Masking requirements in patient-facing healthcare facilities

Submitted by San Juan County.

On April 3 San Juan County Health Officer Order 2023-1 went into effect which continues the masking requirements in patient-facing healthcare facilities. The order excludes dental offices, optometry offices, physical therapy, massage, and eye care clinics from the masking requirement.

The Washington state mask requirement expired on April 3. However, this order allows vulnerable populations to continue to seek care without the fear of contracting COVID-19. Severe disease remains most likely in persons over 65 years, which accounts for over 35% of San Juan County’s population.

San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James has three recommendations to help all islanders continue to protect themselves against the disease: mask, test, and treat.

Mask: Encourage people at risk and the families of those that share a home with them to wear a mask when indoors.

Test: Test twice, 24 hours before gathering and immediately before. Test when you or a household member has symptoms consistent with COVID-19. (Remember that some people can have very mild symptoms and some have no symptoms at all (especially young people). Typical incubation period is two days to two weeks, but most commonly is three days.)

Treat: Recent data from the FDA shows that use of Paxlovid leads 1,500 saved lives and 13,000 fewer hospitalizations in the US each week.

If you test positive, follow the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recommendations for isolation. And if you are exposed, please quarantine so that you do not spread the disease to others. For more information about DOH recommendations and COVID-19 symptoms go to the DOH website.

The best form of protection remains vaccination. If you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or received your bivalent booster dose, reach out to your local provider, or call San Juan County Health & Community Services at 360-378-4474 to make an appointment. You can also search for vaccine providers at