Kittitas County Public Health Department recommends shelter in place


Graphic by Teagan Kimbro/The Observer

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

A Kittitas County press release states the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) is recommending that if possible, people shelter in place, or voluntarily isolate in their homes, to avoid exposing others or being exposed. KCPHD says to operate as if everyone has COVID-19, and is “urging Kittitas County residents to assume that they have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.”

During a livestreamed press release from Gov. Jay Inslee, made 20 minutes prior to the KCPHD statement, Inslee said, “that’s a futile thing to think about,” when asked if shelter in place orders were being considered. He encouraged Washington residents to take the situation day by day. 

However, counties in other states, such as San Miguel County in Colorado and San Francisco County in California, have begun issuing shelter in place orders in response to the novel coronavirus.

The county is experiencing community spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the press release. Community spread is when “people have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected,” the press release states.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has released information in tandem with this press release on how exposure to the novel coronavirus occurs, stating in general, getting infected requires being in close contact with somebody who is sick.

The document from the DOH states if you haven’t been in close contact with somebody who has COVID-19, you are low risk and can continue going to work and school. 

“It is essential in this time of community spread that unless otherwise directed by KCPHD, non-symptomatic essential workers such as first responders and healthcare employees continue to report to work as scheduled,” Kittitas Valley Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Martin said for the press release. “We ask that you assess for symptoms and take your temperature before and after work to monitor.”

People who get sick should voluntarily quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days, the document from the DOH states. Anyone who has had close contact with somebody who has COVID-19 but is not displaying symptoms should voluntarily quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days as well.

“If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection—age 60 years or older, are pregnant, or have medical conditions—contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19,” the document states. “They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.”

If you have other questions about COVID-19, please contact the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at (509) 933-8315 or (509) 933-8305. Both numbers will connect to the EOC.