Brief: DoH issues emergency rule on COVID orders for facilities


Aaron Kunkler


A new rule from the Washington State Department of Health clarifies that all health care facilities licensed by the department must comply with state and federal statutes, federal statuses, administrative rules, lawful orders and other legal requirements related to running facilities and COVID-19 prevention. 


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These include orders issued by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Secretary of Health, local health boards, or local health officers. The rule went into effect immediately on Dec. 23. 

The department wrote that the COVID pandemic and its presence in the state continues to threaten the health and economy of Washington, and remains a public disaster. It also states that the continuing prevalence of the virus and hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated but also due to breakthrough infections in some people who are fully vaccinated, remains a threat. The rule is intended to promote safety of workers, patients and visitors at health care facilities. 

Due to the pandemic’s emergency nature, the order states that observing time requirements of notice and opportunity to provide comment on adoption of an emergency rule would not be in the public interest.