Laura Osciadacz

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As we find ourselves in the midst of an event that will go down in history, now is the time to define how future generations will view our response to the global pandemic, COVID-19 in Kittitas County.

Kittitas County Board of Commissioners declared a State of Emergency on March 6, 2020, to provide for additional resources beyond our community’s financial capacity. An Emergency Operation Center (EOC) is currently operating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff members in the EOC are working with school-based and community partners, social service providers, emergency operations, healthcare providers, law enforcement, and emergency service providers in order to support the citizens of Kittitas County.

The state of Washington is also doing their part. Currently there are resources available to support economic retention and recovery related to the coronavirus. Some areas of assistance include: financial assistance, export assistance, employer and worker assistance, and insurance assistance. Resources for Washington businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19 can be found at the Department of Revenue’s website.

When viewing social media posts made by community members, I have not been surprised by the amount of support offering assistance with childcare, food, and other ways to assist during this unprecedented time. As a Commissioner, I have had community groups reach out wanting to make our situation better. This is just one reason why Kittitas County such a wonderful place to live. I personally am taking responsible actions by engaging in social distancing and avoiding unnecessary social engagements. My elderly parents are currently at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. During the COVID- 19 outbreak in our community they will be staying home as much as possible to further reduce their risk of being exposed. Our family will be working together in an effort to deliver groceries, run errands, and shop for them during this time.

Kittitas County is well known for our ability to rally together when the going gets tough. This is another one of those moments in history that will define us as a community. We must ban together and take care of our neighbors. I ask you to assist where you can. Right now we have a shortage of necessities in our stores with items such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies. If you have excess please ease anxiety by either not overbuying or share with others in need.

Some other actions we can take as individuals include: sharing only trusted sources of information, and take breaks from watching or reading news stories. This includes social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can cause emotional stress. Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy, go outside and exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Take time for yourself and do things you enjoy.

It is also important to remember that children often respond to how adults react around them. When we remain calm and confident, we will provide the best support for our children. A few ways we can support our children during this time include: listening and answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak with facts, keep a routine — even with the school closures we can create new schedules that incorporate learning and fun activities, and most of all we need to be good role models. As adults we need to lead by example by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, exercising and connecting with friends and family.

These are trying times, but WE ARE KITTITAS COUNTY. We are a resilient community that is full of grit and perseverance. Together we will get through this, and after weathering the storm we will be stronger than ever.

Laura Osiadacz is a Kittitas County Commissioner.

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