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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 12, 2021
Meredith Mathis, Public Information Specialist, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, (360) 628-7148 or meredith.mathis@co.thurston.wa.us

Thurston County Health Officer Issues Masking Directive
Residents must wear mask in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status

​OLYMPIA – Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek has issued a Masking Directive for Thurston County, effective Friday, August 13, at 6:00 a.m. The following information is from the masking directive, which can be found in its entirety here.

Everyone ≥5 years of age in Thurston County shall wear a face covering within indoor public spaces.

Children ages two, three, or four years old, while exempt from this official directive, are recommended to wear a face covering with the assistance and close supervision of an adult in accordance with the current Order of the Secretary of Health.

All persons in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, childcare, public transportation, and health care settings, including doctor's offices, long-term care, and hospitals, shall also wear a well-fitted mask in accord with state requirements already in place.

This DIRECTIVE applies to all indoor spaces that are open to the public, including retail, grocery stores, government buildings, and other businesses and places where members of the public can enter freely; it does not apply to indoor non-public spaces, including businesses, offices, and other places of employment with limited access. Employers should continue to follow current guidance and requirements from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on worker safety.

This DIRECTIVE does not apply to outdoor spaces. Please follow current Washington State Department of Health guidance and directives on the use of masks outdoors.

I strongly urge all people in Thurston County to voluntarily comply with this DIRECTIVE, and likewise direct all businesses that are open to the public, including grocery and other retail establishments, government buildings, and other businesses and places where members of the public can enter freely to continue implementing policies and practices to ensure that their customers and employees wear face masks in order to protect the health of their customers, workers, and the community.

This DIRECTIVE shall remain in effect until the Thurston County Health Officer confirms that COVID-19 disease rates decline to low levels of transmission as defined by the CDC or until this directive is otherwise rescinded.

Dr.  Abdelmalek signed a joint statement along with Health Officers from all 35 Local Health Jurisdictions in Washington State today recommending all residents wear facial coverings when in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of those around them is unknown, regardless of their own vaccination status.

Thurston County currently is in an area with high COVID-19 transmission, with a 13.4% test positivity rate and a case rate of 272.5 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days. Only 50.1% of Thurston County's population is fully vaccinated, which means nearly half of residents are not fully protected from COVID-19.

This measure will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Thurston County, and decrease the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant.

Since the masking mandate in Washington State was updated for fully vaccinated individuals, Dr. Abdelmalek has publicly "recommend[ed] that all Thurston County residents continue to wear masks in public indoor spaces where vaccination status is not verified even if fully vaccinated", as stated in her July 1 Letter to the Community.

To maximize protection from COVID-19 variants and slow the spread of the virus in our community, please wear a mask. If you are not yet vaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. You can find a COVID-19 vaccine in Thurston County by visiting https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3