A look at our emotional health during a pandemic
(The following article was provided by Weston County Public Health)
The last six months have been difficult and challenging for everyone trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the unrest in the world. We are not alone in our struggles. People all over the world are experiencing the same emotional stress. We are all tired and want to see an end to the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. Our feelings are justified considering what is going on in the world. If you find that you are overwhelmed with your feelings and it is affecting your emotional well being, there are steps that you can take to gain control over the situation. It’s important not to let the current situation we are in keep you in a constant state of emotional distress. A balance of our emotional and physical well-being is critical to our overall health including keeping our immune system strong. Eating healthy well balanced meals, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are crucial to our well-being.
There are three important steps we can take to reduce the emotional stress we may be feeling. If we can break down the process, it’s not so overwhelming to get back on track. The first step in reducing stress is to acknowledge what you are feeling. Is it fear, anger, depression anxiety, worry, or confusion? Secondly, break down what is preoccupying your thoughts. Are you worried about getting sick, your child, family, friends, your job, or your finances? Lastly, ask yourself what can I do? There are some things that are out of our control, focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. If you have tried working through your concerns and you are not able to rise above it, please reach out for support. This can be with a trusted friend/family member, your pastor, your health care provider, or a mental health counselor. If it is easier to talk anonymously with a counselor these lines are available 24/7 to help you through difficult moments.
Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Veteran’s Crisis Line 1-800-273-TALK
Let’s put things in perspective to reduce the stress that can come with the current situation. The COVID-19 virus is very real and contagious. We know that the virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets which can infect people who are in close proximity to one another. The virus can also be transmitted by our hands if we touch our face, nose and mouth. The purpose of the public health measures of distancing ourselves from others by 6ft, washing our hands, and wearing a mask, help reduce transmission to others and are in place to help control the spread of the virus. By controlling the spread of the virus, we can minimize the risk of outbreaks (large groups of people infected) in our community, overwhelming our hospital and medical community. We currently do not have an outbreak situation in Weston County, but we will continue to have COVID-19 cases and we fully expect to see this. We are grateful that our case numbers have remained low and we have not had any reported deaths.
Our schools and parents have been amazing to work with concerning our recent COVID-19 exposures. The schools have plans in place to handle exposures within the school that affect staff as well as students. The school staff are working diligently to provide a safe environment for students to be able to attend in person learning opportunities. If you have questions or concerns about school plans responding to COVID-19, please reach out to the school superintendents or school principals for more details.
We would like to provide more information regarding isolation and quarantine. Weston County Public Health, in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Health, is responsible for contact tracing of all positive cases. Contact tracing helps prevent outbreaks by isolating the sick until their symptoms resolve and they are no longer contagious and quarantining those who had close contact and were exposed to a positive case. We monitor quarantine cases for symptoms during 14-day incubation period. Those who are placed on isolation or quarantine are instrumental in helping us keep people from unknowingly spreading the virus. Someone who is placed on isolation or quarantine hasn’t done any wrong and shouldn’t be treated as such. There is no reason for guilt or embarrassment. This virus is very elusive and can infect anyone at any time.
The Wyoming Department of Health has received funding from the CDC to help with the COVID-19 response. This funding was distributed across the board to all counties to help with the COVID-19 response. The funding covers supplies, testing, vaccine campaigns, and personnel if needed. The funding we have received is much like the funding patterns that we saw in the H1N1 response in 2009. The CDC used a model to push out response funds anticipating the possible cost rather than having states and counties footing the bill and then trying to seek reimbursement. Much of the funding amounts we received during this time could not possibly be used because of our small population. Funds that were not used were returned to the WDH/CDC. These funds are tracked monthly and audited each year by the state. The same process will be used in the funding we have received for COVID-19. If the funds are not used, they will be sent back to the WDH/CDC.
We have worked with our community health partners to develop COVID-19 testing agreements with Weston County Health Services and Hometown Medical Clinic. Monument Health providers in Upton and Newcastle send individuals to Weston County Health Services for testing as well. We have free testing for those who do not have insurance so they receive the same access to care as those who have insurance.
We will be transitioning from our Weston County Public Health Facebook page to a Weston County Public Health COVID-19 group page for the announcements of COVID-19 cases only. Our Weston County Public Health website (wcph.net) provides more education/information and resources in one place for the public’s convenience. Go to the COVID-19 Corner tab at the top of the page. You will find resources such as Wyoming 211 for questions about unemployment or assistance with rent/mortgage for those who have received isolation or quarantine orders.
We are blessed to live in the state of Wyoming and especially in Weston County.
We have not faced the overwhelming COVID-19 cases that we see in other states and counties. We thank you for your continued support in keeping our community as safe as possible during the COVID 19. We will get through this challenge and one day it will be over. In the meantime, stay strong, stay positive.