Nobody can say definitively if, or when, the coronavirus will spread to Whidbey Island. Perhaps the relative isolation of being an island will forestall this.
Then again, the ferries are still running, the bridge isn’t going anywhere and the Navy base is continuing operations.
Hand wringing is inevitable, but hand washing is a lot more effective.
It’s a time to practice common sense and resist the urge to panic.
It’s smart to be prepared in the event you opt to avoid public places in the future. The state Department of Health suggests that people make emergency plans, which includes the gathering of supplies.
Hoarding, however, is unnecessary and counterproductive. One person only needs so much toilet paper and wet wipes.
Again, we don’t panic.
The Whidbey News-Times has been contacted by a number of people who are very upset and want the government and WhidbeyHealth to take drastic measures well beyond the guidelines released by the Center for Disease Control.
People should have some faith in hospital and public health workers. They prepare for this scenario all the time. They are communicating with one another and with state officials.
The Island County commissioners declared an emergency so that resources can be marshaled.
It’s a serious thing. Watching as the novel virus spreads across the world, and our own state, is alarming, as is the fact that ground zero in the country for the virus seems to be not too far away from the Whidbey.
The state Department of Health reports that “the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, both in the United States and around the world.”
But a little perspective might help.
The virus is most dangerous to the elderly and people with other underlying health problems. Most people who get the coronavirus will have symptoms of a mild to moderate flu, health officials say. That’s where it’s important to take this virus seriously — while you may feel able to venture out in the community or go to work, if you have any symptoms whatsoever, please self-quarantine for the safety of those who aren’t as able to fend off the virus’ effects.
Island County set up a public health weekend call center to respond to questions regarding the coronavirus. The call center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8.
Those with questions shouldn’t hesitate to call 360-678-2301.