COVID-19 has altered all our lives. I continue to have conversations with loved ones about the increased stress we are all feeling and trying to remember that we do not always have to see the bright side to every situation. I can sit with the feeling that bad things are bad, understanding, that the discomfort I am feeling, as outlined in HBR, is grief. I do not have get into long-distance running or become an expert baker. Our job now is to protect others and figure out how to make policy via online meetings. Bree Collaborative staff are working from home, feeling lucky to be able to shelter in place while our colleagues on the front lines are keeping society moving and safe.

I am also incredibly proud of Washington State. Our actions have had an impact on helping to flattening the curve of new infections and deaths, serving as an example for other states. Our Governor, mayors, county executives, and our other leaders have prioritized the health of the public by asking us all to do our best to stop the spread of this respiratory disease. We are all part of the solution, although for me inaction can often feel harder than action.

I also want to highlight our staff’s recent work for the Washington Health Care Forum to convene stakeholders and hold a series of conversations around responding to COVID-19 to develop community consensus. Our conversations have been around areas with a gap between guidance from national groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and what is actually happening on the ground or in areas where there is no guidance. You can find consensus documents on the One Health Port website here. We have talked about issues ranging from working with long-term care facilities, to supply chain issues for personal protective equipment, to how to include ambulatory surgery centers in our state-wide response. You can find information from the Washington State Medical Association on COVID-19 here on new CMS telehealth payment and rules here and on prescribing via telehealth here.

Outside of work, here is a roundup of some of what we have been doing:

Help your neighbors and neighborhood. Running to the grocery store? Text those living close to you if they need anything so you both don’t have to make a trip. Donate any unopened personal protective equipment to a local hospital or primary care site – more information on the Washington State Hospital Association here. Donate to your local food bank – more information from the Seattle Times here.

Remember to take care of yourself. I have gotten back into the grove of my at home yoga practice – my favorite (and I am by no means the only one) is Yoga with Adriene. I’m also finding great satisfaction pulling bindweed and digging out blackberries from the backyard to start to a victory garden of sorts.

Entertain your kids. My family has relaxed our usually strict(ish) rules on screen time. We have virtual dinner parties via Zoom and Google Hangouts with our PEPs group, with grandparents multiple states away, and with friends just across the city.

Wishing everyone health and resilience.

In partnership,
Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative