The Leader cares about our community

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In a matter of weeks – days for some – lives have changed in a way that was previously unfathomable. 

To help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, those of us who can must stay home. This will help give our medical professionals a fighting chance.

But because of this, many of our neighbors have lost their sole source of income. Employees are not able to work, and even if they can collect unemployment, there will likely still be a shortfall in paying their monthly bills.

Some of our local business owners have had to shut their doors for the unforeseen future, which will have an impact on the local economy for months to come.

Some of our friends have seen loved ones succumb to the devastating virus that’s gripped our world.

Your choices over the coming weeks might seem minute, but it’s going to take all of us making conscious choices to stop the spread of the coronavirus while also supporting our local businesses.

What can we do to help support our neighbors, local businesses and friends?

We can continue to support local restaurants, as many are staying open for takeout and, in some cases, delivery. For a list of businesses participating in takeout and delivery, see page 11.

We can continue to donate to local food banks. The Jefferson County food banks, located in Port Townsend, the Tri-Area, Quilcene and Brinnon, are doing their part to continue serving food to those in need while also protecting customers and volunteers by offering “drive-through” service. To find out how to donate to one of the food banks, or to volunteer, go to jeffersoncountyfoodbanks.org.

We can shop online locally when possible and buy gift cards at local businesses to use after the crisis has passed.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has proven stressful for many people and communities, especially as new information is released at seemingly breakneck speeds. But, if we band together and keep an eye on our neighbors, we can get through this together.

A great way to support your neighbors is to call them and offer support. If you must venture outside, remember to stay six feet away from the next person. This goes for walking on the beaches, making a run to the grocery store, venturing out for medical appointments and taking a stroll down the street to get some fresh air.

Here at the Port Townsend Leader, we are also concerned about the safety of our employees, so we are limiting the number of visitors to our offices for now. We have placed a paper stand outside so you can stop by and pick up a copy of the Port Townsend Leader. You can also call our office 360-385-2900 for important news information and tips. You can continue to submit letters and photos to news@ptleader.com. Visit ptleader.com for daily coronavirus related updates, which we are providing free to our community.

As a reminder, those experiencing symptoms should call Jefferson Healthcare’s COVID-19 hotline: 360-344-3094. Staff is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Initially, staff will ask you COVID-19 information-screening questions. Then, a nurse will call you back within 48 hours to evaluate respiratory illness health concerns and screen for COVID-19 testing. If the nurse determines you should be tested, an appointment will be scheduled at either the COVID-19 Evaluation Station or the Drive-thru Testing Station, based on Jefferson Healthcare’s current, established criteria. 

Please be safe, stay healthy, support your local businesses and do what you can to help support your neighbors.

- Donna Etchey, Leader Publisher

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