Island Senior: Coping With Coronavirus — Phase 2

Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:14 am by

Howie Rosen­feld and Car­rie Lach­er — Con­tributed photo

Island Senior is a reg­u­lar col­umn on the San Juan Update writ­ten by Peg­gy Sue McRae…

It is sum­mer in the San Juans and San Juan Coun­ty has moved into Phase 2 of our state’s four-phased Safe Start Wash­ing­ton plan. What does this mean for island seniors as local busi­ness­es slow­ly begin to open up, the weath­er improves, and in spite of var­i­ous bans still in place vis­i­tors inevitably arrive?

For us seniors, not much has changed. Seniors are still “strong­ly encour­aged to stay home to the full extent pos­si­ble”. The Mullis Cen­ter will con­tin­ue to focus on facil­i­tat­ing the Meals on Wheels pro­gram and seniors are still advised to gro­cery shop ear­ly in the day, dur­ing senior hours, or arrange to pick-up sup­plies with­out going into stores.

With sum­mer weath­er though, and more peo­ple out and about, I asked Bren­dan Cow­an, Direc­tor of San Juan Coun­ty Emer­gency Man­age­ment and Dr. House of Even­tide Health what advise they had for seniors. They both advised pro­ceed­ing very cau­tious­ly and tak­ing it slow. 

If you’ve been han­ker­ing to get some pro­fes­sion­al groom­ing for your­self or your dog it is advised you give it a few weeks to give your pro­fes­sion­al groomers, or oth­er pro­fes­sion­als, a chance to adapt to their new require­ments. Be patient, they are oper­at­ing under new and strict lim­i­ta­tions. While it is not rec­om­mend­ed, if you must, be care­ful, wear a mask, and wash your hands.

One thing is clear, besides stay­ing home; wear­ing masks, social dis­tanc­ing and wash­ing our hands remain our great­est tools for pro­tect­ing our com­mu­ni­ty and our­selves from the COVID-19 virus. Masks are required to enter any busi­ness in the coun­ty. It is how we keep our com­mu­ni­ty safe.

Mask with “eye­glass hold­er” String — Con­tributed photo

Islanders typ­i­cal­ly meet chal­lenges with cre­ativ­i­ty and resource­ful­ness. I asked Car­rie Lach­er if I could share with you a handy mask inno­va­tion for hik­ing around the island. Howie Rosen­feld tied “eye­glass hold­er” strings to each ear loop of their masks so that they can let the masks hang around their necks when not in use while keep­ing them handy should they encounter a fel­low hik­er. As for resource­ful, Car­rie made their masks with fab­ric Howie brought back from Thai­land where he did malar­ia erad­i­ca­tion with the Peace Corp in the 60s. That is some lega­cy fabric!

So while not much has changed for some of us as we enter phase 2 the good news is we have been suc­cess­ful so far in keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ty safe. I leave you then with the words of Dr. House, “Stay pos­i­tive. Be kind and enjoy some sun and fresh air.” 

Link to: San Juan Coun­ty Phase 2
Link to: Safe Start Wash­ing­ton plan

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