Responsibility for public health is shared among the Washington State Board of Health, the Washington State Department of Health, and local health jurisdictions. The State Board of Health develops public health policy and adopts rules, including rules for communicable disease control. See generally chapter
43.20 RCW. The Department of Health provides leadership and coordination for public health programs, and in certain situations the Secretary of Health may exercise the powers of a local health officer. See generally chapter
At the local level, public health is primarily the responsibility of local boards of health and local health officers. The local board of health supervises matters relating to public health. See RCW 70.05.060. The local health officer has a variety of powers and duties, including control and prevention of the spread of dangerous, contagious, or infectious diseases. See RCW 70.05.070. The Governor and heads of political subdivisions have authority to proclaim emergencies and issue emergency orders. See supra § 2.00. Therefore, during a communicable disease emergency, the authorities for emergency management and protection of public health could overlap. See discussion supra § 2.10.