March 12 Corona Virus Update

EQUIPMENT TO LOAN
Since some families may be taking elders out of institutions and suddenly dealing with complicated care issues, I would be willing to loan equipment I acquired while caring for a family member.  Our main issues were 1) balance and fall risk, intermittent loss of walking ability and 2) memory loss
So I have:
1) walkers, transport chair, transport chair that can climb stairs but needs new batteries, 8 foot 80 pound aluminum foldable wheelchair ramp, mattress alarms that beep when a person gets out of bed, baby monitors, pneumatic lift to get a person up after a fall without hurting yourself if the person is not seriously hurt but cannot get up, electric chair that goes up and down in bathtub and can also help get a person off the floor, button that can be used to beep for help in another part of the house or maybe next door.
2) web based nanny cams, you would have to arrange and pay for the service, also a one button telephone that a cognitively limited person can use to telephone you for help.
Some of the items might also be useful for monitoring individuals in quarantine.
Mary Anne Pultz
Victor Street
Please leave message at 360 738 1633

COMING FREEZE AND HOMELESS FOLKS UPDATE
Snow & power outages are possible. We have night time temperatures in the low 30s and wind chill factors into the teens. It will warm up into the high 30s and mid-40s during the day and plunge again at night. Once again, those among us who have no shelter are at high risk. Please donate good gloves, sleeping bags and blankets, warm coats, socks, hats, and money. Donations can be brought to my house, or call me and I’ll help you figure out how to connect. 360-671-4511.

INDOOR PARK CANCELLATION
The open playtime at Immanuel Bible Church will not be held this Friday, March 13

EQUIPMENT TO LOAN
We have a portable aluminum wheelchair ramp here. Also Mom’s alert buttons. We could loan them if someone needs them right now.

HOLDING AT ONE CASE
Whatcom County still has only one confirmed case as of this morning. Nineteen under investigation, and 18 negatives. The test does not appear to yield false positives, though it can yield false negatives. But fingers crossed, we may be doing well.

FLATTENING THE CURVE
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart:
https://www.vox.com/2020/3/10/21171481/coronavirus-us-cases-quarantine-cancellation
Our big job is to slow down contagion. One difficulty is that we are contagious before symptoms show, so the best move is for everyone to stay home. Let friends know if you get sick, and phone for medical help if it gets hard to breathe. We lack hospital capacity for managing masses of people with severe pneumonia. Please stay home if you possibly can. If you’ve got to go out, offer to pick up stuff for your neighbors. We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy was my source for “contagion before symptoms show.” They also say data generally backs a 2-week quarantine.

REFUTING INACCURATE ADVICE
World Health Organization refutes viral claims that holding your breath can test for COVID-19. Facebook posts shared thousands of times a claim that holding your breath for more than 10 seconds is an effective test for the novel coronavirus, and that drinking water regularly can prevent the disease. The claims are false; the World Health Organization and other experts said there was no evidence to support these claims.

MORE ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
One other thing to add to Carol’s info about the health exchange’s SEP… The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has used Inslee’s declaration of emergency to create an emergency order that health insurance carriers who are regulated through the state of WA must cover COVID-19 testing with no cost shares (copays, deductibles, coinsurance). Those who test positive (or just need additional treatment) will still have cost shares for any treatment rendered, but the test itself should be covered. Insured individuals should confirm with their carrier – some out of state plans may have exclusions, while Medicare plans are overseen on a federal level and not by the state.
Laurel Larsen
(Licensed insurance producer)
Eldridge Ave

SHOPPING HELP?
A kind couple have reached out to say that they’re willing to do shopping runs for our elderly and immune-compromised neighbors in Columbia. For now, contact me, fl!p@columbianeighborhood.org. I’ll pass you on to them, just to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed. What a wonderful offer!

BELLINGHAM SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTER CLOSURES
The Whatcom Council on Aging is cancelling all Bellingham Senior Activity Center programs and closing the facility beginning March 12th until further notice. While we have not been instructed to close we feel it is our responsibility to protect our at-risk population by limiting interaction at this time.
Congregate Lunch Program (Senior Community Meals)
The regular congregate lunch program will close until further notice. The Whatcom Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels and More program is committed to ensuring seniors are able to access nutritious food during this very difficult time. Bellingham Senior Activity Center and our partner senior centers will provide meals for pick up during regular scheduled lunch hours. Please call your local senior center for details.
Meals on Wheels
There are currently no changes to the Meals on Wheels Program.  Meals on Wheels program will continue regular hot and frozen meal delivery for Meals on Wheels clients as long as staffing and volunteer capacity allows. If you are age 60 or older, homebound, and in need of meals please call 360-746-6480 or complete a request form at https://whatcomcoa.org/request-meals/.
Bellingham  360-733-4030

CITY PARKS AND REC
Arne Hanna Aquatic Center: Risk of in-water transmission is low, but crowded locker rooms and large groups in enclosed spaces such as the Aquatic Center spectator area should be avoided. All instructional programs will be cancelled. Passes will be put on hold until April 30th and extended the same number of days as the request was made. All large, City sponsored, public events will be cancelled through April 30. Participants in all operational programs will be notified and given the option for a full refund.

DON’T FLUSH SANITARY WIPES
Public Works renews request during COVID-19 response. Even  so-called flushable wipes need to go in the trash
The first official case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Whatcom County. The County Executive has declared a public health emergency and today the Governor announced community protection strategies.  The City of Bellingham has plans in place to ensure the continuity of essential services, including water delivery and wastewater removal. Utility customers have a role to pay, as well.  To protect oneself and help prevent the spread of this new virus it is important to wash hands with soap and water, stay home if ill, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces. For those who use sanitary wipes for this cleaning, it is important to know that “there is no such thing as a ‘flushable’ wipe.”
Eric Johnston, Bellingham’s interim Public Works director, says it is important for the effective continuity of the City’s sewage treatment process to keep those wipes out of the waste stream. “Wipes have to be pulled out of the City’s wastewater during collection and treatment – they plug up the whole system,” said Johnston. “Please just put them directly into the trash, as that’s where they will end up.”

VIRUS
The first confirmed case of CoVid-19 was announced today on the Whatcom Health Department website. Fourteen tests are pending. The website in updated each day at noon, and immediately if anything has changed.
https://whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19
The Bellingham Herald has removed it’s paywall from articles about the virus.
https://www.bellinghamherald.com/

Please stay home if you can.

For more information
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information emerges on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also follow DOH & Whatcom County on social media.

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