24 March 2020 06:34
- human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support ROCKFORD (WREX) — Some people are considered essential workers, but while day care facilities have closed, a local YMCA is stepping in to help. Their parents work in hospitals, at fire and police stations, at grocery stores and gas stations, and more places that have been deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic. "I don't know what I'd do without this program," Gwendolyn Kehoe, a parent of three children and the program director at the YMCA's Children's Learning Center, says. "They're giving of themselves and we want to make sure that their needs are provided for as well," Sarah Renicker, the executive director of the center, says. Last week, all DCFS-licensed day care centers were ordered to close amid coronavirus concerns.
Some facilities could apply for emergency programming though and the Children's Learning Center did just that. "Right now, we're serving about 20 (kids), our classroom groupings are being limited to 10 in a room," Renicker says. "My daughter is also autoimmune, so we're trying to keep her from not going into any grocery stores and things like that," Kehoe explains. Anyone who has to work can drop their kids off at this program. "Upon arrival, we are screening a lot more intensely, so we have a series of questions we ask parents as children are being dropped off," Renicker says.
Dates: Mar. 23-27, Mar. 30-Apr. 3, Apr. 6-10, Apr. 13-17, Apr. 20-24, Apr. 27-May 1, May 4-8 *This is a very fluid situation and dates are subject to change. Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday evening ordered most of Washington's 7.5 million residents to stay home for at least two weeks as the state tries to slow the growing spread of the novel coronavirus that has killed 110 and infected 2,221 people. The less you time you spend in public, the more lives we can save," Inslee said during a speech that was televised and streamed online around the state. Several businesses will be closed, but those considered "essential to the health and functioning of our community" such as day care centers and gas stations will remain open as well as ones in which people can telecommute. The governor's office released categories of businesses in which workers will be exempted from staying home, including those in health care, emergency services, food and agriculture, energy, water and sewage treatment, transportation, communications information technology, hazardous materials, financial services, chemical, and defense-industrial sectors. Inslee said those sectors were chosen based largely on federal guidelines. "Any essential business or entity allowed to operate under this order must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least 6 feet," he said. Non-essential businesses will have to close after 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Inslee said, but restaurants can continue to offer take-out and delivery. Inslee issued the "stay-at-home" order because while most Washingtonians are complying with previous proclamations that have restricted gatherings and shut down bars, some still have not grasped the seriousness of the pandemic, the governor said. That included people over the weekend who jammed beaches, and gathered in parks and parking lots at recreational facilities. The governor's order bans all public and private gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes for two weeks. Both the ban on going out and the gatherings of people took effect immediately Monday night. Inslee said parties on the beach, pick-up games of basketball, and sleepovers are examples of activities that are not allowed for at least to weeks. The governor said he expects residents to comply with his emergency proclamation, but added "make no mistake, this order is enforceable by law and can be enforced." Chief John Batiste of the State Patrol said the goal is not to make arrests or give people citations. Inslee's chief of staff, David Postman, said law enforcement could order groups to stop congregating. On March 15, Inslee lowered the statewide ban on public gatherings from 250 people and more, to 50 and more, but there were several reports of people not complying. Washington is among at least a dozen other states that have issued stay-at-home orders. When all of the orders take effect mid-week, they will cover states with about 40 percent of the nation's population, according to published reports. The governor's office emphasized the stay-at-home order is not a "shelter in place" because "it is still safe to go outside; the grocery stores and other essential businesses will remain open." Shelter-in-place is a phrase that law enforcement often uses when mass shootings occur. The company is putting in floor markers throughout the stores to designate waiting points, especially at check stands and stations where people most often congregate, such as the service deli, bakeries and pharmacy areas. On March 10, Inslee said the number of people infected with the virus in seven or eight weeks in Washington could reach 64,000 with 600 to 1,900 deaths in one week if "we don't somehow slow down this epidemic." Seven weeks is April 28 and eight is May 5. In his speech Monday night, Inslee said the rapid growth in the number of coronavirus cases has put the state in a race against time. "We need to grow hospital capacity or else face an even greater health emergency. And the more of us who stay home, the fewer of us who will be infected by COVID-19 and the more lives that will be saved. That's what we're doing," Inslee said.