Counties in the north of the Olympic Peninsula to see the COVID measures

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Clallam County Commissioners will consider a resolution rescinding their March 2020 COVID-19 declaration of emergency effective November 1, while Jefferson County Commissioners will consider extending it today.

Governor Jay Inslee announced in September that the February 2020 state of emergency over the single coronovirus will be lifted on October 31 in light of adjustments to an endemic virus.

This will precede the federal health emergency, which will remain in place until Jan. 31, according to an order from Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services.

Clallam County Commissioners will consider a resolution asking the county to follow state guidelines at their workshop this morning at 9 a.m.

The hybrid meeting is being held in the County Commissioners Meeting Room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles. Meetings can be viewed online at http://www.clallam.net/features/meetings.html. To enter via Zoom video, visit https://zoom.us/j/875561784. To listen only, call 253-2125-8782 then enter meeting ID 875 561 7844 and passcode 12345.

Jefferson County commissioners have drafted a 13th temporary COVID-19 response policy that would extend the emergency until at least the end of the year.

To view the meeting live, go to www.co.jefferson.wa.us and follow the links under “Quick Links: Meeting Videos – Live Streaming”. To join the meeting online, go to https://zoom.us/j/93777841705. To listen only, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter passcode 937-7784-1705#.

The declarations gave counties more flexibility to spend money in response to the pandemic. He also authorized county officials to seek state and federal assistance and reimbursement for money spent on the COVID-19 response.

As Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias explained, rather than going through a government process and then spending the money, the declaration allowed them to spend the money and go through the process later.

Jefferson County commissioners have previously indicated they are broadly supportive of maintaining emergency orders for at least the remainder of the year for the following reasons.

• Health experts expect an increase in COVID-19 cases over the fall and winter due to more people congregating indoors and a lack of masking in interior spaces.

• Maintaining orders allows the county to maintain access to emergency funds for testing through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

• The action also allows the county to maintain compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) by hosting hybrid open meetings and the ability to maintain personnel policies such as workplace requirements for employees of the county regarding masking and paid sick leave.

Although Inslee’s emergency order is lifted, certain things, such as masking in healthcare facilities, will still be required under instructions from the state Department of Health.

Vaccine requirements for healthcare workers and those working in public education will be waived. However, employers can still require vaccination as part of their terms of employment.

Employees of state agencies will still need to get vaccinated.

The State Department of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on January 21, 2020 in Snohomish County

More than 14,000 Washingtonians have died from COVID-19, according to state health data as of Sept. 14, which is among the lowest per capita COVID death rates of any state. Washington continues to report about 10 deaths a day from the virus, according to the governor’s office.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at [email protected]

Journalist Ken Park contributed to this story.


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