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COVID-19 Collaboration Calls (6/26/20)

On June 26 OCH hosted a virtual behavioral health collaboration call. The call brought together behavioral health partners, Jefferson County’s Health Officer, and the Salish Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization to discuss opportunities for regional alignment and to explore possible solutions and supports.

Public Health Officer Update:

  • It is now believed that the first COVID-19 cases were introduced to the U.S. in early January and spread more widely during February.

  • Predictions about the future are very volatile and will largely depend on how the public adapts and embraces prevention measures as well as testing and contact tracing capabilities.

  • In WA, the first wave of cases peaked in mid-late March and rural communities were not severely impacted. Western WA is now experiencing a plateau while eastern WA is getting worse. Yakima has exceeded its hospital capacity.

  • Phased re-openings are geared towards economic survival and do not mean it is safer to be out. Expect more closures in the fall. It may be difficult for some schools to remain open. In baseball terms, we are in the bottom of the 2nd inning with a long way to go.

  • There is good evidence to say this is vaccine preventable. A widely available vaccine is likely still 1 year away. Life will get back to normal eventually.

Opportunities for Regional Alignment:

Across the region, organizations are planning for the long-haul and incorporating telehealth into workflows and regular service lines.

Workforce remains a top concern. Staff are stressed and tired. Wearing a mask all day is challenging. Staff are very familiar with self-care strategies and are being pushed to implement as they can. Leadership continue to brainstorm creative ways to support staff:

  • Pizza parties

  • Popsicle wagon

  • T-shirts

  • Promote EAP

  • Allow staff to work from home

  • Provide additional mental health days

  • Share realistic and accurate information