Social Distancing Saves Lives: For City of Anacortes residents and business owners. Please stay home and limit interactions with others. Do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dear friends, families and neighbors:
This past weekend we reported that a resident of the Chandler’s Square Retirement Community in Anacortes has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is hospitalized at Island Hospital and is expected to be released to stay with a family member, where they will remain in isolation.
One additional resident is hospitalized and being evaluated. Skagit County Public Health is working closely with Chandler’s Square and Island Hospital to take appropriate actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to staff and other residents. Skagit County Public Health in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health will assist the facility in ensuring the safety of staff and other residents. Today we had our first death in Skagit County from COVID-19.
As you read this, I hope it has begun to sink in that these are unprecedented times. Many in our community are at enormous risk. We are facing a serious public health threat as well as a threat to our economy, people’s livelihoods, and our quality of life. The City’s primary goals are to protect employee safety and public health, while ensuring critical City Services continue. Community transmission of COVID-19 is happening in Skagit County. It is our duty to take responsibility for the wellbeing of our community members and strictly follow the guidelines set by Skagit County Public Health and the CDC to protect the most vulnerable in our community. It is clear that the COVID-19 virus is easily transmitted, which makes group settings dangerous. According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. We expect to see a doubling of cases every week for the next month.
We anticipate that we will start to see a significant increase in confirmed cases in our county and in our community. As of today, there are 34 confirmed cases in Skagit County and statewide there are nearly 2,000 confirmed cases and 95 deaths. Our main goal as a community should be to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and at this time, these social distancing measures are the only tool we have to combat this virus.
I urge you to protect your loved ones. Skagit County Public Health has stated that, “If a community does not take these measures seriously, our health care system will be overwhelmed and not able to care for those who need it.” Do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We are a community that cares and watches out for each other. It is my utmost goal to keep you and your families safe. In order to do that I am directing you to take the following precautionary actions, effective noon on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and until further notice:
Stay home. We understand that certain essential activities and work must continue. If you do not work to provide essential business and government services, or perform essential public infrastructure construction you should stay home. You should only leave your homes for essential activities.
Activities Considered Essential
- Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication or seeing a doctor.
- Acquiring necessary services or supplies for you, your family or household members (including pets), such as getting groceries and supplies necessary for staying home. This can include curbside pickup, delivery, take out or drive-thru food and beverage services.
- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running, as long as the activities includes social distancing of at least 6 feet of separation.
- Caring for a family member or pet in another household, the elderly, minors, dependents, or people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.
- Working in a place that provides essential products and services at an essential business as defined below in the directive, or to carry out activities specifically permitted in the directive.
Essential Business and Government Services
- Health care and public health workers including pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities.
- All City essential services will continue, including fire, police, and emergency medical services as well as solid waste services, water and sewer.
- Essential infrastructure, including construction of housing (residential and mixed-use), industrial and commercial projects currently underway; and operation of public transportation and utilities.
- Businesses that supply products or services necessary to both maintain the functionality and/or safety of equipment, facilities, utilities, healthcare, national defense, all modes of transportation and critical supply chains used in other essential businesses.
- Grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores, restaurants serving curbside pickup, carry-out, drive-thru and delivery, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences.
- Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities as well as services to the homeless.
- Gas stations and auto repair facilities.
- Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
- Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses.
- Educational institutions which are facilitating distance learning.
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
- Childcare facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work.
- Roles required to maintain basic operations, which include Information Technology including cybersecurity, and payroll.
This is not a comprehensive list. The City of Anacortes will follow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s comprehensive list of Critical Infrastructure Sectors. I urge you to follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention when conducting essential activities and services.
These recommendations include the following:
- Maintain at least 6 feet from other individuals, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol),
- Practice good hygiene and cover coughs or sneezes, and do not shake hands and try not to touch your face; and
- Perform routine environmental cleaning for things like doorknobs, tables, desks, handrails, and other high-touch surfaces.
Grocery stores are also directed to implement these cleaning practices, require their customers to maintain proper social distancing practices, and to limit the number of customers into a store at one time.
We need to show compassion for our most vulnerable by taking precautionary actions. We know that implementing social distancing and staying home, now, will save lives. The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by everyone and I must make it clear that failure to comply with the provisions of this Directive constitutes a threat to public health.
The consequences of this public health crisis are severe and it is critical that the citizens of Anacortes understand: we are not yet through the worst. I am asking citizens to stay home unless you provide or need essential business or government services (as listed above) and employers need to take steps necessary for employees to work remotely.