Coronavirus: Inslee announces reopening plan for long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Inslee announces reopening plan for long-term care facilities

SEATTLE — Gov. Inslee and health officials released protocols for residents, visitors and group activities for the state’s long- term care facilities.

The state listed visitation guidelines for each phase.

In phase 1, compassionate care, window, remote and outdoor (limited to two a day) visits are allowed.

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In phase 2, only one indoor visitor, known as an essential support person, would be allowed per resident. Also, all visitors must wear facial coverings and be screened for symptoms before entering. These activities are allowed with the additional option for indoor visits in limited circumstances.

In phase 3, a limited number of visits can take place. Residents and clients can leave these facilities as long as they practice social distancing, wear a mask, and are screened for symptoms when they return.

Phase 4 would allow a facility to return to normal visitation protocols.

Group activities are not recommended in phase 1 facilities, limited activities are allowed in phase 2, visitors may participate in phase 3 and normal group activities will be allowed to resume in phase 4.

Facilities cannot move forward in phases before the county they are in, which means if the facility is in a phase 2 county, it can’t move to phase 3 before the county does.

To move forward in phases, facilities also must go 28 days without a resident or staff member testing positive for COVID-19.

These facilities must also have at least a 14-day supply of PPE on hand.

The latest statewide death toll as reported by the Department of Health had reached 1,724 deaths among 64,702 confirmed coronavirus cases as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the counties with the highest totals: King County has 684 deaths among 16,941 cases; Snohomish County has 197 deaths among 5,582 cases; and Pierce County has 143 deaths among 5,874 cases.

Click here to see where other counties in the state stand.

Key coronavirus updates:

Information from local officials

Inslee expired the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order on May 31 and announced that the state would move to a “Safe Start” county-by-county phased reopening approach.

Under the “Safe Start” plan, individual counties are able to apply to the secretary of health to move between the phases or add new business activities. There is now an indefinite pause on counties moving forward to new phases.

When applications are allowed, they must be submitted by a county executive. If a county does not have a county executive, it must be submitted with the approval of the County Council/Commission.

The Secretary of Health evaluates each application based on how their data compares to certain targets. Click here for a complete breakdown.

An individual county’s ability to respond to outbreaks, increased deaths, health system capacity and other factors are also considered.

The Secretary of Health can approve the plans as submitted, approve with modifications or can deny the application.

The state is using certain metrics to evaluate when and how to lift various restrictions. The five metrics being used are: COVID 19 disease activity; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; risk to vulnerable populations, and health care system readiness.

How you can protect yourself and what to do if you think you were exposed

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Patients reportedly have mild to severe respiratory illness. These are steps health officials recommend to protect yourself:

  • 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.
  • Washington State Department of Health: What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease
  • Washington State Department of Health: What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease
  • If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact: coronavirus@kingcounty.gov.
  • For general concerns and questions about COVID-19, call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127 and press #.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.