For current National information about the Covid-19 virus, click on the Center for Disease Control link on our links page.
Local information can be found at WA State COVID-19 Help Line at 800-525-0127.
From the DOH on 03/05/2020
Good afternoon! The state Department of Health wants to keep you as informed as possible about continuing developments surrounding COVID-19 as well as guidance and resources you can share with employees, clients, or customers. This daily update is in addition to our daily Situation Reports. Please feel free to forward this message or let me know if you or someone else would like to be added to our email list!
News! We opened a much expanded call center today so we can answer more of your questions quicker! We turned it on at 2:00pm and the phones started ringing right away! In the first 2 hours, we had already answered more calls than we were able to answer all day yesterday! Our call center will be available from 6am-10pm 7 days a week at 1-800-525-0127.
Speaking of questions, here are Today’s Frequently Asked Questions:
I know someone/I was in a room with someone who has COVID-19! What should I do? Stay calm! If you are feeling well, go about your normal business—go to work, go to school, etc. But pay attention to your body. If you start to develop a fever or cough, go home and stay home until your fever has been gone for 72 hours. If you are well enough to deal with your symptoms at home, you do not need a test for COVID-19. If you are sick enough to need medical care, you still may not need a test, but we will leave that to you and your health care provider to decide.
Should I go to religious services this weekend? Well, I’m not your mom, but from a public health perspective, if you have a fever, cough, or otherwise don’t feel good, please stay home. There are probably people in your religious community who are over age 65 and/or have chronic conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Keep them safe by staying away if you are sick. If you are over age 65 and/or have a chronic condition like diabetes or asthma, please consider avoiding groups of 10 or more people to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Does anyone have a list of the top ten things we can do to protect ourselves? Why, yes, yes we do. How nice of you to ask!
Top Ten Ways To Protect the Public’s Health
- Wash your hands. (You had to know I was going to start there!) Frequently. And don’t touch your face. Don’t panic if you are struggling to find hand sanitizer in the stores. Soap and water will do.
- Cover your cough. There are actual disgusting studies on this! If you don’t cover your cough or sneeze, the droplets can travel up to six feet!
- Stay more than 6 feet away from each other. No hugs, no touching. Maybe greet your friends with a peace sign or, logically, with the Live Long And Prosper hand gesture.
- Disinfect hard surfaces like tables, doorknobs, phones. Coronaviruses like COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces for hours to days. Disinfect them before you touch them again and have to wash your hands again. Then wash your hands again anyway.
- Stay home if you are sick! If you have a fever and cough, stay home until your fever has been gone for 72 hours. Staying home while sick protects our friends and loved ones, some of whom may be at high risk of severe illness.
- Sometimes public health may ask you to limit your travel outside your home—maybe because of your specific exposure or illness, or maybe as part of a request to an entire community. Are you prepared to stay home for 14 days? Do you have enough food to last? Books? Board games? List of interesting, yet non-divisive topics to discuss with your spouse or housemates?
- Consider rescheduling or canceling large community events. If you are planning on holding a large event that involves people who may be at high risk of severe illness, and it is not an essential part of your business, it is reasonable to consider cancelling or rescheduling this event.
- If you do not have symptoms, you can go to work, school, or childcare. Public health has not yet asked any schools or workplaces to close because of COVID-19, although, to protect their people or to clean, some schools and workplaces have made this decision. I never want to stand in the way of a good cleaning!
- Follow international travel advice from CDC. At this point, that means delaying your trip to China or Iran (and maybe South Korea and Italy too!).
- Practice compassion. Avoid jumping to conclusions about people who may cough or sneeze at work. It is cold and flu season and people have allergies. Don’t grill your friends about their health conditions; instead, show them your support by offering them water or a tissue.
Numbers. The Department of Health website is updated daily with the number of people in Washington confirmed to be positive and the number of people who have died of this disease. As of this writing, 70 people in Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 have died of the disease. We are very likely to see more people with COVID-19 identified in the coming days.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Lauren Jenks, MPH, CHES
Gender Pronouns: she/her
Community Engagement Task Force—COVID-19
COVID-19 Call Center: 1-800-525-0127