Grays Harbor Health Officer Orders COVID-19 Testing be Prioritized

Submitted by Grays Harbor County Health and Public Services

In order to preserve our community’s capacity to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Grays Harbor County Health Officer, Dr. John Bausher, has ordered healthcare providers to prioritize testing for certain populations. In addition, Dr. Bausher has also ordered an expedited testing process for health care workers and public safety workers.

Under these current health orders, testing is only allowed for those people who meet specific testing criteria:

  1. People who work in settings where health care services are delivered: hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care, and similar.
  2. People who work in public safety occupations: law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, public health, corrections.
  3. People who work in critical infrastructure occupations: pharmacists, group homes, utilities, grocery stores, gas stations.
  4. People who work or live in congregate settings or institutional settings (i.e. long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters).
  5. People who are deceased and who received aerosol-generating procedures in the field, even in the presence of proper personal protective equipment.
  6. Patients involved in an illness cluster at the request of Grays Harbor Public Health.
  7. Patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness who have tested negative for influenza A and B.

“We have prioritized testing health care workers and public safety workers to keep our health care and public safety systems functioning during a time when their resources are most needed, and most likely to be taxed,” said Karolyn Holden, Director.

“It’s also important to remember that a COVID-19 test result (positive or negative) doesn’t necessarily change a provider’s plan of care for a person with symptoms of viral respiratory illness – so at this time the most valuable test results for the whole community are the ones that allow us to preserve our health care and public safety infrastructure and protect those most at risk of serious illness and death,” added Holden.

Grays Harbor Public Health and Grays Harbor Emergency Management are working to bring more testing supplies to our county. “As more testing supplies come in, our approach to testing will change,” explained Holden.

Residents can call the Grays Harbor Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at (360) 964-1850 for more information about COVID-19. The number will be staffed by non-medical personnel from 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Local information and resources related to COVID-19 are also available on our website at www.healthygh.org/covid19.

About Grays Harbor Public Health

Grays Harbor Public Health works to improve the health and well-being of the people of Grays Harbor.

Visit our website at http://www.healthyGH.org.  Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/healthyghc.

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