This news is via Representative Drew Hansen, 23rd LD Representative.
All right we just got out of an hourlong briefing with the Washington State Secretary of Health. Here’s the deal:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS – DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE – OPEN DOORS WITH ELBOWS/WRISTS.
COVID-19 transfers by droplets, so unless someone coughs directly into your face, you’re probably going to pick it up by shaking someone’s hand or touching surfaces (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.). The virus stays on surfaces for minutes/hours, maybe days (not clear yet). This means we all need to do three things:
a. WASH YOUR HANDS. All the time, but especially after you use the bathroom, when you get home, when you’re touching lots of stuff, etc. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, That’s like singing the first verse of “Amazing Grace” sort of fast; so make this your prayer/worship time. (Or pick your favorite chorus, you can also do Van Halen’s “Dreams.” (“So baby dryyyy your eyeeesss…”—except dry your eyes with a tissue, see next point). It’s 25 seconds; I just timed it.)
But really, really wash those suckers. Remember when your kids were babies and they’d have what we called a “blowout diaper”? You would change that diaper and then you would scrub the heck out of your hands—you’d wash between the fingers, on the backs of the wrists, under the cuticles, etc. You would not mess around because you had poop all over and it was disgusting. That’s how you should wash your hands: like you just changed a kid’s blowout diaper.
b. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. If you can’t wash your hands all the time at least keep them away from your face. If your nose itches; wipe it on your sleeve. If your eyes itch; blink them. But one way you get this thing is if you touch your nose/mouth/eyes with infected hands, so keep them away from your face.
c. OPEN DOORS WITH ELBOWS/WRISTS. See first point about surface contact. Don’t touch surfaces. Use your wrists to open doors, pull your sweatshirt down over your hands, push elevator buttons with your elbows, etc.
2. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
Most people (80%) who get COVID-19 have mild symptoms (you can also get infected and have zero symptoms). Even if you’re infected, it’s probably not that big a deal if you’re generally healthy, no chronic illness/respiratory problems, not elderly, etc.
Data point: Right now, we have 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington State—14 in King County, 4 in Snohomish County—and 6 deaths (all older, with chronic underlying conditions). For comparison, over 70 people have died of seasonal flu in Washington State this year, including 4 kids.
But guess what? It’s not about you. You’re not washing your hands blowout-diaper style so you don’t get sick; you’re doing it so other people don’t get sick: your friend’s dad who is immunosuppressed from cancer treatment, your elderly neighbors, your friend who is fighting off pneumonia, or whatever.
The symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. (They show up on average in 2-14 days, most by 5-6 days after exposure.) No big deal for some people, but a really big deal for people who are older, immunosuppressed, underlying health issues, etc. So even if you’re not worried about yourself be a good teammate and act right so other people don’t get sick.
3. THANK A GOVERNMENT WORKER.
The first Washington State case was confirmed at 3:15pm MLK Day. By 5:30pm, the Washington Department of Health was on a call with CDC leadership; by noon the next day CDC had people on the ground in Shoreline. That first case had 67 close contacts; local public health monitored all of them (none developed symptoms).
Right now, Wash. public health personnel are monitoring 231 people for travel-related exposure. And they’re doing investigations for more outbreaks. And they’re tracking ER admits for respiratory ailments. And they’re keeping the public informed with press conferences, phone line for questions (800-525-0127), websites, etc. (Fun fact: our state website COVID-19 information is so good that other states are just cutting and pasting it. Except sometimes they forget to take off the Wash. State phone numbers, so suddenly our call center blows up with calls from all over the country.)
I can’t stand the snooty dismissiveness of “bureaucrats” and this is a case in point: a lot of public employees are working very, very hard right now to keep us safe. So thank a public employee, especially ones in public health!
That’s it. I hope this is helpful. And remember: Wash your hands - don’t touch your face - open doors with elbows/wrists!
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