Category: News (Page 2 of 4)

COVID-19 Resources

A recent article on the Washington State Department of Health’s website has some good tips and resources to help you care for your financial health during the COVID-19 crisis. Click HERE to learn more.

COVID-19 Update

The fourth positive test for COVID-19 was reported earlier today, and is associated with an individual on San Juan island. To see the most recent Press Release from San Juan County click HERE.

COVID-19 Update

As a reminder, the video from Thursday’s county briefing is now posted online. One of the questions answered is around testing.

You can access the video HERE.

COVID-19 Update

San Juan County will release its next COVID-19 community update via recorded video on Thursday, March 19th at 5:00 p.m. As you might imagine, there is tremendous interest in these live streams, and the March 9th event was so heavily subscribed some had issues accessing the stream.

Click HERE for important updates from the County and to access to the link to watch the video once uploaded.


COVID-19 News

A Message from the Superintendent of the Orcas and Lopez Public Hospital Districts – Important COVID-19 Update

As the Superintendent for the Public Hospital Districts on Orcas and Lopez islands, I was asked to lead several areas within the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). One area of our COVID-19 response where there are a lot of questions is around specimen collection and testing. We’ve all encountered mixed messages and shifting terminology. It’s understandably confusing, and it might seem as though nothing is happening. The good news is there’s been a lot of focus around monitoring of supplies, as well as discussions with providers to ensure there is adequate capacity for specimen collection and testing.

On Orcas and Lopez, we are fortunate to have the expertise and partnership of UW Medicine. They have been leading many efforts within their own patient and employee population in their larger system, which are helping to inform our protocols and thinking – specifically around the drive-through specimen collection model. This approach is now being widely used by health systems in several States and is now being utilized at the UW Orcas and Lopez Clinics. All specimens collected are then being sent to the UW Lab for testing.

The UW Medicine Orcas and Lopez Clinics are dedicated to supporting our entire community and have opened up their specimen collection and testing service to ALL islanders, whether or not you are currently registered with UW. While Orcas Family Health Center (OFHC) is not doing specimen collection, they are providing an initial phone screen. If you are a patient of OFHC, please contact them first and they will determine if it’s appropriate for you to be referred to UW for a more in-depth assessment. If so, you will first be directed to the UW COVID-19 Hotline to determine next steps.

It’s important to understand not everyone who feels ill needs to be tested, particularly those with mild illness. A health care provider will determine if you should be tested, and it’s likely their advice on managing your symptoms will be the same whether you test positive or negative. According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of those who get COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and feel better within a couple of weeks. Those with underlying health issues are at greater risk for more severe symptoms, and it’s important that our medical providers have the time and resources to closely monitor those patients. If you experience symptoms of illness and you can manage your illness at home, please stay there and avoid contact with others. To learn more, the WA DOH website provides in depth information regarding the testing for COVID-19.

The process being utilized at the UW Orcas and Lopez Clinics is designed to protect your health and that of the providers and our community members. While additional communication will be coming from UW Medicine, here are a few important things to know about the process:

  • If you have flu like symptoms do not walk into the clinic. This will protect other patients and staff from exposure and spread.
  • All testing is done by appointment; you will be provided with details as to where to go and what to expect when your appointment is confirmed.
  • The first step in the process for UW patients and non-patients is to call the UW COVID-19 Hotline number: 855-520-2285. Your patience is appreciated as the call volume may be high. UW Medicine staff are working to be responsive to your needs and concerns.
  • Please do not call the island clinics directly. You will need to go through a quick registration process to be able to be scheduled for testing, and that process is being handled by the UW COVID-19 Hotline.
  • Only call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency. It’s important our EMS resources remain available for emergent medical calls and other 911 activities. Please note that EMS personnel are not currently performing COVID-19 specimen collection. All of those activities must be coordinated by your health care provider, as they will also be the ones following up to ensure you receive test results.

Something else to be aware of regarding your other health care appointments that may have been scheduled prior to COVID-19. For patient safety measures, providers will be rescheduling appointments that are more routine in nature (for example: Medicare Wellness exams). This will allow providers and staff to address the added responsibilities associated with COVID-19 specimen collection, monitoring of critically ill patients, reviewing test results, and reporting back to patients and public health officials. The community’s understanding during this extraordinary time is appreciated.

The San Juan County EOC remains ready to provide support if the situation changes. The team remains in ongoing communication with the clinics, EMS, other EOC Branches, PeaceHealth/PIMC, local leaders and numerous other local and regional health care stakeholders. Other activities underway include assembling a list of volunteer providers who are willing and able to assist with specimen collection and patient coordination, should the need arise. We are also in the process of developing plans should the County experience a surge in COVID-19 cases.

It’s wonderful to have everyone share their expertise, ideas and time – we are very fortunate to live in this County.

The best way to stay informed is to visit

COVID-19 News

If you have questions about how your health insurance plan is handling testing associated with COVID-19, please review the FAQ on the website of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner for WA State.


COVID-19 News

There are some new terms in our vocabulary these days as a result of COVID-19. Here are some helpful tips from the WA State Department of Health on  Social Distancing and Self Quarantine .

Be safe Orcas.



COVID-19 News

San Juan County hosted a live stream update on the status of COVID-19 and the County’s response yesterday afternoon. You can see a recording of the broadcast at:

The County’s website is also the best way to stay informed of National, Statewide, and Local developments. You’ll find a lot of trusted resources and information on COVID-19, as well as timely updates. You can access the site at:

Finally, be sure to LIKE SJC Health & Community Services FB page to know about future events and updates.


Washington Healthplanfinder Announces Special Enrollment Period in Response to Growing Coronavirus Outbreak

March 10, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In response to the potential growth of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today announced a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This special enrollment period (SEP), that runs through April 8, 2020, will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Until April 8, individuals seeking a special enrollment must contact the Customer Support Center between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 1-855-627-9604, or a local certified broker or navigator, request the SEP, and select a plan by April 8 for coverage start date beginning April 1, 2020. Language assistance and disability accommodations are provided at no cost.

“It is apparent that many in our state have been exposed to this virus and that health insurance will be critical to those seeking treatment,” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “Individuals need to have peace of mind to take care of all health needs, especially if they are at a high risk. Given today’s exceptional circumstances we are enabling those who are uninsured to enroll and gain access to the vital services they may need.”

Customers who experience another qualifying event (such as marriage, birth of a child or a move) are also eligible to shop for coverage and/or those who qualify for Medicaid through Washington Apple Health is available year round on Washington Healthplanfinder.

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice of 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.

Premera Medicare Advantage Meeting

We are happy to announce that Premera will be coming to Orcas Island for a Welcome Meeting on January 31st. If you are a new MedicareAdvantage member and would like more information click HERE.



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