The important test is how you’re feeling

Those experiencing flu-like symptoms should first be assessing how sick they are and where they fall in terms of risk categories, not specifically on whether they are sick with COVID-19, said the director of Grays Harbor Health and Services Karolyn Holden.

“What I really want people to understand is that a test for COVID-19, the result of that does not in any way change what your doctor decides to do for you. The treatment for what your doctor sees is going to be the same whether they have a positive result, a negative result or no result for COVID-19,” Holden said.

“If people are having respiratory symptoms, they should engage that as they would if they didn’t even know COVID-19 was around. You don’t seek health care based on whether or not you think you have COVID-19, you seek health care based on how you feel. Do you feel like you need emergency care or do you feel like you need a doctor? If you don’t, then you stay home and do the regular things you do to take care of yourself when you’re sick,” she explained.

County Public Health is encouraging people to practice social distancing by limiting contact with other people and take other measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re not suggesting that schools be closed, but when there are opportunities when you can accomplish the same goal and not have a lot of people gathered together, we’re absolutely encouraging people to do that. Lots of businesses are doing that, and I think it’s really appropriate,” she said.

“One of the messages that the State Department of Health is sending out and we will be trying to send out locally as well is that it’s a really good idea for employers to think about how they can allow people to work remotely if that’s possible. It keeps people from being in settings where disease gets transmitted. If you have key personnel, you’re actually preserving their ability to work by not having them get knocked out in a disease outbreak,” she added.

Holden also said wearing a mask in public won’t protect you from getting sick.

“The masks belong on health care providers who are taking care of people who are infectious, and they also belong on the sick people who have to go out in public to get healthcare. They don’t belong on healthy people,” she said.

When asked about when the virus might peak in our community, Holden said “It is really far too early to say. To some degree it depends on how much people observe the recommendations around social distancing. … My hope, honestly, is that it takes many, many months, because that means we have slowed it down to the point where it’s not overwhelming the community,” she said.

“This is not going to go away anytime soon. I think that there’s evidence that (COVID-19) is being transmitted in the community and people need to do all the things that we want them to do to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses,” she said.

School attendance

Local school districts said on Friday that their attendance levels are close to normal for this time of year. The Aberdeen School District said attendance this week as almost exactly the same as the first week of March last year. There were slightly more students absent this week than the first week of February this year, but that the difference was less than half of one percent.

Attendance at Elma schools was slightly better than normal this week, according to Superintendent Kevin Acuff. North Beach schools were seeing slightly worse than typical attendance for this time of year.

“We’ve provided parents and employees the guidance on being aware of all of the recommendations and if in doubt, stay home to ensure health. We’ve adjusted our daily cleaning procedures to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to ensure the health of all our students and staff,” said Superintendent Andy Kelley.

Event cancellations

Some events are going on as scheduled, but many have been canceled or postponed. The Grays Harbor College Men’s Basketball team was scheduled to play on Saturday in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) Tournament being hosted at Everett Community College, but that’s been postponed. A GHC women’s softball tournament at Lacey is also canceled.

Twinstar Credit Union posted a notice on its site that their 2020 Annual meeting scheduled for Saturday, March 7 will be a virtual event.

The Son’s of Norway’s annual salmon dinner has also been canceled.

QBRC taking precautions

The Quinault Beach Resort & Casino is taking precautionary steps in preventing the spread of communicable disease especially COVID-19.

The casino will be closed from 4 to 6 a.m. daily to clean and sanitize the resort, including the entire gaming floor, to protect guests and employees, according to a release.

The resort has hand sanitation stations at every entrance and reminds everyone to be proactive about their health and the safety of those around them. The resort also has disposable gloves and hand sanitizer throughout the property, the release said

“We are closely monitoring all available information, including updated recommendations from the CDC, state and tribal health authorities and will continue to update our guests on any changes to our operation.”