

 


STATEMENT REGARDING RECREATION AND SPORTING ACTIVITIES
(CORONAVIRUS)


Island County, August 20, 2020:

On August 18, the Island County Board of Health passed a motion that limits outdoor recreation and sporting activities to 10 people or less, unless a safety plan is submitted to the Island County Health Officer with a request for a waiver to increase the number of people up to the Governor’s limit.

 

The waiver would allow the group size to be increased up to the Governor’s Modified Phase 3 limit of 50 people or fewer (subject to change by the Governor’s Office), with the following requirements for teams:

 

  • Limited to 1 event involving (or with) one opposing team in 7 calendar days
    • No tournaments
    • No teams or players from another county


Submit safety plans for a waiver to:
pubhealth@islandcountywa.gov

 

For additional information:

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Call Center # 360.678.2301, Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm

 

WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

 


ISLAND COUNTY COVID-19 Updated Community Guidance  August 06, 2020

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19.

We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Adjusted Phase 3 Limits Island County is currently in Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start Reopening plan. Adjusted restrictions will continue to go into effect over the next two weeks.

 

The number of individuals allowed in social gatherings during Phase 3 has been reduced to 10 people per week. Live entertainment is currently banned in indoor and outdoor settings

 

A variety of Safe Start guidance adjustments have recently been released.

 

Restaurant, Tavern, Brewery, Winery and Distillery (updated July 24)

 

o Indoor Fitness and Training (updated August 3)

o Overnight Group Summer Camp and Similar Activities (released July 31)

 

  • Effective August 10, wedding and funeral receptions will be prohibited, with ceremonies limited to maximum occupancy of 20% (both indoor and outdoor), or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as social distancing can be observed.

 

Face Covering Order Expanded

 

A statewide mandatory facial covering order is currently in effect. This requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor activities taking place in public spaces, with certain exceptions.

 

  • An extension of the order requires face coverings in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate setting such as nursing homes.
  • Businesses must require all employees and customers to comply with the statewide face covering order. Potential violations may be reported through the Governor’s new online portal.
  • Cloth face coverings act as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.

 


 

On July 23, 2020, the Governor provided new guidance; what does it mean for Island County businesses and residents based on the Phase 3 standings of the County?

 

In an effort to continue to provide the citizens of Island County information related to impacts due to COVID-19, I am sending you the following guidance on what the Governor’s new guidance may mean to you as a citizen and/or a business owner.

 

Restaurant guidance includes the following changes (in effect 7/30 – gives restaurants time to adjust inventory and prepare):

 

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) service must end at 10:00 p.m., until Phase 4.
  • Vending game areas (pool tables, darts, video games, etc.) must be closed until Phase 4.
  • In Phase 3, table size reduced to 5 and occupancy reduced to 50% within restaurants.
  • Indoor dining at tables is limited to members of the same household until Phase 4.
  • Bars are closed for indoor service.
  • No indoor family entertainment/recreational centers (mini golf, bowling alleys, arcades, etc.) until Phase 4.
  • No indoor card rooms until Phase 4.
  • Indoor movie theaters limited to 25% occupancy as a Phase 3 activity.
  • Outdoor recreation in Phase 3 counties is still allowed up to 50 people.

 

Fitness guidance (including indoor pools, yoga studios) to include the following changes:

 

  • Reduce Phase 3 occupancy to 25% capacity.
  • All group fitness classes are limited to no more than 10 (not counting the instructor).

 

Weddings and funerals (secular or non-secular) (in effect 8/6 – gives people with upcoming events time to prepare accordingly):

 

  • During all phases, the maximum indoor occupancy is 20% capacity or up to 30 people, whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing can be achieved between households.
  • Only ceremonies are permitted. Receptions are prohibited. They must follow all other parts of the faith based guidance
  • The faith based guidance would allow up to 50 people outside in a Phase 3 county, distanced and no reception.

 

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, please visit our website or the Public Health Facebook page. The public can contact the Island County call center at 360-678-2301 (Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

 

You can also visit the Governor’s page for the new COVID-19 guidance at: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-rollbacks-to-some-activities-to-slow-covid-19-exposure-19003e510127

 

The State has shown its willingness to further restrict our activities in response to public health concerns. PLEASE do your part to stay safe and protect our economy from further shutdowns and damage.

 


Construction Notifications

 

HMA Overlays - Central Whidbey Island

 

HMA Overlays consists of one or more layers of Hot Mix Asphalt that is applied over existing roads.  HMA Overlays are one of the road preservation tools used by Island County that keeps our roads in good condition.

 

The following roads are planned for HMA Pre-Level / Overlay July 20, 2020 and should be complete by July 30, 2020:

 

Keystone Hill Rd.
From Patmore to Wanamaker Rd.

 

Admiral’s Cove Development:
Nimitz Dr.
Chambers Ct.
Leahy Dr.
Dewey Dr.
Ryan Way
Lockwood Dr.
Stark Pl.
Chadwick Ct.
Kinkaid Dr.
Small Ln.
Rickover Dr.
Mitscher Dr.

 

Please drive carefully in work zones

 

This work is weather dependent and this schedule is subject to change.

 

The Public Works home page has
• an Interactive map showing planned weekly work
• a link to 2020 Pavement Preservation Program
• a link to information on Asphalt and Chip Seal

Questions or Concerns?
Contact Matthew Lander
m.lander@islandcountywa.gov
(360)240-5545


Island County COVID-19 (07/15/20)

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Increasing COVID-19 Spread

COVID-19 spread is increasing throughout Washington State. As individuals and members of a larger community, we all need to do our part to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

 

  • According to the most recent WA Department of Health (DOH) statewide situation report, increasing COVID-19 spread is taking place throughout Washington State. The seven-day average of new cases now exceeds the peak set in early March. Cases are increasing fastest among individuals under 40 years of age across the state.

 

  • Avoid all non-essential travel to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. If you need to travel, research your destination ahead of time using the COVID-19 Data Dashboard and Phase and Risk Assessment Dashboard to assess risk.  At this time, all surrounding counties remain in Phase 2 of the Safe Start Reopening plan. Travel associated with these counties may result in increased risk of COVID-19 transmission.

 

  • Due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Weisman have placed a pause on counties moving through phases of the Safe Start plan. This pause is currently in effect until at least July 28.

 

  • Continue to do your part by limiting group gatherings, staying six-feet away from others, staying home if you are sick, washing your hands often, and wearing a cloth face covering when you are out in public.

 

Mandatory Face Covering Order

 

A statewide mandatory facial covering order is currently in effect. This requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor activities taking place in public spaces, with certain exceptions.

 

  • On July 2, Governor Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide requirement for businesses to require all employees and customers to comply with the statewide face covering order. Potential violations may be reported through the Governor’s online portal.

 

  • Cloth face coverings act as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.

 

  • The facial covering order allows for specific exemptions, including individuals with certain medical conditions, children under the age of two, individuals eating or drinking at a restaurant, individuals communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, and individuals outdoors in public areas practicing appropriate physical distancing measures.

 

Embrace Available Resources

 

As we do our best to navigate through this challenging time, it is particularly important to give and receive support in the ways that we are able to. Some available resources are listed below.

 

  • Washington Listens offers support to help people manage elevated levels of stress due to the pandemic. The support line is available at 1.833.681.0211 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TeleTYpe (TTY) and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method.
  • Island County has been awarded funds under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In order to qualify for these funds, individuals and families must be impacted by COVID-19. Please complete the online referral form or call the Human Services Help Line at 360.678.2346 to learn more about available resources.
  • Congress has extended waivers allowing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to offer services remotely until Sept. 30. In lieu of in-person visits, the wavers let WIC enroll new applicants, provide nutrition education and breastfeeding support and issue food benefits by phone or video chat.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has resumed accepting applications. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is Aug. 8. This is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll.
  • Drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots provide free, temporary emergency internet access for Washingtonians who don’t have broadband service at their homes. A Wi-Fi mapping tool is available on the Washington State Department of Commerce website.
  • Be a supportive resource to your fellow community members. Practice patience and compassion by finding intentional ways to be kind to others, spreading reliable information, and following physical distancing and masking guidance.

 

Contact Us

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.

 


WhidbeyHealth opens COVID-19 testing (07-14-20)

 

Responding to Interim Guidance from the Washington State Department of Health, and in partnership with Island County Public Health, WhidbeyHealth has opened three swabbing stations on the island. Specimen collection will be conducted at the Walk-In Clinic Clinton, our Cabot Drive Clinic in Oak Harbor, and at the Medical Center in Coupeville. Testing times and locations are carefully scheduled and pre-registration by phone is required.

 

To register, call 360-240-4055 Monday through Friday between 7:00AM and 5:00PM.  During the call, you will be directed to one of the swabbing stations for a specific time.

 

Upon arrival, please stay in your car. Our Clinton and Oak Harbor locations have designated parking spots. At the medical center, follow signs to the drive-thru land near the Health Education Center. Place your car in park and turn off the ignition.The procedure involves swirling a swab into both nostrils. The swab is about the size of an ordinary Q-tip, much smaller than previous testing technologies.

 

It is very important to pre-register at 360-240-4055; persons who arrive without registration will not be tested. It is also important to understand that testing is subject to the availability of specimen collection supplies and PPE for our staff. There have been nationwide shortages of both.

 

Please visit whidbeyhealth.org for more information

 


Island County COVID-19 (07/08/2020)

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Mandatory Face Covering Order


A statewide mandatory facial covering order is currently in effect. This requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor activities taking place in public spaces, with certain exceptions.


• On July 2, Governor Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide requirement for businesses to require all employees and customers to comply with the statewide face covering order. Potential violations may be reported through the Governor’s online portal.

  • Cloth face coverings act as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.
    • The facial covering order allows for specific exemptions, including but not limited to:
    o Individuals with certain medical conditions and children under the age of two, who should not wear a face covering,
    o Individuals eating or drinking at a restaurant,
    o Individuals communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing; and
    o Individuals outdoors in public areas provided that a distance of six feet be maintained from people who are not members of their household.

 

Phase Three Key Messages


Island County is currently in Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start Reopening plan. Informative resources are available to help us navigate how we go about our daily lives and what we might expect for the future.


• All non-essential travel should be avoided to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. If you need to travel, research your destination ahead of time using the COVID-19 Data Dashboard and Phase and Risk Assessment Dashboard to assess COVID-19 exposure risk.
• Due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Weisman have placed a pause on counties moving through phases of the Safe Start plan.
• Continue to do your part by limiting group gatherings, staying six-feet away from others, staying home if you are sick, washing your hands often, and wearing a cloth face covering when you are out in public.

 

Embrace Available Resources


As we do our best to navigate through this challenging time, it is particularly important to give and receive support in the ways that we are able to. Some available resources are listed below.


• Washington has launched the Washington Listens support program to help people manage elevated levels of stress due to the pandemic. The support line is available at 1.833.681.0211 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TeleTYpe (TTY) and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method.
• Island County has been awarded funds under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In order to qualify for these funds, individuals and families must be impacted by COVID-19. Please complete the online referral form or call the Human Services Help Line at 360.678.2346 to learn more about available resources.
• The U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has resumed accepting applications in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is Aug. 8. This is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll.
• In response to the impact of COVID-19, drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots provide free, temporary emergency internet access for Washingtonians who don’t have broadband service at their homes. A Wi-Fi mapping tool is available on the Washington State Department of Commerce website.
• Be a supportive resource to your fellow community members. Practice patience and compassion by finding intentional ways to be kind to others, spreading reliable information, and following physical distancing and masking guidance.

 

Contact Us
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.

Public can contact the Island County call center at 360.678.2301.
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

 

 


Solid Waste and Septage Tip Rates to Change

 

On July 31, 2020 Island County will implement a Solid Waste tipping rate increase for garbage and septage (septic tank contents) disposal. The rate for municipal solid waste (msw) is going from $115 per ton plus a $7.24 base fee to $155 per ton with no base fee. The minimum charge for msw is going from $11.00 to $13.25, and the septage disposal rate is going from $0.155 per gallon to $0.279 per gallon. These rate increases are needed to cover the ever increasing costs of running the Solid Waste Division; the Division has been losing money over the last few years. “This is the first increase for Solid Waste tip rate in ten years which averages out to be about a 2% per year increase,” says Bill Oakes, Public Works Director for Island County.



In 2019 a Solid Waste Rate study was conducted for the years 2020-2022. The objective of the study was to develop recommended solid waste and septage disposal rates. A large part of the rate increase was an increase in the contractor cost to dispose of septage. The County continues to look for lower costs for septage disposal with the hope that the future rates could decrease.



Island County conducts a rate study every three years. This current study was conducted by Dr. Lisa Skumatz of Skumatz Economic Research Associates of Superior, Colorado and Orcas Island, Washington. Study findings were presented in an advertised public meeting to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) on November 8, 2019. On February 21, 2020 the SWAC voted to recommend the rate increase to the Board of Island County Commissioners. The Commissioners first discussed the rate increase at a work session in March of 2020 and later directed staff to postpone the increase implementation until after the peak of the Coronavirus crisis. The Commissioners approved the rate increase at an advertised public meeting on May 12, 2020 to go into effect on July 31, 2020.



The effects of the new rate produce a lower fee for the average household self-haul customer who brings in 200 pounds of msw. They will now pay $16.00 versus $21.00 under the old rate system.



Tipping fees for franchised haulers are also increasing to $147 per ton except the City of Oak Harbor’s rate will be $137 per ton.

 



For residents that qualify, Island County has a low-come discount program that helps with disposal fees for household garbage. For more information about this program contact Gynon Nash at 360-240-5592 or by email g.nash@islandcountywa.gov.


For additional information:
Island County Public Works – Joantha Guthrie, Assistant Director 360-679-7336 or joanthag@islandcountywa.gov


Happy 4th of July!  Happy 244th Birthday America!

 

Our great nation has much to celebrate.  We celebrate our freedom, opportunity and the stalwart foundation set by our founding fathers.  We also celebrate the history and efforts of those who have consistently worked to improve this great nation, address inequity and expand the rights of all Americans.  This year has been a historic year with the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus and it’s impact on our nation and our local communities.  We must work together to move through this crisis and continue our recovery. 

 

Attributed to Thomas Jefferson but unclear who first expressed this idea is the quote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”  The history and legacy of Jefferson is complex and paradoxical but I think this quote is apt for today.  Now, as much as ever, we must be vigilant about the risk of COVID-19 and responsible together to return to the freedoms and opportunities we enjoyed prior to the pandemic.  Island County has worked hard to respond, move to recovery and to prepare against the possibility of a resurgence.  As you celebrate the 4th of July, I would ask for your support in protecting our community.

 

As you come together to celebrate America, please be vigilant in your efforts to be safe.  Continue to follow public health guidelines – maintain good sanitation and hand washing, practice social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel to high-risk areas and for the sake of your community, wear a mask to protect others.  I’ll wear my mask in public to protect you.  We are #strongertogether.

 

If you choose to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, please follow the laws related to fireworks in your area.  In unincorporated Island County, residents may only light fireworks 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 3, 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5.  Please clean the debris from fireworks, especially on our beaches.  Keep our islands pristine.

 

To all – Have a great weekend.  Be safe. 

 


Updated Community Guidance  07/02/20

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

Phase Three Key Messages


Island County is currently in Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start Reopening plan. Informative resources are available to help us navigate how we go about our daily lives and what we might expect for the future.

 

  • Due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Weisman have placed a pause on counties moving into Phase 4 of the Safe Start plan.
  • Partners at WhidbeyHealth maintain that all clinics, including the new walk-in clinic in Clinton, Emergency Department and outpatient laboratory offer COVID-19 testing to patients with a provider order. Island Hospital and Skagit County Public Health also offer COVID-19 testing, with drive-thru rapid testing held at Skagit Valley College.
  • As businesses and activities continue to reopen, updated guidance will be available on Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 Reopening Guidance webpage.
  • Continue to do your part by limiting group gatherings, staying six-feet away from others, staying home if you are sick, washing your hands often, and wearing a cloth face covering when you are out in public.

 

Mandatory Face Covering Order


A statewide mandatory facial covering order is currently in effect. This requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor activities taking place in public spaces, with certain exceptions.
• Cloth face coverings act as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.
• By wearing a cloth facial covering, we help protect our fellow community members and support the reopening of schools, businesses, and other activities.
• The order allows for specific exemptions, including but not limited to:


o Individuals with certain medical conditions and children under the age of two, who should not wear a face covering,
o Individuals eating or drinking at a restaurant,
o Individuals communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing; and
o Individuals outdoors in public areas provided that a distance of six feet be maintained from people who are not members of their household.

Support Your Community through Daily Actions


Do your part to care for our community by incorporating safety measures into your plans and by demonstrating compassion with others.


• Stay informed. Before traveling, research destinations to assess COVID-19 exposure risk.

o Review the Phase and Risk Assessment Dashboard and avoid traveling, especially to counties in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the Safe Start Plan.

o Refer to the COVID-19 Data Dashboard for updated information related to confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, and more.

o According to the most recent WA Department of Health (DOH) statewide situation report, increasing COVID-19 spread is taking place throughout Washington State, as of mid-June. In King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, the percentage of the population with COVID-19 is increasing


• Outdoor activities are often lower-risk than indoor ones. Going camping or replacing an indoor dinner party with a small backyard barbeque can help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
• Practice patience and compassion by finding intentional ways to be kind to others, spreading reliable information, and following physical distancing and masking guidance.


Contact Us
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.

 

Public can contact the Island County call center at 360.678.2301.
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm


STATEMENT REGARDING PHASE 3 APPROVAL June 22, 2010

 

On June 16, Island County Public Health submitted a variance application to advance from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of the Governor's Safe Start reopening plan. On June 19, the Secretary of Health approved the Island County Phase 3 variance request, subject to conditions. With this approval, business services and activities listed in Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan are now permitted, provided appropriate guidelines and safety measures are implemented. In order to remain in compliance with Phase 3, Island County must adhere to the aforementioned conditions, including but not limited to:

 

 

Subject to the conditions in this approval, the activities and business services listed in Phase 3 of Governor Inslee's Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan are now permitted in Island County. These activities and business services are:

 

  • Recreation: Outdoor group recreational sports activities of 50 or fewer people; recreational facilities at <50% capacity (gyms, public pools, etc.), and professional sports without audience participation (horseracing, baseball, etc.)
  • Gatherings: Allow gatherings with no more than 50 people
  • Travel: Resume non-essential travel
  • Businesses/employers:
  • Restaurants/taverns <75% capacity and table size no larger than 10
  • Bar areas in restaurants/taverns at <25% capacity
  • Movie theaters at <50% capacity
  • Customer-facing government services (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • All other business activities not yet listed except for nightclubs and events with greater than 50 people

 

People in high-risk populations are strongly encouraged to limit their participation in these Phase 3 activities and business services. High-risk populations are currently defined by the CDC as:

 

  • Persons 65 years of age and older;
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions (particularly not well controlled), including:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma,
  • People who have serious heart conditions,
  • People who are immunocompromised,
  • People with severe obesity,
  • People with diabetes,
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and
  • People with liver disease; and
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care

 

The complete approval letter with conditions is available for review on the Island County Public Health webpage.

 

For additional information:

 

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

 

Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)

 

 

 


A message from Commissioner St. Clair:  (06/05/20)

Dear Community members,

So much has happened in Island County in the last few months, I wanted to take a moment to reach out.  I have held multiple virtual Town Halls during this crisis but given the complexity of technology, wanted to share updates for those who could not join.  Please feel free to email me or give me a call, if you want further information on any of these updates.  I am going to begin with non-COVID-19 related updates. 

Just a quick note that Island County has opened county buildings for essential services.  It is recommended to use online and telephonic support or call for an appointment if needed.  Masks are strongly recommended and required by some offices.  You can get more information at:  www.islandcountywa.gov.

Facilities
I am excited that our two major building projects are progressing well.  The Stabilization Center in Oak Harbor will be an important regional resource for addressing behavioral health needs in our communities.  The Camano Administration Building is looking great.  The exterior is going up, giving us the glimpses of our beautiful new building.  Staff and the public are looking forward to this new access to local government.  We look forward to moving in this fall.

Planning and Community Development (PCD)
If you received a recent letter from FEMA, you will (or have) also received a letter from Island County.   We have been granted an extension to complete required work for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to July 28, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  When we began this work, there were 130+ homes needing actions to stay in compliance with the program; all have been addressed except 8.  We fully anticipate completing necessary actions required by the County by July 28.

PCD has also taken charge of the Economic Recovery Plan as they are responsible for the Economic Development Element under the Island County Comprehensive Plan.  Each of the three districts have public/private collaborative teams to help support the small business community and assure we can rebuild and thrive.  Grant opportunities for businesses will soon be announced, so stay tuned.

Our planning, building and permit work is also returning to normal.  Our new PCD Director has instituted a quality management program to institute metrics and transparency in our efforts to ensure strong customer service to our public and to assure compliance by residents with the policies of Island County.

Human Services
Our Human Services Department has been busy with assisting our residents who are being impacted by the pandemic with assistance in navigating state bureaucracy for benefits, mental health and substance abuse help, housing assistance, and other needs.  Island County has chosen to include a “people” element to our recovery planning and our Human Services team will lead that effort in collaboration with Opportunity Council and the Community Resource Center of Stanwood Camano.  Much of our focus will be on preventing homelessness for those who have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis by providing basic needs, rental and mortgage assistance to those in need.

Unfortunately, our outreach programs including school-based mental health, courts, police and other response programs are severely impacted by the decreased sales tax revenue that supported these programs.  Most of those positions were redirected to Coronavirus response and it is uncertain when we will have the sales tax revenue to restore those efforts.  Island County is committed to the efficacy and importance of those programs in planning for the future.

Public Works
As Public Works also oversees the Island County Department of Emergency Management, it has been a busy spring.  Nevertheless, this department has continued maintenance and operations including roads, infrastructure and parks.  Island County is working to finalize theTransportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) including plans to address storm water drainage and culvert replacements.  Public Works has also coordinated our IRTPO (Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization) plan that interfaces with WSDOT, Island County Transit and other municipalities (including Stanwood as an ad hoc member).

Finally, Public Works is working on a plan to safely reopen all of our Island County parks including playgrounds and sports facilities.  island County Parks staff is working endlessly on mitigation and safety through this pandemic.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Public Health: Coronavirus
The EOC is beginning to step down on the response efforts as we pivot to recovery.  There will be continual monitoring and response to any COVID-19 cases with testing, contact tracing, and case management.  The logistics team will continue to support partnerships with hospitals, schools, the Navy, and other key stakeholders with information, PPE, testing, and other needs.  The most recent County-wide testing effort provided good news and there have been no reported positive cases as of our last briefing.  Testing continued last week at congregate care facilities and other high-risk residential locations.  Island County will remain prepared in case of a resurgence of new cases.

Board of Health and Board of Island County Commissioners: Safe Start Variance Applications
Island County received approval to move to reopening (excluding camping) in Phase 2 on May 23rd.  The approval was granted by the WA Department of Health, Secretary of Health John Weisman.  The variance approval required our business community to follow all public health guidelines including sanitizing, hand washing, social distancing and masks where social distancing is not possible.  There is a statewide mask mandate for all employees in Washington State that goes into effect June 8 and I am seeking clarification on this mandate where social distancing is possibleIsland County is actively working on the Phase 3 Variance request application which requires an update on our data, hospital capacity, testing, and contact tracing.  It requires a strong response plan should there be a resurgence in positive cases.  That application will be considered by Island County Board of Health and the Board of County Commissioners on June 16.  Please do your part to protect our reopening by following the guidelines of CDC and the State Department of Health.

I have been proud of how our communities have worked to come together during this crisis.  We have shown our strength and our resilience.  Your cooperation helped us flatten our epidemiological curve and reopen our county.  Please continue to support each other as we work through this crisis, stay positive and connected. 

Thank you.

-Janet


Island County COVID-19

 

Island County Public Health wants to make sure that the citizens of Island County have access to reliable guidance surrounding COVID-19. We will be updating our guidance to the community weekly and hope that you use this to help inform and empower yourself and our community.

 

***Please note, our call center will no longer be operating on the weekend. The number and weekday hours can be found at the end of this guidance document.

 

Safe Start Washington – Phased Reopening County-by-County


On May 29, Governor Inslee announced the Safe Start Washington - Phased Reopening County-by-County plan. This is a modified version of the phased reopening plan announced in early May.

  • The Safe Start plan includes new metrics that each county has to meet in order to move to the next phase and provides more flexibility to move between phases.
  • Island County remains in Phase 2, excluding camping, and must remain in our current phase for a minimum of three weeks. Island County will be eligible to apply to move to Phase 3 on June 13.
  • Individual businesses need to implement the state guidelines for a safe start. All previous guidance documents for businesses and organizations for Phase 2 remain in effect. Guidance is available here.
  • While various outdoor recreation activities have reopened in Phase 2, camping remains prohibited within Island County, at this time. Opening camping will be revisited during the Phase 3 application process.

New Masking Requirement


The Safe Start plan includes a new face covering requirement. This requirement is in addition to the Phase 2 key infection prevention measures that are already in place.

 

  • On June 8, all businesses will be required to have employees wear face coverings, unless they work alone. Businesses are also required to post signage encouraging customers/clients to wear face coverings in public spaces.
  • Please continue to practice key infection prevention measures including social distancing, wearing a face covering when in public spaces, and practicing frequent hand washing.
  • Please continue to limit non-essential travel to areas close to your home and limit gatherings to no more than five people, outside of your household members, per week.

 

Practice Patience and Compassion


Practice patience and compassion with yourself and others as we move through these uncertain times. In addition to practicing safe social distancing and hygiene measures, respectful communication, and consideration are essential parts of supporting our fellow community members and local businesses.

 

  • Be mindful of your social media consumption. Share what you want to read and work to spread reliable information. Limiting the amount of time spent on social media, following things that bring joy, and spreading facts not fear could minimize additional feelings of worry, anxiety, and exhaustion. You may also want to consider taking a break from social media altogether.
  • Remember that we all have different levels of concern for our health and the health of our loved-ones. Part of being compassionate means following social distancing and face covering guidance in public as a gesture of kindness to others. Remember, you are protecting others when you wear a face covering. Also remember, though, that there may be legitimate reasons why someone is not able to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two should not wear face coverings, and there may be reasons that some older children should not wear them as well.
  • Finding intentional ways to be kind to others can improve your mood and help manage stress. Go out of your way to be kind to someone else.

 

Contact Us


If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.

 

Public can contact the Island County call center at 360.678.2301.
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm


 

STATEMENT REGARDING PHASE 2 APPROVAL

(CORONAVIRUS)

 

Island County, May 23, 2020:

 

On May 22, Island County Public Health submitted a variance application to advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the Governor's Safe Start reopening plan. On May 23, the Secretary of Health approved the Island County Phase 2 variance request, subject to conditions.

 

With this approval, business services and activities listed in Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan are now permitted, provided appropriate guidelines and safety measures are implemented.

 

In order to remain in compliance with Phase 2, Island County must adhere to the aforementioned conditions, including but not limited to:

 

 

  • Camping remains prohibited within Island County at this time.

 

  • Gatherings with more than 5 people outside your household per week are prohibited.

 

The complete approval letter with conditions is available for review on the Island County Public Health webpage.

 

For additional information:

 

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

 

Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)

 

WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

 


Island County COVID-19


Island County Public Health, WhidbeyHealth, and a variety of other community partners are working together to test a large number of Island County residents for COVID-19. Community-wide testing started Wednesday, May 13, 2020.


Due to an overwhelming response to the testing survey, Island County will open COVID-19 testing on Monday, May 18 to all Island County residents 18 years of age or older, regardless of survey completion or pre-registration status. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for this viral PCR test, but insurance information will be collected if available. Please bring identification to be tested. Below are the testing dates, locations, and hours.


DATE LOCATION HOURS


MONDAY, MAY 18 Oak Harbor High School 11am – 7pm
TUESDAY, MAY 19 Oak Harbor High School 11am – 7pm
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 Oak Harbor High School 11am – 7pm
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 Utsalady Elementary, Camano Island 3pm – 8pm
THURSDAY, MAY 21 South Whidbey High School 11am – 7pm


Governor Inslee recently outlined his Safe Start plan to reopen Washington State, which includes better access to testing and improved data on the number of people with COVID-19. Community-wide testing is one vital piece of reopening Island County and Washington State.

 

For additional information:

 

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)
WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

 


 


Phase 2 Restaurant/Tavern Reopening COVID-19 Requirements

Phase 2: The restaurant/tavern must adopt a written procedure for dine-in service that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 procedure below and complies with all safety and health requirements.

 

Procedure for dine-in service:

 

Restaurant/tavern must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the Governor’s guidance, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces, and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations (DOH).

 

All businesses are strongly encouraged to require their customers to use cloth face coverings when interacting with their staff.

 

1. Hand sanitizer should be available at entry for all staff and patrons (assuming supply availability).


2. No bar seating is permitted during Phase 2. If an establishment has bar seating it must be closed off to prohibit use.


3. If the establishment does not offer table service, they must have protocols in place to ensure adequate social distancing at food and drink pick-up stations, and seating within their dining area.


4. All parties and tables must be 5 guests or less.


5. Guest occupancy must be 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code. Outdoor seating is permitted but must also be at 50% capacity. Outdoor seating does not count toward the building occupancy limit. Outdoor seating must follow all other requirements in this document.


6. Tables must be placed far enough apart when measured from occupied chair to occupied chair, to ensure dine-in guests seated at a table are a minimum of 6 feet away from guests at adjacent table, or there must be a physical barrier or wall separating booths or tables.


7. It is strongly suggested customers wear a cloth face covering anytime they are not seated at the table (while being seated or leaving, or while going to the restroom).


8. Buffets and salad bars are not permitted at this time but may be addressed through subsequent interpretive guidance.


9. If the establishment offers table service, create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in. This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.


10. Single use menus are required for in-person dining.


11. Any condiments typically left on the table (ketchup, soy sauce, etc.) must be single-use or sanitized after each use.


12. Restaurants must have implemented a plan to ensure proper physical distancing in lobby/waiting areas/payment counters.


13. Minimize the number of staff serving any given table. It is strongly recommended that one staff person take a table’s order, bring all of their beverages/food/utensils, take their payment, etc

 

Employee Safety and Health


The restaurant/tavern operating during Phase 2 has a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy
facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with the following COVID-19 worksitespecific safety practices, as outlined in Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25, and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Coronavirus/workplace.

All businesses are required to post signage at the entrance to their business to strongly encourage their customers to use cloth face coverings when inside the business.


Employers must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect workers, including:


• Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.


• Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees (and customers) in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, minimize staff or customers in narrow or enclosed areas, stagger breaks, and work shift starts.


• Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate or required to employees for the activity being performed. Cloth facial coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the jobsite unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Department of Labor & Industries safety and health rules and guidance. Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in the Department of Health guidance, https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/ClothFacemasks.pdf.

 

• Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent transmission on tools or other items that are shared.


• Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.


• Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at start of shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC to deep clean and sanitize.


A site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor shall be designated by the employer at each job site to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 job site safety plan.


A worker may refuse to perform unsafe work, including hazards created by COVID-19. And, it is unlawful for their employer to take adverse action against a worker who has engaged in safetyprotected activities under the law if their work refusal meets certain requirements.


Employees who choose to remove themselves from a worksite because they do not believe it is safe to work due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure may have access to certain leave or unemployment benefits. Employers must provide high-risk individuals covered by Proclamation 20-46 with their choice of access to available employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work arrangement is not feasible. Other employees may have access to expanded family and medical leave included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, access to use unemployment benefits, or access to other paid time off depending on the circumstances.


Additional information is available at https://www.lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/paid-sick-leaveand-coronavirus-covid-19-common-questions.


No restaurant may operate until they can meet and maintain all the requirements in this document, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply. No reopening inspections are required prior to a restaurant reopening provided they meet and maintain all requirements in this document. All issues regarding worker safety and health are subject to enforcement action under L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).


• Employers can request COVID-19 prevention advice and help from L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

 

• Employee Workplace safety and health complaints may be submitted to the L&I DOSH Safety Call Center: (1-800-423-7233) or via e-mail to adag235@lni.wa.gov.

 

• General questions about how to comply with agreement practices can be submitted to the state’s Business Response Center at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/2562f1caf5814c46a6bf163762263aa5.

 

• All other violations related to Proclamation 20-25 can be submitted at https://bit.ly/covidcompliance.

 


 

COVID-19

 

Governor Inslee recently announced his phased plan to reopen Washington State, which includes having better testing. As part of this plan, counties throughout Washington have been instructed to test a large number of people for COVID-19. In order to reopen, we need to have good data on how many people actually have COVID-19. We need your help to reopen Island County and Washington!


Island County Public Health, WhidbeyHealth, and a variety of other community partners are working together to test a large number of Island County residents for COVID-19. Mobile testing sites will be available throughout the county, beginning the week of May 11. Testing sites will be available on Camano Island, South Whidbey Island, Central Whidbey Island, and North Whidbey Island.


For additional details and to sign-up for testing, please fill-out the survey on the Island County Public Health COVID-19 page. You can also access the survey directly at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GR2COVID19. You do not need to have symptoms to be tested, and you will not be excluded due to insurance status.


For additional information:

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)

WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/


Island County COVID-19 Press Release 

 

Governor Jay Inslee announced today the extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order until May 31. Reopening will follow a phased approach for resuming recreational, social and business activities. Every phase will still require social distancing and other appropriate precautions.

As of May 5, Island County residents can return to limited fishing, hunting, golfing, and day use at some state parks, public lands, and county parks. Additional details regarding outdoor activity restrictions are on the Governor’s Medium page. Some elective surgeries are also now allowed, as well as Phase 1 construction.

The timeline for each phase of reopening will depend on disease activity and measures as presented in the new COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard. The dashboard features five “dials” measuring different data points the state will use to inform the lifting of restrictions.

Please continue to follow all aspects of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, except those noted above.

For additional information:

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)

WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) – https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

 


Island Transit Launches New Essential Delivery Service for Island County

Coupeville, WA – Island Transit launched a new service to assist Island County social service agencies and food banks with the delivery of essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic. Called Island Transit Cares, the essential delivery service made its maiden trip today by picking up 50 boxes of food from the North Whidbey Help House in Oak Harbor and delivering them to several Island County locations.

“As a public transit agency, offering free delivery service for essential items is just another way to fulfill our mission,” says Island Transit Executive Director Todd Morrow, who points out that transit is still running bus and paratransit service for essential transportation, but on a reduced Emergency Service Plan to comply with the State of Washington’s Stay Healthy, Stay Home orders. “While many people are staying home and not riding the bus, we’re adapting our service to meet today’s needs and bring essential items to them through established programs and service organizations.”

Island Transit Cares will deliver groceries, medicine, meals, and any essential items that are not considered dangerous. “We will deliver whenever and to whomever the social service agency or food bank needs us to go,” says Morrow. “Deliveries will be done safely, with social distancing and no-contact practices.”

Oak Harbor City Councilwoman Beth Munns, who also serves on the Board of Directors for both Island Transit and the North Whidbey Help House, was instrumental in helping connect Island Transit Cares with a need in the community. “We’re just delighted these agencies could come together, get creative and make something special happen to fill a need for our community,” says Munns, adding that while she expects initial deliveries will happen on Whidbey Island, the transit agency is working to extend services to Camano Island as well. The service is limited to Island County boundaries.

Social service agencies and food banks that need delivery service for essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic, should contact Shawn Harris, Island Transit Operations Manager, at harris@islandtransit.org or 360-678-7771. Click here to visit their website for more information.

 


Construction Notifications

Central Whidbey: Structural patching scheduled 

 

 

In locations that indicate the pavement and underlying ground need more structure or strength, the road is dug up and concrete added and then patched back prior to the resurfacing of the full road surface.  

 

Work is scheduled to start on the following roads Monday, April 20, 2020 and should be completed by Friday, May 8, 2020.

 

Terry Road
from State Route 20 to the Coupeville Town Limit.

 

Morris Road
from Parker Rd.to Harrington Rd.

 

This work is weather dependent and this schedule is subject to change. Please drive carefully in work zones and on newly resurfaced roads.

 


 

Good news about Coronavirus testing!

 

America’s supply of testing materials has improved, making more testing available to more citizens.

 

Beginning Wednesday, April 15th, individuals over the age of five, AND who have symptoms, will be registered for drive-through testing by calling the WhidbeyHealth Coronavirus Hotline at 360-240-4055.

 

Hotline hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Friday 8:00 AM to Noon.

 

Drive-through testing will be open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

Expanded testing plan is dependent on the availability test kits.

 

More good news: turn-around times for test results are reliably less than 24 hours; often sooner. All patients will receive a telephone call with their results.

 

If you have any question, please direct them to:
Patricia Duff – duffpa@whidbeyhealth.org
Nic Wildeman – wilden@whidbeyhealth.org

 

Stay connected with WhidbeyHealth for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth or on our website at whidbeyhealth.org 

 


 

A note from Commissioner Price Johnson:

 

Local businesses have been hard hit by the COVID-19 safety measures. The Washington State Employment Security Department is urging folks to do 4 things now:

 

  1. Go to ESD.wa.gov and sign up for Action Alerts
  2. Download and read the UI checker
  3. If you don’t have one, create a SAW account (Secure Access Washington)
  4. Watch ESD informational webinars

 

In Island County, the Economic Development Council and local chamber offices are assisting local businesses navigate the myriad of COVID-19 resources. Please do reach out for support and share this information with others.

 


 

The Board of Island County Commissioners issued Proclamation C-33-20 honoring National Volunteer Week for April 19 -25.

 

We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the volunteers who contribute their time and talent to our County and to community organizations who help make a difference for all. 

 

In Island County, we have local government volunteers who contributed 13,597 hours in 2019.  These were volunteers in our parks, courts, human services, planning, public health, Assessor’s and Treasurer’s office, Sheriff and other departments.  They serve on Advisory Boards, help with documentation, assist in elections, serve the public, clean our roads, help maintain our parks, assist in public safety and represent Island County in the community.  With the COVID-19 emergency, many volunteers have contributed to helping our Emergency Response team and in our call center.  We offer a big shout out to all of you.

 

In our community, volunteers contribute thousands of hours to help make our community strong, resilient and a caring place for all to thrive.  Volunteers work across Whidbey and Camano Islands serving on various boards, helping increase the impact of direct services, caring for animals in our shelters, mentoring young parents, advocating for foster youth, working in day camps and after school programs, tutoring kids, bring the arts to our communities, delivering meals to seniors and helping get those in need to medical care, helping deliver school food backpacks, working in our parks, restoring our shorelines, helping further research as citizen scientists, volunteering in our schools and the list goes on and on…

 

For each of you and the organizations you represent and support, thank you.  We do not just honor your work one week of the year, we honor you each and every day.  You are the backbone of a caring community.

 


National Public Health Week

 

It is National Public Health Week and I want to acknowledge this amazing dedicated group of public employees who work tirelessly  ensuring our communities are safe.  Although our attention has been called to their dedicated response to COVID-19, this is a group of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes on a variety of issues. 

 

To recognize them, here are my top 10 reasons to shine a spotlight on Public Health workers, David Letterman style…because let’s face it, we could all use an opportunity to smile and celebrate one another.

 

Top 10 Reasons to celebrate those who work in Public Health!

 

  1. Because someone was in college and thought “Hey I want to be an epidemiologist” while some of us in college were saying, “How do you spell that?”
  2. Because rabies are real, and someone needs to handle those dead bats, even during a pandemic. Gross!
  3. Because we thought the idea of a Pandemic was the stuff of movies, while Public Health leaders toiled behind the scenes trying to get us to think about the thing we did not want to think about.
  4. Because it’s one of the few professions where you can be as educated to the same level of a healthcare provider and still make the wage of a public employee.
  5. Because someone had to say, get your cows out of the stream they are killing the fish AND be able to say it with credibility and a straight face.
  6. Because we were killing ourselves with smoking, vaping, lack of exercise, too much sugar, etc.…and we needed someone to encourage us to change our behavior that was not our mother.
  7. Because domestic violence, death certificates, dirty needles, bullying, and malnourished children are something none of us really want to talk about; but some among us are brave enough to have these essential conversations in a compassionate way. (This is actually not funny, but it is a reason to be grateful!)
  8. Because none of us REALLY want to know what goes on in the kitchens of the places we love to eat, but we DO want someone to know…and keep us safe.
  9. Because let’s be honest, do you want to spend your days thinking about septic tank inspections?

 

And the number one reason we should all celebrate Public Health Week…

 

10. Because everyday heroes are easy to overlook, but dedicating your life to keeping people healthy, safe and informed deserves a shout out…and if you do not believe me….YOU try telling a farmer to get his cow out of a stream.

 

Thank you Public Health! 

 

~Jill

 


COVID-19 BENEFITS FOR CONTRACTORS AND SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS   

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our economy. Companies and workers are struggling, including self-employed workers. Whether you call yourself a sole proprietor, owner-operator, independent contractor or gig worker, as a self-employed individual you may be looking for help.  

 

For the first time, new emergency legislation gives independent contractors and other self-employed individuals access to significant benefits programs and financial assistance. We have many contractors and self-employed workers in Island County.

 

For more information regarding these benefits, please click here to visit the EDC website

 

 


There will be a Facebook Live event with Keith Higman, Island County Public Health’s Director, on Friday April 10th at 3pm.

 

  • Follow this link to find the event.
  • If you have any questions that you would like Keith to address, please email me! We want to be sure to address community concerns and would like to hear from you.

 

There is a new webpage from Department of Emergency Management with COVID-19 Resources regarding small businesses, unemployment/job loss, and child care/school closure. Visit it out here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DEM/Pages/COVID19-DEM.aspx

 

The Washington State Department of Health has launched its Spread The Facts Public Awareness Campaign to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It includes easy-to-share infographics and videos. For further information, click here.

 

Need to renew your driver’s license? Governor Inslee has taken action to allow the WA Department of Licensing to temporarily extend the expiration dates of driver licenses by 90 days. Read more here.

 

 


North Whidbey:Crescent Harbor Road / Regatta Drive Intersection Improvement Project Construction Update

 

FULL INTERSECTION CLOSURE IS IN EFFECT
DETOURS ARE REQUIRED and OPTIONAL ROUTES ARE SIGNED

 

On February 17, 2020 construction began with the Contractor, Strider Construction, Inc., securing erosion control measures, clearing and grubbing, removing abandoned water and gas lines and grinding the asphalt on Crescent Harbor Road and Regatta Drive. 

 

 

Excavation to lower Regatta Drive began immediately and is 90% complete.

 

 

Soil nails were installed in the embankment along Regatta Drive, followed with the framing of the retaining wall.

 

 

Three layers of concrete were applied to the wall.

 

 

The retaining wall work was completed last week.

 

 

New storm sewer drain pipe and catch basins have been installed to capture storm water runoff. The storm system will include a pretreatment catch basin and underground detention vault.

 

Excavation for the underground detention vault has been completed.

 

The project is currently on schedule. Barring any uncontrollable events, we anticipate opening the road to the public by mid to late June.

 


A message from Commissioner St. Clair:

 

As we move through these challenging times, I will be hosting a series of virtual town halls. I will provide updates on COVID-19, County operations and answer your questions.  In addition, while County government continues with limited physical public access, I want to address what services are available and how to reach the departments that serve you. 

 

To participate in this meeting, follow these directions:

  • Topic: Commissioner St. Clair Town Hall
  • Time: April 10, 2020 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
  • Click here to join the meeting on your computer: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/7254765109
  • If you wish to call in only, please dial  +1 253 215 8782 and enter Meeting ID: 725 476 5109

 

To help prepare for the Town Hall next week, I want to share some valuable links to ongoing information:

 

  • ISLAND COUNTY: Please click on the top banner for COVID-19 Information updates and the lower banner for information regarding County Operations.  I encourage you to scroll down and read important information on how to support your mental health during this crisis and how others can help if needed.
  • WASHINGTON STATE LAUNCHES CORONAVIRUS WEB PORTAL: Help spread the word about the State’s new coronavirus web portal. This portal provides a wide range of information, resources, and guidance for both workers and employers.

 

FOR OTHER ALERTS:

 

  • ISLAND TRANSIT:  Island Transit is on limited service during this emergency.  To learn more about safety protocols and routes, please click on this link.
  • SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE: For information and/or to apply for relief for to businesses, please click here:
  • SIGN UP FOR COVID ACTION ALERTS FROM EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT: Sign up for action alerts from the WA State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) to get answers to frequently asked questions from both workers and employers, learn more about the federal stimulus package CARES Act, and stay up to date with other COVID-19 related info at:

 

Finally, I want to emphasize that these are challenging times for many of us.  Be kind, be respectful and support one another.  For assistance with questions regarding COVID-19 or to access support services, please reach out to our Public Health Call Center at: 360-678-2301. 

 

We are #IslandCountyStrong.

~Janet

 


Guidance

Island County COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

Updated Community Guidance
April 1, 2020


‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ Order
Island County Public Health wants to keep you as informed as possible about continuing developments surrounding novel coronavirus and our response within the county. On March 30, Governor Jay Inslee announced guidance for state and local enforcement of the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order. In alignment with this announcement, Island County Public Health provides the following updated guidance:

 

  • All Washingtonians are required to stay home unless engaging in an essential activity. All businesses have closed, except for essential business.
  • Submit any inquiries or requests regarding Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers to the Essential Business Inquiries webpage.
  • Do not call 911 to report a business or individual potentially in violation of the order. Report potential business violations through the Violations of the Governor’s Proclamation webpage. Education will be the primary role of law enforcement, followed by formal enforcement actions, as appropriate.


Mental Health Awareness:
While social distancing is critical to the physical health of individuals and to protect our community as whole, mental health professionals emphasize the importance of continuing safe social connections at this time. Safe connections could include regular phone calls, texts, video chats, walks with household members, and more. Island County Behavioral Health offers the following tips for managing stress and anxiety:

 

  1. Take care of yourself: Get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and take breaks from social media and news reports.
  2. Talk to others: Feelings of anxiety are normal in a situation like this. Reach out and talk to people in your community who can provide support.
  3. Avoid rumors and inaccurate information. Rely on official sources for information, such as Island County Public Health, WA State Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. Do what you can- there are always things that we as individuals and communities can control: Wash your hands frequently, avoid close contact with people who are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, cover your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue, stay home when you are sick. Prepare for possible illness with a plan and emergency contact list.
  5. Ask for help. Island County Human Services offers an on-call mental health line at 1.360.678.2346 geared specifically toward COVID-19 response. The call line will be fully staffed Monday-Friday from 10am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm. Additional crisis support services include:
    • VOA (Local) Crisis Line: 1.800.584.3578 (24 hours)
    • Crisis Text Line: 741741
    • National Suicide Hotline: 1.800.273.8255

 

Contact Us
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.
Public can contact the Island County call center at 1.360.678.2301.
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

 


Due Dates for Property Tax Payments:

 

We have received many calls asking if Island County is extending the due date for property tax payments.

 

The Treasurer’s Office will offer current year payment plans for those who are able to make partial payments for 2020. Please check with the Treasurer’s website for more information, and continuing updates. For those who are interested in setting up a payment plan, this must be done prior to April 30th. Contact the Treasurer's office as soon as possible.

 

The County Treasurer is vested with the authority to extend due dates when an emergency has been declared (RCW 84.56.020(10)). Due to the continuing financial needs of our local tax districts (state, hospital, schools, library, ports, cities, fire districts, etc.) for the provision of local services, Island County Treasurer, Wanda Grone, has decided NOT to issue any extension of the April 30, 2020 due date for property tax payments. This action was taken on behalf of those districts for which the County Treasurer collects property taxes.

 

Contact information:

Island County Treasurer
Phone Number: 360-679-7302 
Email: treasurerwebinfo@islandcountywa.gov
Website: www.islandcountywa.gov/treasurer

Mail:
PO Box 699
Coupeville, WA 98239-0699


Island County COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

 

Island County Public Health has received notice that two of the positive coronavirus cases associated with the Careage of Whidbey COVID-19 outbreak have sadly passed away. We offer our condolences to the families and friends as they grieve this loss.

 

There are currently 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Island County. 44 of these cases are associated with the outbreak at Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville, in both residents and staff. Public Health is not investigating any other outbreaks associated with long-term care facilities or specific locations at this time.

 

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are now spread widely throughout Island County. All residents must take urgent action to help minimize the health impacts of COVID-19. The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order applies to our entire community, in all locations, on both Camano and Whidbey Islands.

 

For additional support and information:
WA State Department of Health – www.doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus.
Call Center # 1.800.525.0127, Sunday through Saturday (6:00am – 10:00pm)

 

Island County Public Health – www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Call Center # 360.678.2301, Mondays through Fridays (8:00am – 4:30pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9:00am – 4:00pm)

 


 

 



 


 

ISLAND COUNTY PARKS
STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Island County Parks is committed to supporting our community as much as possible during the COVID-19 concerns.


Please note the following changes at all Island County Parks, effective immediately and until further notice:

  1. Pack it in Pack it out policy at all county parks. Trash cans will be removed, permanent restrooms will be locked. Portable toilets will remain in select locations.
  2. Trails will remain open. Signage will be posted to remind users to practice social distancing.
  3. Boat docks/ramps will remain open. Signage will be posted to remind users to practice social distancing.
  4. The following active use park facilities will be closed until further notice, including all off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, beaches, and ball fields.
    Island County Temporary Park Closures per Governor's Directive – 3/25/2020


WHIDBEY ISLAND:
1. Moran Beach
2. Patmore Pit Off Leash
3. Rhododendron Campground and Ballfield
4. Freeland Hall and Playground
5. Double Bluff Beach and Off Leash
6. Marguerite Brons Off Leash


CAMANO ISLAND:
7. English Boom Beach and Off Leash
8. Henry Hollow Off Leash
9. Four Springs Event Center
10. Iverson Beach
11. Barnum Point
12. Walter G. Hutchinson


________________________________________
To get up-to-date information about COVID-19 and Island County please click the links below:
Public Health - COVID-19:

Public Health - COVID-19:
https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

Island County Operations Information:
https://www.islandcountywa.gov/pages/county-operations.aspx

Island County Human Services Assistance
https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Humanservices/Pages/Home.aspx


County Offices closed to the public through April 6th

 

In response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, the Board of Island County Commissioners adopted a resolution closing public access to County office buildings from March 25 through April 6.  We are committed to supporting our community as much as possible during the COVID-19 concerns, and Public Works services will continue to be provided in the following ways.

Permits: We will now accept permits via email or mail.  More information and fillable PDFs are available on our permit webpage.  

Parks: are open, but some parks / uses have been limited.  Please see the Parks web page for additional information.  

Solid Waste: expect normal operations.

Roads: expect normal operations.

Concerns can be submitted using our Service Request App, or calling 360-679-7331

 

Please call: 360-679-7331 with any questions


Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Today, in response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, the Board of Island County Commissioners adopted a resolution closing public access to County office buildings from March 25 through April 6. Citizens who need access to public services will be required to contact departments via e-mail or telephone as a means of communication. Citizens can find contact information for departments and offices at https://www.islandcountywa.gov/pages/county-operations.aspx .

 

Island County’s solid waste transfer stations will remain open and available for citizen use as normal during this two-week period.

 

Please click on the link below to view the adopted resolution: 

Adopted Resolution C-29-20

 


 

Island County Public Health wants to keep you as informed as possible about continuing developments surrounding novel coronavirus and our response within the county. Governor Jay Inslee announced the new “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to minimize exposure to COVID-19 in a press conference Monday evening. In alignment with this announcement, Island County Public Health will now be following the Governor’s mandates:

 

New Statewide Mandates (effective until midnight on April 6th, 2020, unless extended)

1. All Washingtonians will stay home unless to pursue an essential activity.

2. All social, spiritual, and recreational gatherings are prohibited throughout the state.

3. Effective midnight, March 25th, 2020 all businesses will close, except for essential business.

 

Please remember these other important guidelines:

1. Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others to practice safe social distancing.

2. Wash hands thoroughly and frequently.

3. Do not hoard essential resources such as food or masks.

 

Community Support Opportunities

Both the Stanwood-Camano Area Foundation (SCAF) and Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) have launched community funds to support our local non-profit organizations in response to COVID-19. If you’d like to contribute, click the links provided to learn more!

If you are a health care worker or have available personal protective equipment (PPE), please consider donating to our local healthcare facilities. Donation offers should be directed to logistics@islandcountywa.gov.


Contact Us

 

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County, start by visiting our website or our Facebook page.


Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m.

 


 

COUNTY TAKES ACTION TO SUSPEND RESTAURANT FEES

 

In response to the economic impact COVID-19 is having on food establishments, the Island County Board of Health, voted to suspend the collection of food service fees for the second half of 2020.  Any food service business (restaurants, groceries, and mini marts) that have food service license and have paid the year in full, will receive a partial refund. Refunds are estimated to be issued no later than June 30, 2020.

 

During the discussion, the Board of Health addressed their concerns pertaining to the financial impact of the decision.  However, they determined the local economy and its workforce were a higher priority.

 

While local government has very few tools to aid in economic stabilization; the Board of Health’s action demonstrates a commitment to provide economic relief in support of our small business community.

Posted by WhidbeyLocal
25th November 2020 12:00 am.
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