The following was written by Public Health Insider, the blog for Public Health — Seattle and King County
In the midst of an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, more than 500 King County nurses are issuing an urgent call to renew efforts to turn around this troubling trend.
“It’s been a tough year, and we’ve all sacrificed so much to stay safe. But now, with cases skyrocketing in King County, it’s more important than ever to stop the spread,” reads the nurses’ message, published Sunday in a special wrap-around section of the Seattle Times.
Nurses have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis since the pandemic’s beginning and they have seen firsthand what happens when our health care system is strained by a flood of COVID patients. With an appeal to act now, before our hospitals are overwhelmed, these 500 nurses urge King County residents:
“Please, for us, for you and your families, and for our whole community, wear a mask whenever you’re in public, particularly indoors. Stay at least 6 feet from others outside your household. Avoid gatherings, especially inside, and reduce travel and other activities away from home. Get tested right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms or were in close contact with someone who is infected.”
Free COVID tests are available at drive-through and walk-up sites all over King County; head to https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/testing.aspx to find the testing site closest to you.
We are at a precarious moment in the outbreak. King County’s case counts are more than twice as high as our previous peaks in April and July. This comes just as we are moving into the cold months and winter holidays, when we expect the virus to spread more readily. It is more important than ever to limit our travel, avoid gatherings and take extra precautions around our vulnerable friends, family and neighbors – especially those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions.
“As a nurse, I am seeing my hospital start to fill up again with COVID-19 cases. While we’re not at a crisis point yet, we need to come together as a community – once again – to flatten the curve so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. I am urging our entire community to do what we know from experience helps reduce COVID-19 transmission. Please wear a mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and avoid gatherings outside of your household. Nurses want to be here for you; we need you to be here for us and our community,” said Teresa Wren, RNC, BSN, Labor & Delivery.
Getting our outbreak under control can seem daunting. But as King County nurses remind us: “We’ve flattened the curve before, and we can do it again.”