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Worried About the Flu or Coronavirus in Skagit County?

Photo: Skagit County Public Health

Skagit County, WA- Are you worried about the flu or Coronavirus in Skagit County? Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon has confirmed that they have not received any patients with COVID-19 at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon or Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington as of the afternoon of Monday, March 2nd, 2020.

Skagit County Public Health has responded to questions in the community about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 outbreak. They have released information on how the community can practice preventative measures and be  prepared in case the virus reaches Skagit County.

The following information is via the Skagit County Public Health Website on the Coronavirus:

As many know COVID-19 or the Novel Coronavirus, is continuing to spread around the world and new cases have been detected in Washington, Oregon, and California with several deaths reported in King and Snohomish Counties in  Washington State.

The risk you might be exposed to COVID-19 in Skagit County and around Washington State will increase with time. It is essential as a community that we prepare now so we can reduce the negative effects in Skagit County.

While most people who contract the virus will only experience mild illness, we need to ensure we slow the spread of the disease and prevent exposures to people who are at a greater risk of serious illness, such as people with chronic health issues or anyone over the age of 65.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventative measures.  Some of those measures include voluntary home isolation. If you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms, simply stay home.  Talk with your neighbors or family on the phone and plan for ways you can help take care of one another, such as dropping off groceries on their doorsteps or taking turns with childcare.

Another simple way to help avoid spreading the illness is to show some “Respiratory Etiquette,” In other words, when you cough or sneeze, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash can.

The CDC says Hand Hygiene is a big factor in preventing the spread of the illness. If you go out to do some shopping, wear disposable gloves. Avoid touching your face or nose and  Wash your hands often and with soap and water. To properly clean your hands you should wash them  for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. A good way to practice washing your hands for “at least 20 seconds” is to sing happy birthday to yourself twice in your head while washing your hands.  If soap or water are not immediately available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, with 60%-95% alcohol, this will help reduce your chances of spreading the disease. Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as counter tops, door handles, tables, keyboards, desks,  cell phones, etc.

Parents should plan ahead for the possibility of school closures and social distancing. While it is still not clear what types of social distancing may be called for in response to the outbreak, it is possible that in order to slow the spread of the disease large events may be cancelled and schools may be temporarily closed.   Plan alternative child care arrangements in case school is dismissed. Avoid having children congregate in large groups during school closures.  School closures may also affect the ability of parents and caregivers to go to work. Talk to your employer ahead of time about policies for working from home or shifting works schedules if schools are dismissed because of the outbreak.

All Employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations.  During a COVID-19 outbreak, ALL sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be strongly encouraged,  and extra cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed.

How is Public Health Preparing ?

Since the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus was confirmed in the United States, our staff have been working to monitor this outbreak and take steps to prepare our community.

Our first actions have been focused on screening and monitoring travelers or others with high risk exposures to try to contain the outbreak. We have been in communication with our hospitals and clinics on screening and preparedness and have had communicable disease staff available 24/7 on call to answer questions from health care providers.

As the outbreak spreads, we are increasing our focus on community outbreak preparedness and response.

In the coming weeks we will continue to work closely with hospitals, health care clinics, EMS, and our county emergency management.
We will also be working with schools, childcare facilities, senior centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to plan best practices to slow and mitigate serious impacts from the outbreak.

This situation may change daily. We recommend you keep informed and to visit the Skagit County Public Health Coronavirus Website for more information and links. Click here to be redirected there now. 

Click here to visit the Skagit Valley Hospital Coronavirus Update Page

Skagit County Link: New Cases of COVID-19 highlight importance of good health practices and preparedness. 

Department of Health: 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Link

 

Photo: Skagit County Public Health

 

If you have further questions about the Novel Coronavirus, you may call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

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About the Author

Chris Nelson
I'm a long time Skagit County Resident. I believe in doing the right thing and helping others when you can.

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