Gov. Jay Inslee during a televised news conference on Monday. (TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee during a televised news conference on Monday. (TVW)

State issues guidance on dental care, medical appointments

Resumption of those practices depends on adequate protective equipment and patient screening.

Gov. Jay Inslee cleared the way May 15 for teeth cleanings, annual physicals and elective surgeries to resume throughout Washington.

The governor issued much-anticipated guidance dentists and medical practitioners must follow. The rules are intended to protect their employees and patients from exposure to coronavirus, which causes the potentially deadly COVID-19.

Inslee, who announced the measures at news conference, described it as “one more step” on the path to reopening the economy and reviving public life, mostly shuttered under a stay-home order issued two months ago to blunt the virus’ spread.

And this latest action came three days after release of a report containing the first concrete measurement of the financial toll wrought by the pandemic.

It shows tax revenues came in $428.5 million below a forecast issued in February. The analysis, compiled by the state’s chief economist, covers collections mainly from March that are reported between April 11 and May 10.

Of the total, about $200 million are taxes the state Department of Revenue is allowing businesses to defer paying due to the economic crisis.

The rest of the lost tax receipts is a direct result of the lockdown of nonessential businesses, professional services and nonurgent medical and dental care, all of which generate sales and business taxes for state coffers.

Car and truck sales plummeted in March with new vehicle registrations falling 63.5%. Tax payments generated by restaurants, bars, and lodging establishments were 35.2% lower than the prior year. Sales of clothing, furniture, sporting goods, toys, books and music all fell by double-digit percentages, according to the monthly Economic and Revenue Update.

However, tax receipts from essential businesses that have not been closed, such as supermarkets and sellers of building supplies and appliances were higher in March than the prior year.

The latest figures align roughly with a preliminary analysis prepared two weeks ago by Steve Lerch, the state’s chief economist. At that time, he suggested revenue collections could be down $756 million through the end of June and nearly $3.8 billion by the end of the current budget in mid-2021.

While the state’s economy will not turnaround quickly, Monday marked a stride forward as Inslee welcomed reopening of dental and medical practices and encouaged residents to not delay treatment they might need or desire.

Among the most critical requirements of his guidance is for each practice to have adequate quantities of appropriate personal protective equipment for workers. Other rules include screening patients and visitors for symptoms of the highly transmissible virus, including taking their temperatures.

Doctors and dentists must implement social-distancing measures and frequently clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces in waiting rooms, offices and treatment areas. They must craft plans of how they could expand or contract services based on whether there’s an outbreak in their community.

Statewide, as of May 15, the cumulative death count was 1,002 among 18,611 cases.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Blotter bug
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Nov. 16 – 23

A fake $100 bill, a gravel spill, and multiple commitments to St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Enumclaw council chambers. File photo
Enumclaw council moves on property tax, utility increases as part of ‘21 budget

Natural gas and garbage disposal services received a bump in rates.

book cover
Former EHS student pens first book of poetry

Additionally, the Unknown Poets Society is hosting a poetry competition, with a writer’s retreat as the top prize.

Jackson's on Cole Street had to close temporarily due to staffing shortages. It was planning to open up again when Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all restaurants to stop indoor dining for four weeks. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Enumclaw’s downtown economy threatened by restaurant closures

Will outdoor dining and take-out orders be enough to keep local restaurants open?

The current Enumclaw section of the Foothills Trail ends at the historic Boise Creek Bridge. That will be the end of the line until a bridge across the White River is added, a step not expected until perhaps 2023. Photo by Kevin Hanson
County close to opening new section of Foothills Trail to Boise Creek

Unfortunately, the construction of the pedestrian bridge that will cross the White River has been delayed to 2023.

A King County Sheriff’s Office photo of the crawlspace in which Urbano Velazquez was hiding when a K-9 unit was used. Sound Publishing file photo
King County settles $2 million dog bite lawsuit

The county agreed to pay $100,000 after being sued after a 2016 K-9 unit arrest.

Contributed by the Society for Conservation Biology 
A map showing the locations where plants have gone extinct in the U.S. and Canada since European settlers arrived.
Study: 65 plant species have gone extinct in U.S., Canada

More than 65 species of plants have gone extinct in the U.S.… Continue reading

file photo
COVID-19 continues spreading at a breakneck pace

Every person infected with COVID appears to be passing the disease along to 1.5 people on average.

Flaming Geyser is one of the several state parks in proximity to the Plateau that you can visit for free on Jan. 1 and 18. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks
Free Park Days in 2021 start in January

The first free days are Jan. 1 and 18.

Most Read