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Here are the latest updates in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic in the  Stanwood-Camano area, Snohomish County and Washington.

Tuesday, March 24

  • 38 cases in Island County and one death. Health officials have said there are cases on both Camano and Whidbey island. Island County Public Health is continuing to investigate a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak at Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville, first announced Monday. So far, 10 cases have been confirmed and test results are pending for other residents and employees. This is the first confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 associated with a long-term care facility in Island County.
  • 614 confirmed cases and 31 probable cases in Snohomish County with 16 deaths — five more than were reported Monday, including a woman in her 80s who died March 23, a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions who died March 23, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions who died March 22, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions who died March 22 and a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions who died March 19. There are also 21 health care workers in the county who have now tested positive for the virus.
  • 39 cases in Stanwood and 18 connected to Josephine Caring Community. 
  • 48 cases in Skagit County and one death.
  • At least 2,469 confirmed cases statewide with 123 deaths. 

New developments

  • Job search requirement waived for unemployment benefits: On Tuesday, the Washington state Employment Security Department announced  that workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic won’t be required to be actively searching for a job in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. The change is “another in a series of measures by Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Employment Security Department to increase access to unemployment benefits for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from the department.
  • Island County suspends the collection of food service fees: The county Board of Health voted to not collect fees for the second half of 2020. Any food service business (restaurants, groceries, and mini marts) that have food service license and have paid the year in full, will receive a partial refund to be issued no later than June 30. The Board of Health determined the local economy and its workforce were a higher priority. "While local government has very few tools to aid in economic stabilization, the Board of Health’s action demonstrates a commitment to provide economic relief in support of our small business community," officials said in a news release.
  • Stanwood taking more precautions: The City of Stanwood announced Tuesday more efforts to battle COVID-19, including closing park playground areas, restroom facilities and other areas that are typically used as gathering spots. Park patrons may still use the parks and trails but are to comply with the Governor's order to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people. The city's Administrative Office will continue to remain closed to the public; however, city business will continue as local government functions are essential businesses to remain open. For more, visit stanwoodwa.org and follow the city's social media sites.
  • PUD launches new Support Plan: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Snohomish County PUD has developed a plan to help customers struggling to pay their electric and water bills. The PUD’s plan not only allows for residential customers who have suffered sudden job loss to get immediate help, but also small business owners who have experienced rapid loss of business as well. Customers experiencing hardships due to the COVID outbreak can call the PUD’s Customer Service at 425-783-1000 to get help. The PUD estimates customer bill impacts up to $2 million. The plan allows for: Bill credit up to $200 for residential customers who are behind on their bill due to the COVID outbreak; bill credit up to $500 for small business customers who have had their operations limited or closed due to the COVID outbreak; and pause disconnections for non-payments and late fees. For more information, visit snopud.com.
  • Island, Snohomish counties change public access: Island County government is still serving the public with governmental services but physical access to different agencies is limited. Staff asks residents to access government services through email, telephone and its website. The latest COVID-19 community updates and a County Operations page with links to each department is available at islandcountywa.gov. County meetings will be held via remote conferencing tools and comply with the Open Public Meetings Act. County committees can postpone or restructure their meetings as long as they comply with the Governor’s guidelines and state law. Snohomish County is operating under similar restrictions, including limiting public access to select county facilities. For more information, visit snohomishcountywa.gov.

Restaurants and food options

  • See our list of local restaurants that are open for takeout or delivery
  • Meals on Wheels Nutrition Program: The Program is still running for seniors age 60 and older, with Island Senior Resources staff taking precautions to prepare and deliver meals. Frozen meals are available for pickup at Camano Center 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. To place an order for pickup, call Camano Center 360-387-0222. To sign up for home delivery, call 360-321-1615. Find more at senior-resources.org.
  • QFC: Open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. QFC in Stanwood offers delivery and curbside pickup for a fee via QFC and Instcart. Exclusive shopping for seniors age 60 and older 7-8 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • Haggen: Open 5 a.m. to midnight. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 a.m. is the reserved time for vulnerable individuals to shop.
  • Camano Plaza IGA: Opens for seniors and vulnerable shoppers Monday through Friday 6-8 a.m. Regular hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Camano High Risk Grocery Delivery: Camano Center members defined as “High Risk” can request emergency grocery delivery from Camano IGA. Call Camano Center at 360-387-0222. camanocenter.org
  • Elger Bay Grocery & Café: Call 360-387-9120 to order delivery, $5, between 12-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The store and café takeout are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Camano Chapel: Food Bank on Mondays. They bring food to your car. 360-387-7202; camanochapel.org
  • Stanwood Camano Food Bank: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays; stanwoodcamanofoodbank.org
  • Meals for kids: The food bank and the Stanwood-Camano School District are distributing food to children. Learn more here.

Transportation

Business, donation resources

  • The city of Stanwood has compiled some information for local business owners online. It includes tips, resources to consider during the pandemic and links to Small Business Administration information on disaster relief and loans. See the information here or visit stanwoodwa.org.
  • The Camano Island Chamber of Commerce launched a new website to assist with finding resources, updated business hours, volunteer opportunities, grocery/food assistance, and other helpful links. 
  • The Stanwood Chamber of Commerce wants Stanwood-Camano businesses to fill out this form to help them target services during the pandemic. Take the survey here.
  • On Wednesday, March 18, the chambers also launched a local Facebook group listing all the Stanwood-Camano eateries offering takeout. See it by clicking here.
  • Stanwood-Camano Area Foundation officials have set up the Stanwood-Camano Disaster Relief Fund. The organization is seeking one-time or recurring donations. SCAF will match up to $25,000 in recurring donations. Donations can also be made online at s-caf.org or by check to SCAF and mailed to P.O. Box 1209, Stanwood, WA 98292. 

Health resources

Tips to stay healthy

  • Stay home if you have mild symptoms of a respiratory illness, avoid close contact with others if you have symptoms, and save emergency room visits for emergencies.
  • Call your primary health care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and throw it away.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. 
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Questions? Call the statewide coronavirus call center at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

Connect with us

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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