Health Department Issues Update, Guidelines For Phase 3 Reopening

The Washington County Health Department released an update Friday on the COVID-19 pandemic and included precautions as the state and area brace for reopening.

The department said: “We have officially moved into Phase 3.  Some activities are resuming with safety precautions and recommendations in place.  Washington County has done an exceptional job at reducing COVID infections in our residents.  This has been far from easy, and everyone’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. 

“As we continue to move forward, please keep safety in mind.  Continue to socially distance and wear a mask if you are not able to.  Continue to wash your hands and clean frequently touched surfaces.  Stay home if you are sick and stay away from anyone who is sick.   Continuing to be responsible will be key in continuing to move forward.  Anyone who does not feel comfortable in moving forward to phase 3 activities is encouraged to continue more strict safety practices to protect themselves and their families.  Businesses and organizations are responsible and liable for following guidance to protect their staff and patrons.

“If you become ill, contact your healthcare provider for guidance. As we move forward, we anticipate an increase in the numbers of COVID cases.  This increase will help in several ways moving forward. We encourage testing for COVID to learn more about the disease and to protect vulnerable populations.

“There is much hesitation and misunderstanding of the contact tracing that is being discussed. Washington County Health Department has been doing contact tracing for years on numerous infectious diseases.  This process is used to identify who is most at risk and to help in learning how the disease is spread.  This process is the same thing used to pinpoint food outbreaks such as listeria, E. Coli, or Salmonella. 

“Washington County Health Department has not, and will not, require tracking apps on technology.  Contact tracing is done by department staff through phone calls to interview individuals to help identify how they may have gotten COVID and who else may be at risk.  All information is kept confidential.  Follow-up with positive cases and identified close contacts is done to monitor symptoms and help answers questions and discuss isolation and quarantine practices to reduce infections.  This information is critical in learning more about COVID and important to use in moving forward in resuming normal activities.”

The last lab-confirmed positive reported COVID-19 case was Tuesday, May 19. Washington County has had a total of 18 cases, and all confirmed cases have been released from isolation.

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