Thurston County Health Officer Letter to the Community: COVID-19 Update

first_imgFacebook871Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Thurston CountyWhen I started this job on March 11, I started talking about COVID prevention steps – washing your hands, covering your cough, staying home when sick, not touching your face, and physical distancing. I likened it to a marathon. But unlike a traditional marathon this one is more like Marathon with an obstacle course. A long haul is what we are in for. We are looking at months, and maybe years before we can safely say the COVID-19 threat is behind us. With time, we are continuing to learn more about the disease, prevention, and effects of the disease. More testing resources are being developed and vaccine research is going at a fever pace.For Thurston County, between March 11 and May 26, we had 133 cases reported in 11 weeks. Since entering phase 2, we have had 87 cases reported in just a four-week period. We are seeing double the number of new cases each week. We experienced our first two nursing home outbreaks at the beginning of phase 2 and are still dealing with the hospitalizations and loss of life that followed. In the last four weeks we have seen more young adults testing positive for COVID. Younger people can get very sick too and recovery is not an easy process. There may be life- long complications. Prevention is always better.Our environment has also changed due to COVID. Everyone is eager to get back to going out, working, eating out, and resuming social activities. We are asking ourselves, Do I need to go to the store? If people at the store do not wear face covering and are not distancing from me, do I stay, or should I leave? Do I want to eat at a restaurant or get take out? Which friends will I socialize with? Do I wear a face cover, maintain my distance, or both? What activities make me feel safe? What risks am I willing to take? Do I want to risk exposing myself or my loved ones to COVID?At some point we will move into phase 3 and I want to be very clear and remind everyone, phase 3 does not mean life as usual. We need to continue to weigh our risks and make safe choices.  My choice, right now, is to maintain my physical distance. If I am unable to, or when in public, I will put on a face cover to protect others. If I am not feeling well, I will cancel my appointment and stay home. I will continue to avoid crowds, big events, gatherings, and parties. I will continue to wash my hands or use sanitizer. I am not ready to go into a fitness center, or carpool. I miss my local restaurants and will likely start visiting them again, unless they are crowded. It will be nice to see my friends again, but it will still be air hugs.One more week to go before I retire again. My message is much the same – wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home when you are sick, avoid touching your face, and keep your physical distance. I will also add, use a face cover and when a safe and effective vaccine is available, consider receiving it.It has been an honor to serve Thurston County again. As stressful as it has been, it is very rewarding to be able to work with an excellent and dedicated public health team. A special shout out to a great cadre of volunteers with our Thurston County Medical Reserve Corp. They have been around for 17 years and are great partners in action. These folks are working hard to protect all of us the best way they can.COVID is real. It is not a hoax. It is not the Flu. It is not just a cold. Protection begins with all of us doing our part to take care of ourselves and be considerate of others.  Thank you.Diana T. YU, MD, MSPHActing Health Officer, Thurston Countylast_img

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