I want to thank you all for your quick response to coronavirus (COVID-19). It is clear that the Washington State health care community is working hard to come together, coordinate and share information. WSHA is currently in communication with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local health care coalitions and public officials. I wanted to update you on available resources and what WSHA has been doing to support you as we navigate how to best protect patients and staff.
WSHA has launched a COVID-19 resources page, at wsha.org/coronavirus, with information about how hospitals are responding and information members of our community need to know. This includes resources from DOH and the CDC, as well as the DOH coronavirus hotline.
We also released a new isolation precaution sign that includes the DOH logo and offers updated guidance to better protect workers and preserve supplies. It clarifies that eye protection is required and, while masks are also required, N95 masks are only required if doing aerosolizing procedures.
On the legislative side of things, we have been in conversation with several members of our congressional delegation about how they can help. The $8.3 billion coronavirus package just agreed to will help immensely, particularly with supplies and telemedicine rules. We will continue to be in communication with our congressional leaders and coordinate requests.
We, like you, are fielding quite a few media calls and data requests. We are available to assist in responding to inquiries from media, public officials and local community members. Please reach out or direct people to WSHA if we can do anything to support you. You can contact WSHA Assistant Director of Communications Tim Pfarr at TimP@wsha.org or (206) 577-1828.
Finally, while COVID-19 is new, preparing for emergencies is not. You can join us in continuing to tell the public that hospitals and health systems conduct emergency preparedness training year-round, in each region and facility. Most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization, or even a trip to the emergency room. And, one of the best ways to protect one another is to encourage community members and staff to practice good hygiene, avoid touching their face, cough or sneeze into a tissue that can be thrown away and stay home if they aren’t feeling well.
We will continue to distribute information and resources as they are updated. Again, if WSHA can support your facility, please let us know!