Board of County Commissioners Declare COVID-19 a Local Emergency


Submitted by Thurston County Board of Commissioners

Today, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a local emergency. As of noon today, Thurston County has one confirmed case originating in the county.

The declaration of a local emergency allows the county, by state law, to undertake emergency purchases and activates the Thurston County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The declaration authorizes county departments and offices to enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat the emergency and protect the health and safety of persons, property, and the environment, and provide emergency assistance to the victims of the emergency.

The resolution also states that all meetings of the Board of Health and Board of County Commissioners relating to the COVID-19 emergency are not required to meet the notice requirements, and meeting location restrictions of the Open Public Meetings Act.

The Board of Health then convened and passed a resolution imposing restrictions on events over 250 people, excluding schools, and requiring of social distancing measures for events under 250 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This resolution aligns with the Executive Proclamation on COVID-19 Community Mitigation Strategies announced by Governor Jay Inslee yesterday. Events with fewer than 250 attendees are also prohibited unless event organizers take the steps listed in the resolution to minimize risk.

Find the video of the votes at:

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) continues to urge individuals to take measures to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. Also, if individuals are experiencing symptoms, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, they need to call ahead to their healthcare provider to discuss next steps instead of going to the hospital or healthcare providers office to help slow the spread and protect vulnerable populations.

COVID-19 Messaging:

  • PHSS recommends people experiencing symptoms of an illness – fever, cough, difficulty breathing – call their healthcare provider so their healthcare provider can determine next steps. Information about testing is available at:
  • There are many specific actions you can take now to help keep your family safe:
    • Wash your hands often! Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice).
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your face. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are open doors for germs, especially when you touch them with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid people who are sick. Steer clear of illnesses, if possible.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Hold a tissue over your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Then throw that tissue away and, again, WASH YOUR HANDS!
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces often, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
    • Stay home if you’re sick.
    • Call first. If you or a family member are sick and plan to seek care, call first. Healthcare partners need to prepare for people who are showing symptoms—or direct you to the appropriate resource.
    • Stay informed. Follow and share trusted sources of accurate public health information.
    • To prepare your home, family, business, schools, etc. for the potential spread of the virus, visit:

Additional Resources:

Follow Thurston County on social media for the most updated information:

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