Information sharing: How to talk about COVID-19 with a loved one

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Information sharing: How to talk about COVID-19 with a loved one


March 2020, COVID-19 update - A newsletter to support King County's developmental disabilities community

Create a household plan Online resources Warning signs


Dear King County Parent and Family Coalition members and friends, Are you looking for tips on how to talk about COVID-19 with a loved one? The following was shared by a mom (and former biomedical researcher and educator) in our network.

While several information memos have come out to help with how we should handle the Corona virus epidemic, no information memos have reached me about how to explain this to those we care for. So, as a former biomedical researcher and educator, here is a starting point. A) There is a bad sickness going around. It can make some people very ill. You don’t need to be scared, but you do need to be careful. There are things you can do. There are things you should not do. B) The best way to protect yourself and others are to the 1-2-3-4’s of disease prevention.

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash.
  2. Don’t touch your face, eyes, or mouth. If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue and then throw it away into the trashcan.
  3. Give everyone around you lots of space. This is called social distancing. You don’t want to share anyone else’s germs!
  4. If you do get sick, let someone know and stay home. If you follow the 1-2-3-4’s of disease prevention you will be a public health superhero!

C) Lots of our folks are taught to shake hands, fist bump, and high five as a socially appropriate way of greeting. At the current time, these are NOT going to be well received. Instead, explain to your client or loved one that a small wave is a better greeting option. D) Many community programs are being cancelled due to the coronavirus spread. Let folks know this is to help keep people safe. Help your loved one develop a small of list of activities to help them stay busy. (My daughter is keeping busy with art projects, working with her dog, trying out new recipes, and beginning to plan her spring garden.) E) If folks do need to go out into the community for work or necessities, consider going at nonpeak times, often 10 am to noon and again between 1 and 2 pm.  Consider using online library resources, grocery delivery services, and online entertainment. Visit parks when they are less crowded. Above all: Keep safe. Stay healthy. And enjoy all the days of your life. I hope this helps. Dr. Julie Ann Avila Anni’s mom


Create a household plan of action

Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. You should base the details of your household plan on the needs and daily routine of your household members.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has planning resources: to help.


Helpful links (and a hotline!)

Washington State Toll Free Hotline

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, or how the virus is spread, please call 1-800-525-0127.

Phone lines are currently staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week. Please note that this call center can not access COVID-19 testing results. For testing inquiries or results, please contact your health care provider.

King County Public Health  webpage for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) This resource is translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Amharic, and Somali. Information available:

Common questions are answered

  • Case number updates
  • What to do if …
  • Anti-stigma resources
  • Call center information
  • Resources for general public, schools, workplaces, travelers, and health care professionals

DDA webpage

The Developmental Disabilities Administration has online resources, including:


Language support

Coronavirus fact sheets in 12 languages

CDC's COVID-19 information:


Symptoms and warning signs

Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.


Note: Many news organizations are taking down pay walls for their coronavirus coverage, as they do in other emergency situations. 


Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy -

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