by Alexa Peters
Content Warning: This article contains brief mention of suicide.
On the evening of Aug. 1, Eiob Teklie, a mental health technician at Cascade Behavioral Health (Cascade) in Tukwila watched as an unstable male patient stole an employee badge and ran with free rein throughout the multi-wing psychiatric facility, verbally and physically assaulting employees and tormenting patients suffering from acute mental illness.
Continue reading Cascade Behavioral Health Staff Strike Against Unsafe Working Conditions Continues
by Kamna Shastri
It was just a year ago when Refugee Artisan Initiative’s (RAI) six artisans rapidly switched their handmade jewelry and clothing operation to make boxes brimming with cloth masks. In April 2020, COVID-19 had shut down the United States and Washington State hospitals were strained. There was a shortage of personal protection equipment like N95 and disposable masks that had to be reserved for healthcare professionals. Though the debate about whether to mask up was in high gear (and continues to be), to RAI founder and Executive Director Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman it was clear that masking up was not just a precaution but a responsibility.
With a background in biology and a part-time job as a pharmacist, Tung-Edelman could see the pandemic looming even before official lockdowns silenced roadways and sent cities into isolation. When the PPE shortage became apparent, Tung-Edelman saw an opportunity for RAI’s artisans to respond to an urgent local need. It was a “perfect storm,” she said of the mask shortage and COVID-19 precautions meeting the specific skill set of RAI’s artisans.
Continue reading Refugee Artisan Initiative’s Specialty Is Responding to Community Needs
by Jadenne Cabahug
Edna Cortez has worked as a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past 30 years — and she received a commemorative pin to mark the occasion. Cortez wears another pin these days during the pandemic: she places a button with a picture of her face on top of her scrub hat to help her young patients feel less afraid.
She usually keeps her face covered while working, like all nurses do during the pandemic. Cortez has to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. Not everyone has access to the same equipment, or the right kind.
Cortez is among the state’s essential workers — in health care and other professions — who have been put at higher risk from COVID-19 and other environmental health factors in 2020.
Continue reading Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats
by Carolyn Bick
The hardest part of the week for Brandi Soggs begins on Thursday nights. That’s when the chemo she’s received the day before starts kicking in. It makes her tired and foggy, she said, and she doesn’t have the ability to put together even a basic protein shake, let alone stand in front of the whirring machine for the two minutes it takes to make one.
Continue reading When People Don’t Follow Social Distancing Guidelines, It’s the Vulnerable Who Pay
by Carolyn Bick
Though the rate of novel coronavirus infections has slowed, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washingtonians still aren’t staying home enough.
At a televised press conference on March 30, Inslee said that the data that has come in over the weekend has been “alarming.” The number of positive tests that have been coming in from counties surrounding King County, such as Skagit County, Adams County, and Island County have been two to three times higher than the week or so before.
Inslee attributes this to people going out too often on non-essential trips, thereby not following his stay-home order as well they should.
Continue reading Inslee considers extending stay-home order, addresses violation reporting, equipment shortages