COVID-19 Updates from FamilyCare of Kent
From WA State Department of Health April 13, 2020
Do’s and Don’ts of Staying at Home
There are almost 10,000 people in Washington diagnosed with COVID-19. This is devastating, AND, it is fewer people than we anticipated. We’re all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is encouraging progress, but this progress could easily be undone. It is critical that we keep social distancing and washing our hands right now and in the weeks to come. For more information on our flattening curve, watch Gov. Jay Inslee's “A critical caveat” video on your favorite social media channel: Twitter, Facebook, In
In the meantime, let’s review some of the do’s and don’ts of staying home to stay healthy.
Do: Walk! A lovely walk around our neighborhoods with the people (or dogs) who live with us is great for our physical and mental health. We can enjoy the sunshine, clear our minds, and get some exercise.
Don’t: Drive to your walk. Please avoid the areas that crowd easily like playgrounds or walking paths. Stay around your home. If you need to drive to your walk, that is too far away.
Do: Celebrate important holidays with the people who live in your household. We may need to develop some new traditions this year. Enjoy your special observances. Celebrate with friends, family, or your congregation online.
Don’t: Have friends or family over. Get creative, but stay apart. Send a card; make some holiday phone calls; connect with your loved ones. Faith-based communities may find Snohomish Health District’s recommendations for staying connected helpful during this time.
Do: Garden. Are you still feeling that urge to stock up? A fun way to do that is to garden. Grow some high producing vegetables, and if you still feel like stocking up by the time summer comes, you’ll have lots to freeze or can!
Don’t: Buy more than two weeks’ worth of groceries and supplies at a time. When we buy more than we need, it means other people are forced to go without.
Do: Protect yourself and the community while traveling to get essential needs. Essential needs may include travel to grocery stores and food banks, pharmacies, gas stations, urgent medical care, caring for an elderly or sick family member, and travel to an essential job. Maintain social distancing at all times when in public. Staying six feet apart from one another is absolutely crucial to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. If you are not able to six feet apart at all times, consider wearing a cloth face covering.
Don’t: Make unnecessary trips. Don’t let that cloth face covering leave you feeling invulnerable. The most important thing for us to do is stay home as much as possible. The cloth face covering is one added level of protection, but it doesn’t work without great social distancing and hand washing.
Do: Your part. We’re all in this together.
Numbers. The latest numbers are now updated on our webpage. As of 11:59 p.m. on April 9, there are 9,887 people in Washington who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 475 have died of the disease.
Practice compassion. Several national and world leaders have declared the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, and other magical creatures to be essential workers. A little magic is essential. Let some whimsy into your life and the lives of the children around you.
From WA State Department of Health March 28, 2020
No need to stock up or disinfect your groceries
Grocery stores are open because they are essential businesses, but we still need to limit our time out of the house. Consider using grocery delivery services, or limit your grocery shopping to one trip a week.
COVID-19 is a new virus. It has been around for three months now, and we’re still learning a lot about it. One thing we know for sure is that it spreads easily from person to person through tiny droplets in the air after someone coughs or sneezes. Most of this spread happens when someone has symptoms, like a cough. These disgusting droplets can travel for up to six feet. We make sure we don’t come within six feet of one another, so we don’t inhale any of those droplets if someone coughs.
It is possible for the virus to spread when someone doesn’t have symptoms, but this is not the main way it spreads. It is also possible for the virus to spread though droplets on hard surfaces, though this is also not the main way it spreads. We wash our hands and try not to touch our faces, in case we touched a surface that had transmissible virus on it. If you wear gloves, touch a hard surface, and then touch your face with your gloved hands, the gloves have not protected you at all. If you don’t touch your face, you didn’t need the gloves. Just wash your hands.
We have no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is spreading through food at all. Not through take-out orders, or groceries, or produce. When you return home from the grocery story, please thoroughly wash your hands, but there is no reason to try to disinfect your groceries.
Speaking of groceries--agriculture and food production are considered essential activities. This is to make sure food continues fill our grocery stores and food banks. Deliveries to grocery stores are continuing steadily, and farmers, ranchers and food processors are producing plenty to meet our needs. There is no need to worry about shortages, and no need to stock up.
Practice compassion. While you are doing your once a week grocery shopping, is there something you can pick up for someone who cannot leave the house? Leave a bag on their porch, ring the bell, and run back to the side of the road to wave!
From WA State Department of Health March 27, 2020
Caring for loved ones
Many of us are worried about or trying to take care of loved ones who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Today we released guidance for taking care of someone who is at high risk or is already sick with respiratory illness. If you are caring for someone who is well now, but at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, there are some steps you can take now.
- Contact their health care provider to ask about getting extra necessary medications to have on hand in case you and your loved one need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications. Ensure you have enough medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) and create a back-up plan for getting more.
- Make sure your loved one has non-perishable food items on hand.
- Determine who can care for your loved one if you become sick. Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. Create an emergency contact list.
We have also included in this guidance practical strategies to reduce your risk of getting sick while caring for someone even if you don’t have access to standard personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gown).These strategies are not as good as using the standard equipment, but they may help to reduce your risk of getting sick, and are better than nothing. This guidance is available on the WA Department of Health website in 26 languages (under “Information for families caregiving for loved ones”).
Numbers. We’ve had so many tests reported lately, it slowed down our reporting! Keep checking our website for updates. Our most recent numbers show that 52,738 people in Washington have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 3,723 people or about 7% have tested positive for COVID-19, and 175 have died of the disease.
Practice compassion. Check in on someone you know who is balancing care of an inter-generational household. How could you help?
From WA State Department of Health March 25, 2020
Social Distancing and Mental Health
We need each other. Being isolated from other people can make our physical and mental health worse and can especially trigger anxiety and depression. Especially if you live alone, social distancing is hard on our bodies and our emotions. And when we add to that the worries about unknowns—will I get sick? Will someone I love get sick? What will happen to my job?—we layer on additional stresses to our physical and mental health. If you find yourself lonely, stressed, or anxious, pay attention to these emotions and take action:
- Avoid watching, reading, or listening to news reports that cause you to feel anxious or distressed. A near-constant stream of news reports is not calming. Seek out information from reliable sources like the Washington State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just a couple times a day. Fact check what you see on social media. Spread good information.
- Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks. Go for a walk and wave to your neighbors from six feet away. Ask them if they are well and if they need anything.
- Introduce structure into your day. Structure and routine may be helpful for people with mental health vulnerabilities, especially during times of uncertainty. Even if you are working from home or if your life looks completely different right now, try to maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible. Maybe we’ll feel better if we shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast.
- Check out these resources to help support your mental health or that of a loved one:
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety Toolkit
- How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression during COVID-19
- Resources to Support Mental Health and Coping with the Coronavirus
And if you are in crisis, don’t hesitate to call the 24-Hour Crisis Line at 866-427-4747 or text HEAL to 741741 to get confidential text access to a trained crisis counselor any time of the day or night.
Remember, you can find great information on the state’s new web portal for information about COVID-19 (coronavirus.wa.gov), on the Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov), or on the CDC website (www.cdc.gov). Or you can call our COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and press #, or email us at DOH.Information@doh.wa.gov.
Practice compassion. Staying away from other people is not good for us. It doesn’t make any sense except in the light of the compassion we have for our loved ones and communities. Stay at home to protect the people you love.
3/23/2020: We're going to put up information as it becomes available. We'll use the best sources we can find. Below is from the Washington State Department of Health.
Stay Home to Conserve Hospital Resources
Over the last three weeks, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of people hospitalized for fever and respiratory symptoms. This week, we saw an increase in the number of adults hospitalized for pneumonia—more even than in the peak of the flu season last year. There are only so many hospital beds. Already, hospitals are postponing elective surgeries so that there is more room for people who get very sick from COVID-19 or who need hospital care for other, unrelated things like heart attacks or injuries. It is so important that we stay home and away from other people. We must stop the spread of COVID-19 before we have more people needing care than we have hospital beds to put them in.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I get COVID-19 from opening mail or packages?
COVID-19 is mostly spread person to person, which is why we are socially distancing ourselves and staying at least six feet away from each other. The virus can live on hard surfaces for a while, but would be very unlikely to live on paper or cardboard for long enough to infect you through the mail.
- What all is closed?
I can understand how this is hard to track—you are staying home as much as possible, so how would you know what is open and what is closed? For the curious, this website has the full list.
- I got a text or email from someone with a cure for COVID-19!
I am so hopeful that we will have good treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 soon, but we do not right now. Anyone who tells you they have a treatment, cure, or preventative that isn’t social distancing and hand washing is trying to scam you. Do not click on any links in an email or text promising a treatment or preventative. It’s literally too good to be true.
- How are the kids doing out of school?
Our kids are stressed and worried. And they love you! Skype a child and read a book to them this weekend. They will love it and so will you. (Don’t forget to do the voices!)
- Don’t you have any good news?
A little! China’s greenhouse gas emissions were down 25% in the last month. The skies in Wuhan are blue. The lack of boat traffic on the canals in Venice has improved the air quality and allowed the sediment in the water to settle. The water in the canals is clear and you can see fish. The carbon monoxide emissions in New York City are down 50% compared to last year this time. Let’s pay attention to what the world looks like when we prioritize the health of our communities, and, when all this is over, let’s come back to the world gently.
Numbers. The latest numbers are on the DOH webpage, which we update daily. As of today’s web refresh, 30,875 people in Washington have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 1,996 people in Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, and 95 have died of the disease.
Practice compassion. Remember—we’re isolating ourselves to protect our communities and people we love. This is hard, but our friends and families are worth it!
Take care of yourself and others!