Public encouraged to continue taking precautions as DHMs loosen
Directed Health Measures are loosening up across the Tri-Cities as the number of positive COVID-19 cases have started to slow down. Even with the numbers significantly lower, the pandemic has still not come to an end yet.
Tri-City Health Departments encourage people to continue with precautions even as the cities start to reopen. That includes wearing a mask outside, staying away from large groups of people and washing or sanitizing your hands often.
"Those measure don't just prevent you from getting COVID-19," Two Rivers Public Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Kate Mulligan said. "They prevent you from getting many diseases and it is summer, things are slowing down but we are in the complete unknown. When you're in the unknown the best thing to do is take precautions and be prepared rather than running in blindly and hoping for the best."
Having relaxed Directed Health Measures means that many businesses can now reopen, but it doesn't mean that we can completely go back to normal just yet.
"We still have some viral activity in the area. It has gone down, but we want people still to be vigilant when they're out there," Jeremy Collinson, the Environmental Health Supervisor with Central District Health Department, said. "Don't forget that the virus is in our community and to take those precautions that we talked about."
If people stop social distancing or taking precautions too early, a second wave of the virus could happen sooner rather than later.
"If people in the community would wear those face coverings, if they do social distance and take those precautions we've been practicing the last couple months, we could lessen that risk of a second wave," Collinson said.
"As a state all the local health departments are working together to start thinking about what do we need and when might this happen and how likely is it to be as bad again?" Mulligan said. "We're definitely having that discussion every day."
The new Directed Health Measure is considered phase one of reopening. It allows gyms, barber shops, and tattoo parlors to reopen with a ten person limit and restaurants to reopen their dining rooms at 50% capacity. That will go into affect on June 1.