by Carolyn Bick
Despite the close settings in which the state’s incarcerated population live, and the waves of outbreaks washing through the incarceration system, Washington State’s Department of Health (DOH) has decided that Washington’s incarcerated population will not receive the vaccine until Phase 1B-4, according to a vaccination plan the DOH announced at a DOH press conference on Jan. 6.
Continue reading Incarcerated People Won’t Receive Vaccine Until at Least April — But That May Not Be Set in Stone
by Andrew Engelson
In an online press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 5, Governor Jay Inslee said that while there were encouraging signs in statewide numbers, “the current level of [COVID-19] activity, remains, unfortunately, very aggressive,” he said.
“We are not where we want to be today.”
Continue reading Governor Lays out Regional Plan for Some Businesses to Reopen, But COVID-19 Activity Still “Aggressive”
by Sally James
In all the excitement over the new COVID-19 vaccines, it’s easy to forget that the disease will strike thousands of people before the pandemic is over and we still don’t have reliable treatments for the disease.
Physician Rachel Bender Ignacio wants to change that by conducting studies of four different treatment methods in Seattle — all of which are open to volunteers from the community. Bender’s team calls people who have tested positive and offers them information about the studies. It is essential that people sign up within four days of receiving a nasal swab to test for the virus.
Bender Ignacio spoke to the Emerald about the research taking place at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Continue reading Fred Hutch Seeks Volunteers With COVID-19 to Join Tests of Therapies
by Carolyn Bick
Four new cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the King County Jail in downtown Seattle, according to an internal email shared with the Emerald on Jan. 4.
Continue reading BREAKING: Four New COVID Cases Detected at King County Jail
by Liz Covey, LMHC
I’m anything but a historian, but this whopper of a year has me thinking like one. I find myself pondering what it means to have lived through 2020, a year that was full of so much and also so little. A year so unique that it will be talked about for decades to come, if not forever, just as we swap stories about where we were when the Towers fell or when Kennedy was shot. But however alike in terms of before-and-after comparisons, those events were mere instances, specific moments in time. Questions to which there is a simple answer.
What about the momentous phenomena that occurs over a long period of time? The flash points of history that seem to unfold in slow-motion, or more accurately, in regular motion — that which occurs at the pace of day to day life? What do we make of events that happen amidst the laundry and the bill paying and which will span enough time for some to have two birthdays come and go?
The kind of experience that allows one to answer the where were you question is distinctly different from the one that asks how. How were you the year that everything happened, beauty and terror, to loosely quote Rilke.
Continue reading ASK A THERAPIST: Taking Stock at the End of the Year of Everything
by Andrew Engelson
The day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced he was extending the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions by one week until Jan. 11, officials from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) said during an online press conference on Wednesday, Dec. 30 that they are cautiously optimistic about statewide infection trends and that vaccinations for high-risk health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities are ongoing.
“We are in a very precarious position,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases. “This is the highest rate of cases in Washington State since the beginning [of the pandemic]. But we’re starting to see this downward trend. It’s all very encouraging.” Lindquist noted that while the results are still preliminary, the number of positive tests across the state have plateaued slightly in the past week. He also noted that post-Christmas hospitalization rates are down slightly, saying “I’m optimistic but cautious.”
Continue reading State Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic as COVID-19 Rates Hold Steady and Vaccination of Health Care Workers Continues
by Andrew Engelson
With COVID-19 hospitalization rates still high in King County during Christmas week, the City of Seattle announced the opening of three new COVID-19 testing kiosks at locations across the city, including one near the Mount Baker Link Light Rail Station. The Mount Baker kiosk begins service on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The walk-up kiosks offer an observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 test that’s less uncomfortable than nasal swab tests. The tests are free, but online reservations are required at the City of Seattle’s COVID-19 testing website or at www.curative.com. The kiosk operates from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, although these hours may be adjusted to meet demand. Check the city’s testing website for more details.
Continue reading City of Seattle Opens Three COVID-19 Testing Kiosks, Including One in South End
by Ben Adlin
Update on Stimulus Payments: Direct Deposits and prepaid debit card mailings have begun according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Physical checks will begin to be mailed December 30.
President Donald Trump’s last-minute second-guessing of a congressionally approved COVID-19 relief package will almost certainly delay direct monetary payments to Americans, once expected to begin going out as early as next week. But the president’s criticism of the bill, which came abruptly after weeks of partisan negotiations, has also given Democrats an opening to increase payments to $2,000 per person, up from $600 in the version already approved by lawmakers.
Continue reading Showdown Over Federal Coronavirus Relief Bill Means Longer Waits for Aid
by Alexa Peters
Before COVID-19, Ballard resident Gracey Cockram lived the busy, fulfilling life of a stay-at-home mom. On a typical day, she’d wake up early, get her 15-year-old daughter up for swim practice, shuttle her to the pool with friends, come home, check the news, take a shower, do the laundry, go to the gym, go to the grocery store, walk the dogs, drive her daughter to a part-time babysitting gig, then begin to prepare dinner.
These days, despite living in a 900-square-foot condo with her fiancé and daughter, Cockram spends a lot of time alone, feeling “defeated” — and it’s no wonder. Her once-active 15-year-old now remains in her room for nearly twelve hours a day studying for her AP classes, and has since become prone to anxiety and worrying emotional outbursts. After holding out for months, Cockram and her fiancé were forced to reschedule their June 2021 wedding due to the pandemic. Cockram’s extended family in Florida has stopped talking to them due to disagreement about how to handle COVID-19. And now, she can’t even get out of the house for a trip to the gym for an important kick of endorphins.
Continue reading As Pandemic Drags On, Parents Cope With Mental Health Challenges
by Billy Gumabon
I remember when the global pandemic was declared and the nation went into lockdown. This ultimately trickled down into the prison system, and they immediately suspended all visitations and programming in prison. With no family and loved ones coming in to visit and no physical contact with the outside world, I was left in a spirit of uncertainty, worry, and fear. I just sat in my cell and watched the news helplessly for hours to see the latest updates from President Trump addressing the nation, hoping to catch a glimmer of hope I could hold on to. However, I kept seeing the number of positive cases and the death toll rise due to the coronavirus, and the president acting like a child during his debriefing sessions. That didn’t help my anxiety.
Continue reading OPINION: The Pandemic From the Eyes of a Prisoner