COVID-19 daily report for Edmonds and Snohomish County: March 25, 2020

Publisher’s note: We have created this ongoing report on information related to COVID-19 as it applies to our communities. It will be updated regularly to reflect changing information.

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Washington State Department of Health updates

Getting your questions answered

So much has changed in the last several weeks, and the world has learned so much about COVID-19. Let’s review some of our Frequently Asked Questions. Some of the answers have changed since the last time you asked the questions.

Do I have COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever (temp over 100.4 degrees F), tiredness, and dry cough. Some people also get aches and pains, stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, or diarrhea. Some people get COVID-19 and don’t get any symptoms at all! Some people will get very sick with high fever and difficulty breathing. One of the reasons we are all staying at home as much as possible now is that we can’t always tell when someone might have COVID-19 or be contagious. So if we all stay home, we will not spread the virus, even if we don’t have symptoms (yet) or if we misinterpreted a new cough as allergies or something else.

Should I get tested?
Testing is becoming more available, but we still don’t have as many test kits as we would need to be able to test as many people as we would like. Remember — there are no specific treatments for COVID-19, and most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing medical care. So getting a test result doesn’t change the medical advice you will get. If you have a fever, you should rest, drink lots of fluids, and eat nourishing foods.

I saw on social media that there’s a vaccine or cure or top secret thing doctors don’t want you to know about!
Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, including this virus. There is nothing you can eat, rub on yourself, or inhale that will protect you from this virus or cure it. There is quite a bit of research going on into a vaccine or medications that may help, so I hope to be able to pass on that good news soon. But until then, just scroll past anything that sounds too good to be true.

Does ibuprofen make COVID-19 worse?
This is such a new virus that doctors must make quick decisions for their patients without all the information they need. Some French doctors currently advise against using ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, many generic versions) for COVID-19 symptoms based on a few observations of people with COVID-19 who were taking ibuprofen and got worse. Of course, some people with COVID-19 do get worse. The studies that can help tell us whether ibuprofen may contribute to people with COVID-19 getting very sick haven’t been done yet. So, doctors and public health institutions have to figure out what to do with this little bit of unclear information. The World Health Organization initially recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen to help with fever and aches related to COVID-19. They have since updated that recommendation to say that either acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used.

I have a regularly scheduled doctor or dental appointment. Should I go?
No. At this point — both to conserve the masks, gowns, and gloves that keep health care safe and to support us all in staying home — you should call your doctor and see if your appointment can be done over the phone or videochat or rescheduled. If you are not in pain, your dental appointment should be rescheduled. Elective surgeries should be rescheduled. Routine vaccine appointments for our little ones should continue. And don’t forget to reschedule any missed appointments and screenings for yourself when all this is over!

Can I get this from my pet?
No. We have no reason to believe our pets can spread COVID-19 to us. Not from licking us or from us petting their fur. And, no, you should not try to get your pet tested for COVID-19.

What can I do to keep my immune system strong?
The best way to keep your immune system strong is to take great care of yourself. Rest, eat fruits and vegetables, drink water, get moderate daily exercise. Try to reduce your stress, and get enough sleep. Connect with a friend or loved one.

What all is closed now?
Well, actually, it’s easier to say what’s open. Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in Washington state which will be effective for a minimum of two weeks. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home. We can leave the house to get groceries or takeout, go for a walk or other exercise, or go to work at an essential business. All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and food supply chains will remain open.

Do I work at an “essential business”?
Your work is very important. Here is the list of what is defined as “essential”: coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business

How long is this going to last?
The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order will last at least two weeks. It is likely that some amount of social distancing will be necessary for weeks or months beyond that. The better we do at staying home and away from other people, the quicker we will get the virus under control.

If we haven’t covered your question here, you can find great information on the state’s new web portal for information about COVID-19 (coronavirus.wa.gov), on the Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov), or on the CDC website (www.cdc.gov).

8 Replies to “COVID-19 daily report for Edmonds and Snohomish County: March 25, 2020”

  1. Thank you, Teresa for keeping us updated daily on this topic and the Edmonds are looking so far on our numbers on hopefully the fact that we are practicing public physical distancing.

    Ignored

    1. Yes, please look at the numbers. In 2017, the total number of deaths in Snohomish County and State of Washington was 122 and 1,077, respectively. Assuming a 6-month flu season, that works out to an average of 0.7 deaths per day in Snohomish County, and 5.7 deaths per day in Washington State. With all of the COVID-19 deaths reported, the average daily death rate today stands at 0.6 in Snohomish County and 5.9 in Washington State. With those numbers, where is the cause for alarm!?

      In 2017, City of Edmonds did not close the schools and parks, or shutter restaurants and the theater in 2017. What is going on!? Make it stop!

      We were among the first cities to take initiative to shut down. Let’s be the first city to wake up!

      Ignored

      1. Brian, It’s astounding to me that, at this point, there are still people who don’t understand why we need to take the measures we are. If you don’t care about people over 60 and younger people with underlying health conditions that’s one thing. But it seems like even someone who believes this isn’t a big deal would be concerned about our hospitals being overwhelmed to the point they would be if we didn’t take these measures. Please listen to the scientists and educate yourself.

        Ignored

        1. I do care. That is why I am listening to Prof. Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Prof. Pietro Vernazza, MD, Dr. Eucharist Ghandi, MD, Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, MD, Dr. Joel Kettner, MD, Dr. John Ioannidis (Stanford), Dr. David Katz, MD (Yale), Dr. Dan Takin, PhD, and Dr. Toby Rogers, PhD, and reading the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, “SARS-CoV-2: fear vs. data” (19MAR2020). Please inform yourself of the apparent effectiveness of malaria medication in learning the impact of the illness, and the increased risk of dying due to unemployment as well established in literature.

          Ignored

  2. Brian,

    Thank you for sharing your long list. I am familiar with them, save Dan Takin. None of these learned folks are saying anything that should not be considered (with the exception of Wodarg’s conspiracy theory, in my opinion). But many of them are in support of the measures being taken. Keltner supports measures being taken, and warned that “there could be a degree of pressure and demand on our health system that exceeds our capacity” (my point in my initial response). Ioannidis’ main point is that we need data to inform us. Of course we do. Katz has publicly stated that he’s completely in support of the public health measures being taken in order to mitigate the spread. Ulrich Montgomery supports the German government’s actions to limit the spread. His reservations don’t come from the restrictions, but when and how restrictions will be lifted. Raoult doesn’t disagree with the measures being taken, he’d just like his “cure” to be looked at more closely; something I hope happens as the promising anecdotal results of treating those infected with hydrochloroquine and azithromycin are very exciting.

    I suspect your angst comes from the open-endedness of the current restrictions. Not unreasonable. What is unreasonable, in my opinion, is an unwillingness to allow these drastic measures time to assist us in slowing down the spread. The pace at which more and more people are becoming seriously ill is most alarming, and is taxing our hospitals and healthcare professionals. Don’t we owe our support (by complying with the “stay at home” order) to all those working hard to help those who become ill? My answer is yes.

    Ignored

    1. Oops… Autocorrect or fat fingers, but Tamin was supposed to be Yamin, who remarked that the actual number of people sick in South Korea is at least double what was reported, such that the mortality rate is actually no more than half of that reported: less than one-half of one-percent. I read a transcript of Dr. Kettner from a CBC radio broadcast of 3/15/2020 remarking, “First, I wanna say that in 30 years of public health medicine I have never seen anything like this, anything anywhere near like this. I’m not talking about the pandemic, because I’ve seen 30 of them, one every year. It is called influenza. And other respiratory illness viruses, we don’t always know what they are. But I’ve never seen this reaction.” I am unfamiliar with Wodgard’s conspiracy theory, but understood him to have said, “What is missing right now is a rational way of looking at things.”

      As a scientist myself, I downloaded County and State data last night, and set out to analyze the data rationally. What I found using yesterday’s numbers still holds with today’s numbers: we are on the higher-end of annual influenza mortality, but well within the realm of reason.

      Considering what we saw in Italy, it is unclear to what extent (if any) the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order will prevent healthcare facilities from being overwhelmed. What we can know from Brenner, as pointed out by Dr. Rogers, is that there is a direct correlation between rise in unemployment rise and “deaths of despair.” Government officials sentencing the public to unemployment should know that by doing so they are sentencing the governed to an increased death rate for years to come.

      In the 3/20/2020 New York Times, Dr. Katz wrote, “I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near-total meltdown of normal life – schools and businesses closed, gatherings banned – will be long-lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself. The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public scourges of the first order.” I share his concern. It is time to cut through the hype and tugging of heart strings, and do some independent thinking.

      Ignored

  3. I forgot to mention that I got a kick out of “Eucharist Ghandi” too. I thought it might be a test to see if I was paying attention.

    It’s interesting to me when some disease specialists point to the yearly flu pandemic as proof that our current outbreak isn’t anything to be all that concerned about. I would ask why then are our hospitals not overwhelmed on a yearly basis ( Kettner is the one who warned that this pandemic could exceed the capacity of the health care system). Also, it seems Italy may have gotten as bad as it has because the powers that be were slow to react, along with resistance of the people to adhere to the public health measures enacted.

    I agree that we cannot sustain this level of lock down for a long period of time. We should be able to tell fairly quickly (relatively) if these measures are making a difference. Unemployment, financial ruin, and “deaths of despair” most definitely need to be seen as the serious threats they are, and kept in mind when next steps are considered. However, it seems reasonable to give “stay home, stay healthy” a chance to ease the burden on our healthcare system and workers. Even Katz said in an interview 3/23/2020, when asked to clarify some of his statements in the NY Times op-ed piece, that he completely supports the public health measures being taken to mitigate the spread.

    I’m not ignoring those who have been (and will be) negatively financially and psychologically impacted by all this, and I share your concern. But I’m also not ignoring those who are over the age of 60 and our healthcare workers/system. As a researcher, I’m averse to hype and find heart string tugging less than helpful. What I do find useful is to weigh multiple facts and theories, listen to experts (even when they don’t agree with each other), and educate myself so I can compassionately participate in the solution. And for now, that looks like me supporting the current stay at home requirement.

    Ignored

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