March 26 update – Socially Distant edition
I met this morning with some elected Reno County officials, as well as the directors of the Reno County Health Department and Reno County Emergency Management. Here are a few of my takeaways from that meeting.
- Take the warnings seriously. Not kind of seriously. Not “Meh, I’m gonna do whatever I want.” Seriously. Don’t go messing around town unless it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t gather in big groups. Stay 6 feet away from people. Wash your hands – all day every day. Why? Reno County is up to 6 confirmed cases, and the state is up to 168 cases as of Thursday. In truth, the unknown number of cases is likely much higher. We haven’t had enough tests to test everyone who shows symptoms. The testing protocol is tight – so there’s a near certainty that people are in our community, carrying and transmissing the Covid-19 virus.
- Nationally, we have a shortage of gloves, masks, gowns and other protective gear for front-line health workers. And that includes here. There is a national emergency stockpile, but decisions about how those supplies are allocated are largely out of our control. And there’s a lot of competition for these needed supplies. Some health workers are re-using respirator masks. If you want to see just how dire this situation is, watch this video. https://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/100000007052136/coronavirus-elmhurst-hospital-queens.html
- Local health and emergency officials are dealing with something that is completely new, with limited resources, in an environment that is wholly unfamiliar to everyone. We don’t know how to do this. We know what the science of epidemiology tells us of how this virus spreads. But no one alive today has dealt with anything of this magnitude. Ever. Despite that, they are working around the clock to contact trace known cases of Covid-19, and they’re working to put in place public health policies that protect the public, yet don’t cause unnecessary alarm. They deserve our support and encouragement – and we owe it to them to take their concerns seriously and react accordingly.
Also, if you want to really dig deep into what has health officials concerned and why they’re pushing so hard for social distancing and self isolation, read this.
Here are some updates from the state.
Unemployment benefits – Kansas Department of Labor
The department went from historically low unemployment claims to historically high unemployment claims – meaning the system has been overwhelmed. The department has pulled in additional staff and resources to keep up with demand. It’s best to file your claim online before attempting to call the department. Secretary Garcia will also update information via Facebook Live every Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Reset passwords – https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/ContactFormClaimant.aspx
Business information help – https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/ContactForm.aspx.
Business questions about work share – KDOL.SharedWork@ks.gov
KDOL FAQ at https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/FAQs.aspx.
Weekly claim information – https://klic.dol.ks.gov/gsipub/index.asp?docid=735
Kansas Department of Health and Environment is still your best resource for information. There are daily updates, and useful information for families and business. https://govstatus.egov.com/coronavirus
Executive Orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly https://governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/executive-orders/
Kansas Department of Education https://www.ksde.org/
And Kansas State Board of Education https://www.ksde.org/Board
Here you can find previous resource documents I posted.
For local information, on Facebook follow the Reno County Emergency Management (@RENOEMA), the United Way of Reno County (@unitedwayofrenocounty) and the Hutchinson Community Foundation (@Hutchcf). Also, the City of Hutchinson (@hutchinsonks) posts good information.
Also, be sure to check out this cool site https://rallyreno.org/. It allows you to support local businesses that have been affected by the Covid-19 virus – and leverages monetary support for those most affected in our community.
Take care of yourself. Follow the recommendations of health professionals. Check on your friends and loved ones. If you feel out of sorts, give someone a call or do something that makes you feel better.
And go ahead and watch Tiger King. Sure, maybe in a normal situation it wouldn’t be your thing. But we’re not in a normal situation, so go ahead an indulge the ridiculous and bizarre – and because you won’t be going out in public, no one will ever have to know that you watched it.