Okanogan County’s Safe Reopening
Our community is united in its goal to keep each other safe and help our economy reopen. We are Okanogan County Strong.
Staying safe during COVID-19 has been difficult for communities across the State, but our rural County has endured difficult journeys before, and we know how to come together to make it through.
To get back to “normal,” we must use common sense and make sound decisions with good science. The more our community takes safety precautions, the sooner we will be able to move to the next phase of reopening; if we don’t take individual and community action to stay safe, reopening will be delayed.
Shared GoalsOkanogan County Public Health is committed to using local data and reliable science in our COVID-19 response. Okanogan County Public Health and our Health Officer are monitoring key indicators and data to determine when Okanogan County is prepared to move to the next phase and will continue to advocate for the residents of Okanogan County. At Okanogan County Public Health, our goals during this pandemic include:
- Public Health: Minimize the spread, morbidity, and mortality due to COVID-19
- Economic Health: Open Okanogan County as soon as possible to re-establish economic activity across the county
- Public Safety: Minimize threats to public safety (e.g. assault, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide, etc.)
- Collaboration: Coordinate enforcement and compliance so the county can work together to attain the three goals above
Washington’s “Safe Start” Reopening Plan
On May 29, Gov. Inslee announced an updated 4-phase, county-by-county “Safe Start” reopening plan.
Each County is required to stay in each phase for a minimum of 3 weeks to allow public health experts to monitor the impact of reopening. Counties may move forward or backward in phases depending on disease activity and other key metrics. You can view the COVID-19 Risk Assessment dashboard used by the governor and public health leaders to determine county readiness to move between phases.
Stand tall, stand strong, stand together, and we will return from COVID-19 better and more resilient.
Okanogan County is currently in Phase 2
Phase 2 Activities
All activities in previous Phase 1 are allowed in addition to the following:
- Recreation: Outdoor recreation involving five or fewer people outside your household, camping, beaches, some sporting activities
- Gatherings: Gather with no more than five people outside your household per week.
- Indoor spiritual or religious services: up to 25% of capacity or 200 individuals (whichever is less). Choirs not allowed. In-home faith-based services or counseling with up to five people.
- Travel: Essential travel and travel for activities allowed under Phase 1 and Phase 2
- Businesses: Manufacturing, construction, real estate, photography, pet grooming, in-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.), retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions), professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged), personal services (hair and nail salons/barbers, tattoo, etc.)
– Restaurants/taverns: less than 50 percent capacity, table size no larger than five (no bar-area seating or karaoke)
What’s open in each phase? Visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response web page to see what is open and closed in each phase.
Community COVID-19 Prevention and Reduction Practices
In the absence of effective vaccine and treatment options, widespread and widely adopted community measures to prevent and manage COVID-19 are the only way to minimize the disease’s activity and burden in Okanogan County.
The following community practices are essential to minimize COVID-19 disease burden. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen some of these interventions become politicized, but at their core, they are fundamental public health tools that have been practiced for centuries.
- Masking – Cover your face with a mask when in public spaces. The Washington State Secretary of Health has issued an order requiring masks to be worn in public places.
- Hygiene – Engage in frequent hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, the frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and sanitization of supplies readily available at home, work, and public places.
- Distancing – Maintain physical distance between yourself and others. It will be quite some time before returning to pre-COVID-19 levels of social interactions. We must exercise freedom with regard to others’ safety, respect physical distancing recommendations, and adhere to the phase-specific guidance on group gatherings.
- Screening and Testing – Monitor yourself for symptoms and stay home if you feel sick. Get tested right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if recommended by your healthcare provider or public health. Timely testing is essential to minimize the spread of the disease.
- Isolation and Quarantine – Follow isolation and quarantine guidance from your public health district or healthcare provider. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, follow isolation guidance. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow quarantine guidance.
- Contact Tracing – Contact tracing prevents further exposures by asking those in close contact with someone affected by COVID-19 to quarantine. When properly quarantining, COVID-19 is not able to spread to additional contacts. Answer the call and participate in contact tracing if contacted by Public Health.
- Sharing Accurate Information – Okanogan County Public Health is committed to using our limited resources efficiently to share accurate and updated information with the public. It is everyone’s responsibility to evaluate the information for accuracy and share factual information. Perpetuating false information is careless and dangerous, particularly during a pandemic.
- Limited Travel – Ask tourists not to travel to Okanogan County until non-essential travel is resumed. Limit out of county travel to only essential services or needs. Avoid out of county visitors, even if they are family.