- Be aware, effective April 3, 2023 the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will rescind the Secretary of Health Mask Order, which currently requires universal masking in healthcare, long-term care, and adult correctional facilities for people age 5 and older.
In Washington state, COVID-19, RSV, and influenza disease rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline since the end of last year.
Washington State Department of Health’s infection prevention and control guidance continues to recommend masks for patients, healthcare providers, and visitors in healthcare settings. Currently, Washington State Department of Health’s Education and Guidance Team in the Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance section is working on updates and changes to the current Interim Recommendations for SARS-CoV-2 Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Settings (PDF). Healthcare facilities are recommended to continue utilizing masks until Washington State Department of Health updates their guidance. Licensed healthcare facilities are required to have infection prevention policies and programs consistent with CDC guidance.
Several worker protection requirements enforced by the state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) remain in effect, including that employees and contractors may choose to use facemasks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job without employer retaliation. Additionally, under the state Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA) rules, several key worker protections remain in place until the federal pandemic response declaration ends on May 11, 2023.
The current Secretary of Health Mask Order will remain in place until 11:59pm on April 2, 2023. Local or tribal governments, facilities, and providers may choose to continue to require masks in these or other settings. The Yakima Health District will continue to follow federal and state guidelines.
Washington State Department of Health will continue to issue and provide COVID-19 prevention guidance for public and key sectors, including the use of masks, vaccines, ventilation, and other preventative measures to inform individuals, families, communities, and health leaders on how to stay healthier from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.