For immediate release: December 9, 2020 (20-239)
Media contact: Public Information Desk
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
Introducing ‘Care Connect Washington’ – A new way to get COVID-19 relief
OLYMPIA – Today the Washington State Department of Health is announcing a new service to help people who have to isolate or quarantine at home after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed.
Care Connect Washington, working with local health jurisdictions and their partners, will provide critical resources to people who need support when they’re staying home. Care coordinators will connect people to community-based services such as medication delivery, health care, help applying for unemployment, local housing agencies, food banks, childcare providers and more.
“People who receive help meeting essential social and health needs are more likely to complete home isolation and quarantine successfully,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary of Health for COVID-19 response. “Care Connect Washington will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help families get through what could be a hard time by making sure they have what they need.”
Care Connect Washington will be available to people who qualify for it via referral. Referrals come from a variety of sources, including case investigators or contact tracers, who ask about each person’s ability to successfully home isolate or quarantine. Help will be made available based on need.
Care Connect Washington will expand by region. Each region will deploy a community-based workforce to support people who need help while in isolation or quarantine. The regions will work with local vendors to supply needed goods and services, helping to contribute to local economic recovery. Care Connect Washington began providing services to Yakima County in July and now provides services to Benton and Franklin counties. Today, we welcome our first two regional hubs:
Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health (SWACH) will extend Care Connect Washington services to Clark, Klickitat, and Skamania counties. SWACH’s infrastructure of 40 community health workers in 11 partner agencies connects community members to health care, social services, and other support they need.
Cascade Pacific Action Alliance’s Community CarePort is the hub for COVID-19 care in the region. Community CarePort provides community-based care coordination to Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, and Lewis counties. Early in the pandemic, Community CarePort used its network of 50 care coordinators across the seven counties, piloting new ways to help people stay home. Community CarePort will leverage and expand this network as a part of Care Connect Washington.
As DOH builds the program out, we expect more regions to begin providing services by January 1.
Care Connect Washington has been funded by federal COVID-19 relief money to provide services at no cost to the person receiving help. Fehrenbach added, “If there are barriers to successful isolation and quarantine, Care Connect Washington can help bridge the gap so that people can stay home when they are sick with or a close contact of someone with COVID-19.”