Health & Safety

Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation:

On March 23, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he will sign a statewide order that requires everyone in the state to stay home for two weeks. This order was extended on April 2 until May 4.

This Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is similar to orders that other governors, in places such as California and New York, issued last week.

This proclamation will:

  • Require every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
  • Ban all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
  • Close all businesses except essential businesses.

“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said.

The proclamation states it’s still safe for people to go outside as long as they remain at least six feet from each other. Grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open. People can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — as long as they follow social distancing rules.

This order builds on the early and unprecedented steps the state took in the past few weeks to protect Washingtonians. These included closing schools and restaurants, entertainment venues and other businesses where people congregate.

Daily COVID-19 Statistics:

Spread the Facts:

Joint Statement from Health Providers in Benton & Franklin Counties:

On behalf of the Benton-Franklin health care community, collectively our organizations would like to share some important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing process.

Testing for COVID-19 is occurring in our communities. We continue to push for increased supplies of the needed materials to more widely collect samples from patients for testing. There is a nationwide shortage. The labs who are processing the tests are doing their best to keep up with the demand.  In our area it is currently taking anywhere from 5-7 days to receive results.

The current priority for testing is people who are most at risk and those suffering the most severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Here is a brief summary how the testing process works:

  • When a patient is experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, they are urged to call their provider to determine if any testing is required, whether they should be tested for COVID-19,or tested and treated for other infections such as influenza or pneumonia. Only medical providers are able to order COVID-19 tests.
  • If flu or other infections are ruled out, providers may then proceed to order a COVID-19 test.
  • The medical provider will collect a specimen, which will then be sent to a state public health or FDA-approved lab for evaluation.
  • The testing lab sends the results to the medical provider and the Washington Department of Health (DOH).
  • The medical provider or clinical staff will contact the patient with test results.
  • DOH reports the results to the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) through an online reporting system.
  • BFHD then notifies the public of test results (positive or negative) and follows tracing of positive cases for people they may have come into contact with.

We recognize the limited availability of COVID-19 tests may cause concern. During this time, public health experts advise that people who are mildly sick with what could be COVID-19 should stay home and treat their symptoms. If symptoms worsen, call a provider for advice before going to a clinic or office. Tests need to be reserved for the sickest, high risk patients and medical professionals. A trip to the clinic or hospital could spread exposure.

We’d like to remind you if you’re experiencing only minor symptoms:

  • You can and should isolate at home during illness. Restrict outside activities, avoid public areas (work, school, etc.) and refrain from using public transportation.
  • Treat symptoms with rest, plenty of fluids and over-the-counter medications, as appropriate.
  • Separate yourself as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict your contact with pets and other animals.
  • Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse (e.g. difficulty breathing).

Finally, please stay at home when you are ill, unless you are experiencing respiratory distress, chest pain, or other sign of true emergency.

You need to know that your health care teams across Benton and Franklin Counties are working around the clock to care for patients and limit the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your support of them. Please do your part by following “social distancing” practices and proper personal hygiene. Together we will get through this.

Click her to Download Complete Joint Statement

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):