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Hoquiam Chief Myers Explains What You Can Expect From Police During Stay Home Orders.

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Hoquiam Police Chief Myers Says that It is important to realize the "stay at home" order issued Monday evening by Governor Inslee is an emergency proclamation designed to limit or reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The stark reality comes not just from the number of cases, but the impact all the cases can have in a short period of time.

As we know from statistics, thousands of people die from complications related to the common flu each year; many who die from these complications are the same who will likely be most impacted by COVID-19...to include the elderly and those in poor health or compromised immune systems.

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The difference with COVID-19 (and the importance of slowing or reducing the spread) is all about timing.

Although people become sick and die from the common flu each year, it IS NOT all at the same time! The challenge before us all is to manage the COVID-19 impact (the rate of infection is a bell-curve) so that the number of people who become sick all at once does not overwhelm our available medical facilities and treatment.

This is already happening in Italy and may soon happen in other states already hard-hit by the virus. When this happens, and there are no other available medical resources or capacity, difficult life-and-death medical decisions have to be made as to who will receive treatment and who will not.

I understand the state Department of Health is already working on guidelines for doctors and hospitals to determine who impacted by COVID-19 is viable for treatment and who may only be provided comfort measures.

This is the true crux of the challenge before us and where self-responsibility and protecting the collective good becomes so important!

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Many of us either may or will experience the virus at some point in our lives with no long-term impact or need for medical intervention. At this point, your children will likely not be infected or will not even see symptoms as serious as adults.

But you should expect and consider the impact to your friends and family who are elderly or have underlying medical issues- which puts them at greater risk from COVID-19. This is the part of our population who could experience the worst impact, just as we have witnessed in the multiple deaths at one nursing home in Kirkland.

The most vulnerable are the most vulnerable.

The impact most of us suffer may not be ourselves, but to our loved ones; this is where we need to be emotionally prepared as this reality could come to focus for so many families in our country.

To this end, as the police it is our job to keep our community safe and educate people as to the importance of the steps being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our department's main priority is to maintain the level of service necessary to respond to calls for service, prevent crime and disorder and serve the citizens of Hoquiam.

Our staffing levels (plus just the danger from added exposure to our officers) do not include manning roadblocks or contacting everyone to see if they have a good reason to travel or be away from home.

The enforcement of this order is truly in your hands- not the police- because the actions you take are necessary to protect the vulnerable in our society. Our friends, our neighbors and our family members who are at risk.

I agree with the following statements from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs:

"Law enforcement's primary role is to help educate people about how to comply with orders to stay at home. We are not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance. Rumors of strict law enforcement or "martial law" are not true."

"Our communities have shown they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe and healthy. When officers and deputies encounter people not complying with an order, we will remind them, as appropriate, of the recommendation and restrictions. No law enforcement agencies have any desire to make any arrests or take anybody to jail for violations. Rumors of individuals or businesses needing "passes" or "licenses" to conduct essential services are not true."

"Rest assured we will continue to serve you every minute of every day and we will always enforce the laws that keep people safe."

We continue to post updates on day-to-day happenings around Hoquiam PD because it is important you know we are here to serve and will continue to serve. We have established emergency staffing plans with Aberdeen PD and Cosmopolis PD in case any one of our three agencies end up short-handed because officers are out sick. We are planning ahead, but staying focused on your safety today.

Especially in these challenging times, it is important to keep an eye out for each other and send the message that criminals WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS EMERGENCY in Hometown Hoquiam!

Just like citizens, criminals had better STAY HOME too!

JEFF MYERS, Chief of Police

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