October 16, 2020
Dear Clinic Members,
Today’s newsletter will cover a few different topics. First, an update on flu shots. Then, we’ll touch base on holiday planning and on the upcoming flu season. Lastly, we want to update you on the evolving scientific understanding of the Covid virus.
We have been conscientiously working to get patients scheduled for their flu shots on a rolling basis as we receive our shipments of vaccine. The supply has been arriving in waves rather than all at once this year, and there have been shortages due to the increased demand. Do call if you have questions about scheduling your shot with us at the office. If you receive your flu shot at a pharmacy or at another provider’s office, please let us know.
At this point in the year, many of us are starting to solidify our holiday plans, and some patients have inquired about how the pandemic might affect their holiday season. This is a complicated issue, fraught with conflicting priorities. On the one hand, we believe that the numbers of covid infections will continue to rise over the coming months, and both travel and family gatherings or parties are potential contributors to viral transmission. On the other hand, we recognize the importance of family and cultural traditions, especially in supporting emotional wellbeing.
We suggest reimagining some traditions in order to prevent the spread of Covid19. If it’s not an option to have a “Zoom Dinner” for your holiday get-together, we hope that you can consider activities and gatherings that are held in outdoor spaces. If you are gathering with people outside of your immediate household for a meal, keep the amount of time you are maskless to an absolute minimum.
We especially want to reinforce the importance of following the guidelines in Washington’s Safe Start plan as you consider your holiday plans. Currently, Kitsap County remains in phase 2 of that plan. This phase includes the following guidelines on permissible activities:
Outdoor recreation involving 5 or fewer people outside your household (camping, beaches, etc.)
Gathering with no more than 5 people outside your household per week
Essential travel and limited non-essential travel for activities that are permissible under Modified Phase 1 and Phase 2
One has to take care of one’s mental and emotional health, and traveling to see family members (or receiving a visit from family members) might be part of this. At the same time, we have to remember that no man is an island and our movements cause ripples that can extend far beyond our intentions. Any travel increases the risk of getting and spreading the coronavirus.One might debate whether traveling for holiday plans is essential or non-essential, but our view is that in most cases it should be considered non-essential.
We appreciated this Seattle Times article regarding holiday plans:
This additional article is in the same vein:
We see it as inevitable over the coming months that some of us will develop symptoms of respiratory infection, along with understandable anxiety about the implications of these symptoms. This article has an excellent summary regarding differences between the flu (viral influenza), the common cold, and Covid. We recommend that you bookmark it so that you can easily refer to it if needed.
Since the evolving science is pointing more and more to the airborne route as a significant part of Covid transmission, it is becoming that much more important for folks to all wear masks and to avoid shared indoor spaces as much as possible. We have seen a lot of improper mask-wearing over the last several months, and have also heard a lot from patients about annoyances caused by mask-wearing. In that vein, we share these tips on dealing with masks:
We are so grateful for your ongoing patience, encouragement and expressions of support. We continue to be available for your medical care and questions. We end this newsletter on a note of perspective: there is still much in our world to inspire us and recharge our spirits, and we believe that undertaking regular “awe walks” should be a part of everyone’s routine.
We remain committed to your care and well-being.
Dr. Crandell and Staff