First, health officials are working rapidly to identify and test people who may have been exposed. Public health officials in our state have experience responding to pandemics and are working with state and county health officials to share information, deploy resources, and respond at maximum capacity.
Second, currently the risk to the general public is low due to the unlikelihood of exposure to the virus. Risk of exposure is elevated for healthcare workers, people who have had close contact with persons with COVID-19, and travelers returning from affected international locations (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong).
Third, these are the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health on how to respond in your daily life:
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including washing your hands often, coughing into a tissue or elbow, and avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
- Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick.
- Get prepared in case for a COVID-19 outbreak in your community. We have resources at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus#beprepared
If you have questions, you can call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
You can also stay up to date by following them online at the various websites and social media channels below:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WADeptHealth How Can I be Prepared?
What we are doing in the Legislature
In the Legislature, my colleagues Rep. Eileen Cody and Rep. Joe Schmick, the health care leads in the House, have offered a bill to transfer $50 million to get state agencies and local governments the necessary funding to respond to COVID-19.
It will also give the Department of Social and Health Services funding to increase nursing staff to help address this growing need.
We’ll continue working with DOH, DSHS, and other state agencies to identify what the Legislature can do to ensure we have the necessary resources.
Please make sure to follow the DOH recommendations to keep yourself healthy and keep up on latest information via the links and social media channels above.
We are all in this together. I’ll keep you updated on the status of our efforts in the Legislature to respond.