Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate Lifting on March 21

Reading Time: 2 minutes

February 17, 2022

This afternoon, Governor Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Monday, March 21, 2022. This mandate, which includes indoor locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, has been in effect since August 23, 2021. Beginning on March 21, the mandate will also be lifted for K-12 schools and childcare locations throughout the state.

As a reminder, the statewide outdoor mask mandate is scheduled to end tomorrow, Friday, February 18. The state will stop requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to large events beginning on Tuesday, March 1.

K-12 schools will still be required to report COVID cases and work with local Public Health Departments to monitor disease activity. Routine testing, isolation, and quarantine protocols will also remain in place per the CDC’s guidance. Current “requirements” regarding distance, ventilation, and sanitation in schools will be downgraded to “recommendations”, with new guidance expected from the state by March 7.

The lifting of the indoor mask mandate will not include certain indoor settings considered to be at high-risk for disease spread. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities. Additionally, the federal mask mandate is still in effect and requires masking on all forms of public transportation, including buses, trains, and airplanes, and in transportation hubs.

Following the lifting of the mandate, Washingtonians can continue to wear a mask if they so choose. This goes for businesses, as well, who will retain the right to choose stricter masking requirements if desired.

There may be certain settings where wearing a mask makes sense, like when caring for someone who is high-risk, if you are sick, if you’re in a location where social distancing isn’t possible, or if you are not fully vaccinated. Those who are at greater risk because of factors such as their age or underlying health condition are encouraged to continue to take extra precautions.

For additional information on Governor Inslee’s announcement, please visit wwww.governor.wa.gov or call the State COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127. For general questions related to COVID-19, you may contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500.


Free COVID-19 At-home Test Kits Now Available Online

Reading Time: 3 minutes

January 21, 2022

Today, the Washington State Department of Health launched an online ordering portal for free COVID-19 test kits in partnership with the Say Yes COVID Test Program. Beginning today, Washington state residents will be able to visit www.sayyescovidhometest.org to order rapid-antigen COVID tests online and will receive those tests delivered at no cost. People can order up to 5 free tests per household.

Note: Supplies are limited at this time and demand is quite high. If you have trouble ordering, please contact the state hotline at 1-800-525-0127 (press #).

A federal online ordering portal also launched earlier this week. Every home in the U.S. is now eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests by going to www.covidtests.gov. The tests are completely free, and orders will usually ship within 7-12 days through USPS.

Antigen test kits are available for purchase, as well, through participating pharmacies like Walgreens and Rite Aid. Check with your local pharmacy frequently, and in person, for availability.

If choosing to purchase kits through a pharmacy, please know that your health insurance company may reimburse you for up to 8 at-⁠home tests per month for each person on the plan. For more information, call your provider or visit https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free.

Those seeking a PCR test or other testing options can go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/TestingforCOVID19/TestingLocations#region4 for a full list of locations in our region.

For information about the Skagit Fairgrounds testing site, please go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

Testing supplies continue to be limited due to extremely high demand. As our federal, state, and local governments continue to work to increase testing resources, we encourage Skagitonians to utilize the options listed above to gain access to testing. 

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Kits de prueba gratuitos de COVID-19 en el hogar ahora disponibles en línea

Hoy, el Departamento de Salud del Estado de Washington lanzó un portal de pedidos en línea para kits de prueba covid-19 gratuitos en asociación con el programa de pruebas Say Yes COVID. A partir de hoy, los residentes del estado de Washington podrán visitar https://sayyescovidhometest.org/casa.html para solicitar pruebas rápidas de ANTÍGENO COVID online y recibirán esas pruebas entregadas sin costo alguno. Las personas pueden pedir hasta 5 pruebas gratuitas  por  hogar.

Nota: Los suministros son limitados en este momento y la demanda es bastante alta. Si tiene problemas para realizar pedidos, comuníquese con la línea directa del estado al 1-800-525-0127.

Un portal federal de pedidos en línea también se lanzó a principios de esta semana. Cada hogar en los Estados Unidos ahora es elegible para ordenar 4 pruebas gratuitas deCOVID-19 en el hogar yendo a https://www.covidtests.gov/es/. Las pruebas son completamente gratuitas, y los usuarios generalmente se enviarán en 7-12 días a través de USPS.

Tambiénhay disponibles kits de prueba de ntigen para su compra,  a través de farmacias participantes como Walgreens y Rite Aid. Consulte con s u farmacia local para conocer la disponibilidad.

Si elige comprar kits a través de una farmacia, tenga en cuenta quenuestra compañía de seguros de salud puede reembolsarle hasta 8 pruebas en el hogar por mes para cada persona en el plan. Para obtener más información, llame a su proveedor.

Aquellos que buscan una prueba PCR u otras opciones de prueba pueden ir a https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusTESTsites.htm para obtener una lista completa de ubicaciones.

Para obtener información sobre el sitio de pruebas de Skagit Fairgrounds, visite www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus o llame a Salud Pública al (360) 416-1500.

Los suministros de prueba continúan siendo limitados debido a la demanda extremadamente alta. A medida que nuestros gobiernos federal, estatal y local continúan trabajando para aumentar los recursos de prueba, alentamos a los habitantes de Skagiton a utilizar las opciones enumeradas anteriormente para obtener acceso a las pruebas.


Want COVID data? The Data Dashboard has you covered!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

[UPDATE: Significant changes were made to the Data Dashboard on January 21, 2022. Read the full press release for more information.]

As of January 3rd, 2022, Skagit County Public Health is no longer updating ongoing COVID-19 case, hospitalization, death, and demographic data on its website. Instead, Skagitonians are asked to refer to the statewide COVID-19 Data Dashboard for all COVID-19 related data.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable navigating a new website, especially when you’ve gotten used to using a different one. As we transition away from updating COVID-19 data on the Public Health website, please know that we’re here to help! Below you will find a video with directions on how to navigate the Dashboard. This video can also be found on our website at www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus.

If you need further assistance using the Dashboard, please call the state COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. You can also contact Skagit County Public Health directly at danicas@co.skagit.wa.us.

Data Dashboard Navigation Video – Skagit County Public Health

Video Transcript:

Hello, my name is Danica Sessions and I’m with Skagit County Public Health. In this video, I will be providing some directions on how to navigate the Washington state COVID-19 Data Dashboard, seen here on my screen.

This dashboard is updated Monday through Friday by the Washington State Department of Health and includes a variety of COVID-related data sets and helpful reports. This is the best tool to use to stay up-to-date about current state and county-level case, hospitalization, and death rates. It is also a helpful tool to see current our current vaccination status here in Skagit County—and throughout the state.

To get to this dashboard, please go to www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/DataDashboard.

Once here, scroll down slightly to find the dashboard.

The first thing you’ll see is our state’s current status. In order to narrow it down to Skagit County, find the “select county” box along the left of the dashboard and scroll down to Skagit County. Click the box to select.

So once you’ve clicked on Skagit County, you’ll see our current status. This includes total confirmed cases, as well as total hospitalizations and deaths to date. You’ll also notice a few other helpful data points.

To see how we compare to other counties, you can go to the tabular view here. To get back to maps, click on the Map View button.

You’ll note that in the upper-right hand corner, a different date will appear instead of today’s date. This is because all of this data must be verified by the state before it is published. Typically, data will lag by 2 to 3 days. You’ll also notice that the state no longer updates data on the weekends.

To find our vaccination status, click on Vaccinations when you’re still in the “Current Status” tab. Please note that sometimes when you move throughout the dashboard, the county will unselect. To ensure that you’re looking at Skagit County data, make sure that the box is checked.

Here you can see total doses administered in our county to date. By clicking here, you can see our percentages of partially and fully vaccinated populations. You can also see who is getting vaccinated by clicking here. Data is broken out by sex, age, and race/ethnicity.

If you’re looking to see historic case counts or you’d like to know how many new cases we’re seeing each day, go to “Cumulative Counts” here. Click Skagit County. You can navigate by hovering on the blue line. To see our current status, go to the far right. You’ll see our total cases to date, as well as how many new cases were reported since yesterday.

As you can see, we’re seeing some of our largest daily increases right now compared to any other time during the pandemic.

You can see similar data for hospitalizations and deaths by toggling between these tabs here.

If you’re looking for case, hospitalization, and death rates (essentially trends over time), click on “Epidemiologic Curves,” then click “rates.” You can see 7 day or 14 day averages. The waves of the pandemic are very obvious here. This is also a good place to go to see whether we will be trending upward or downward. Please note that the grey dots are an estimation based on prilimary data, and numbers can change.

Find hospitalization and death rates by toggling between the two buttons here.

There are a few more helpful functions including demographics, COVID-like illness hospitalizations, and healthcare system readiness (which shows statewide ICU occupancy). Play around with these different functions to gather more information.

Lastly, I wanted to highlight some really awesome reports that are available on the dashboard webpage. Scroll down to Reports. Some that I have found very useful are the COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status Report, the Sequencing and Variants report, and the Breakthrough Surveillance Report.

Most reports are updated weekly or bi-monthly so it is helpful to check back for the most recent information.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable navigating a new website, especially when you’ve gotten used to using a different one. As we transition away from updating COVID-19 data on the Public Health website, please know that we’re here to help.

If you need further assistance with the Dashboard, please call the state COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. You can also contact Skagit County Public Health directly at danicas@co.skagit.wa.us.

Thank you for watching.