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Skagit County Public Health Issues COVID-19 Guidance to Organizations

Mar 10, 2020

From: Dorothy Epps, Skagit County Public Health
Subject: COVID 19 Information

There are currently no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Skagit County. However, we understand that many of you may have concerns and questions, especially as the virus continues to spread. Skagit County Public Health is committed to keeping you up to date with the latest information and recommendations.

The best place to find updated information about COVID-19 is our website: skagitcounty.net/coronavirus. We update it daily with information and links that can help employers, parents, schools & childcare providers, healthcare providers and others prepare appropriately.

You can also reach us by phone at 360-416-1500 or by email at communicabledisease@co.skagit.wa.us.  We are responding to calls and emails Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please be aware that we are receiving a high volume of calls and emails. We may not be able to respond immediately to non-urgent calls or email inquiries.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads from an infected person to others through close contact (about six feet). It can spread through the air, by coughing and sneezing; through personal contact, by shaking or touching hands; and by touching and object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, eyes or hands with unwashed hands. The virus typically does not live on surfaces for a prolonged period of time.

There are several ways you can prevent the spread of a respiratory illness like COVID-19

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
  • Download and print this hygiene poster to display in workspaces, classrooms, and other areas where participants might congregate

If you think you have COVID-19, and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider BEFORE going to get care and tell them about your symptoms and travel. They can provide you instructions for seeking care so that you do not expose others. Do not go to Urgent Care clinics or the emergency room before discussing your symptoms with your healthcare provider. It is extremely important that our healthcare system be able to respond to people with serious illness and not be overwhelmed with people experiencing mild illness.

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19? / Should I require my employees to get tested for COVID-19?

NO. The state healthcare system is already extremely busy attending to truly ill patients, and providers will NOT test patients who are not showing symptoms. If you or your employees are showing symptoms of illness, stay home.

Skagit County Public Health does not recommend that individuals get tested for COVID-19 unless they have been in close contact with someone who has a CONFIRMED case AND are displaying severe symptoms.

Please do not mandate that your employees get tested for COVID-19. Providers will not test patients who aren't displaying symptoms. If you or an employee is feeling ill, stay home from work.

The resources listed below may help you respond to client/participant, family and staff questions.

We appreciate your willingness to share this information with your participants/clients, families and staff.  This is rapidly evolving situation and we understand that it is a very challenging time for our community.  We will keep you updated as the situation progresses.


Regards,
Skagit County Public Health