County recommends 14-day quarantine when returning from the mainland

As Washington State approaches the anticipated peak of COVID-19 medical surge cases, San Juan County urges everyone to take more aggressive precautions to protect their families and neighbors when coming to the islands from the mainland.

"As cases multiply throughout the state, including Skagit, Island, and Whatcom Counties, islanders traveling back to the islands from the mainland are risking becoming a source of disease spread," said San Juan County Health Officer, Dr. Frank James, MD.


Ability to test patients expanding

UPDATE FROM DR. HOUSE: Expanding testing strategies - we're excited to say that Dr. Mandy Gulla and Dr. Mike Horn have both agreed to help us expand our ability to test more patients at an increased rate. We've been testing more and more each day with a steadily increasing trend. We're happy to say that LabCorp is helping us to increase volume as supplies are slowly starting to be available at greater numbers in many areas.


2 more COVID-19 cases; 1 on San Juan Island (PIMC staffer), 1 on Orcas Island

San Juan County Health and Community Services staff have been notified of a second positive COVID-19 test result on San Juan Island and a third on Orcas Island. This brings the total number of cases in San Juan County to six. The county's data reporting page will be updated at the end of the day, once all of the test results and numbers from all local healthcare providers are available and updated.


Update on Hubbard's bout with COVID-19

San Juan County Emergency Operations Center staff interviewed Joaquin Hubbard, the first person on San Juan Island to test positive for COVID-19. Hubbard, an islander for 40 years, has worked as a Firefighter/EMT in Seattle for 25 years.  

Do you know what kind of contact with an infected person led to your illness?


Dr. James and Dr. House working together to find a way to expand testing

In the March 31, 2020 San Juan County Council meeting, the council was told there had been a misunderstanding by Dr. William House on how COVID-19 tests could be used. Dr. House was working on a way to test all residents of San Juan Island. The council was told the county Medical Officer, Dr. Frank James, informed Dr. House that he couldn't use  kits that way. There was no discussion of pursuing the goal of widespread testing and many viewers were left with the impression the county was hampering efforts by others to achieve that goal. 


Widespread COVID-19 testing plan nixed by lack of tests

Dr. House's ambitious plan to test everyone on San Juan Island was shut down after he was contacted by county Medical Officer Dr. Frank James. Emergency Operation Center Incident Commander Kyle Dodd told the county Council at its Tuesday, March 31 meeting, that there was a misunderstanding by one healthcare provider about the use of the tests. He said Dr. James contacted the provider and asked for the information about widespread testing to be retracted. 


Medical Surge Planning: Hoping for the Best, Planning for the Worst

San Juan County EOC Press Release: Many in the islands are wondering how San Juan County is preparing in case access to mainland medical care becomes limited. This is known as medical surge, which the CDC defines as, “…the ability to provide adequate medical evaluation and care during events that exceed the limits of the normal medical infrastructure of an affected community.” We’re hopeful, and maybe even a tiny bit optimistic that recent actions to require social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of this virus will help avoid the need to implement any medical surge plans.


Stay Home - Healthy guidelines for children and families

This information is from King County Public Health and the state's Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) website. It looked like it would be helpful for folks staying home with their kids. 

On March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a Stay Home — Stay Healthy order which will be effective for a minimum of two weeks. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:

Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment. What’s opened and closed

Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).

Going to work at an essential business.

Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as they keep 6 feet apart.

What does it mean to stay home?

On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee announced a Stay Home - Stay Healthy order for the next two weeks at least, mandating that everyone in Washington to stay home. Many families have already begun to practice this, and some families still need to go to work at an essential business. The COVID-19 pandemic calls on our whole community to think creatively about how to meet everyone’s basic needs and maintain social connections while also blunting the spread of disease.

Here are some guidelines for following the Governor’s order while schools are out. First, a few general rules of thumb:

If your child's sick, separate them from others in your household.

Sick household members should separate from other people and animals and reach out to their healthcare provider with concerns. Read more about what to do if you or your child has COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).

Over 60? Have a chronic medical condition? Pregnant? Avoid caring for other people’s kids, and stay away from others whenever possible.

If you fall into one of these high-risk categories, put your own health first. Refrain from taking care of other people’s children if possible. This include your grandkids, nieces and nephews. Read more about precautions that people in high risk categories should take.

If you must leave your home to pursue an essential activity, work at an essential business, go for walks, or get take-out, stay at least 6 feet apart from others. Try to limit these activities whenever possible. Follow the State’s guidelines for what it means to stay home.

Excellent personal hygiene habits go a long way. Teach your kids:

Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash their hands.

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

My neighbors and I have been sharing childcare responsibilities. Can we continue doing this?

No. The Stay Home – Stay Healthy order prohibits social gatherings of any kind, including informal childcare and gatherings of children outside the home.

Child care is considered an essential business, and is vital to the families of working parents, especially first responders and health care workers. If you must continue going to work, you can use this resource to find a child care provider for your family.

What about going outdoors?

Outdoor activities are allowed in the Stay Home – Stay Healthy order. Plus, it’s important for kids to get active outside time every day, and research shows daily time outdoors boosts adults’ health and wellbeing. Here are some steps you can take to keep children and adults safe:

Social gatherings are prohibited. If you go outside, you must limit the group to people in your household.

Continue to remain 6 feet apart from others you encounter.

Reinforce frequent handwashing and good hygiene habits among all children and adults.

Repeatedly clean any shared sporting equipment.

Remember that many parks and recreation areas in Seattle and King County are closed to the public.

For more resources about keeping kids healthy and happy during school closures, visit:

Best Start For Kids, We want Social Distancing, Not Social Isolation

Showing Up for our Kids During the Outbreak

A Parenting Guide During COVID-19: Be Kind to Yourself