Communicable Disease

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Communicable Disease

Director: Jennifer Johnson


Page Updated 1-16-21 8:00pm

COVID-19 INFORMATION | CURRENT STATUS: PHASE 1

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Closed January 18th



 

 

Video series addresses questions about Covid-19
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NEWS UPDATES *

Covid-19 News and updates from Skagit County
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News updates from Washington State

COVID-19 CASES IN SKAGIT COUNTY RESIDENTS

Community transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring in Skagit County. Skagit County Public Health only tracks COVID-19 cases of Skagit County residents to avoid duplication in reporting. Facilities in our community may be caring for patients who are from another county.

Note: Data is based on available information at time of reporting. Further case investigation can result in corrections to numbers originally reported. This data is changing rapidly as labs conduct tests and discover new cases.

 

Date Positive* +/-* Deaths Hospitalized**
1/16/21 No data reported from Washington State DOH
1/15/21 3520 -19*** 46 214
1/14/21 3539 +32 46 212

*Total lab confirmed cases known to Skagit County Public Health +/- indicates increase or decrease in number of positive cases since last update.
**Total number of positive cases who were hospitalized at any point during their illness.

***Pllease note: January 15, 2021 data note: Total case counts may include up to 280 duplicates and negative test results data from are incomplete from November 21-30, 2020 and December 30 through today. Thus, percent positivity (Testing tab) and case counts should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.

Today’s unusually high number of new hospitalizations is due to a backlog from January 13-14, 2021.





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OTHER DATA

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WHO TO CALL

(Updated 7/6/20 4:00 pm)

PUBLIC HEALTH: If you have questions for Skagit County Public Health, or are in need of assistance picking up supplies or food while in isolation/quarantine,  you can call 360-416-1500 between 8:30am and 4:30pm daily.
To report groups of people not practicing social distancing, call 360-416-1892 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. They will pass the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

DOH Hotline: If you have questions about what is happening in Washington or how the virus spreads, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #, or text “Coronavirus” to 211-211. Phone lines are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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PREVENTION

(Updated 1/6/2021)

COVID-19 is most likely to spread indoors, when people are in prolonged close contact and unmasked. Until a vaccine and/or treatment is developed, avoiding indoor gatherings, practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask, and good hygiene are the only tools we have to prevent transmission of COVID-19. These tools only work if everyone does them all the time, even during private social events.

MASKS: Masks or cloth face coverings are now required whenever you are in public in the state of Washington, with a few exceptions. Masks are an effective, cheap and simple way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Statewide Restrictions Extended for One Week
Gov. Jay Inslee announced yesterday a one-week extension of the "Stay Safe–Stay Healthy" proclamation, along with the statewide restrictions imposed. The extension of the statewide restrictions will now expire on January 11, 2021. [more]

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HEALTHY WASHINGTON- ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

(Updated 1/6/2021)

On January 5, 2021, Governor Inslee announced another, new phased plan called ‘Healthy Washington- Roadmap to Recovery.’ Unlike previous reopening plans, Healthy Washington groups Washington’s counties into regions based (mostly) on the Emergency Medical Services regions used to evaluate medical services. Skagit County is part of the North region, along with Whatcom, Island and San Juan Counties:


(Graphic courtesy of the Governor’s office).

All regions began in Phase 1 on January 11, 2021. Key restrictions in Phase 1 are:

  • Indoor social gatherings are prohibited, outdoor social gatherings are limited to ten people and no more than two distinct households.
  • Indoor worship services, retail stores, professional services and personal services (hair salons, nail salons, etc…) are limited to 25 percent capacity. Where possible, remote work/attendance and curbside pickup are encouraged.
  • Indoor dining at any eating or drinking establishment is prohibited. Outdoor dining is limited to six people per table and no more than two households at each table. Establishments must close by 11 p.m.
  • Weddings and funeral ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes or similar related gatherings in conjunction with such services are prohibited.
  • Indoor entertainment establishments may offer private reservations for individual households and no more than 6 people. General admission is prohibited.
  • Outdoor entertainment establishments may offer timed ticketed events to groups of ten (limit two households) at a time.

Depending on the activity, additional restrictions and/or requirements for reopening (required masking, spacing, etc…) may also be in effect. To read the full phase activity chart, and for additional information on Phase 1 permitted activities see here.
Progress through the Healthy Washington phases is dictated by four metrics measured by region:

  • Decreasing trend in two week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population (decrease has to be greater than 10 percent)
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate in new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100,000 population (decrease must be greater than 10 percent)
  • Total (COVID and non-COVID) ICU occupancy has to be less than 90 percent capacity
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate must be less than 10 percent.

Progress will be determined automatically, no application by the regions will be required. The Washington State Department of Health will evaluate metrics each Friday, with any movement forward or backward taking effect the following Monday.
Guidelines for long term care facilities, K-12 education and childcare have been created separately. For more information see:

 


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PHYSICAL DISTANCING FOR BUSINESSES AND SOCIAL GATHERINGS

(Updated 12/8/20)

On November 15, Governor Inslee announced new restrictions and requirements for businesses and social gatherings. He extended these restrictions on December 8. They will be in place through at least January 4, 2021.
These restrictions are designed to slow the exponential spread of COVID-19 in Washington State.

You can read the new restrictions and requirements in full here.

Indoor social gatherings are prohibited unless all attendees can quarantine for 14 days before hand, or quarantine for 7 days before hand AND receive a negative COVID-19 test no earlier than 48 hours before the gathering. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to five or fewer people from outside a household. During outdoor gatherings, masks must be worn and physical distancing must be used at all times.

Restriction on businesses and other activities include:
  • Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size limited to 5 for outdoor dining.  These restaurant restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18.
  • Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above. Drop off childcare closed.
  • Fitness facilities, Bowling Centers, Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, Indoor movie theathers and real estate open houses are closed (outdoor fitness classes may occur with five or fewer people; drive in movie theaters still permitted to operate).
  • Miscellaneous Venues are prohibited from hosting all retail activities and business meetings. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Wedding and Funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
  • Personal services (hair stylists, nail salons, etc…) and In-store retail including grocery stores are limited to 25% indoor occupancy. Grocery stores must close any common/congregate non-food related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.
  • Religious services limited to 25% indoor occupancy no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service.  Soloists are permitted to perform.  Facial coverings must be worn at all times by congregation members and no congregational singing.
  • Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible, and to close offices to the public. If they remain open, occupancy is restricted to 25%.
  • Long-term Care Facilities outdoor visits only. Exceptions can be made for essential support person and end-of-life care.  
  • Youth (school and non-school) and adult sporting activities limited to outdoor only for intra-team practices, masks required for athletes.

Continuation or addition of in-person learning is left up to individual school districts. Public Health and Governor’s office advise school district when necessary.



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IF YOU ARE SICK

(Updated 7/8/20 4:00pm)

If you have severe symptoms of COVID-19, including fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and cough, please seek care at one of Skagit County’s respiratory clinics or through your provider. People experiencing shortness of breath or other serious symptoms need to seek medical consultation immediately. Call your provider, urgent care, or emergency department first before going in.

If you need to be seen for other medical concerns, please call your provider. Many are offering telehealth, and have taken extra measures to protect anyone that needs to be seen in person. Do not put off medical concerns.

  • If you are enrolled with Apple Health and do not know who your medical provider is, you can call your health plan directly for assistance. Nurse Helplines are available 24/7.


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  • If you are uninsured or worried about your legal status and concerned about your symptoms, you may call Community Health Plan of Washington’s 24/7 Nurse Helpline at 1-866-418-2920.

Respiratory Clinics: There are three respiratory clinics in Skagit County.

Skagit Regional Health
Effective Monday, October 19, the Skagit Regional Health - Urgent Care Mount Vernon location will close, allowing SRH to reinstate the Acute Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 assessment and testing. The Acute Respiratory Clinic is located at 120 S. 13th Street in Mount Vernon, just north of Skagit Valley Hospital.

The Acute Respiratory Clinic on 13th Street will be a dedicated site for evaluating patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and will maintain pre-procedure screenings with patients receiving a COVID test inside their vehicle. Skagit Regional Health - Urgent Care Riverbend will be available for patients seeking treatments unrelated to COVID-19. View more information at https://www.skagitregionalhealth.org/arc.

Island Hospital is offering a respiratory clinic at one location. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, please call before going in.
Phone: 360-293-3101
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 2601 M Avenue, Suite C, Anacortes

United General Medical Clinic is offering a respiratory clinic at one location. You may call first or walk in.
Hours: 8am – 6pm Monday through Friday
Phone:  360-856-8830
PeaceHealth Sedro Woolley Clinic
1990 Hospital Drive, Suite 110
Sedro-Woolley, WA  98284

PeaceHealth Sedro Woolley Clinic
1990 Hospital Drive, Suite 110
Sedro-Woolley, WA  98284


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GUIDANCE ON ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE


On Friday, December 4th, Skagit Public Health adopted new guidance on quarantine time frames to align with the Centers for Disease Control and the Washington State Department of Health’s new guidance. The following is Public Health’s official guidance on isolation and quarantine timelines:

Isolation

Isolation timelines have not changed. Individuals who test positive for COVID, or have COVID symptoms and a known exposure, must isolate for at least 10 days following symptom onset (or test date if they have never had symptoms). They can stop isolation when:

  1. If an individual has COVID-19 and have symptoms, they can stop your home isolation when:
    • They’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication AND
    • Their symptoms have gotten better, AND
    • At least 10 days have gone by since the symptoms first If the individual has a severe immunocompromising condition, they should talk to their primary care provider. A care provider may recommend that immunocompromised persons isolate for longer.
  2. If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, but have not had any symptoms, home isolation can end when:
    • At least 10 days have gone by since the date of the first positive COVID-19 test, AND
    • The individual has not developed any COVID-19 symptoms

Here is a handout on isolation from Skagit Public Health (and in Spanish).

Quarantine

The CDC, Washington State Department of Health, and Skagit County Public Health still recommend a quarantine period of 14 days from last exposure. The incubation period of the COVID virus is still 2-14 days. Once exposed, it can take as long as 14 days for the virus to replicate sufficiently in the human body for an infected person to then become contagious. This timeline is still critical in high-risk settings where there is serious risk of superspreading or severe outcomes (e.g. jails, shelters, long-term care or assisted living, congregate settings, health care, and those living with immune compromised persons, etc). If an exposed person lives with or cares for someone who has COVID, the COVID+ person has to finish their infectious period (isolation) before calculating the quarantine period.

There are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine if there are financial, personal, or other hardships that prevent a 14-day quarantine from last exposure (see more here). These shortened options still bear the risk of developing and transmitting COVID; if at any point an exposed person develops COVID symptoms during the 14-day incubation period, they must stay home, isolate, and ideally seek testing.

If someone cannot manage a 14-day quarantine due to financial, personal, or other hardships, they can end quarantine in the following circumstances:

  • If a person who is in quarantine has no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10 from last exposure date. They still need to monitor for symptoms through day 14. If they develop symptoms, they need to isolate.
  • If a person who is in quarantine takes a test on day 5 or later that results as negative AND continues to have no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 7 from last exposure date. They still need to monitor for symptoms through day 14. If they develop symptoms, they need to isolate.

 


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SCHOOLS

(Updated 7/8/20 4:00 pm)

Skagit County school districts are in process of planning for fall.  School will look different in September but districts are working diligently to that assure safe and effective student learning can occur at all grade levels.  Resources for schools and families can be found at:

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington State Department of Health

 

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FOR BUSINESSES/EMPLOYEES


(Updated 1/6/2021)

On January 5, 2021, Governor Inslee announced a new phased reopening program called ‘Healthy Washington- Roadmao to Recovery.’ Description of restrictions is available above and here.

Updated mask guidance for businesses

If you are able to donate or manufacture Personal Protective Equipment, we need your help. Please click here.

The COVID-19 outbreak across the globe has - and will continue to have - significant health, social, and economic impacts on our community. We understand this impact will fall heavily on the business sector. Your business is an important part of our community.

Essential Employers should:

  • Maximize telecommuting options for as many employees as possible
  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits
  • Stagger start and end times to reduce large numbers of people congregating at the same time
  • Abide by the latest guidance for disinfection and cleaning

Resources for businesses, workers and employers are being made available every day.

The governor’s office has a webpage with all the new guidance for COVID-19. It will be updated regularly as new guidance is issued.

AWB launches website to help Washington businesses

The Association of Washington Business announced a new website aimed at helping Washington businesses safely welcome back employees and customers. The website, located at www.reboundandrecovery.org, features an online portal to connect Washington businesses with ‘Made in Washington’ manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols with employees and customers. The site is free to use and available to all Washington businesses.

General Information

Financial and Benefits Resources

If you are not able to work because of this pandemic, check out these resources from the state Employment Security Department:

The Employment Security Department has information for workers and employers impacted by COVID-19.

The state Employment Security Department has made significant changes to its website to help workers find the information they need including: 

A simplified website design for easier navigation to the pages people need most right now. 
A new guide to help self-employed, independent contractors and others affected by COVID-19 apply for regular unemployment benefits, expanded benefits (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) and submit weekly claims. 
A new checklist to get ready to apply for expanded unemployment benefits (pdf) (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). 

New “Road to Recovery” series launches on TVW. State leaders have launched a new Q&A series with TVW called “Road to Recovery” to talk about how businesses and workers can navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first episode, host Mike McClanahan and Employment Security Dept. Commissioner Suzi LeVine discuss the steps people must take to receive financial help due to the COVID-19 situation.

Disaster Cash Assistance Program: WA Department of Social and Health Services has opened coronavirus relief funding to people without citizenship status or proof of a Social Security number. People not eligible for other COVID-19 assistance programs can apply if they meet income and resource thresholds. Single individuals can claim up to $363, and the amount increases depending on the household size up to $1,121 for eight or more in a home. Applicants receive a one-time payment in a 12-month period.

Facilities Resources

Public Health - Seattle & King County and CDC have provided resources and facility-based guidance. In the interest of maximizing staff time for response efforts, we are sharing what our peer local health jurisdiction has recommended, rather than recreating materials or guidance.

 

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FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS & SENIORS

(Updated 9/1/20 10:10 am)

If you are an at-risk individual who is on quarantine or isolation, and you find yourself in need of assistance with getting/picking up supplies or food, or knowing where to call to get such resources delivered to you, call the Skagit County Resource Assistance Line at 1-360-416-1892 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.

Your health and the health of those you care about are important, and it is recommended that you try to stay at home and away from other people during this time. Preparing for this requires some planning.

  • Make sure you can contact your regular healthcare provider when you need advice. Some clinics use the “patient portals” to communicate and most of them will have staff who can take your calls to give advice. Please keep in mind that they will likely be very busy, so try to anticipate your needs.
  • Make a list of medicines that you need regularly and ask the pharmacy or your healthcare provider if you can have an extra supply or prescription. Mail order is a good option to help avoid going to the store.
  • Have a plan for if you get sick. CDC has a form on which you can list your current health conditions and treatments: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/pdf/Complete-Care-Plan-Form-508.pdf. If you have a caregiver, determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
  • Talk with your neighbors and plan for ways you can help take care of one another. Ask for support and help if you need it.
  • Consider stocking up on extra food or personal hygiene supplies. Call your local stores and national chains to see if they have a curbside pickup or home delivery option available. This will help you avoid going into the store where there are lots of people. If you are trying to avoid public places and have to go to the store, consider your ability to go during times when it is less busy.
  • Practice good health habits, including washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when you don’t feel well.

For more information on Meals and Wheels and frozen lunch pick-up program options, please call your local senior center: 

Mount Vernon Senior Center, 360-416-1585, Kristl Hobbs or Nickie McNulty
Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, 360-855-1531, Ellen Schweigert or Merrilee Komboukos
Burlington Senior Center, 360-755-0942 or 360-755-0102, Jackie Cress or Cheryl Kaufman
Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 360-293-7473, Amanda Miller or Annette Saling

 

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CARE FACILITIES

(Updated 11/15/20 )

On November 15, Governor Inslee announced that long term care facilities can only allow outdoor visitation only, except for end of life care and essential support personnel. This guidance will be in effect until at least December 14, 2020. You can read more about that announcement here.

You can read the full, previously issued guidance for Long Term Care Facility operation here

Safe Start for Long Term Care Recommendations and Requirements: Adult Family Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Enhanced Services Facilities

 Safe Start Recommendations and Requirements: Certified Community Residential Services and Supports

Safe Start for Long Term Care Recommendations and Requirements: Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities  

Skagit County remains a high risk county. If your family member or loved one is in a long term care facility, contact the facility directly for further information about their visitation rules and requirements.

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CHILDCARE

(Updated 5/15/20 4:00pm)

Skagit County Public Health continues to strongly encourage parents and guardians who can keep their children home at this time to do so. Keeping children at home, hiring a nanny or babysitter to provide one-to-one care, or sharing care responsibilities with other parents in groups of no more than two or three children will help reduce the risk of spreading this disease.

If you need child care, please call the Child Care Aware Family Center at 1-800-446-1114 or go to their website. Alternately, you can contact your local school district. You can find additional information on you school’s website.

If you reside in a neighboring county, information on childcare is available here.

Child care providers must be able to meet health and safety requirements, which includes updated guidance available here. Requirements include excluding sick employees from work; sending sick children home; meeting all CDC recommended cleaning and disinfecting procedures; and ensuring proper hand hygiene and sanitation are readily available to all children and staff. 

School nutrition programs: Although schools are closed, school districts are distributing meals to students in need. Distribution plans vary by school site. You can find info about school nutrition services in our region here.

The WSU Extension of Skagit also created a map of school lunch delivery points, available here. For the most up-to-date information, visit your school district’s website.

RESOURCES FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS

RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES

 


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SCAM ALERTS

(Updated 12/8/20 )


Sadly, scammers seize the opportunity to take advantage of people in times like this. Please be cautious about potential scams. There are a lot of new websites popping up offering PPE or a place on the vaccine distribution list in exchange for money. These are not real offers. Do not give out your credit card information to an unverified party.

If you spot a scam, please tell the Federal Trade Commission. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General also has information and resources for reporting scams.

 

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GENERAL RESOURCES FOR SKAGITONIANS

PUBLIC HEALTH: If you are an at-risk individual who is on quarantine or isolation, and you find yourself in need of assistance with getting supplies or food, call 360-416-1500 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.

LOCAL FOOD BANKS: If you need food or supplies from local food banks, please call first to learn about revised pickup options and hours of operation. List of local food banks and contact information.

FOOD ASSISTANCE: Learn more about emergency food access during the COVID-19 response.
WIC: WIC is for pregnant people, new and breastfeeding moms, infants, and children under five. Find out if you’re eligible and sign up here.

HOUSING: COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Complaint form: The Office of the Attorney General created a hotline for complaints about evictions in violation of the governor’s moratorium on certain residential evictions during the COVID-19 public health emergency Mortgage assistance available for those affected by COVID-19: The Department of Financial Institutions is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

PSE bill assistance

Community Action | En Español
Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Resources [Organized by language]

HEALTH INSURANCE: Open enrollment is happening now. If you recently lost your insurance due to a job loss or another event, you may be eligible to enroll for health insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Individuals who are currently uninsured can contact an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker or Enrollment Center to start the special enrollment process. These insurance experts are available by phone and can also answer any questions consumers may have and help them get enrolled. Consumers can find local experts using the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or visiting here.

If you are uninsured or worried about your legal status and concerned about your symptoms, you may call Community Health Plan of Washington’s 24/7 Nurse Helpline at 1-866-418-2920.

Washington State’s COVID-19 Resource Page has links to State data, opening phases, family and business guidance, and more.
General educational materials, in PDF form and multiple languages, are available here from the Washington State Department of Health.

Coronavirus and health insurance: Information about coronavirus and health insurance for consumers, insurers and medical providers is now available in six languages.

Apple Health clients: The Health Care Authority is taking several steps to help ensure Apple Health (Medicaid) clients have access to high-quality physical and behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: The pandemic is causing financial hardship and uncertainty for many of us.  If you are in need, here are a few resources that may help:

 

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ANIMAL CARE AND FEEDING


Skagit County residents struggling to afford food for their animals may contact the following local organizations for assistance :

  • Household Pets- Humane Society of Skagit Valley by phone at 360-757-0445 or 360-757-2568 during business hours.
  • Livestock/large animals - Skagit Animals In Need – by phone at 360-708-9506 or by email at skagitanimalsinneed@gmail.com – for an application.
  • The Hay Burner Project at thehayburnerproject@gmail.com for assistance with equine needs.

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