Washington state is experiencing an increase in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is anticipated that the virus will continue to spread. There have been six deaths in our state. However, I 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 (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:
- 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 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:
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 at least $50 million to get state agencies and local governments the necessary funding to respond to COVID-19 and I have signed on to co-sponsor this legislation. 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.
It’s an honor to serve you.