COVID Update

WASHINGTON STATE - Recap of Today’s COVID-19 News and Updates

Numbers As of May 18, there are 18,811 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state, an increase of 200 cases in the past 24 hours. Visit the Department of Health's website for cases by county, demographics, and more.

Statewide Response Updates

Briefing schedule Regular briefing will continue to happen on Tuesdays at 2:30. Rest assured we will continue to keep you updated on any emergent issues.

Long term Care Facility Reporting As of May 18, a total of 3,534 COVID-19 cases (19% of total cases) and 624 deaths (62% of total deaths) have been identified as associated with a long term care facility, including nursing home, assisted living facility or adult family home. These cases may include residents as well as employees and visitors, and currently, we have limited ability to distinguish amongst them.

  • These numbers have been identified using several sources of information including interviews with patients, medical record review and cross-matching address information.
  • We cannot say for certain that all of these cases were exposed at a LTCF. Many cases visited multiple places during their exposure period, and some individuals may have visited a LTCF after disease onset.
  • Data are updated as we receive information that is more complete and may change over time as we learn more. We are working to improve this information going forward. 

Updated county variance criteria The governor and state Department of Health today announced new criteria that will allow additional counties to apply for a variance. Counties are now eligible to apply if they have less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span. The criteria are similar to CDC guidance for reopening regions nationwide. This will allow for more economic activity around the state, while providing appropriate protections that will limit the spread of COVID-19. This change currently makes an additional 10 counties eligible: Adams; Clallam; Clark; Island; Kitsap; Lewis; Mason; San Juan; Spokane; Thurston.

Pet grooming operations Yesterday’s proclamation from the Governor issued guidance for resuming pet grooming operations in Phase 2. Counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply for a variance to move to Phase 2 of “Safe Start” before other parts of the state. For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, pet grooming operations may resume, effective May 18. 

Guidance documents: 

Proclamation extension A May 18, 2020, letter from the Legislature extends several Visitation and Remedial Services (20-33.4) proclamations until May 31. Requirements are waived for in-person visitation by children in the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF) with family and DCYF caseworkers. Also waived are requirements for DCYF to provide parents and children in child dependency cases with remedial services, which include things like coordinating family visits. The order will help prevent COVID-19 transmission between the foster parents, relatives, group homes, and others caring for children in DCYF’s custody. Nothing in this order, or in the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, is intended to prevent compliance with a private parenting plan.

Whatcom County directive face covering Starting May 22, 2020, everyone in Whatcom County is directed to wear a face covering while at indoor or outdoor public space where people who do not live together may be within 6 feet of each other.**

**Correction: Previous title in bold was incorrect. Whatcom county has not been approved to move to phase 2. Title was held over from 5/18 update for Asotin County which read "Asotin County approved to move to phase 2".

State assistance On May 19th, Gov. Inslee and Dept. of Commerce announced the approval of the first group of Working Washington Small Business Grant recipients. Approved recipients will be announced through the end of May by the Dept. Of Commerce. The grants provide up to $10,000 for small businesses under 10 employees. Businesses can use this money to pay for rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses. More information


Commonly-confused terms and phrases Have you been talking so much about COVID-19 to your family and friends that you’re starting to sound like a professional? We’re so proud of you! Are you ready to take your usage of technical language to the next level? Don’t fall for these commonly-confused public health terms and phrases.Read more.

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.

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