News from Representative Jayapal

Dear Friend:

 

I know we are all paying close attention to the health and safety of our community — and I am committed to providing you regular updates. 

 

Today, I will be traveling back home to the Seventh Congressional District after voting last night to pass an $8.3 billion funding package to support federal and local public health response efforts. This package includes nearly $1 billion for local public health agencies. I am hopeful the United States Senate will act with urgency so that our outstanding public health experts in Washington have the resources and support they need to protect our community. I am so grateful to our local agencies, first responders and frontline health workers for their tireless efforts to keep our region safe.

 

Yesterday, King County issued new recommendations to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus) — and I’m sharing them below, along with additional information from the Washington State Department of HealthAs information is changing frequently, I’d recommend that you regularly check or subscribe to King County Public Health's website or blog. If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.

 

On Monday, March 9th at 6:00 pm PT, I will be holding a telephone town hall and briefing whereI will be joined by local public health officials who will provide updates and help answer your questions. 

You can dial-in at 855-286-0292 or tune in online at https://jayapal.house.gov/live/.

 

Experts have been working hard to understand COVID-19. Because new information surfaces every day, please visit my website for the latest information from the CDC.

You can also visit the following websites to stay up to date. 

If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you are a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact the King County novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977. The call center will be open daily from 8 AM to 7 PM PST.

If you do not live in King County or if you have general questions about COVID-19 or Washington State’s response, please call the Washington State Department of Health call center: 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

 

The safety and wellbeing of my constituents and your loved ones is of greatest importance to me and my staff. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to my district office in Seattle at 206-674-0040. I will also be regularly updating constituents on COVID-19 via social media: Twitter and Facebook

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Recommendations to Protect Our Community.

For this information, you can visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus/protection.aspx.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is taking proactive steps to protect the health of our community by making recommendations that are meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and reduce the number of people infected.

We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on the lives of people in our community. Public Health is making these recommendations in consultation with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based on the best information we have to protect the public’s health. This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County when such measures can potentially impact the spread of the disease.

How the decision to issue these recommendations were made

We recognize that we are the first in the nation to issue such recommendations, and the decision was not made lightly. Health officials weighed the potential benefits for community health along with the significant impacts that these recommendations could have on our community. In consultation with the CDC, we developed these recommendations based on the rising number of cases in our community and the importance of taking these actions now to reduce further transmission.

Guidance for people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 Illness

Public Health recommends that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This includes concert venues, conventions, sporting events, and crowded social gatherings.

People at higher risk include people:

  • Over 60 years of age
  • With underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • With weakened immune systems
  • Who are pregnant

Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home. Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk for novel coronavirus should consult with their healthcare providers.

Guidance for workplaces and businesses

All employees should work from home if they are able.

Employers should take steps to make it more feasible for their employees to work in ways that minimize close contact with large numbers of people.

Employers should:

  • Maximize telecommuting options for as many employees as possible.
  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.

Guidance for event and community gatherings

If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.

If you can’t avoid bringing groups of people together:

  • Urge anyone who is sick to not attend.
  • Encourage those who are at higher risk for coronavirus to not attend.
  • Try to find ways to give people more physical space so that they aren’t in close contact as much as possible.
  • Encourage attendees to maintain good healthy habits, such as frequent hand washing.
  • Clean surfaces with standard cleaners.

Guidance for schools

King County is not recommending closing schools at this time unless there has been a confirmed case in your school. The reason we are not recommending school closures at this time is because children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. In addition, when some schools briefly closed during the H1N1 influenza pandemic, we learned that many children still gathered in group settings and still had exposure to one another. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.

King County also respects an individual school’s decisions about closures or postponement of activities as each school knows the needs of their community best.

Some children have underlying health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, that put them at higher risk. Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home.

Guidance for people who are sick

  • Stay home when you are sick. Do not go out in public when you are sick.
  • Avoid medical settings in general unless necessary. If you are ill in any way call your doctor's office first before going in.

Guidance for general public

  • Even if you are not ill, avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you do need to visit one of these facilities limit your time there and keep 6 feet away from patients.
  • Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including washing your hands with soap and water frequently, coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are at higher risk for coronavirus.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you’ve just washed your hands.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.

Sincerely, 

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U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal

Washington's 7th District

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