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News >  Health

Mask guidelines for long-term care facilities relaxed as Inslee aims to counter ‘stark social isolation’

UPDATED: Fri., April 30, 2021

 (Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)
(Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)

Life at long-term care facilities could be getting closer to normal again.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee aligned long-term care visitation guidelines to match the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The change means fully vaccinated residents can meet with one another and participate in group activities without masks.

“This change reflects the continuing progression toward returning long-term care facilities to a more normal state by allowing residents to have greater contact with their fellow residents, reducing the stark social isolation many have faced during the past year,” a release from Inslee’s office said.

While fully vaccinated people can enjoy more freedoms, there are still many Washington state residents who haven’t been vaccinated.

As of Monday, 41% of residents statewide have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, case rates and hospitalizations are still increasing.

Early next week, Spokane County, along with Stevens County and likely a handful of others around the state, is likely to be moved back to Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan as a result.

On Friday, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 123 new cases and one additional death due to COVID-19.

There have been 612 Spokane County residents who died due to COVID-19.

There are 83 patients hospitalized in the four Spokane hospitals, while there were 76 people hospitalized on Monday. Kootenai Health has 22 COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 18 new cases on Friday, and there are 30 Panhandle residents hospitalized.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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