Twenty-three local leaders have united to urge caution and the continued adherence to COVID-19 safety precautions and health practices. Their open letter to all Lewis County Citizens can be viewed below:

July 2, 2020

A Letter to All Lewis County Citizens,

As community leaders and local healthcare providers, we have come together, in one consolidated effort, to offer words of gratitude, encouragement, and caution. We urge you all to help us share this message.

Through the spring months, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the United States just to our north and slowly spread across the nation. In March of this year, Lewis County residents responded with a sense of duty and caution. We followed orders to limit social interactions and reduce travel. After weeks and then months, we saw the impacts of these sacrifices as families and businesses began to struggle. Fortunately, five months later, it seems our community has been spared the worst of the devastation felt by friends and family in other parts of the country.

We are now in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Normal traffic has returned to our sidewalks and roads. Businesses have made modifications to ensure the safety of patrons and employees. We are all eager to return to the summer activities we enjoyed last year.

This is where we would like to urge a continued sense of caution and duty.

We know, without a doubt, that COVID-19 is a real danger to our community. While the disease is particularly dangerous for those with underlying illness or advanced age, it can make a dramatic and devastating turn in even the healthiest people. Some who contract the disease will never know they had it or develop only minor symptoms. Others feel symptoms only a little worse than seasonal influenza. The decisions made by those with no symptoms, or very few, bring significant risk to the most vulnerable among us. This is why we continue to recommend masking and physical distancing.

Please plan your social and recreational activities to limit the spread of the disease. If you have a family picnic, choose a location that allows for distances of greater than six feet apart. Wear coverings over your mouth and nose when that distance is not possible. Do not share utensils, plates, drinks, or other items that could carry the virus from one person to another. Wash or sanitize your hands often. Wipe down high touch areas frequently.

It is all too easy to blend feelings of restlessness, frustration, and supposed futility and begin to disregard the dangers of COVID-19. We urge you to remain cautious.

Continue to cover your nose and mouth when you are near others in public. Practice physical distancing. Most of all, do not ignore or disregard symptoms. If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, seek testing and appropriate medical care, and stay home, even if you don’t feel like you need medical intervention.

During the past few months, our local healthcare infrastructure has adapted rapidly to provide safe and effective patient care. Lewis County Public Health and Social Services has worked tirelessly to supply advice and guidance to health care providers and individuals. Please help preserve the capacities of both by continued adherence to the safety measures described above.

We wish you all a healthy and happy summer.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Polley, Managing Physician, and Lisa Mckay, Medical Office Manager, Northwest Pediatrics

Dr. Bob Mohrbacher, President, Centralia College

Dr. Rob McElhaney, Mary’s Corner Medical Clinic

Dr. Richard J. Stride, CEO, Cascade Community Healthcare

Gaelon Spradley, CEO, Valley View Health Center

Annalee Tobey, Executive Director, Chehalis Community Renaissance Team

Joe Clark, Director of Transit Services, Twin Transit

Cole R. Meckle and Patty M. Howard, Pastors, Gather Church

Dr. Zora DeGrandpre, MS, ND, Rural Senior Health Solutions

Kris Camenzind, Executive Director, Hope Alliance

Alicia Bull, Director, Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce

Matt Matayoshi, Executive Director, Lewis EDC

Glenda N. Forga, Executive Director, Lewis County Seniors

Rev. Mark McHugh, Harrison Square Presbyterian Church

Rev. Ed Wegele, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Dave Bach, Senior Pastor, Centralia Church of the Nazarene

Leianne Everett Chief Executive Officer, Arbor Health

Dr. Kevin Caserta, Site Administrator, Providence Centralia Hospital

Rev. David Germer, Packwood Community Presbyterian Church

Pastor Vangie Rand, Centralia First United Methodist Church

Rev. Ralph Carr, Pastor, Harrison Square Presbyterian Church

Larry McGee, Lewis County Community Representative

Debbie Campbell, Executive Director, United Way of Lewis County

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