Healthy Living: Feeling secure as counties enter into new phases


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We are seeing counties move into the next phase of the governor’s safe start plan, and there are still some questions about what we need to be doing to stay safe during this time.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt worked alongside Regence and Seattle area business leaders this week to help our community prepare as the economy starts to reopen.

“The process of learning to balance between the need for group or social distancing measures and individual actions, which will require all of us to begin to make individual decisions," Leavitt says.

Dr. Drew Oliveira is the Senior Executive Medical Director with Regence, and he says there are steps we can take and that businesses can take to ensure we are staying safe during these phases.

“You can be concerned about your health and insecure about going out into other environments," he says.

Dr. Oliveira says we can focus on movement and the flow of establishments when we enter them.

“If we are all moving in the same direction, you’re not gonna actually cross others and cross that path, and you notice that in grocery stores and things like that where you have aisles going in one direction, so everyone moves in the same direction, that is helpful when limiting that spread.”

Next, Dr. Oliveira says the amount of time we spend in those establishments can really make a difference in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

“The longer you are in proximity to others, the more risk you have, so you want to limit the amount of time that you’re in that proximity.”

The proximity recommendation is still 6 feet, and if you are in a group where someone is coughing, yelling, singing, or even talking loudly, Dr. Oliveira says that proximity should increase a little, give yourself more space.

The size of the group also matters. How big is the group? How close together do you have to be? Dr. Olivera says limit the size of the group and that will improve the proximity.

When it comes to social distancing though, Leavitt says “we can’t use it too long, because the side effects are dramatic in terms of the economy and in terms of the impact is it having on people.”

Dr. Oliveira also says that limiting the things we touch, and continuing to be diligent about hand washing will also help. He says businesses can work to create secure environments by controlling where customers can enter and exit as well as maintaining safe social distancing during this time.


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