A message from our Nooksack Tribal Health Officer

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Social Distancing for Kids Now that Schools are Closed- Flattening the curve.

Research has shown that one of the most common ways Coronavirus is spread is within and between families. The intimacy of contact and the duration of contact both make sharing the disease more common. Now that school is out for several weeks, at least, it is time to think about how to manage family and between family risks. Playdates, parties, sleep overs and dinner with other families should not be the substitute for school because they are likely even higher risk than school. 

Really the direct answer is that now is a time for families to simply be with one another. A few rules at home will help, wash your hands as soon as you come in the door, straight to the sink, remind one another that it is for the full 20 seconds! Our family had a talk at dinnertime to make a plan. My wife suggested a bottle of hand sanitizer right inside the door, my son, immediately said, “We’ll run out too quickly. Why not just all of us wash our hands as soon as we come into the house”. He is also a stickler about how long to scrub, reminding us all it is singing “Happy Birthday TWICE” that counts as long enough to be really clean.

While kids appear to get infected less often than adults and appear to not get as sick as adults, that is not always true. If there is a person over 60 years old at home we can show how much we love them by practicing social distancing and good hand washing so that they are safe. Most of the time the bug has to land on an object when someone coughs and then others get it on their hands by touching those objects and then eventually touching there eyes, nose or mouth and self-inoculate the virus into our respiratory track.

Even if just your child’s best friend is invited over for a few hours this could undo all the effort made in cancelling school, working from home and  canceling public events. Symptoms of coronavirus infection usually take 4-5 days to manifest and people can be infectious even before symptoms develop. Children and adults that come to visit looking healthy can still transmit the disease. Weeks ago we were not sure about this now there is a good deal of evidence that people with very mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all do transmit the disease.

It is not our routine to spend time with just our family but this will last a few weeks and we can all make the sacrifice of fun for safety for a short period of time. We should not move the risk to your home just because schools are closed, in fact, school are close for these same exact reasons! Together, as  a community, we can ‘Flatten the Curve” and reduce the risk of disease in our community, push the outbreak further into the future so we have more time to prepare and help to make our healthcare system preserve capacity by avoiding  a massive peak number of cases all in a short time.

Let’s work together Nooksack Community to keep our kids, our families, our elders and our community safe for everyone!