Washington state is experiencing an increase in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is growing daily.
We were briefed this morning by Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman from the Washington State Department of Health (DoH). Sadly, as of this morning nine deaths have occurred. Our hearts go out to the families that have lost a loved one or have been impacted.
This newsletter is to share basic information about the coronavirus outbreak and potential resources you may want to contact if you have questions or concerns.
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, public health officials anticipate that more people will be exposed to this virus, however exposure risk to general public remains low. As the virus spreads, health professionals anticipate that most individuals will be able to recover at home. Those individuals with more complex medical conditions, may want to limit their potential exposure as much as possible due to higher risks for medical complications that may require hospitalization.
Third, these are the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health on how to respond in your daily life:
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- If you are sick and wondering what to do, 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 of 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:
What we are doing in the Legislature
In the Legislature, my colleagues Rep. Cody and Rep. Schmick, the health care leads in the House, have offered a bill to transfer $100 million to get state agencies and local governments the necessary funding to respond to COVID-19. It also will give the Department of Social and Health Services funding to increase nursing staff to help address this growing need. We’ll continue to work with DoH, DSHS, and other state agencies to identify what the Legislature can do to ensure we have the necessary resources.
We are all in this together. Please make sure to follow the DoH recommendations to keep yourself healthy and keep up on latest information via the social media channels above. I’ll keep you updated on the status of our efforts in the Legislature to respond.
Additional resources on the coronavirus
Rep. Mia Gregerson & Rep. Tina Orwall