Younger and Middle-Age Adults

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Updated 6/12/20, 9:46am

 

Physical distancing recommendations can be stressful and leave people feeling isolated from their friends and families. Here are a few things you may want to know more about.

I am seeing conflicting information, should I be concerned about COVID-19?

When some information says you need to be concerned and practice physical distancing, and some says to not worry because this is only risky for those who are older or with certain medical conditions, it can be hard to know what you need to do. Here is what you need to know:

  • Younger people can get seriously ill from COVID-19. 1 in 5 COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the US are among people ages 20 to 44.
  • You can make others sick, even if you feel ok. COVID-19 is more easily transmitted than viruses such as the flu, and people without symptoms are some of the most common transmitters because they often do not take the precautions that sick people do.
  • There is a lot we do not know about COVID-19. Until we know more, it is important to follow current guidelines from trusted sources such as Benton County, Oregon Health Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It seems like there are more serious things to worry about right now, such as people who are struggling with poverty and hunger? 

The importance of the most vulnerable in our communities remaining connected to social services and supports becomes even more critical during the current COVID-19 situation. These populations will be the most impacted by economic and healthcare disruption brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing will be particularly challenging for all types vulnerable populations.

Are these strict social distancing rules necessary?

The best way to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. You must also limit things you do outside your home to what you must do. Examples of things you must do are shopping for food or picking up medicines.

One reason these steps are necessary is to help “flatten the curve” which is about slowing down how quickly people get sick. This helps prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. Remember that hospitals and doctors are already dealing with regular patients with other illnesses common this time of year. We want to avoid sudden increases that require more people to be hospitalized than hospitals can handle. 

Even if you are young and healthy, it is important to follow social distancing measures to avoid spreading it to others, and help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

What about if I live with people such as roommates or friends?

It is important to talk with roommates or those you live with, about how you will protect yourselves and each other from COVID-19. Some things to talk about include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of shared spaces.
  • Preventative measures such as reducing trips out of the house or removing shoes when entering the home.
  • What to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19, including agreement about where and how each person would quarantine, and how daily tasks would be divided. This should include considerations for that person not staying with family who might be at risk.
  • How you will continue to pay bills and cover household expenses.
  • How you will ensure, and enforce, the rules you agree upon.

This is stressful financially, and I am concerned about how to continue to support myself.

Financial stress, economic impacts, and job uncertainty related to COVID-19 are significant sources of stress and anxiety in our community. Many people saved money to take trips or visit loved ones, and have had to cancel those trips and lose money saved or spent. This may also contribute to feelings of isolation.

Some helpful resource are:

  • The Federal Government has recently passed legislation to provide a stimulus relief package to help American families and businesses. For more information visit: www.irs.gov/coronavirus
  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order to stop residential evictions due to non-payment of rent from 3/22-6/22/20. The executive order does not waive the tenant's responsibility to pay rent that is due, and does not waive the tenant's responsibility to honor the fixed term of a lease. Tenants who are concerned they will not be able to pay their full rent are encouraged to notify their property manager as early as possible. For more information, visit: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19. 
  • Utility providers in our community are working to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include suspending nonpayment disconnections and late fees.  Please contact your provider directly for the most current information.
  • Energy Assistance Funds: The Community Services Consortium (CSC) offers financial assistance to income-qualified individuals and families to assist with utility payments. They can be reached at 541-752-1010.

This is really hard, and I am struggling with missing social connections.

The term “social distancing” can feel like “social isolation.” It may help to think about current recommendations more as “physical distancing.” Meaning that, while you are being asked to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others, it does not mean you have to decrease your social connections with family and friends. 

How can I practice physical distancing and still maintain social connections?

There are many safe ways to connect with friends and loved ones. Some suggestions include:

  • Interact with friends or family over the internet, or apps such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.
  • Read books, listen to podcasts, or watch movies or shows.
  • Do a virtual group hangout, such as Discord, Zoom, Google Hangout, or Netflix Party.
  • Use livestreaming and face-to-face apps or features, such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram media sharing.
  • Get outside and take a walk, go on a bike ride, or go for a run.

Special considerations for consuming alcohol or marijuana

There are safe ways to party during this time. A few special considerations are: 

  • Sharing a bong, pipe, joint, vaporizer, or blunt can also share COVID-19. To avoid spreading the disease, we recommend you do not share these items.
  • Check in with yourself on whether your increased levels of stress or anxiety are resulting in higher than normal consumption of substances. 
  • The Oregon Recovery Network is a centralized location with the latest state and local support, treatment, and recovery resources. Please visit https://oregonrecoverynetwork.org for more information.

Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing

  • If you are feeling upset about cancelled events and miss being around friends, your feelings are valid. You are allowed to feel what you are feeling while still caring about your health. Crisis Text Line is there for you not matter what emotions you are feeling. To reach a crisis counselor, text OREGON to 741741.
  • You can contact Benton County’s Crisis Line at 1-888-232-7192.
  • Benton County Counselor of the Day is still available for anyone in crisis and needing to talk with a therapist or counselor immediately. Please call 541-766-6835.