Inslee sets rules to open up care facilities

Gov. Jay Inslee and officials from the state Department of Health and Department of Social and Health Services have announced a phased plan that goes into effect Aug. 12 for long-term care facilities to safely allow visitors, provide trips for residents outside the facility, group activities and more.

Along with being in Phase 2 like the rest of Kitsap County, additional factors include local virus activity, facility access to testing and personal protective equipment, capacity at local hospitals, and virus activity within the facility. Before moving into a new phase, a facility or agency must go 28 days without a resident/client or staff member testing positive for COVID-19 and have a minimum 14-day supply of PPE on hand.

Information about the Safe Start for Long-Term Care plan is available on the FamHelp page of DSHS’s website.

Also, social gatherings are one reason COVID-19 activity is high in Washington state. Fewer, shorter, safer interactions are crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. That is why Inslee and DOH have restricted social gatherings to no more than 5 people for counties in Phase 2, including Kitsap.

Here are some reminders about in-person gatherings:

•Avoid touching surfaces where infected droplets from people talking, laughing, coughing or sneezing may have landed. That means no communal food or drinks and don’t share plates or utensils.

•Avoid close contact. Air hugs, air high fives and elbow bumps are safe ways to say hello and goodbye.

•Wear face coverings indoors at all times when not in your household. When outdoors, wear face coverings whenever you’re 6 feet apart or less.

•Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.