by Ari Robin McKenna
With the return to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) only days away and the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 years old still months away, there sits a cloud of uncertainty looming over the return to school — especially for unvaccinated students in grades K–6. Making matters more complicated, “trusting science” has become less straightforward as the delta variant has become predominant, yet less is known about this more contagious COVID-19 variant.
Continue reading Emergence of Delta Variant Means a Back-to-School Like No Other
by Sally James
The COVID-19 delta variant is behind the latest surge of coronavirus cases, prompting new mask mandates, and raising a lot of new questions, including about the safety of unvaccinated school children and playing sports.
This week we look at some new questions and rely on County and State health officials for the latest guidance.
Continue reading Mask Mandates, School Openings, Sports, and Other Questions About COVID-19
by Sally James
From time to time the Emerald hopes to help people navigate the complicated landscape of the pandemic. Below we have compiled some answers to some pressing questions about the new COVID-19 Delta variant.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR last week, “We are dealing with a different virus now.” It has different capabilities and can be transmitted from person to person more easily. An internal report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the new variant as contagious as chickenpox.
Here in Washington State, test positivity rates are increasing and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on the rise. According to the state Department of Health, the Delta variant now comprises 76% of COVID-19 cases.
Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., says, “If there was ever a time to get vaccinated, it is now in the race against this variant.”
Here are some questions and answers to help you make decisions for your family:
Continue reading Delta Variant Poses New Questions About COVID Risk
by Andrew Engelson
With the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 causing a rise in case counts and hospitalizations in both King County and Washington State among those who have not been vaccinated, local health authorities have revised masking guidelines.
On Monday, July 26, health officials from eight Puget Sound counties issued a joint statement recommending that all residents in those counties (including King, Pierce, and Snohomish) should wear masks in indoor public spaces.
“We recommend all residents wear facial coverings when in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of those around you is unknown,” the statement reads. “This step will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many parts of the state, and decrease the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.”
Continue reading As Cases of Delta Variant Rise in King County and State, Mask Guidelines Revised
by Carolyn Bick
As King County prepares to reopen after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions along with the rest of the state, Washingtonians still need to take precautions.
Washington State will officially reopen on Wednesday, June 30. This means that while vaccinated people will have the option to go maskless indoors — a step King County took on Tuesday, June 29, one day ahead of schedule — this does not mean that businesses cannot require people to wear masks inside, according to a June 29 press release from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. The press release also suggests that large indoor and outdoor events require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Physical distancing restrictions will also be lifted and with the exception of large indoor events, there will be no more capacity restrictions.
However, this reopening also means that unvaccinated people and children under the age of 12 who are unable to get the vaccine will become more susceptible to contracting and spreading the virus, if they or their guardians do not take proper precautions. If you or a loved one is eligible to get the vaccine, walk-up appointments are available daily at many locations around King County, including pharmacies, clinics, and mass vaccination sites.
Continue reading King County Eases COVID-19 Restrictions as Washington Set to Reopen June 30
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State is just a hair’s breadth away from reaching its goal of a 70% vaccination rate among people aged 16 and older, but Gov. Jay Inslee said in an afternoon press conference on June 9 that the state would essentially fully reopen on June 30, regardless of whether the state reaches its vaccination rate goal by that date.
Continue reading With Vaccination Rate Rising, State Prepares to Reopen No Later Than June 30