skip to main content
Health
caption: Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Tara Palmore dons personal protective equipment (PPE) at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., in 2015.
Enlarge Icon
Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Tara Palmore dons personal protective equipment (PPE) at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., in 2015.

Non-urgent health and dental procedures cleared to resume in Washington state

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on Monday allowing health and dental care providers to move forward with non-urgent procedures, if they can meet certain safety criteria.

The measure is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

"The most important requirements for any provider of course is that they have appropriate personal protection for the workers, and their patients, and themselves," Inslee said during a press conference.

Under the measure, clinicians must monitor their supply of personal protective equipment using conservation guidelines set by the state Department of Health. Officials say that guidance will be regularly reviewed and updated.

Inslee's proclamation requires health care providers to create formal employee feedback processes regarding safety, the delivery of care, and technology for expanding care.

Additionally, strict social distancing practices in patient check-in processes and scheduling must be followed. Providers must also continue using on-site protocols that screen for fevers and self-reported Covid-19 symptoms.

The governor's office has outlined three standards of care for reopening the health care system amid the pandemic:

  • Conventional Care Phase : All appropriate health care can be provided.
  • Contingency Care Phase: All appropriate health care services can be provided, under the condition that there is sufficient access to personal protective equipment and surge capacity in hospitals is at least 20%.
  • Crisis Care Phase: Family planning services and procedures, newborn care, infant and pediatric vaccinations, and other preventive care can continue. All emergent, urgent, and elective health care can be provided if a clinician determines postponement beyond 90 days would harm a patient.

While Inslee's proclamation green lights the restarting of elective health care, it allows regional jurisdictions to reopen those services in a more limited capacity if they choose.