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Washoe County Officials, Wellness Professionals, Spiritual Figures Hold Virtual Town Hall

While many Nevadans are taking precautions ordered by Governor Steve Sisolak seriously, others are eager to get back to work, school and other parts of life before COVID-19.

At a Washoe County virtual town hall meeting yesterday, County Commission Chair Bob Lucey acknowledged the division, but insisted it’s crucial for everyone to follow the state’s instructions to continue fighting the virus.

“We definitely are seeing groups of people on both ends of the spectrum," Lucey said, "that want to adhere to the directives that are being set forth by the governor, and stay at home, and create that safe environment for themselves and their families. But then there’s others that are saying, ‘We need to get back to work and we want to get outside and this is affecting who we are as people and our freedoms.’ Now, I understand this is a tough situation and a challenging time.  You know, as a local business owner myself, when I meet with my staff and understand the challenges they’re going through, we have to balance. It’s a very measured way about how we protect our businesses in our community, but also protect the health of our community.”

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Another discussion topic was the mental health impact of the coronavirus-induced isolation Nevadans are under.

Dr. Steven Hayes with the University of Nevada Reno’s psychology department said research suggests it’s possible to experience “post-traumatic growth” from experiences like this.

“Psychological flexibility is what predicts it," he said in the town hall, "and there’s 3 really key things. One is learning to be more emotionally open and aware of your thoughts without just becoming entangled with them, treating your own life inside with a sense of self- kindness; being more aware of what’s going on inside and out in a way that’s flexible, fluid and voluntary – so if your mind’s pulling you off into some worrisome future or ruminating about the past, what is the things that are happening right now in your present environment that could move things forward?  And do that from this more spiritual sense of self that’s there when you’re meditating or praying. And then the biggest one – focus on your values. Be your coronavirus hero. Think of who you would pick as a hero that could get through this. Start emulating that. We all have heroes like that.”

Hayes said he understands nobody likes to be told what to do, but urged viewers to stay home as much because they care about others in the community.

Officials also answered questions about policing, healthcare, and more on the live stream.

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You'll find Washoe County’s coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions page here.