The City of Bainbridge Island is working with the Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD) to respond to an international outbreak of novel coronavirus, called COVID-19. The Bainbridge Island community looks to the KPHD to lead local efforts to prepare and respond to community health concerns like COVID-19. No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Kitsap County. On March 1, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a State of Emergency for Washington State as part of the state response to emerging cases of COVID-19 in King and Snohomish counties.
City Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage is participating in regular conference calls with the KPHD and Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management to get the latest updates and is actively coordinating with other public agencies and resources to plan and prepare for potential next steps in our community.
The City is proactively working with the Bainbridge Island School District, Bainbridge Island Fire Department, Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District, and regional health resources to collaborate and share information and plans.
The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is currently on standby, which means LeSage is monitoring the situation for potential escalation and enhanced activation. During an emergency, the Council Chamber serves as the City’s EOC, which is a central location for staff and community partners to meet to gather information and coordinate response and recovery efforts.
The City of Bainbridge Island is preparing to issue a Proclamation of Local Emergency. The purpose of this action is to allow the City to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to an outbreak, to adjust City policies and operations if needed, and to access state or federal funds and other resources related to emergency response.
Currently, City facilities remain open to the public. The City is reviewing the use of public spaces (City Hall, Police Station, Municipal Court) per guidance from the KPHD. If there are any changes to the use of City facilities, then the community will be notified.
Steps to prepare
Health care providers, employers, schools and other organizations can all take steps to prepare.
Everyone should practice healthy habits to prevent spread of respiratory illnesses. Steps include washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick. Please see the links below for more information on COVID-19 and preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) have special guidance for schools, employers, travelers and other groups.
The DOH has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
Seeking medical evaluation and advice
If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your health care provider first. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19, but you should call 911. Click here for more information from Public Health - Seattle & King County on seeking medical evaluation.
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Kristen Drew, Communications Coordinator