What the public needs to know
- Most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization, or even a trip to an emergency room. Hospital care is a precious resource that needs to be reserved for those with the most serious symptoms.
- Follow the advice of public health to prevent infection, these are common sense steps like washing your hands, not touching your face, staying home when you are sick, coughing or sneezing into a tissue and throwing that tissue away. Check out the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) fact sheet for more information.
- If you are sick, stay home and manage your symptoms as you would any cold.
- If your symptoms become worse, call your local nurse line or the DOH coronavirus hotline at 1-800-525-0127, press # for symptom evaluation.
- Continue to see your provider for regularly scheduled visits to address your other health care needs. Do not neglect your existing needs.
- Masks will not prevent you from getting the virus, but they can help prevent the spread of the illness because they stop big droplets from sneezes and coughs from becoming airborne or contaminating surfaces.
- What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease
- What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Five things your doctor wants you to know about coronavirus:
WSHA media releases
- National emergency declaration provides flexibility the health system needs as patient care demands increase
- WSHA’s statement on hospital preparedness
Messages for the media
Hospitals need help from the state and local governments as well as the media. You can join us in raising awareness about the information and initiatives below:
- There are many hospital beds currently occupied by patients who have completed their hospital care and do not need to be there any longer. The state could help tremendously with hospital capacity by working more quickly to place these patients in community facilities such as adult family homes, long term care centers, or with home health.
- The public should understand that most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization, or even a trip to an emergency room. Hospital care is a precious resource that needs to be reserved for those with the most serious symptoms.
- In the event of a surge in demand, public health officials need to give hospitals flexibility in how care is delivered.
WSHA is currently coordination with our member hospitals, the DOH, health care coalitions and local public health officials. We will continue to gather information and resources and remain in communication with the larger health care community.