Three test positive for COVID-19 in county, schools closed statewide, national emergency declared

Three Island County residents have now tested positive for the coronavirus, Island County Public Health reported.

Friday afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered that all schools in state will be closed to students from Monday, March 16 to April 24.

Also, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, which opens up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.

On Thursday, public health officials in Island County released information about a second and third adult who tested positive for the novel virus. One individual is an Oak Harbor woman in her 50s. She is in isolation and care outside of the county.

The other is a man in his 70s. He is also in isolation and care outside of the county.

Officials at Island County Public Health were notified of the first positive COVID-19 test in the county Tuesday. An Oak Harbor man with coronavirus is in his 50s and is currently in care outside of the county.

Thursday, officials at the South Whidbey School District announced that they were joining Snohomish, King and Pierce counties in closing schools.

Oak Harbor and Coupeville school leaders said they were waiting for Inslee to make coordinated decisions about school closures, which happened the next day.

Events, performances, services, business and meetings are being canceled and closed across the island.

Sno-Isle Libraries closed all the libraries starting at 6 p.m. March 13 until further notice.

The state has banned visitors to both adult family homes and nursing homes.

Island Senior Resources closed Bayview Senior Resource Center, Senior Thrift and all community meal sites. Meals on Wheels and Medical Transportation are continuing.

Aging and disability resource specialists will be available to assist people by phone at 360-321-1600 or 360-678-3373.

Some business have closed up shop, including Chops Barber Shop in Langley and WiFire in Freeland.

Island County Public Health Director Keith Higman said the department updated its recommendations on events and gatherings based on the ever-evolving circumstances. They are:

• Non-essential events should be discouraged. Examples include, but are not limited to, parades, concerts, festivals, conventions and fundraisers.

• Cancel events involving more than 250 people.

• Don’t cancel outdoor activities of less than 250 people, provided that people can maintain six feet of distance between each other (i.e. social distancing).

• People in high-risk groups — like those over 60, people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women — should avoid contact with others, including attendance at large events.

• Implement changes to the workplace, such as maximizing telecommuting options for as many employees as possible, and implementing social distancing in the workplace within reason.

• Contact Island County with questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Island County. Start by visiting its website or its Facebook page. You can also contact the Island County call center at 1-360-678-2301, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

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