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https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus (Scroll to bottom of the page for FAQs)
Thomas Locke, MD, MPH, Jefferson County Health Officer, addresses this important question in his April 4th press release here: COVID-19 Update for Jefferson County, April 4, 2020
The Washington Department of Health and the FDA have said there is no evidence that Coronavirus is spreading through food or food packaging at this time. The very best practice is to make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before eating or handling food. Disinfecting food is not recommended. For the guidance from the FDA please visit this link: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions#food .
Here is guidance from the Department of Health on how to best protect yourself from Coronavirus: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/NovelCoronavirusFactSheet.pdf
Social distancing is what will work to protect you. Additional information about existing cases will not tell you if people you encounter or things you touch could potentially expose you to COVID-19.
Public health case investigation of a confirmed case is very thorough and identifies persons or settings when and where significant exposure may have occurred. Identified contacts are informed and given guidance on what to do and symptoms to look for.
There are multiple diseases that are circulating in the community that have symptoms similar to COVID-19. In addition, there continue to be cases in the community that exhibit mild illness and never seek care, or are unable to get confirmatory tests. Even a person who tests negative one day might be infected the next, with or without symptoms.
It is safest for everyone to protect themselves by social distancing. Limit exposure to other people (6 ft distance is recommended), avoid contact with people who are ill, wash your hands, and avoid touching your face. Guidance is available for persons who are caring for sick loved ones at home.
It is also important to know that Jefferson County Public Health and Social Services must comply with Washington State laws protecting medical confidentiality. By law, we can only release limited information about cases.
Testing for COVID-19 will continue to be limited until we have adequate resources to protect our health care workers.
The issue with testing resources is that everyone wants to be tested and resources are not available to accommodate those requests. If a person has, or thinks they have COVID, they are asked to self-isolate. If they get sicker, they may be hospitalized, and testing is done at that time.Other than prevention by washing hands, not touching face, staying home when you are sick, and self-isolation, there is nothing that is done differently when a person has COVID, unless they need respiratory support in a hospital. There is no treatment. This is why prevention methods are so important.
People seeing doctors may get tested for the flu because, for some people, they can be treated for the flu.
Because of Washington State legal requirements requiring confidentiality, Public Health does not notify an employer, business or organization if there is a confirmed case of any infectious disease that is reported to us, including COVID-19.
The process Public Health follows is:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines ’close contact’ as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or more); close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case OR having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
Events and rapid changes happening around COVID can be stressful. There are a few resources that can help.