BFHD Plans to Alter Service Delivery - Update
Posted on 03/20/2020

Updated: On Monday March 23rd, Benton-Franklin Health District will be closing our doors to the public. Contact the office via phone for instructions on how to access services that are still available as outlined below. Please see updates to the water lab sample collection process.

Social distancing slows the spread of COVID-19.
The health of our community and our staff are our top priorities. Everyone in Benton and Franklin Counties should be practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) is altering our method of delivery of services to support social distancing and our response to COVID-19.
 Staff will follow best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including handwashing and social distancing in the office. Following are modifications to how we are providing our services during this time. 

Vital Records:

  • Vital records has established an online ordering process using encrypted email for both birth and death certificates. This process allows clients to complete an application and submit using an encrypted email link. 
  • Credit card payment is required with the application.  All certificates will be sent via USPS mail or Federal Express.   For clients who need assistance in filling out an application, limited phone assistance is available at (509) 460-4204. 

On-Site Sewage Systems:

  • In person visits are hereby restricted until further notice. Staff will continue to be available for phone and/or email.
  • BFHD is delayed in responding to all applications with the exception of requests to replace to failing sewage systems.
  • Applications for on-site sewage system permits or water system approvals may be obtained from our website and submitted via email to ehclerks@bfhd.wa.gov; staff will contact you via the telephone for follow up.

     Water Recreation Program: 

  • All activities have been suspended.

Food Safety Program:

  • Staff will continue to be available for phone and/or email.
  • BFHD is not currently accepting applications for temporary food service permits.
  • Applications for food service permits may be downloaded from our website and submitted to ehclerks@bfhd.wa.gov; staff will contact you via the telephone for further follow up.
  • All renewals of food service licenses can be completed online or by mailing payment to the Health District offices as indicated on your statement.
  • Inquiries and concerns regarding complaints of food borne illness may be submitted through our website.

Communicable Disease Program:

  • TB – program will respond to cases of Tuberculosis in accordance with standard practice.
  • Communicable disease reports will be investigated in accordance with current requirements.

Immunization and Travel Clinic:

  • Activities are suspended unless for urgent public health concerns.
  • TB – Skin tests have been suspended.
  • Travel clinic are suspended.

HIV Case Management:

  • Groups and classes are canceled until further notice. Our facilitator can offer group meetings through zoom or other video call type option if needed.
  • Case Managers will communicate with clients via phone and zoom if needed.
  • Face to face appointments and home visits are limited to absolute necessity.
    • In the case of necessity, BFHD will utilize a larger room for the appointment in order to comply with the social distancing rules. Meeting areas are disinfected prior to use and after each use.
  • For documents that require signatures, BFHD will send with the client a postage paid return envelope for a client to return the signed document.
  • Emergencies are to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Laboratory:

  • Samples continue to be accepted with drop off at the rear of our Kennewick facility.
  • Sample bottles may also be picked up at the rear of our Kennewick facility.
  • Access to this area is by vehicle through the gate on the west side of the building.
  • Staff collection of water samples from the Benton County Planning Department and the City of Mesa are suspended.

WIC:

  • WIC is still serving clients.  However, in support of the guidelines for social distancing due to the COVID-19 situation, clients should not come into our office.  Call the BFHD WIC clinic to find out what your individual options might be. Kennewick Office - 460-4566 or Pasco Office - 460-4203.
  • WIC will be able to conduct an appointment over the phone.  BFHD will call clients at their scheduled appointment time.
  • WIC may be able to extend a client’s certification period by 1 month if they were scheduled for a recertification (reapplying for benefits).

Nurse Family Partnership:

  • Nurse-Family Partnership is not meeting with clients face to face.
  • Nurses are checking in with clients by phone or text and will schedule visits via phone or zoom visit.
  • Nurse-Family Partnership is accepting referrals for new moms pregnant with their first baby. However, please let them know that visits will be done via phone or zoom until face to face visits are once again allowed.

Community and Family Health:

  • In person, small group and coalition meetings will be transitioned to a webinar format or cancelled. BFHD will utilize a larger room for the appointment in order to comply with the social distancing rules if in person meetings are necessary. The meeting areas are disinfected prior to use and after each use.
  • Diabetes Self-Management in-person workshops - suspended.
  • The child passenger safety fit site at Kadlec on the second Wednesday of the Month is suspended. Please call the BFHD injury prevention department at 509-460-4214 to make alternate arrangements.

If you have a question about our services: 

Do you need to talk to someone? Give us a call during normal business hours at 460-4200. These staff members will not be able to answer COVID-19 related questions.

If you have COVID-19 questions, the Washington State Department of Health’s call center is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m., 7 days a week. Call (800) 525-0127 and press #. 

For local COVID-19 questions, please continue to the BFHD call line at 509-460-4358 or 509-460-4359 for Spanish.

Stay up to date:

Continual updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and availability of BFHD services will be posted on our blog and on social media:

About COVID-19:

Your risk of COVID-19 is increasing as transmission becomes more widespread in our region.  

Benton-Franklin Health District has three requests for our constituents:

  1. Be patient and kind. COVID-19 is in our region, and we are learning more daily. We need to be acting as if it is here. Social distancing and basic hygiene are the best steps you can take to protect yourself. 

     

  2. Follow the Governor’s Orders. These measures will be temporary but essential to slow this virus spread so the most vulnerable in our community can get the care they will need from our healthcare system. Gov. Inslee ordered schools to close for 6 weeks and canceled gatherings of 50 or more. Please play your role to help us keep our community as healthy as possible.  

     

  3. Check in on friends and neighbors. Start with a call or text. Practice social distancing but make sure they are well. Many in our community are scared or need help.