Testing for COVID-19 and today’s FAQ

  • Fri Mar 20th, 2020 4:47pm
  • News

Submitted by Washington Department of Health

Yesterday, we got 8,000 more test kits from the federal government, along with the protective equipment needed to conduct the tests. We are working to send these new supplies to the areas of the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus. This will help us test more people who are at high risk of serious disease, like people over age 60 and people with chronic illness. Limited supplies to collect samples from people who need to be tested continue to be the major barrier to increasing testing in the state.

Once the sample is collected by a health care provider, it can be tested by the state Public Health Lab, the University of Washington’s Virology Lab, or commercial labs. Already, over 20,000 people in Washington have been tested. But there is no doubt that expanding our testing ability is an important part of responding to COVID-19.

Today’s 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: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed.

But here are the things we get asked about the most:

Casinos: Non-tribal card rooms are already banned under the Governor’s order. Tribal casinos are governed and managed by federally recognized tribes and as such are not subject to the Governor’s proclamations. However, many of our tribal partners are taking similar steps to reduce the spread of this disease including the closure of casinos, restaurants, and retail shops, etc.

Massage services: Currently, massage services are not banned by the Governor’s proclamation; however, nothing prohibits a local public health district from implementing stricter measures.

Athletics and workout classes: Group exercises, practices, and games are banned.

Practice compassion. Check-in on your most extroverted friends! We all need to stay home as much as possible, and some of us need a bit more support in this than others!

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Get and spread reliable information on COVID-19

This blog update is current as of the day it is posted, but information changes rapidly. Please check our website for the most up-to-date info on Washington’s response to COVID-19 at www.doh.wa.gov/coronavirus.

Fight stigma, public panic, and misinformation by getting your information from trusted sources. Listen to guidance from Washington State, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and your local health department.

Contact us

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state, start by visiting our website. Public can contact our call center 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1–800–525–0127.