CAMP MURRAY — Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman on Saturday approved a variance application for Pacific County to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan. Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason and San Juan counties were also approved.

The variance allows new construction to begin; restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity with no bar seating allowed; hair and nail salons, as well as barbers, to see clients; and allow state parks connected to beaches to reopen.

A total of 21 counties have now been approved to move to Phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman.

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 fewer 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.

Resources

Learn more about county variances and the statewide response to COVID-19 at coronavirus.wa.gov.

Washington 211 Covid-19 Call Center: Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (covid-19)? You can call  1-800-525-0127  or text  211-211  for help. You can also text the word  “Coronavirus”  to  211-211  to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on covid-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more. 

Interested in volunteering during disasters and significant events like covid-19? Register with the Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance in their response to the covid-19 pandemic: tinyurl.com/WA-Community-Health-Volunteer.

Visit the Department of Health's website for cases by county, demographics and more: www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.

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