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Inslee announces update to long-term care facility guidance

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Gov. Jay Inslee Friday approved an update to the guidance documents for Proclamation 20-26, Operations and Visitation, for long term care facilities.

The guidance documents will be amended to align with recent CDC recommendations regarding what infection control practices should be in place when planning for or allowing communal activities, such as group activities or communal dining. The changes will allow residents who are fully vaccinated to choose to have close contact with other fully vaccinated individuals and to not wear source control during the activity. This change reflects the continuing progression towards 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.

The changes are effective immediately. The Department of Social Health Services, in partnership with the Department of Health, will also issue a guidance letter to long term care providers notifying them of this change.

Historic Wins for Climate, COVID Relief

A historic, largely virtual, 105-day legislative session ended Sunday night with lawmakers taking action on the state's operating budget and making final decisions on important legislation, including the Climate Commitment Act, the low carbon fuel standard, police accountability and the capital gains tax on extraordinary profits.

Inslee's focus of the 2021 session was "relief, recovery and resilience," and the Legislature passed a life-saving $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief bill, a Working Families Tax Credit and climate legislation that will both improve public health and increase economic opportunity while fighting the climate crisis.

The governor had 11 pieces of request legislation this year; eight bills were passed, two were incorporated into the budget and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler instituted a rule ensuring the implementation of the focus of the remaining bill.

"It was a remarkable session with far-reaching impacts to the long-term well-being of our state," Inslee said Sunday night. "So many of these achievements were years in the making. It took hard work, sweat and tears of many in this state to see these policies finally make it over the finish line."

The Legislature also passed a historic suite of equity policies that Inslee supported in his budget, funding a new Office of Independent Investigations for police use-of-force cases, placing a statue of Billy Frank Jr. in the Capitol and National Statuary Hall, and restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals.

With the improved state revenue collections and large infusions of federal COVID-related relief funds, legislative budget writers had far more resources to work with than the governor did when he put together his budgets last fall. The final operating and capital budgets -- including for the current and next biennium -- fund most of the priorities the governor put forward in December.

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