DOH announces long-term plan for next phase of COVID pandemic

OLYMPIA -- The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced its long-term ForWArd plan last month to help  maintain public safety and health as the state enters the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. DOH said the state has managed to achieve one of the lowest COVID death rates in the nation in tandem with one of the highest vaccination rates.

“Washington has come a long way since January 2020, when the country’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was found in our state,” said Governor Jay Inslee.” I am proud of the steps Washingtonians have taken over the past two years to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors safe, as we worked together to fight this evolving virus. I appreciate DOHs efforts to create our state’s ForWArd plan which provides one more tool to help us all keep one another safe and healthy.”

According to its March 17 media release the DOH ForWArd plan has three main priorities with seven commitments :

Engagement & Empowerment:

  • The agency’s main priority continues to be the health and safety of everyone in Washington. This includes preventing severe disease caused by COVID-19 and supporting healing and general wellness.
  • DOH will monitor the science and COVID-19 updates to provide people and organizations across Washington with the latest health information, guidance, and resources to stay safe, and do so with an equity lens.

Prevention through Vaccines, Tests, and Masks:

  • Vaccines are the most powerful tool available to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. DOH will continue efforts that will help us further close equity gaps and support mobile outreach efforts.
  • DOH has distributed millions of at-home tests through efforts like Say Yes! Covid Test and through local and tribal partners. The agency will work to expand these efforts while maintaining access to diagnostic testing.
  • Masks are an effective safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. DOH is prepared to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), including a 60-day supply to support the healthcare system.

System Readiness:

  • DOH is committed to proactive data monitoring and disease detection through genomic sequencing 10 percent of COVID-19 cases and using additional tools to gauge ongoing transmission trends and changes in conditions that signal a need to change our response.
  • The agency will support health system capacity through workforce resiliency efforts and provide medical supplies such as ventilators and hospital beds and patient balancing across the system.
  • Treatment and therapeutics are also key to preventing and treating COVID-19 and protecting the healthcare system. DOH will ensure access to available antivirals and monoclonal antibodies, particularly to areas or groups with higher disease burden and reduced access.





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