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What to learn about Washington state's 'tripledemic' – Crosscut

How frightened ought to I be?

Whereas the speak on social media is encouraging renewed panic about COVID-19, well being knowledge in Washington state indicates case numbers have been steady and comparatively low since final January. Our hospitals aren’t stuffed with COVID sufferers, and the statewide demise charge stays beneath one a day. A few of this knowledge is tougher to trace nowadays as a result of individuals who check at house aren’t all reporting their constructive outcomes to their docs or to the state tracking app, WA Notify.

Well being officers are very involved, nonetheless, about one thing individuals are calling the “tripledemic,” COVID plus the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The Washington Department of Health reports the unfold of flu could be very excessive at the moment, and 26 individuals have died from the flu this season. And as dad and mom of younger kids and daycare suppliers will inform you, RSV is a continuing concern or a actuality for a lot of. Younger kids, older adults and other people with compromised immune methods are more likely to get very sick or develop medical issues from this virus. State well being officers reported earlier this week that RSV instances could also be on a downward pattern in Washington, whereas the flu is on the rise.

Do I must put on a masks?

Neither the state nor Washington counties mandate mask-wearing at the moment, however well being officers are strongly advising everybody to put on a high-quality, well-fitting masks, comparable to a KN95 or N95, when round different individuals indoors as a hedge in opposition to COVID-19, the flu and RSV.

Masks are nonetheless required in Washington medical amenities, long-term care amenities and prisons.

Should you’re not sure the way to discover a high-quality masks, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention offers a guide to masks permitted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health.

The place can I get examined?

Most individuals who’ve signs or have been uncovered to somebody who has COVID-19 are actually testing at house. The federal authorities reopened its portal for ordering free house exams final week. They’re additionally available from the state and from some medical health insurance firms.

Should you require a extra correct in-person PCR check,they’re nonetheless obtainable — although not as extensively as earlier than. The state maintains a list of active testing sites.

The state advises testing for the next causes: Once you’re experiencing possible COVID symptoms; if you’ve had a identified publicity to somebody who examined constructive; earlier than and after touring; and if you’re planning to assemble with a gaggle of individuals, particularly when they could be vulnerable to a number of problems.

The Division of Labor and Industries additionally has workplace guidance on coronavirus. Employers are required to maintain staff out of the office for at the very least 5 days in the event that they check constructive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic.

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