Situation Update 09/03/2020

Contact: Melissa Sixberry, Director of Disease Control 509-249-6509

Requested actions

  1. No community-based testing will be occurring for the next three weeks.
  2. Providers urged to increase COVID-19 testing capacity to support additional people seeking testing.
  3. Reduce barriers to testing such as scheduling appointments several days out, or requiring symptoms to get tested, etc. Washington State Department of Health guidance has not changed for who should be tested for COVID-19.
  4. Testing supplies and at-home COVID-19 Test Kits available, contact yhd@co.yakima.wa.us
  5. Contact and request families who have missed well-child visits and vaccinations to come in for an appointment.

Background

“For the first 6 months of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have been fortunate to receive testing support from groups providing just-in-time assistance to the hardest hit communities, such as the National Guard and Medical Teams International. As we transition into long-term response and as other counties have increasing need for these testing groups, it is important to establish a testing strategy that prioritizes testing through our existing healthcare partners for those who have access to care.  The Yakima Health District continues to pursue additional, regularly scheduled testing options for those without access to care or when demand exceeds testing capacity at our clinics and hospitals. However, the priority moving forward is for our residents to be tested through their healthcare providers when possible. Our emergency operations center will continue to provide support with obtaining testing supplies and personal protective equipment as needed, and YHD will continue to provide updates around best practices for COVID-19 testing and response as they develop.  We appreciate all that your organizations have done to support your patients and the community to this point.” -Dr. Teresa Everson, Health Officer at the Yakima Health District.

Prepare for increase testing

  • Reduce scheduling barriers- appointment availability
  • For test supplies and at-home test kits contact yhd@co.yakima.wa.us
  • Procurement of PPE through normal vendors. Exhaust all options before sending request for PPE.

COVID-19 test guidance

Washington State Department of Health guidance has not changed for who should be tested for COVID-19. Test people who have COVID-19 symptoms or who were a close contact of a confirmed case. Close contacts of confirmed cases also need to quarantine for 14 days after last exposure even if they test negative for COVID-19, because it is possible for people who test negative to still be incubating the virus and become contagious later.

Reporting

Providers must fax positive lab results with demographic information to 509-249-6628.

Up-to-date Immunizations

Because of COVID-19, many outpatient pediatric visits were cancelled or delayed. The guidance requests healthcare providers identify, contact and schedule in-person appointments for children who have missed well-child visits or recommended vaccines. While most Yakima County schools are proceeding with distance learning, there will be in-person learning for some of our children this fall. These congregate settings, as well as our daycares and other childcare facilities pose an increased risk of disease outbreak and transmission. An outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would place a large strain on our healthcare system. Even if schools do not return in an in-person setting, students are still required to be up to date on school required vaccines.

Updated vaccine rules are in effect

Washington State Board of Health’s change to Washington Administrative Code Chapter 246-105 is in effect for the 2020-2021 school year. These changes may spur an increased demand for well-child visits. The change has 3 components:

  • Medically verified immunization records are required for school and childcare entry.
  • The state has clarified the definition of conditional status. Students must have all school required vaccines or exemptions and all paperwork on the first day of school.
  • The Tdap requirement has changed from 6th-12th grades to 7th-12th grades. All students entering 7th grade must have a Tdap on or after their 10th birthday. Students in 8th-12th grades must have a Tdap dose on or after their 7th birthday based on the previous guidelines.

Prepare children for school.

  • Make sure students are up to date on their vaccines by the first day of school.
  • Provide families with immunization records or encourage them to use MyIR to print the Certificate of Immunization Status. Each school needs the immunization records for all students for attendance.
  • Ensure school orders and medical authorizations are up to date. Students need them to safely attend school. Pay extra attention to life-saving medications like inhalers and epi-pens.
  • Specify whether students can carry inhalers and/or epi-pens. This is especially important for students in afterschool activities.
  • Complete sports physicals for student-athletes who may still be training despite modification, postponement, or cancellation of usual sports activities.

Patient communication

For symptoms—What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been around a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

For exposed—What to do if you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.

For confirmed or suspected—What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Additional resources