Coronavirus—sometimes called novel (meaning new) coronavirus or COVID-19, which is short for Coronavirus Disease 2019—weighs on the hearts and minds of people around the world. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has become a pandemic. Last week, it was declared a national emergency.
King County has been the U.S. epicenter. Following the advice of epidemiologists at the national Centers for Disease Control, Washington State Department of Health, and Public Health—Seattle & King County, Governor Jay Inslee, County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and other local leaders have made hard decisions to cancel large events, close schools and other services, and limit the number of people who can gather in any one place in order to slow transmission of the virus and protect the public’s health.
If you are following news about coronavirus, you know that older people and anyone with a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or COPD are at particular risk from the disease. The same is true for anyone with a compromised immune system (e.g., cancer patients and anyone with HIV/AIDS).
During the March 13 meeting of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which took place via telephone, we asked staff at Aging and Disability Services to compile best practices for older people, caregivers, and other people. Our goal is to provide you with links to up-to-date information from the most credible sources. I encourage you to share links to the articles in this newsletter with others who need the information.
I want to take this opportunity to send kudos to Public Health—Seattle & King County, and the outstanding leadership of director Patty Hayes. We’ve enjoyed a longstanding partnership and we are in awe of their work to control the spread of disease and keep residents healthy. In addition, we admire the health care professionals throughout King County who have worked tirelessly to serve their patients.
We’re all in this together. Please read the articles in this special edition of AgeWise King County and take them to heart. Information and access to health care is important, but we all have a role to play in maintaining our own health and protecting our loved ones and our community.
Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.