Submitted by Washington State Department of Health
The spread of COVID-19 is increasing across the state — both in Eastern Washington and throughout the Puget Sound region. You can see the details in the latest statewide situation report.
So why are we continuing to reopen? Because so far, we still have room in most of our hospitals. Hospital capacity is one of the key pieces of information we monitor closely on the state’s risk assessment dashboard when deciding what phase a county can move to. We definitely don’t want to get to a point where there are more sick people in the state than our health care system can provide good care for.
Of course, just because there is room for you in the hospital doesn’t mean you want to go there. To keep you and your family safe, it is just as important as ever to keep up your vigilance against COVID-19: stay home when you can, limit the number of people you hang out with, and stay six feet away from them! Keep your hands clean — wash them often, and put hand sanitizer by your mask to remind you to take it with you when you go out. Then wear your mask and use that hand sanitizer frequently when you are in public and touching things.
As more businesses open, we have more choices about what we are feeling ready to do. We all have different ideas about what is too risky. Allow your friends some space if they are not ready for playdates or in-person gatherings yet. We don’t always know what people are struggling with. They may have a chronic health condition you don’t know about or maybe they are trying to protect a vulnerable family member or maybe gathering right now feels like too much risk and they are not comfortable with it.
Take your time coming back to public life. We are still safest at home, limiting our contact with people who don’t live with us. As your county reopens, return carefully to the activities you love when you feel ready, but wait a bit longer on the things that are less important to you. If you can go to the gym in your county, and that is a priority for you, great! But then maybe decide to let your hair grow and keep getting take out instead of going to restaurants for a while. Can’t bear to let your hair grow? Cool. Get your haircut. But only slowly unveil the look to folks in very small, physically distanced gatherings.
We’ll be greeting our friends without hugs and high fives for a while. Remember to say with words what we can’t say with touch: “I love you.” “I’m so glad to see you.” “I’ve missed you.”
Information changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at www.doh.wa.gov/coronavirus. You can also contact the DOH call center, 6 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week at 1–800–525–0127.