Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information & Resources

Public health information

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The impacts of COVID-19 and the actions to contain it are far reaching along with the solutions to help everyone stay healthy. It is important to do everything in your power to remain calm, use common sense, practice healthy habits, and be respectful of the circumstances other individuals and organizations may be facing.

For the latest information, recommendations, and answers to specific questions about COVID-19, please visit the Thurston County Health Department website:

Please also see the submenu of this page for specific resources for Yelm residents and businesses. 

 Community Update: April 2, 2020

Today 4 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed by the Health Department - totaling 55 in Thurston County - and the Governor extended his “Stay at Home” order for another month through May 4th. There are still lots of questions about when and if schools will re-open which the Governor did not touch in today.

 We are all in this together and Mayor JW Foster, Superintendent of Yelm Community Schools Brian Wharton, and Yelm Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Line Critchfield and their President Angie Evans will host a Virtual-Town-Hall next Wednesday (details to follow). Together, they will provide an update on city services and resources for children, families, and businesses. Meanwhile, stay tuned and stay healthy! Keep supporting local businesses with to-go orders, get outside and enjoy the outdoors, plug into the unemployment and business loan resources linked on our website, and learn answers to frequently answered questions at:

Update to City Operations: March 24, 2020

  •  We’ve had some people ask that we close all the parks, but we cannot reasonably enforce such a decision. Our police have other priorities beyond  kicking people out of parks and it is important for everyon to get out doors and enjoy the fresh air. City parks will remain open, but we will not sanitize surfaces. Everyone is encouraged to maintain social distancing while using parks and chose to be smart in the ways you recreate.

  • Public restrooms remain closed, but we have installed porta-potee at each park—Cochrane, Longmire, and City Park, as well as the trailhead of the Yelm-Tenino trail. The company providing the porta-potees provides the necessary maintenance every Monday. It’s important to note they have stopped providing hand sanitizer because it gets stolen every time…so bring your own sanitizer…which is a good idea to do anyways nowadays.

  • All city buildings continue to be closed to the public and we encourage everyone to use our abundance of online services which are available on an icon on left side of our city webpage: Effective immediately, we will comply with the Governor’s order and maximize social distancing by having many of our employees perform duties remotely by telecommuting. Our primary focus is on providing essential government services, like public safety, emergency management, and the operation of our water and wastewater systems and critical infrastructure. Every utilities system will continue operating and none of our customers will be shut-off during this crisis.

  • The Yelm City Council meeting is proceeding as scheduled tonight. Council members can attend virtually. If they choose to attend in person, it’s important to maintain social distancing. As always, everyone can tune into our public meetings live on Youtube and contact the Mayor and Council though part of our many online services on our webpage:

  • If you miss the Council meeting, all of them are recorded so you can watch at your convenience. The two main topics on the agenda are entering into a Professional Services Agreement for the design and engineering services for essential repairs and modifications to the wastewater facility, as well as an amendment to the Yelm Municipal Code to allow the Mayor to authorize utility contracts for sewer and water to help customers defer payments so their utilities are not shutoff during a declared emergency, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Update: March 24, 2020

Next time you are ready to head out the door, ask yourself – do I really need to do this? 

  • Covid cases climb in Thurston County.  The Health Department reports the number of confirmed cases in Thurston County rise from 1 to 11 in a week. This rise in cases was expected, but it is important to understand that the number of confirmed cases does not truly represent the burden of disease in our community. Unless you are an essential worker, please stay home to protect yourself from COVID-19.

  •  Following the Governor’s Order to 'Stay At Home,' many businesses are wondering if/how it applies to them so we wanted to share a helpful resources to help you answer these questions: 
    In summary, the Governor’s directive does the following:
• Requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless we need to pursue an essential activity, and leave 
    our home for a specified reason to make sure you have the necessities of life, such as food and
    medical supplies.
• Bans all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
• Closes all businesses except essential businesses.

Community Update: March 23, 2020

Two new cases were confirmed over the weekend and one today so Thurston County is now at 11 confirmed cases.

  • You can find the table with the new cases listed at:
  • Please note, the Thurston County count and the State Department of Health count may not match up due to posting times. Beginning today, Thurston County will only be posting updated counts at 3pm daily.

We are continuing to update our FAQs and share information on our social media sites. Please share! 

Update to City Operations
March 16, 2020

  • Following advice to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, City operations will now focus on essential services only. As of March 17, 2020, the following City services are suspended until further notice:
           - In-person Utility Billing payment/Customer Service
           - Municipal Court
           - Passport Services
           - Pet licensing
  • The City will continue to provide essential services such as water, sewer, police, and emergency management, building permit and inspection services. Appointments in advance are required by calling during normal business hours: 360.458.3244

  • City parks and park bathrooms will remain open. The Community Center will not host meetings of more than 10 people. If you have a reservation for later in the Spring, we will hold it pending further recommendations from the State.

  • The Yelm Municipal Court will be closed to the public on March 17 until at least April 15, 2020 when the situation will be reassessed.

  • The City will not shut off utilities for non-payment for anyone who cannot pay due to the impacts of the coronavirus. Customer account balances will continue to accrue and we will be preparing options for City Council to consider amending the Yelm Municipal Code to allow customers to repay account balances in full. Please stay tuned.

  • All Boards and Commissions are canceled. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety and health of our employees and community volunteers, we have canceled all advisory board and commission meetings until further notice. Decisions about City Council and Council committee meetings will be made in the near future.

  • Yelm continues to take our lead from Thurston County Public Health. The website has the latest public health information and answers to specific questions about COVID-19. We encourage residents and businesses to visit this site as well to stay up-to-date. Here’s the link: .  

  • The City's Emergency Operations Center continues to work directly with the State and County Emergency Management agencies, and based on that direction the City will make further decision around our operations. We are following and expect others to follow the directives of the Governor, Washington State Health Department, Thurston County Commissioners, and Thurston County Health Department.

  • Mayor Foster and the Yelm Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an on-line meeting and forum for businesses this Wednesday at 3:00 PM. The City is also joining our regional partners to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. Small businesses hit by the loss of revenue because of the coronavirus outbreak can find a list of resources on the Thurston Economic Development Center website: and the U.S. Small Business Administration website:

  • The Washington State Employment Security Department has expanded benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. Here’s a helpful resource about who qualifies for specific benefits for employees directed to isolate or quarantine, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19, and job loss related to COVID-19:

  • Mayor Foster has signed onto a letter asking for State assistance for people experiencing housing instability and the COVID-19 response.  We encourage the City Council and other community organizations to consider doing the same:


Update to City Operations: March 13, 2020

We continue to encourage everyone to keep calm, wash your hands, and use common sense to stay healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • The City of Yelm Police Department, City Hall, and Municipal Court remain open and operating under normal business hours. However, some operational changes to the court system have been made related to Yelm and the rest of Thurston County. Details can be found at:

  • Mayor JW Foster announced that all non-essential City meetings are cancelled – boards, commissions, agencies, etc.

  • The City Council Strategic Planning Retreat has been cancelled and will be rescheduled due to the closure of the venue for an undetermined amount of time.

  • City Council meetings will continue as scheduled unless Council makes the determination to cancel them. Social distancing can occur at these meetings while the continuity of government operations and connection to government decision-making can continue virtually through the website on Youtube:…/meeting__…/meeting_court_videos.php. Residents can continue to contact City Council members through our online portal at:…/city_council/comment_to_council.php

  • We encourage people to utilize our online services (at no additional cost) to make payments for permits and utilities. We encourage everyone to use discretion and sound judgment for events and activities at our parks and facilities. Refunds will be given to any individual or organization who has reserved these facilities and now wants to cancel.

  • Schools in Yelm have been closed as part the Governor’s directive and students will not be going back to school until April 27th. Yelm Community Schools is working hard to make sure students who need food receive it. Details will be coming soon. Stay tuned to their website and social media pages for the latest information they send out:

  • All branches of the Timberland Regional Library are closed until at least April 27th. You can find updates on their website at or Yelm Timberland Library.


Community Update: March 12, 2020

Following recent announcements from Thurston County and the Governor’s Office, the City of Yelm continues to encourage everyone to keep calm, wash your hands, and use common sense to stay healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • City Hall, Police Department, Court, and all other municipal facilities remain open and operating under normal business hours. We encourage people to utilize our FREE online services for making payments for permits and utilities. We encourage everyone to use discretion and sound judgment for events and activities at our parks and facilities. Refunds will be given to any individual or organization who has reserved these facilities.

  • As of this afternoon, gatherings of 250 or more people are now prohibited in Thurston County in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, following a resolution passed by the county Board of Health Thursday afternoon. The resolution does not impact schools.

  • According to the County-wide resolution, gatherings with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited unless organizers take these steps:
    • Encourage older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of COVID-19 not to attend;
    • Meet social distancing recommendations, such as limiting contact between people within six feet of each other for 10 minutes or longer;
    • Screen employees for coronavirus symptoms each day and exclude them if they have symptoms;
    • Make proper hand hygiene and sanitation readily available to attendees and employees; and
    • Follow environmental cleaning guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • There is one confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Thurston County as of 3/11/20. Track the latest information on the current situation on the Thurston County Public Health Department’s website:

  • To help your home, family, business, schools, etc. stay healthy, visit:…/2019-ncov/community/index.html.

  • Yelm Community Schools remains open, although the Governor announced temporarily closures of schools for six weeks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish County. Stay tuned to their website and social media pages for the latest information from the School District:

  • Local retirement facilities are restricting visitors and we encourage you to contact them directly for the latest information.

  • We continue to encourage everyone to stay informed of the facts by following and sharing trusted sources of accurate public health information. Stay tuned to the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services website: and the Washington State Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline at 1-800-525-0127


Community Update: March 11, 2020

Thurston County Public Health received notice of its first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) today, March 11. This case is currently under investigation and details are very limited. The Governor also announced a restriction on gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. No declaration has been made for Thurston County.

We continue to encourage people to stay tuned to facts provided by the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. They have a dedicated webpage in addition to their social media pages linked below in this post. Anyone experiencing symptoms of an illness—fever, cough, difficulty breathing – should call their healthcare provider so their healthcare provider can determine next steps. Information about testing is available at:

Most importantly, there are many specific actions Thurston County Public Health recommends everyone continue to make to keep yourselves and your family healthy: 

  • Wash your hands often! Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice).
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are open doors for germs, especially when you touch them with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid people who are sick. Steer clear of illnesses, if possible.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Hold a tissue over your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Then throw that tissue away and, again, WASH YOUR HANDS!
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces often, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Call first. If you or a family member are sick and plan to seek care, call first. Healthcare partners need to prepare for people who are showing symptoms—or direct you to the appropriate resource.
  • Stay informed. Follow and share trusted sources of accurate public health information.
  • To prepare your home, family, business, schools, etc. for the potential spread of the virus, visit:
  • Stay tuned to the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services website: and the Washington State Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline at 1-800-525-0127
Community Update: March 6, 2020

The City of Yelm is dedicated to the health and wellness of our community. Due to the array of discussion about the COVID-19 (coronavirus), we would like to share the most recent update from the Thurston County Health Department. Please be sure to check out their website below to find out steps you can take to prevent the spread of a range of diseases. As always, wash your hands regularly and stay home while you are sick.