As we work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Governor has announced mandatory closures for all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as a national ban on gatherings of 10 or more at least until May 4. While this decision will help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve also heard from constituents who are wondering how this will impact their job or their business.
The situation is evolving, and information may change, but there are some resources we can share now:
- City of Seattle resources (food, utility, restaurant, evictions, home education support, school districts, and more).
- City of Seattle resources (B&O tax deferment, small business stabilization fund, non-profit support, coronavirus resources).
Q&A and Staying Up To Date
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 AM 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.
As you know, events surrounding the coronavirus are evolving rapidly. Sound Generations continues to closely monitor the evolving situation. With safety of our program participants, staff, volunteers, and community foremost in our minds, we are taking guidance from the King County Public Health Department and other experts to develop our response.
Here are a few actions we recommend for our employees, the people we serve, and the broader community:
Reducing Spread and Staying Healthy
The best prevention for viruses like the flu also prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and decrease the chance of getting sick. Please help us remind all to wash hands frequently while at home or visiting our programs in the community.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, with 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available. Here are tips on good hand washing:
- Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand), then throw tissue away and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
- Consult your healthcare provider if you or your loved one has health conditions that put you at increased risk
Take care of yourselves and each other. We understand that many of you may have fears and worries about your own health, and the health of your family. You may also have fears and worries about the unknown. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a tip sheet for caregivers, parents, and teachers to help manage through infectious disease outbreaks that can be found here that you may find helpful when talking to your family.
The following are other actions you can take to support your health and fight illness:
- Get good sleep and prioritize self-care
- Eat nutrient-rich foods and prioritize a healthy diet
- Talk to your doctor about optimizing your vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C levels
- Stay hydrated
- Try not to panic. Disease outbreaks can be overwhelming. Staying mindful of your stress levels can help maintain your body’s immune response to illness.
We will continue to keep all informed as we learn more. This event is rapidly evolving, and we will communicate as soon as there are updates. Please visit King County Public Health for round the clock updates.
What is a Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
There has been a lot of media attention on the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Public Health Seattle and King County has released the following information to the public.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that had not been seen in humans before December 2019.
Who Should Seek Medical Evaluation for COVID-19?
- Those with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have traveled from China in the last 14 days OR
- Those with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have been identified by the Public Health Department as a recent close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19 infection.
Should I be tested for Coronavirus?
Your health provider should use their judgment to determine if you has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether you should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness.
Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed feverand/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing).
Does my health insurance cover Coronavirus Testing?
In general, comprehensive health insurance plans will cover treatment for coronavirus just like any other illness. That’s because health insurers must cover treatment if it’s considered medically necessary.
While there isn’t a vaccine yet, Medicare Part B (medical insurance) will cover a test to see if you have coronavirus. This test is covered when your doctor or other health care provider orders it. You can find more information about Medicare coverage with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
If you have a short-term limited duration health plan or participate in a health sharing ministry, you may need to check your coverage first.
What Can I do to Prevent a COVID-19 Infection?
The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against COVID-19 and other illnesses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand). Then throw tissue away and wash hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Keep students home if temperature is above 100.0 F (38.7 C) or they report not feeling well, appear weak or ill.
- Consult your health care provider if you have a temperature above 100.0 F (38.7 C) and feel weak and ill or have special health conditions that put you at increased risk.
Should people at low risk for COVID-19 wear masks?
Public Health Seattle and King County are not recommending that people at low risk of COVID-19 wear masks in public. However, some people prefer to wear a mask, and this is a common cultural practice in some parts of the world.
Are Sound Generations’ services still being provided to clients we serve?
Sound Generations’ programs continue to operate and deliver services. For a list of senior center and community partner sites that have closed or are operating in limited form click here. This list is being updated daily.
In addition to Public Health’s recommendation to stay open, there are several factors we are evaluating. While service delivery is our primary responsibility, senior centers are also an access point to critical social services for thousands of aging adults and families. Many of our aging adults rely on us for basic needs, including regular meals, health care, and transportation. If our sites shut down, vulnerable aging adults and those who care for them are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted. Closing sites will be done with great care, transparency, and in partnership with Public Health and City Officials. Summary of Public Health Seattle and King County new recommendations.
Where can I turn for more information?
As with any newly emerging infectious disease, knowledge evolves with time. Early on, it is difficult to know the source of the disease, the ways in which it spreads, how effectively it spreads from person to person, and how severe the infection is.
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov),Public Health Seattle and King County (this site includes FAQ in English, Spanish and Chinese) Public Health provides frequent updates.
- Please see the Washington State Department of Health’s translated fact sheets.
- Novel Coronavirus Outbreak 2020, Washington State Department of Health
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Guidance for Travelers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WA State Department of Health novel coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127