Nobody can say 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.
It’s a time to practice common sense. Hand wringing may be inevitable, but hand washing is a lot more effective.
It’s smart to be prepared in the event you want to avoid public places in the future. The state Department of Health suggests that people make emergency plans, which includes the gathering of supplies.
But hoarding probably isn’t helpful. One person only needs so much toilet paper and wet wipes.
Avoid panic. The South Whidbey Record has been contacted by a number of people who are very upset and want the government and hospital to take drastic measures well beyond the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
People should have some faith in hospital and public health workers. They prepare for this scenario all the time. They are communicating with each other and with the state. 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 is alarming, as is the fact that ground zero for the virus seems to be not too far away from the island.
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 health problems. Most people who get the coronavirus will have symptoms of a mild to moderate flu, health officials say.
The 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.