Healthcare worker wearing mask looks out the window
Gov. Jay Inslee hedshot
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) prepares to end the state’s COVID-19 state of emergency on Oct. 31, long-term care staffing needs have not abated, and lifting the order could affect regulations that have permitted additional flexibility in staffing. That’s according to the Washington Health Care Association. 

“Washington is not a nurse compact state but has allowed rapid onboarding of out-of-state nurses and nursing assistants through the state’s WAServ program for healthcare practitioners. While we have been assured that out-of-state nurses may apply and receive temporary license permits with a five-day turnaround, there are no provisions for certified nursing assistants,” WHCA told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

In a statement announcing the change, Inslee said: “Ending this order does not mean we take [COVID-19] less seriously or will lose focus on how this virus has changed the way we live. We will continue our commitments to the public’s well-being, but simply through different tools that are now more appropriate for the era we’ve entered.”

The statewide face covering order issued by the Washington Department of Health will remain in place for long-term care and healthcare sittings.

The governor’s mandatory vaccination order no longer will be in effect for home- and community-based care settings, according to the WHCA. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, however, still requires vaccination in skilled nursing facilities. 
In the East, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also is lifting the state of emergency related to COVID-19. Hochul let the state of emergency lapse last week. She previously had said she would wait until after Labor Day and school resumed to decide whether to extend the proclamation for another month, the Time Union reported.