FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2020
Statewide restrictions announced for four weeks in response to rising number of COVID-19 cases
On November 15, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country. The statewide restrictions took effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. Modified restrictions of restaurants will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.
Details for specific restriction modifications can be found on the governor’s website. Restriction modifications specifically affect:
1. Indoor Social Gatherings
2. Outdoor Social Gatherings
3. Restaurants and Bars
4. Fitness Facilities and Gyms
5. Bowling Centers
6. Miscellaneous Venues
7. Movie Theaters
8. Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums
9. Real Estate (Open houses prohibited)
10. Weddings and Funerals
11. In-Store Retail
12. Religious Services
13. Professional Services
14. Personal Services
15. Long-term Care Facilities
16. Youth and Adult Sporting Activities
The new restriction modifications specifically exempt K-12 schools which are encouraged to follow current state guidance. “However, we know that as community spread and case numbers increase, the metrics that school districts use to make decisions through the state DOH Decision Making Tree are affected”, said CCHHS spokesman Ralph Herrera. “It is critical that we make informed decisions in Cowlitz County as the colder months and holiday season ahead force social gatherings indoors”, said Herrera.
In Cowlitz County, weekly counts show a rapid increase in new cases starting the third full week in October, with no signs of slowing down, and is currently higher than our previous record high in July. Cowlitz County was in the moderate level of COVID activity (26-75 cases per 100,000 population) for four (4) weeks (9/19 – 10/2 through 10/16 – 10/29). We are currently in the HIGH level of COVID-19 activity, at 207 new cases per 100,000 population (in the 14-day period from 10/28 – 11/10).
The safest way to celebrate the holidays this year is at home with the people in your household. Attending indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household puts you and your loved ones at higher risk of getting sick with COVID-19. Creative alternatives to in-person gatherings include hosting holiday activities such as cookie decorating and gift exchanges virtually. Shopping for holiday gifts using curbside pickup or shopping online are excellent alternatives to visiting crowded stores.
Those who plan to host or attend in-person gatherings with people they don’t live with should take steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:
• Keep the guest list small. Gathering with fewer people from one other household is safer than gathering with more people from several households.
• Gather outside, if possible. Indoor gatherings are higher risk than outdoor gatherings.
• If you gather indoors, open windows and doors to increase ventilation. Gather in a location that allows people from different households to maintain 6 feet of distance from each other.
• Wear face coverings anytime you’re not eating.
• Keep the gathering short. Longer gatherings are higher risk than shorter gatherings.
• Wash hands frequently.
• Avoid buffet-style potlucks and sharing of utensils. Instead, have each household bring their own food and drinks.
• Avoid gestures that require close contact with others, such as hugging or shaking hands.
• Consider pre-event quarantine. Ask all guests to limit their contact with others for the 14 days prior to the gathering.
• After the gathering, stay home as much as possible for 14 days. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, contact your health care provider to request testing.
Cowlitz County Health officials remain confident that residents can unite once again to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing all remain the best ways to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safer and healthier.
To contact the Health and Human Services, please call 360-414-5599.