We are all looking forward to the state opening up again. We miss our family, our friends, and our way of life. But what exactly happens when the state reopens? It’s too early to know exactly what will happen, but we know we will need to reopen gradually. The governor described the release of the physical distancing interventions as a dial that we will move up and down in response to what the data show us is happening with COVID-19 in the community. It will not be an on/off switch. This means we can anticipate some amount of physical distancing to continue even as we slowly begin to open.
The COVID-19 disease curve has flattened in Washington. This is important because if the disease had spread more quickly, without the physical distancing interventions, we would not have had the hospital beds or ventilators to help everyone who would have needed care. Because of the success of our collective efforts, we have been able to send ventilators and other resources to places in the country that need them more.
But a flattened curve doesn’t mean the epidemic is over in Washington. It just means that we are able to help our very sick people with the amount of resources that we currently have within our health care system. And we have to be very careful, as we open the doors to businesses and our homes, that we don’t send that curve skyrocketing again.
Now that it has flattened, we need the disease curve to go down. We need to see fewer people catching (and spreading) the virus. The less of the virus there is circulating, the safer we will be at work, at school, and hanging out with our friends and families.
As we slowly move to having less community-wide physical distancing, we will need to get really good at identifying the individuals who need to be isolated. The state is working to purchase many more test kits. And then many more of us will need — and be able — to get tested. We will need to stay at home while we wait for results. If we are positive, we will need to remember and be able to report all the places we have been and all of the people we have had contact with over the last several days. And we will need to stay at home until we are well again.
This is a long, slow road, and hard work, but we will open our doors again.
This is a frustrating time. Help your friends and neighbors remember that we are staying home as an act of compassion. And that staying home is saving lives every day in Washington state. We will come back slowly to keep our communities safe.
Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact our call center at 1–800–525–0127. Hours: 6 am-10 pm, seven days a week.