CDHD Activates Emergency Response to COVID-19
East Wenatchee, WA – Chelan-Douglas Health District (CDHD) has responded vigorously to the COVID19 epidemic, and is formally announcing activation of its emergency response. This means a systematic process for managing the many simultaneous tasks involved. It includes reassigning staff as needed, which means temporarily reducing or stopping usual duties. CDHD will issue regular updates, and sponsor regular conference calls for important community sectors such as schools, healthcare organizations, businesses, elected officials and others.
The COVID-19 epidemic is an important and serious matter, but it is also important to keep a calm and clear perspective. Almost everyone who catches the virus will recover. We can expect more fatalities than in an average influenza season, but there is no indication this will resemble a Hollywood disaster scenario.
We urge the public, the media and community leaders to rely on credible sources of information such as local health departments, the Washington State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local healthcare organizations including Confluence Health, Columbia Valley Community Health, and Seattle Children’s, and major university medical centers like the University of Washington.
COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY
Posted: March 5, 2020
Chelan-Douglas Health District is issuing the following Public Health Advisory: The COVID-19 virus is almost certainly circulating in our community, well beyond the number of cases already known. This is because many COVID-19 cases are mild or even non-symptomatic. Most people who get this infection will recover and be fine, but it does have a higher death rate than seasonal flu and is a serious matter. Those at higher risk include the elderly and anyone with other serious health problems (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) or reduced immune system.
Like seasonal flu, this virus cannot simply be stopped in its tracks. However, there are things we can do to reduce its impact and reduce the number of cases. CDHD is recommending, but not requiring, the following steps to minimize contact among members of the public:
High Risk People - People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with a lot of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:
- People 60 and older
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, respiratory illness and diabetes
- People who have weakened immune systems
- People who are pregnant Workplace
Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness.
Events - If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.
Schools - Public Health is not recommending closing schools and child care at this time. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, CDHD will work with the school or facility to determine the best measures including potential closure. Closure is not recommended now mainly because current evidence indicates young people have a far lower risk of serious illness from this virus than other people. Parents of children with reduced immune system or with chronic diseases should discuss with their provider the possibility of keeping the child out of school or child care.
General Public - All people should avoid going out when they are sick.
Healthcare - Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and stay at least six feet away from patients.
In addition to these important measures, every individual can make a difference by doing the following:
- Wash hands often and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, saturating the skin surface and rubbing for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. o Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact (less than 6 feet away) with others.
- If you have a cold or cough and need to see a provider, always call first to be sure they know you are coming so their staff can take appropriate precautions.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t shake hands, bump elbows.
- Use sanitizing wipes or solutions (normal household products work) on frequently touched surfaces and objects at home and at work.
- Take good care of yourself to stay healthy, including adequate sleep and good nutrition.
Posted: 03/05/2020 12:31 PM
Last Updated: 03/26/2020 05:13 PM