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It will be a rare person who does not endure hardship, whether physical (illness), emotional (opportunities lost/delayed) or financial (job/income loss) during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In other words, we’re all in this together.

The fact that most everyone is suffering is not cause for cheer, but what it does mean is that Kittitas County residents will help each other.

This is what Kittitas County residents do. Typically, it is responding to a person or family undergoing a hardship, but it extends to communities and sections within the county impacted by events like fires or floods.

One thing that stands out about rural communities is there is both a strong sense of independence and cohesiveness.

Independence means people strive to get things done on their own and cohesiveness means they won’t hesitate to help a neighbor.

In a way, rural communities were built for the challenges of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Since we have fewer residents, our COVID-19 numbers are going to be lower than our urban neighbors, but the other factor in our favor is people tend to disperse to engage in activities.

While people in the Puget Sound core may look forward to the weekend to go out to a show or concert and favorite restaurant — all of which involving the clustering of people — Kittitas County residents long to get out on the river fishing, or the hills hiking or on horseback out on a trail, all things easily done in compliance with social distancing rules.

That may be why you see more people disregarding COVID-19 restrictions in bigger cities. They are being asked to dramatically change behavior, to give up accustomed activities. While people enjoy going out to their favorite restaurants and bars in Kittitas County, there are plenty of activities people enjoy that can be safely conducted as long as they free from the virus.

Getting through this period requires focusing on those moments of normalcy and enjoyment. There is plenty to stress over, but stressing constantly will hinder your ability to overcome these challenges.

This also is a crisis that is being faced by families together. We are a family-oriented county so even if enforced, confined family time can be a challenge, Kittitas County families want to be together at times like these.

It is insensitive to say there are “silver linings” in the COVID-19 crisis because there are true hardships being felt across the globe, but there are strengths within each of us and our community as a whole that will allow us survive this together to the best of our abilities.

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