Dear 11th District Resident,
I’m so impressed with how our community has come together to keep our families and community healthy during this novel coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. I understand there are many hardships each one of us is facing and the state is doing its best to mitigate those hardships while also managing the spread of the virus. As one of our last actions before the legislature adjourned last week, we appropriated $200 million toward fighting the virus and some of the impacts on our families (HB 2965). We may re-convene in a special session if more resources are necessary.
I’m sure that many of you are concerned and stressed as we all try to get through this unprecedented event. Having information is helpful to relieve that stress so I want to share with you the website created by our state government to help keep all our communities informed. You can find it here: coronavirus.wa.gov.
This website contains a wealth of information from Governor Jay Inslee’s office, our state agencies, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local governments, and more. For your convenience, I’ve included some of the helpful information below – from tools for handling stress, to resources for our out-of-work neighbors, to supports for businesses, to tips for talking to kids. But I encourage you to explore this website for yourselves, and to pass it on to others in our community who have questions.
In addition, I have heard from many people who are being laid off from their hospitality and restaurant jobs as well as the owners of these establishments who are seeking assistance to cover payroll or otherwise maintain their business. There is information for you further down this email from the Small Business Administration and our state Dep. of Commerce. More resources will become available shortly, and the list grows by the minute. Check coronavirus.wa.gov often for the most up to date info.
The main thing to remember is to just use common sense and take common sense precautions as you always should. Remember the things your mother taught you like cover your mouth when you cough or nose when you sneeze (preferably into a tissue, but at least into the crook of your elbow/arm if tissue is not available); wash your hands often and thoroughly; give people their personal space—although that space is increased to 6 feet at this time; look out for neighbors if they’re struggling; cut people some slack—we’re all dealing with this in different ways and facing different challenges; don’t be greedy and hoard (you don’t need to stockpile 3 months of toilet paper); you know all those things we all learned in kindergarten. Together, we’ll get through this crisis as a stronger and more empathetic community.
Washington State official coronavirus website: coronavirus.wa.gov
Translated fact sheets can be accessed online at King County’s COVID-19 page. Note that COVID-19 fact sheets are now available in Tagalog, Marshallese, Khmer, Thai, courtesy of King County.
What to do if you are ill
If you are ill with fever and a cough or non-acute shortness of breath, stay home. If you are unsure of how to care for yourself or are concerned about your condition, call your health care provider for advice. If you feel you need to visit your doctor, call them first. Keep yourself separated from other people and animals in your home. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for steps to take if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may be infected with coronavirus
- CDC guidance to help families, employers, schools and others stop the spread of COVID-19 (pdf)
- Washington State Department of Health information on getting tested
Leave some for your neighbor – don’t buy more than you need!
Washington State’s supply chains are operating normally, yet consumers are overstocking and clearing store shelves of the items that sick neighbors, doctors, dentists and emergency response personnel need to stay safe. Health experts emphasize the best way to protect yourself from infection is through washing your hands frequently and limiting contact with others, not by overstocking certain supplies. Leave some for the folks who need them most!
Supporting affected employers and workers
State agencies have been working with federal agencies, employers and workers to support businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.
- The Employment Security Department has information for employees and employers about possible benefits such as paid family and medical leave, unemployment benefits and SharedWork.
- The Department of Commerce is working with the federal Small Business Association to secure loan assistance and has also information for businesses experiencing trade impacts.
- The Department of Labor & Industries oversees the state’s paid sick leave law, the workers’ compensation program and workplace safety issues. The agency has FAQs on these and other topics related to coronavirus.
- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations to help employers keep their workers safe with sick leave policies, cleaning routines, and more.
- The Small Business Administration will provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Resources for you and your family
Stopping the spread of coronavirus is an effort we all play a part in. Learn how to protect and care for yourself and your family, cope with feelings of isolation or anxiety, determine whether you or a loved one is at higher risk from COVID-19, and find resources to get the care you need.
- If you are currently without health insurance: Washington Healthplanfinder Announces Special Enrollment Period in Response to Growing Coronavirus Outbreak
- Coping with stress: Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for coping with COVID-19 related stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation.
- Coronavirus basics: The CDC has a helpful overview of what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, symptoms, and more.
- Keeping your home and workplace healthy: This helpful chart from the CDC provides specific actions you can take to stop the spread in the places you and your family spend the most time (pdf).
- Financial resources: The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resourcesfor Washington consumers impacted by the coronavirus.
- Higher risk populations: Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. The CDC has advice for how to stop the spread and protect those most likely to get sick.
- Information for pregnant and nursing mothers: The CDC says there is currently no information about the susceptibility of pregnant women and young children to COVID-19. Learn more about their efforts to understand the effects of COVID-19 on women and children.
- Talking with your kids: As children cope with school closures and try to understand what is happening, parents and caregivers may struggle with how to be reassuring but honest. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has provided some helpful tips for talking to kids.
- Utilities: Cascade Natural Gas has issued a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payments related to hardships incurred from COVID-19. Puget Sound Energy will not be disconnecting customers at this time.
- Note that COVID-19 factsheets are now available in Tagalog, Marshallese, Khmer, Thai, courtesy of King County. Translated fact sheets can also be accessed online at King County’s COVID-19 page.
The list of public supports and resources is growing by the minute. Check coronavirus.wa.gov for the most up to date information. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email or phone. Please keep yourselves, your families and your neighbors healthy and happy.