Preparing and preventing; stopping the spread of coronavirus

Hand Washing

SPOKANE, Wash. — As of Monday evening, 231 Washingtonians are under public health supervision for Coronavirus, which includes a member of the Gonzaga community and a Grant County resident; both of whom are in isolation and waiting for test results. The message from Governor Jay Inslee: take the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick.

“We can wash our hands often, we can avoid shaking hands, we can sanitize frequently touched surfaces, and most importantly… stay home if you are sick. Preventing future cases will require all of us to do all of these things,” Governor Jay Inslee said.

RELATED: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on coronavirus: ‘We’re all in this together’

There are 101 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the U.S. Worldwide, 3,000 people have died from it and over 90,000 have been infected. There are infections on every continent except Antarctica.

“We can all be leaders in this effort against this virus,” Governor Inslee said. “Our healthcare professionals say that the easiest way to defeat this virus are some of the common sense things that we all have control of.”

It comes down to daily habits many of us learned when we were children—wash your hands frequently, at least 20 seconds each time. Cover your cough and sneeze. Most importantly, if you’re sick, you should not be out and about.

In Washington, health experts want you to prepare, not panic.

“The virus is in our community. It’s circulating. It’s exposing people. It’s infecting people. We have not been able to totally contain it,” said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, UW Metacenter for Pandemic Disease Preparedness.

Coronavirus disease continues to concern people around the globe. Monday morning, state health experts announced the death toll for Coronavirus patients in Washington has grown to six people. And there’s always the possibility that number could rise.

RELATED: 6 dead, 18 infected from coronavirus in Washington state

“Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But you should not be surprised, and you should be somewhat prepared,” Dr. Rabinowitz said.

If you believe you have Coronavirus, Sacred Heart Medical Center said do not immediately go to the emergency room. Call your doctor first. They said this reduces the risk of accidental exposure.

RELATED: Feeling sick? Don’t go to the ER, Sacred Heart health officials say

The majority of COVID-19 cases are minor and many won’t require medical interventions. Exposing more people to the virus increases the risk that someone with a weakened immune system could get the virus.

“Freaking out doesn’t really get you anywhere. We really need to take reasonable measures,” Dr. Rabinowitz said.

Technology is already advancing. State health experts say they can now screen 200 tests for the virus each day. This week, the University of Washington will also have testing capabilities and more patients can get screened. Since last week, Washington has been in a containment phase.

“We are still trying to contain to the greatest extent possible. But at the same time, we’re pivoting towards a more community-based approach,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a health officer for Public Health, Seattle & King County.

Flu season prevention is a common community-based approach.

“We understand that people still need to carry on with their lives, just like we do during influenza season. So we give people good advice on how they can reduce the risk, how they can manage if they do get sick,” Dr. Duchin said.

A good rule of thumb from health experts is to think of this as preparing for a natural disaster situation, like a storm or a power outage. If you had to hunker down for a week, do you have enough of the necessities to last you? Medications, food and water are all must-haves in case of an emergency.