Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
WA STATE CALL CENTER
What is Cowlitz County Health & Human Services doing?
Health care providers notify Cowlitz County Health & Human Services (CCHHS) every time someone tests positive for COVID-19. After receiving the report, CCHHS calls the sick person to see how they are doing. We ask them to stay home until they are no longer considered contagious. This is to ensure they don’t spread the virus to others.
We also ask the sick person to share some information with us:
- If they have symptoms and when their symptoms started
- Where they went while they may have been contagious
- Who they had close contact with while they may have been contagious
This information is kept private. We only use it to identify close contacts who may be at risk of getting COVID-19. Close contacts include everyone who:
- was within 6 feet of the sick person for more than 15 minutes
- was near the sick person’s coughs or sneezes
- lives in the same home as the sick person
- cared for the sick person
We call each of those close contacts and ask them to stay home for 14 days. We ask them to stay home so if they develop COVID-19, they don’t get others sick. Staying home the whole time is important because people can spread COVID-19 before they know they are sick. We also call or text those close contacts every day to see if they’ve developed symptoms. If so, we help them to get tested. We also ask if they need other help, like someone to pick up their groceries.
This process isn't new in Public Health! Case interviews and contact notifications are the same tools used for decades for other communicable diseases.
As the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is modified and more people are out and about, we’ll aim to identify close contacts of all cases within 24 hours. Acting quickly is crucial for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our community safe, healthy and open.
COVID-19 testing is ordered at the discretion of local health care providers. Public Health does not provide COVID-19 testing and does not need to approve testing for COVID-19. Positive test results are immediately notifiable to Cowlitz County Health and Human Services; negative test results are not. Most health care facilities now offer COVID-19 testing. People who are uninsured or do not have a health care provider, can contact the Family Health Center to request testing. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should call their health care provider in advance so the facility can take steps to prevent exposing others. Testing should come at no cost to the patient, whether they have insurance or not.
Additional guidance for people who have or think they may have COVID-19:
- What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease, COVID-19, (Spanish), (Russian) ,
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19, (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
- What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been around anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
- Recommended Guidance for Daily COVID-19 Screening of Employees and Visitors, (English), (Spanish), (Russian)
- Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (English)
Cowlitz County is in Phase 2 of the Safe Start Washington Plan
- 5/23/2020: Cowlitz County moved to Phase 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan.
- 6/13/2020: Cowlitz County was eligible to apply for phase 3.
- 6/18/2020: Cowlitz County submitted an application for “Modified-Phase 3”.
- 6/24/2020: The WA State Department of Health put that application on “pause” due to increased COVID-19 activity in the county.
- 7/2/2020: The Governor announced a two week pause on any county moving forward in the phases through 7/16/2020
- 7/14/2020: The Governor extended the pause on any county moving forward in phases to 7/28/2020
- 7/28/2020: The Governor announced an indefinite pause on any county moving forward in phases.
- Cowlitz County remains in “phase 2” of in the governor’s phased approach for reopening.
Cloth Face Coverings
On June 23, Washington state Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced an order that mandates the use of cloth face coverings in most public areas. The order took effect June 26. Frequently asked questions related to Cloth Face Coverings and Masks are available on the Washington State Dept. of Health website.
Gov. Jay Inslee rolled out requirements for the statewide face covering mandate. Starting July 7, businesses will not be able to serve customers or visitors who aren’t wearing face coverings. The measure is intended to counteract the surging levels of COVID-19 statewide as counties have started reopening. Face coverings, when combined with six feet of physical distancing and frequent hand-washing can significantly slow the spread of the virus.
Protect yourself from COVID-19
Everyday practices to prevent colds, influenza and other respiratory illnesses can also protect people against coronaviruses, including COVID-19. The Health Department recommends people take the following actions to keep themselves healthy:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
- Practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Stay home and away from others when sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched