Want To Keep Parks Open?
Lots Of Questions Addressed
POLST Questions And Answer
Why Boil Water?
Advance Planning Video
Food Bank Deliveries Correction
Get Well Cards
Wanted: Salvage Fence Materials
Golden Retriever Is Home
Correction and More Info
Vigorous Exercise Spreading Virus?
Exercising Outdoors With a Face Mask
WANT TO KEEP PARKS OPEN?
Please follow the guidelines!
Practice safe social distancing and then head home
by Nicole Oliver, Interim Parks & Recreation Director / April 10, 2020 (Friday)
Given the beautiful weather, and the lack of anything else to do, many people are using Bellingham’s park and trail system for exercise and fresh air. This is not the time to pull out your blankets, lounge in hammocks or spread out a picnic. Please help us keep our parks and trails open by following Whatcom County Health Department guidelines and Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order by practicing safe social distancing, keep moving and then return home. Below are answers to our frequently asked questions.
Are City Parks and Recreation facilities open?
Parks and park restrooms are open, but there are restrictions in place. Parking at community parks has been limited. Playgrounds, sports courts, fenced dog off leash areas, and ball fields are closed. Open spaces and trails remain open. Indoor facilities, the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center and stadiums are closed. For a complete list please go to our website: www.cob.org/parks.
What can I do or not do at a park during this time?
Under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order”, exercise is allowed. What you should NOT be doing is picnicking, sunbathing, hanging in a hammock, playing basketball or hanging out. Come to the park, take a walk and get some fresh air, and go home. Parks Ambassadors and staff are monitoring parks and reminding visitors of the guidelines.
Why are park restrooms open?
The City is dedicated to keeping parks and trails open – including park restrooms – throughout all operational periods of the Covid-19 crisis. Restroom availability is imperative to public health, especially while non-essential businesses remain closed to the public. People using parks need a place to wash their hands. If we close all public restrooms, unsheltered people and others who use and depend on park restrooms would be left without options, which creates additional environmental and health hazards to the public and staff.
Why did you limit parking at some parks?
Sunny days, warm temperatures and different work schedules make our beautiful parks hard to resist. Reducing parking helps keep people closer to home and encourages more effective social distancing by limiting how many people are driving to parks and parking in community lots. It has proven to be effective so far.
Why are sports courts closed?
Sports courts (basketball, tennis, pickleball, etc.) are closed because there are many touch points on the court elements that could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, it is very difficult to maintain or enforce social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart during more active/aggressive sport play.
Where can I bring my dog?
The fenced off leash areas at Padden and Squalicum Creek parks are closed. Please do not bring your dog onto ballfields – this is always prohibited. Leashed dogs are allowed on all parks and trails. Unfenced off-leash areas are open, but please keep your dog under control to avoid conflict or unnecessary contact with others.
When will Park facilities be open again?
We will open these facilities when the Governor and state and local authorities determine it is safe. We anticipate that there will be additional guidelines to work with once we do open again.
I was on a trail and someone came too close to me. How are you enforcing social distancing guidelines?
Social distancing is an individual and community effort. We have posted 75 signs on our public trails reminding people to maintain appropriate distancing on trails. If you choose to use a public trail, go during times that are less busy, and try less “popular” routes. Please use our park and trail guides or park-finder app to find trails close to your home. If you are not comfortable on public trails, staying in your own neighborhood using sidewalks and bike lanes is another great way to get exercise.
Will Cordata Park open this year? What about swim docks at Bloedel-Donovan?
We are optimistic that Cordata Park will open later this summer. We are still working on permitting and other planning for the docks and lifeguard program at Bloedel-Donovan, but the docks and guards will not be in place until 2021.
What about summer events and programs?
All programs and events at City facilities have been cancelled through May 31, 2020. This includes volunteer work parties. Parks and Recreation staff are working hard to plan for summer. It is unlikely that summer programs and events will look like they have in the past.
What other agency parks and public spaces are open?
See agency websites for details on closures:
- Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest
- Washington State Parks (Larrabee, Fragrance Lake, Birch Bay)
- Port of Bellingham
- Whatcom County
- Department of Natural Resources
Interim Parks & Recreation Director
POLST QUESTIONS AND ANSWER
[From Mickie Jackson]
1. Could you ask Dr. Lombard if he knows if it is possible to get a POLST filled in on a phone appointment with my doctor? Then he mails it to me with his signature? I don’t want to go to a clinic during the coronavirus, but I want a POLST because of my diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. The video & slides are a big help. Thank you.
2. I want a POLST form. Can my doctor mail me the form with her signature on it, then I fill it in at home? Thank you——————
These are great questions in this time of uncertainty! I think the best way to do it is to discuss the POLST via telemedicine with your primary physician/provider, have them fill in the responses to the 4 sections, sign it and mail it to you for your signature and safe keeping. This does miss the step of having the fully completed POLST copy delivered to your provider but you could use a smart phone/other scanning app to email back to them or, if able, make a copy on your printer and it send back. You would want to let their office know that discussing/signing a POLST is the purpose of the visit.
Relative to the question of the physician sign and mail it, probably not a good idea. For a physician that is sorta like signing a blank prescription and sending it to the patient to fill in. I hope this helps.
Bill Lombard (MD)
WHY BOIL WATER?
FYI, here’s the scoop on “boil some water.”
Since the discoveries of Pasteur and Lister in the late 1800s, it was known that bacteria introduced into the uterus at the time of birth caused Puerperal Fever or Childbed Fever, the major killer of moms of newborns throughout the ages. Up to 40% of moms delivering in hospitals (where doctors didn’t understand the way the disease was transmitted) died of it! …until the late 1800s.. Doctors and midwives learned from these scientists that pre-boiling the sheets and towels they used during and right after delivery, when the uterine cervix was still open, cut the infection rate markedly. It’s the same principle as washing your hands in soap and water for 20 seconds! Hence “boil the water” during labor. It saved one helluva lot of lives!!!! ~ Hank Levine
ADVANCE PLANNING VIDEO
This Portland nurse delivers the straight scoop on what we should consider before we get sick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsDgRETbeM0&t=46s (based on what was known as of April 1).
FOOD BANK DELIVERIES CORRECTION
There’s an error in the item on food bank deliveries. The Bellingham Food Bank really needs to be credited in this article, because this is the agency providing the food. The deliveries are performed by volunteers from CERT and Search & Rescue, under coordination of the Food Bank.
GET WELL CARDS
I would like to add that adults can make cards too. since i neither sew nor have a machine, i found a way to be involved that i love . . . making cards of good cheer and wellness. and, it can be a family affair as well – the friend i am partnering with has included her family in the making of the cards as well. it’s a lovely way to be involved, spread hope and joy and stay home! ~ Pam Sinnett
I have rhubarb to give away. If you’d like some, text me and I’ll harvest some and leave it in the alley with your name on it.
Does anyone have any large cardboard boxes they’d like to get rid of? Cardboard has a very short half-life for virus transmission so its quite safe to give away/pickup during these times, and I’m trying to organize the massive amounts of soon to be donated goods I have in home!
WANTED SALVAGE FENCE MATERIALS
Hey neighbors! We’d like to build a small 6′ fence in our side yard and are hoping to make it from reused materials. We’d love to know about any cedar scrap/fence/barn wood (or corrugated metal) you might have laying around. If you’re building a new fence we’d be happy to take your old cedar boards off your hands – we’ll haul. Longer pieces are best but we can make any length work, really. Thanks so much!
GOLDEN RETRIEVER IS HOME
We found her home! The mailman recognized her and told us where she lived. ~ Emily Thompson
VIGOROUS EXERCISE SPREADING VIRUS?
Two different readers have brought this new article to my attention, explaining why the prior article was wrong.
EXERCISING OUTDOORS WITH A FACE MASK
By Gretchen Reynolds
April 10, 2020, New York Times
Many of you had questions about running or cycling while wearing a face mask. Here’s what the experts have to say.
When we asked readers what they still wished to know about exercising during the coronavirus crisis, one issue topped all others. People wondered about running or cycling in a face mask and how it would affect their breathing, performance, chances of spreading the virus and even vision.
To find out, I spoke with a number of physiologists and other scientists about what is known or at least suspected about wearing a facial covering while exercising and what types of masks and fabrics might work best during workouts.
The researchers cautioned that little is known about heavy breathing during aerobic exercise and how it affects viral spread. But they had plenty to say about fit, spit, perceived exertion, thermoregulation and facial saunas. What follows are their suggestions — and cautions — about masks and exercise.
Do I have to wear a mask during outdoor exercise?
This answer is more about policy and politeness than viral spread. In general, outdoor exercise, with or without a mask, seems to be safe, according to most experts.
“I think relatively little Covid-19 transmission would occur outdoors, except perhaps in large crowds,” says Benjamin Cowling, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong and the senior author of a study published in Nature this month that looked at breathing, viral shedding and masks. “Running is good for health,” he says, “and transmission risk should be minimal, both for others, if a runner were infected, or for the runner, if they passed by infected people.”
Even so, most of us probably should cover our faces while we exercise outside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone now wear a mask of some kind when they leave home, and some municipalities require a facial covering if you are outside. Masks also could reassure people with whom you share paths or sidewalks while running and who, in my experience, have started to shy away when we runners pant by.
Does wearing a mask make it harder to run or cycle?
It might, says Bryanne Bellovary, a doctoral student researching exercise in extreme environments at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She has studied the effects in athletes of wearing specialized masks that restrict airflow and simulate altitude training.
“People exercising with a face mask may feel some resistance to breathing, depending on the thickness of the mask material,” she says.
Thijs Eijsvogels, an assistant professor at Radboud University in the Netherlands who studies heat regulation and breathing in athletes, agrees. “If the mouth and nose are fully covered,” he says, “there may be some limitation to the intake of air, which may raise discomfort and attenuate your running performance.”
Masks also “become quickly wet” and wadded as we huff into them heavily while exercising and the moisture in our breath collects there, says Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet, a professor of cardiology and pulmonology at Laval University in Quebec City, who has studied asthma in athletes. Drawing in breaths through damp cloth tends to feel more strenuous than when it is dry. Worse, he says, wet masks “lose antimicrobial efficiency.”
And then there is the oozing. “Exercising in a face mask will create a warm and humid microclimate around your face” as the mask traps your exhaled breaths, says Dr. Grant Lipman, a clinical professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University who studies extreme athletes and wilderness medicine. In effect, the mask turns the bottom half of your face into a “mini-sauna,” he says, leading to a buildup of sweat under the mask and a related rise in nasal secretions.
The result can feel “unpleasant,” he says, if, like so many of us, “you find the sensation of mucus pouring down your face to be unpleasant.” When he and his colleagues studied the effects of wearing a facial covering at night to make breathing more difficult and feign being at altitude, almost half of the participants reported that they could barely sleep because of the “copious nasal secretions” produced under their masks, he says.
Taken as a whole, research and experience show that “running with a mask is clearly different compared to running without a mask,” Dr. Eijsvogels says.
Will my glasses fog up?
Probably, says Morten Hostrup, an associate professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen. “It depends on the size of the mask, the intensity of the breathing, and the size of the glasses,” he says.
Facial coverings that are loose around the nose, allowing warm, wet air to flow upward, will probably cause the most fogging, especially if your glasses sport large lenses and frames that rest snugly against your cheeks. You might be able to reduce any misting by washing the lenses with soapy water before slipping on your mask, according to an advisory for bespectacled surgeons that was published in 2011 in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons.
So, what kind of face covering is best for outdoor exercise?
That choice ultimately requires a difficult balancing of concerns about infection control and discomfort, the experts say.
For the greatest comfort during strenuous exercise, Dr. Lipman says, you might consider a buff, a type of tubular facial covering that doubles as a headband or neck gaiter and can be stretched over the nose and mouth. Buffs often are made from thin, synthetic fabrics designed to reduce heat buildup and, since they are open at the bottom, promote more airflow than standard surgical masks.
But, because of that open, let-in-the-air design, they also present less of a barrier to the outflow or influx of germs than surgical masks or their homemade equivalent.
Surgical masks, meanwhile, may block microbes more effectively. But they are hot and “get wet quickly” during workouts. Dr. Boulet says, which could tempt people to pull them down, undermining any anti-viral benefits.
So, in the end, you may need to consult your judgment and conscience and perhaps try a few different types of masks and fabrics. Whatever choice you land on, though, maintain your distance. “The most important precaution is social distancing,” Dr. Boulet says. Stay at least six feet away from anyone you pass. And disinfect your hands and your mask when you get home.