Updated April 3, 2023
Washington state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Proclamation ended Oct. 31, 2022. However, COVID-19 is still present in our communities—and in our workplaces. It continues to be important for Washington state employers to plan for employees to become sick with COVID-19 and ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place to keep the rest of their workforce healthy. However, since the end of the proclamation, a few processes and procedures have changed.
For general questions about COVID-19 in the workplace, please call the state hotline at 1.800.525.0127 and press # or text “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive text information and updates.
- Reporting COVID-19 outbreaks to Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is no longer required, but employers should continue to report to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA) requirements remain in effect.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must be excused from work for at least 5 days. For more information on this timeline, see: Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
- Employees must continue to be notified when exposures occur.
- Vaccination will continue to be a requirement for employment at most state agencies.
Case Reporting and Investigation
As of Nov. 1, 2022, there is no longer a requirement to report cases to Spokane Regional Health District. However, COVID-19 outbreaks of 10 or more employees at workplaces or worksites with more than 50 employees must continue to be reported to L&I within 24 hours. Employers should report to L&I’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) by calling 1.800.4BE.SAFE (1.800.423.7233). See instructions for reporting here.
In addition, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) also requires that employees be notified in writing within one business day if someone they had close contact with tests positive for COVID-19 (without disclosing the person’s identity).
246-101-425, employers are required to cooperate with public health
authorities on COVID-19 safety measures—this includes the implementation of
infection control measures and the investigation of cases, outbreaks, and
suspected cases and outbreaks of COVID-19.
Return to Work Guidance
Spokane Regional Health District has adopted updated isolation and exposure guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is also recommended by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Please review the guidance here for information about isolation and exposure guidelines for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Additional return to work guidelines for COVID-positive or exposed staff or residents in higher risk settings such as healthcare or congregate settings may still be required.
Vaccination is the best way for workers to stay healthy. A vaccinated workforce is protected from COVID-19 and less likely to experience severe illness and hospitalization. Remind employees that getting vaccinated only takes about 30 minutes. Providing employees with time off to get vaccinated and time to recover may help them to make the choice to get vaccinated.
If you are interested in hosting a vaccination event for staff at your organization, see options for setting up a clinic.
For information about local testing options, please see Testing. SRHD is not a testing provider and cannot offer this service to businesses.