Lauren Jenkins, of the Washington State Department of Health, provided this update on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Numbers. As of Saturday night, 27,121 people in Washington have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 1,793 people in Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, and 94 have died of the disease.
Disease outbreaks bring feelings of overwhelm, helplessness and worry. Social distancing is absolutely necessary right now to protect ourselves and people we love. And it comes with a cost. It is massively disruptive to our lives and it takes away many of the usual outlets we have for blowing off steam—gyms are closed, bars and restaurants are closed, social media is an incessant reminder of the pandemic. If you have a chronic disease or deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis, you may be especially stressed right now. And, remember, those helping with the response efforts – nurses, doctors, first responders – are doing so while also worrying about their own health, and their families.
So what can we do to cope during this public health emergency?
Connect! It’s our relationships that will see us through this. Find a way to invest in those important relationships from at least 6 feet away. Skype, Facetime, Zoom or just talk on the phone. Videochatting is fun! You feel like a techno-wiz and you can see your friend and their pets and kids and make each other smile!
- Take care of yourself. The old fashioned way—with nourishing foods, lots of sleep, deep breaths, and exercise. Exercise is especially good for your mental health. Unplug from social media. You know, after you’re done reading this.
- Focus on anything else. Clean, cook, garden, sing, play games, create, read, write. Do whatever it takes to allow your mind to focus on the parts of your life that bring you energy and joy!
- Know when to call for help. If you continue to feel overwhelmed and struggle to get through the day, call your health care provider, therapist or mental health provider and set up a telemedicine appointment.