COVID-19 daily report for Edmonds and Snohomish County: April 9, 2020

While the April 9 countywide data updates from the Snohomish Health District continue to show a steady increase in the total number of cases over the reporting period, they are not increasing as steeply as in late March, and there is at least one piece of particularly good news buried in Thursday’s numbers.

The health district reports that almost 150 county residents stricken by the virus were added to the numbers of recovered victims, pushing the trendline for recovered cases (green) above that for active cases (yellow) for the first time since March 24. Stated another way, this tells us that on this day more of our Snohomish County neighbors have had the virus and recovered than are currently sick with the disease.

While a good set of numbers for a single day does not indicate a trend, the reporting period data taken as a whole suggest that Snohomish County’s is making slow, steady progress in battling COVID-19.

— By Larry Vogel

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From the Snohomish Health District

Celebrating together, just physically apart

Community egg hunts, boating, fishing, sporting events and baby showers are just a few of the favorite past times currently on pause. It can become even harder to endure as the sunny days and warmer weather emerge. But now, more than ever, residents must Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

“We are starting to see very early indications that we are heading in the right direction, but what we are seeing today is the result of everyone’s good work over the past month by staying home,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We cannot stop — or even ease up — on the restrictions, or we will end up right back where we were a month ago with cases increasing.”

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders and the local health officer orders, individuals should only leave home for essential work or errands. The state website has a page “What does it mean to stay home that encourages walks, checking the mail and sitting out in the sunshine. It is not a time to have friends or family over, or travel to “get out of the house.” Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism recently encouraged people to “Recreate responsibly.”

Since hosting or attending gatherings to mark holidays or events can’t happen, finding other ways to stay in touch and acknowledge special days is important.

The list of what’s been disrupted isn’t short — birthday parties, weddings, funerals, baby showers, family traditions for holidays like Easter or Passover, picnics or camping trips to welcome the sunshine. There are also the more routine but equally treasured times, like family dinners, playdates, sporting events, or happy hour with friends.

If a remote option is available, consider changing plans for celebrations or get-togethers rather than canceling entirely. This time is stressful for many, and coming together socially – but staying separated physically – is critical for mental and emotional health.

For the events we can’t or don’t want to experience remotely, like weddings or graduation parties, start making plans for the future. It’s still too soon to set a date, but it might be just the right time to start gathering ideas for a rescheduled celebration.

Sharing traditions and companionship, particularly around days of significance in your faith, is deeply meaningful for many in Snohomish County. People are feeling the loss of congregation and are eager to get back to faith-based activities and services.

Faith leaders are encouraged to explore options for remote services and events in the meantime. This could include live-streaming the service, having a conference or video call, or providing emails to members of your faith community with key messages and/or links to pre-recorded videos. If use of technology is discouraged overall or on certain holy days, letters or other mailings with reminders, prayers or scripture may be another option. More ideas and guidance for faith-based services are available in an FAQ online, with additional translations available.

Members of faith communities are also reminded to continue to stay home and participate in remote services or other options as they are able. The goal is to keep you and those around you safe and healthy.

The health district has been approached by a number of schools and organizations with well-intentioned, creative ideas on how to stay connected. These have included drive-in concerts, drive-by parades or drive-thru Easter egg/basket donations. While beautiful sentiments, and hearts are in the right places, it is the health district’s recommendation not to proceed.

In addition to these being non-essential outings, they also send messages to community members that aren’t supportive of the governor’s (and our health officer’s) order to Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

Instead, look for phone or virtual opportunities for staff to share their well-wishes, or perhaps send special mail. Kids (and adults) can draw pictures and mail them to loved ones, or even strangers who might need a little cheering up.

From the Washington State Department of Health

Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced this week that public and private K-12 schools will stay closed through the end of the 2019–2020 school year. Although schools are closed from providing traditional in-person instruction, education will continue. The school districts are working to maintain connections with students and families and provide learning materials and supports over the phone, though email, through printed learning materials, and by using online platforms.

This is a big disruption for our kids! It’s totally normal for kids to have multiple and mixed emotions right now. They may miss their friends. They may be sad to miss anticipated milestones, field trips, or projects. They may worry about how this time will affect their future education. They may revel in the release from the structure of the school day or they may struggle to adjust to this new routine. And different kids will need differing types of support to best take advantage of the learning opportunities offered by their school.

Here are some tips that may help you and your child navigate this stressful time:

  • Help your kids find positive ways to express their feelings. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing or drawing, can help them. Maybe extra physical activity will help them manage their emotions.
  • As much as you can, maintain a sense of the familiar and a routine for your child’s daily life.
  • Encourage your kids to stay connected with their friends. Can they text or call their friends? Can they Skype with a younger friend or cousin and read them a book? Reading to a younger child is great learning for both the reader and child being read to.
  • During times of stress, some children may need more attention and emotional connection from their parents. Be prepared to give lots of extra hugs, stories, and time.
  • Talk to your kids about COVID-19 in an honest and age-appropriate way. Sometimes a little bit of information and a lot of imagination can make life scarier than it needs to be. Help your children understand that we are all staying home to protect ourselves and our communities. Listening to them and addressing their concerns may help ease their anxiety.
  • Don’t know where to start? Try this comic created by NPR just for kids explaining novel coronavirus.

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