Dear friends and neighbors,
Washington state is experiencing an increase in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is anticipated that the virus will continue to spread. While most cases are mild and people recuperate fully, the virus has been fatal in a few cases of people who were elderly or had underlying medical conditions that had already compromised their immune systems.
Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there right now, we want to make sure you have the facts and understand the basics on how to stay healthy.
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 such as China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Third, these are the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on how to respond in your daily life:
If you have questions, you can call DOH at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
Or check out the DOH online sites and social media channels:
You can also get a wealth of information at these King County sites:
- Public Health main page.
- Coronavirus page – Here’s where you can sign up for email alerts, get timely updates, and access a fact sheet in several languages.
- Public Health Insider Blog – For more detailed articles on the current coronavirus situation.
- Anti-stigma resources – We strongly encourage you to check out this page because as new information emerges, it’s important to remind ourselves and those around us that the risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
- Facebook page
The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released this bulletin last week detailing how school districts should prepare for a possible coronavirus outbreak in our state. It’s worth a read, especially if you have school-age kids at home.
What we’re doing in the Legislature
In the Legislature, our colleagues Rep. Eileen Cody and Rep. Joe Schmick, the health care leads in the House, have introduced 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 and King County Public Health 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. We’ll keep you updated on the status of our efforts in the Legislature to respond.