Nurses are on the front­lines of caring for patients, including those with COVID-19, and nurses repre­sented by the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion have been caring for COVID-19 patients here in Washington state. Nurses feel a tremen­dous profes­sional and ethical calling to care for every patient, and they are doing just that. We do need to ensure, though, that nurses and other health care workers are getting the needed protec­tive equip­ment to do their jobs safely. We need to ensure that safety proto­cols for taking care of those with flu-like symptoms are in place. And we need to ensure that nurses who are exposed to the illness get timely direc­tion as to whether they should be in isola­tion or quarantine. 

We have been hearing from members who say they are not getting the protec­tive equip­ment and timely infor­ma­tion they need. The questions and concerns of front­line caregivers need to be addressed as promptly as possible. WSNA is working closely with local public health depart­ments, including Public Health – Seattle & King County, and the Washington State Hospital Associ­a­tion to raise and address these concerns.

WSNA is working very closely with local public health agencies and with the state Depart­ment of Health on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is very impor­tant for the public to know that everyone is working jointly – and very hard – to ensure that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is being responded to in the best and most rapid way possible. The risk to the public remains low. We encourage Washing­to­nians to follow public health guidance on how to prevent disease transmission:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily avail­able, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with tissue and then wash hands.
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid exposure to those exhibiting flu symptoms.
  • Masking in the absence of symptoms is not recom­mended for healthy individ­uals. Those with a chronic or under­lying health condi­tion should contact their health care provider for additional instructions.