As nurses and health­care workers providing essen­tial care to patients in hospi­tals, clinics, and housing and shelters across Washington state, we applaud Gov. Jay Inslee and the leaders of King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties for taking the neces­sary step of limiting large gather­ings during this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prohibiting events is a common-sense measure that will help protect our commu­nity members from the novel coronavirus. 

Lower the peak full

This measure will also help front­line health care workers and our health care system as a whole effec­tively respond to this crisis by flattening the curve” of coron­avirus patients seeking care. As health care workers on the front lines of responding to this public health emergency, we support all efforts to reduce the impact on our ability to provide care by lowering the daily number of patients coming into a system that is already stressed by the growing number of COVID-19 patients. 

We under­stand that state and local govern­ments and public health agencies are responding proac­tively to the existing risks created by this new disease in an effort to minimize those risks and keep our health­care delivery system acces­sible to all who may need it. 

In our role as caregivers, we are often called on to tell patients the truth about their health. The truth we want our commu­nity to hear is this: Social distancing, like that enforced by the measure announced today, is one of the very best ways to prevent the spread of epidemic illness. This tempo­rary change in behavior will help protect all of us from the spread of COVID-19, as well as from cold and flu illnesses common during this time of year. 

The most vulner­able COVID-19 patients — those age 60 or older or with under­lying health condi­tions — may need inten­sive hospital care, and it is essen­tial that we preserve hospital inten­sive and critical care beds for those most vulner­able patients. Social distancing is a public health measure that will help prevent our health system from being overwhelmed, and will make it easier for anyone with the novel coron­avirus to access neces­sary hospital care. 

As nurses and health care workers, we care deeply for our patients and take pride in the roles we play on the front lines of patient care, partic­u­larly during a time of height­ened concern for commu­nity health. Our continued safety during this outbreak is critical to our ability to continue to provide quality patient care. We continue to call on the CDC to proac­tively and effec­tively target the supply of respi­ra­tors and use other controls to reduce the risk of infec­tion in health care workers, knowing that our profes­sionals are at the highest risk of infec­tion. We will continue to work closely with health care employers and with federal and local public health agencies to ensure all caregivers have access to the highest level of personal protec­tive equip­ment avail­able so we can continue to provide the high-quality health care our commu­ni­ties require.

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