COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

With so much media available about coronavirus (COVID-19), it can be overwhelming and hard to know what to believe. Use these trusted resources to get the latest, most accurate information:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and Public Health Guidelines 

As the nation’s health protection agency, the CDC offers the latest information on public health issues. Visit their website for:

For public health news specific to the King County area, visit the King County Public Health website for:

COVID-19 Updates

For important updates about learning, the MRC and other information, visit the COVID-19 Updates page.

Watch recent Facebook Live events for COVID-19 updates from Dr. Freddy Chen, SEIU 775 Health Benefits Trust Medical Consultant, and Dr. Leslie Phillips, an epidemiologist and Senior Director of Research Insights & Innovations at SEIU 775 Benefits Group.

We want to keep you updated on the latest information about COVID-19. Facebook Live video streaming events can be joined from any location by visiting the SEIU 775 Benefits Group Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to watch. If you cannot watch live, the videos are available after the event for you to view at any time.

March 16 Facebook Live video:

COVID-19 Updates, March 16, 2020

Drs. Phillips, Chen & Fathi join us to discuss COVID-19 and answer your questions.

Posted by SEIU 775 Benefits Group on Monday, March 16, 2020

March 9 Facebook Live video:

February 26 Facebook Live video:

Caregiver Continuous Health Coverage

For a limited time, if you work fewer than the required 80 hours per month due to COVID-19, you can still get continuous health insurance if you have health coverage through SEIU 775 Benefits Group. Learn more.

Best Practices for Hand Hygiene

Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself,  your family and your client from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy by watching this helpful video.

If you are unable to wash your hands, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Get information on when and how to use hand sanitizer in community settings.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Please see our “Top Caregiver Questions” webpage for the latest on PPE.

We are concerned that in-home caregivers do not have adequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and are therefore putting their health and the health of those they care for at risk. We are calling on all Washington State Local Health Departments and Districts to immediately:

  1. Prioritize access to PPE for caregivers, alongside other essential health care professionals; and
  2. Issue additional guidance for caregivers who cannot access PPE.

In Washington State, there are more than 60,000 long-term care workers who provide critical, hands-on assistance to clients in their home through Medicaid. Home caregivers provide in-home assistance with daily living to older adults and people with disabilities, chronic disease, or cognitive impairments. Caregivers commonly assist clients with activities such as cooking, medication assistance, dressing, bathing, and transferring in and out of bed. A typical care recipient has five chronic conditions and takes over seven classes of medication. The acuity of home care clients equals that of nursing home residents.

Caregivers will inevitably provide services to clients with COVID-19. As the first line of defense for vulnerable populations, home caregivers should be recognized for providing critical front-line care and should be included in priority lists for PPE access. Front-line responders exposed to COVID-19 are at substantial risk of infection. As the pandemic grows, supplies of PPE are dwindling. Masks and other PPE (gowns, face shields, etc.) are essential protections but extremely difficult to access. Without adequate protection, home caregivers are at high risk of exposure and infection, as well as of becoming potential transmission vectors. Caregivers should be given high priority for PPE – along with hospital staff, nursing home staff, and first responders – as professionals working directly with at-risk persons who may be infected with COVID-19.

Providing access to PPE is the best protection for home care workers, but we understand the substantial crisis posed by limited supplies. In addition to prioritizing PPE access for home caregivers, there is also a need to promote safe and effective PPE alternatives to protect caregivers as they wait for supplies to become available. Health systems like Providence St. Joseph have already started to create and test their own PPE alternatives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently acknowledged PPE scarcity and advised on the use of homemade alternatives such as scarves and bandanas for health care providers as a “last resort” to address crisis capacity.

Understanding the reality of scarcity and the critical need to keep this workforce safe, we propose that the linked guidance (“Draft recommendations for protection of home caregivers in the context of limited PPE”) serve as a framework for public health messaging to those caring for individuals with COVID-19 in the home setting, whether as formal or informal caregivers.

Right now, caregivers in Washington State are providing in-home care to many clients who are symptomatic with illnesses that could well be COVID-19. We urge you to act immediately in issuing guidance like the above or a variation thereof that you deem appropriate to reduce their risk of COVID-19 infection. Continuing to advise caregivers to use only approved PPE is unrealistic and unsustainable. Front-line responders deserve and demand protection from high-risk exposures. Home care workers should be prioritized for proper PPE, but when gold standard protections are not available, a harm-reduction approach that is communicated with transparency gives caregivers actionable ways to reduce their risk of COVID-19 infection until PPE supplies are restored.

Health Benefits

Please visit the COVID-19 Health Benefits page to get the latest information on testing, the importance of virtual care, and insurance if you do not have healthcare coverage already.

Financial Resources

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created a lot of uncertainty about financial security. To get help right now, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has created a list of  financial resources, including mortgage payment, utility payment and emergency assistance programs.

As more resources become available, they will also be posted to the COVID-19 Resources page.

Get a free cell phone and free minutes every month to take care of your basic and emergency needs, if you are a Washington state resident experiencing financial hardship. Visit the Lifeline Assistance page to learn more.

 

Self-care Resources

Many people are feeling stressed and anxious about COVID-19, and it’s important to cope with these feelings both for your emotional and physical health.

There are several self-care programs designed for caregivers. Find out which one is best for you:

  • Tools for Calm – Learn to use mindfulness to relieve stress.
  • Ginger – Get support and guidance from a certified coach on your touchscreen phone.
  • Resource Finder – Receive work/life resources that are right for you.

Training Updates

If you are looking for COVID-19-related training updates, please visit the COVID-19 Updates page for the latest information.