Lincoln County to seek quarantine variance
Local officials hope to open before other counties
Last updated 5/8/2020 at 8:30pm
DAVENPORT - Lincoln County is in the midst of filing for a variance to reopen businesses and services.
County Public Health Administrator Ed Dzedzy said Wednesday morning that he expects to submit an application to the state Department of Health later that day to move on to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's four-phase plan to open the economy.
The reopening plan comes in response to the governor's "stay home" quarantine ordered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inslee announced May 1 that 10 counties may be allowed to start reopening before others. Lincoln County was among those 10.
But that doesn't mean they can reopen right away.
To qualify, a county must have a population of fewer than 75,000 and not have had any new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks.
Counties that meet both of these requirements, like Lincoln County, must then submit an application stating its desire to seek a variance request.
The application required county commissioners and the county health board to vote to seek permission from teh state.
In Lincoln County, both boards comprise the same members; they gave their approval during a Monday meeting.
"I'll do anything needed to move this along," Commissioner Rob Coffman said at the meeting. "I will go drive to Olympia and deliver it myself if needed."
The application also needs support of the county health officer, Dr. Ralph Monteagudo. Monteagudo gave his support at the meeting.
The application requires a plan to demonstrate readiness if an outbreak should occur, testing capacity and availability, case and contact investigations and the ability to protect high-risk populations.
Dzedzy said getting all the details of the plan spelled out in the application has taken some time.
He's waiting on letters from large hospitals stating that they will be able to help care for patients should the county see a spike in cases.
A timeline on reopening is not yet available. But if the county receives a variance from the state, it can move to Phase 2, which allows some additional retail businesses to open and restaurants to open their dining rooms at 50% capacity.
Hair salons and barbers will also be allowed to open in Phase 2.