March 5, 2020: Update from the COVID-19 Community Task Force

Update from the Washington State Department of Health's COVID-19 Community Task Force:
Community Engagement Task Force—COVID-19
COVID-19 Call Center: 1-800-525-0127

The state Department of Health wants to keep you as informed as possible about continuing developments surrounding COVID-19 as well as guidance and resources.
Numbers. The Department of Health website is updated daily with the number of people in Washington confirmed to be positive and the number of people who have died of this disease. As of this writing, 39 people in Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 have died of the disease. We are very likely to see more people with COVID-19 identified in the coming days.
Should I get tested? Maybe not. We know many people are wondering, if they have fever and a cough, do they need to get tested for COVID-19? The University of Washington announced they have a new lab test available that will expand our capacity. We are incredibly proud and thankful for their partnership BUT…Right now, we still have limited capacity to run these tests, and we are prioritizing the tests for people with underlying health conditions or serious illness. Testing may become more readily available in the future, but, for now, if you have mild symptoms (cough, fever), you need to stay home, stay away from people, and maybe catch up on your Netflix shows. A test, whether it’s positive or negative, won’t change that advice!
Maple Lane Quarantine and Isolation Facility: Did you know that our quarantine facility consists of 8 RVs?  We have designated 4 of them for people who are healthy, but at very high risk of exposure, and 4 for people who have symptoms of COVID-19. We visited the Maple Lane to talk with the employees about these RVs. We still have no people staying with us in this facility, but some of the employees were looking ahead and concerned that having people quarantined or isolated here might pose some risk to them or to the surrounding community. Coronaviruses like COVID-19 spread through close contact, like when you touch someone, shake someone’s hand, or touch a hard surface that has the virus on it and then you touch your face. Having people living in a nearby RV, even if they have the disease, does not pose a risk to people in the community. (PS—want to reduce your risk? Wash your hands! A lot!)  
Remember to make good information go viral! Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! Please fact check before you forward using reliable sources of information, like our coronavirus page and the CDC’s coronavirus website. 
Practice compassion. Remember, many of our loved ones are older or have chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma that make COVID-19 infection especially dangerous for them. Be compassionate towards people who are worried or sick. Help people feel more comfortable by respectfully refraining from handshakes and hugs.