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  • Writer's pictureMLWA 7

Grant and six other counties approved to move to Phase 2 of reopening


Washington State Secretary of Health Joen Wiesman approved variance applications for Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific, and San Juan Counties to move into phase two of Governor Jay Inslee's Safe Start Plan. This brings the total number of counties approved for phase two to 21.

Clallam, Kitsap and Thurston counties are now eligible to apply for a variance to move to phase two. Applications for phase two from Kittitas and Clark counties are on pause until discussions next week due to outbreak investigations. Today Grant County Health District was notified that their application was approved to move to Phase 2 of the Washington State Safe Start Recovery Plan. know/safe-start. With Phase 2 there are many additional steps businesses will need to have in place before they are authorized to open their doors. Many local businesses have already been working on their reopening plans in anticipation of moving to the next phase.

While businesses and employers are doing their part to be prepared to welcome you back, it is important that our residents and visitors continue to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Grant County Health Officer, Dr. Brzezny is urging you to wear face coverings when out in public, office spaces, or where social distancing is challenging.

Wearing a face covering is protecting others from you and has proven to slow the spread of COVID- 19. It’s a simple act of kindness and a responsibility we all should take seriously.

All the sacrifices during the COVID-19 emergency has taken a toll on all of us, in order to stay in phase 2 it will take all of doing our part to protect each other.

The following counties are eligible to apply for a variance to move to Phase 2: Clallam, Kitsap and Thurston.

Applications from Kittitas and Clark counties are on pause until further discussion next week due to outbreak investigations.

Businesses approved to move into Phase 2 must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen.

To apply for a variance, counties must have an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals, and the county commission/council.

Each county must demonstrate they have adequate local hospital bed capacity as well as adequate PPE supplies to keep health care workers safe. The application must include plans for:

  • Making testing available and accessible to everyone in the county with symptoms.

  • Staffing case investigations and contact tracing.

  • Housing people in isolation or quarantine who can’t or don’t want to do so at home.

  • Providing case management services to those in isolation and quarantine.

  • Responding rapidly to outbreaks in congregate settings.

The variance requests are reviewed by the secretary of health, who can approve the plans as submitted, approve with modifications or deny the application. If circumstances change within the jurisdiction, the variance can be revoked.

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