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How Coronavirus if affecting our operations, please read.

For release: 3/11/2020

From the desk of Kim Schneiderman,
Executive Director

Dear All,

If you have watched TV or listened to the radio you have heard a lot of distressing news about the novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19.  Having confirmed cases in Washington state only adds to the stress and makes us susceptible to fear and misinformation.

Washington State has declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus at the very beginning of March. In 2018, Washington State had an estimated population of 7.536 million; as of Monday, 3/11/2020, 284 people were reportedly affected by the virus.

NAMI SW WA is taking COVID-19 seriously. We want to make sure the people we serve, those with mental health challenges, and those who love them, don’t miss out on the information and support we have to offer.

To that end, NAMI SW WA will continue as many classes, support groups, and presentations as we can until otherwise advised by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the State of Washington. Governor Jay Inslee and the CDC recommend that the population when holding groups and classes, need it to be within 10 people or less. This is a challenging situation for us as some of our groups have more than 10 people in them.

“This is an unprecedented public health situation and we can’t wait until we’re in the middle of it to slow it down,” Inslee said. “We’ve got to get ahead of the curve. One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives.”

We are considering holding some of our groups and classes online with the help of a platform like Zoom.

Please read below for what NAMI is doing to keep staff, volunteers, and those we serve healthy, what the CDC is saying about the outbreak, and what you can do if the news of the virus, or any other news, is causing you stress, anxiety, or panic.

It is important to remember: For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated, though still relatively low, risk of exposure.

NAMI SW WA is following the advice of the CDC and Washington State Department of Health by trying to stay calm while keeping abreast of the news:

Asking all of our employees, volunteers, and program participants to stay home if they are feeling sick, especially if the symptoms are those related to the coronavirus or the flu. (See below for a list of those).

Using hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, Kleenex and anti-bacterial soap and encouraging people to use them frequently.

We will wipe down all touched surfaces such as doorknobs and tabletops with sanitizing wipes at all our meeting locations.

The symptoms of the novel coronavirus are:

Mild to severe respiratory illness, Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath

What to do if you have symptoms:

If you develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms. Do not go into the doctor’s office or hospital unless your healthcare provider asks you to.

If your symptoms are mild and you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you are able to isolate at home.  Please follow the CDC guidance to reduce your risk of spreading it to others.

If your symptoms are severe or life-threatening, call 911.

How you can protect yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus or any other respiratory disease:

Wash your hands, often and for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the alphabet, the birthday song or row, row, row your boat.)

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Get your flu vaccine if you have not already.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Cover any cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw it in the trash or use the inside of your elbow.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Make sure you have the kinds of foods, drinks, medication and pet supplies you would want if you needed to stay home and limit your contact with other people for a couple of weeks.

STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK – with symptoms for COVID 19 or the flu

Get to know your neighbors, especially those who might need extra help like seniors or people living alone.

Ways to Avoid Headline Anxiety and to Cope with the News:

from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/5-ways-to-cope-with-the-news   and

https://www.calmmoment.com/wellbeing/how-to-cope-when-the-news-makes-you-feel-stressed-and-depressed/

  1. Avoid triggering topics in the news.
  2. Limit your news consumption.  
  3. Be cognizant of your social media use.
  4. Practice good stress management.
  5. Understand that it is normal to be somewhat concerned by this.

For up-to-date information about COVID 19 please refer to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus and/or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or 

 From a local MD

There’s anxiety about the lack of widespread testing. This will not be fixed overnight. It’s a country of 300M people. Test results only impact isolation and quarantine.

If you think you have COVID, isolate yourself.

If you are mildly ill, stay home and self-isolate

If you are moderately ill and need to be seen in an Emergency Department, call ahead and wear a mask when you go. Do NOT go to the ED just for testing.

80-85% will have mild, self-limited illness. Isolate at home.

The most helpful thing you can do is help to calm the community.

This will be life-disrupting for a while. Settle in. We’re ALL working as hard and as quickly as we can. Grace is helpful. Anger is not. Stay calm. Keep your germs to yourself. Limit large gatherings. It’s going to be okay, but it’s going to be bumpy for a while.

 Washington State Department of Health:

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, or how the virus is spread, please call 1-800-525-0127. Phone lines are currently staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 PM, seven days a week. Please note that this call center cannot access COVID-19 testing results. For testing inquiries or results, please contact your health care provider.

 

Please stay safe and protect your mental health!

Yours sincerely,

Kim Schneiderman
Executive Director

NAMI SW WA 

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