Tag Archives: Sally James

Hospitals, Medical Orgs Warn of Rising Crisis; Officials Promise Masks, Home COVID Tests

by Sally James


The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) warned the public on Jan. 6 that rising cases of COVID-19, as well as staff shortages due to illness, are challenging the ability to provide care.

The group held a media event via livestream on Jan. 6. Later the same day, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) held a separate press event and explained how millions of home-testing kits for COVID-19 will be distributed beginning late next week.

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State Investigating COVID-19 Outbreak Linked to Wrestling Meets, County Ramps Up Vaccine Availability

by Sally James


The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating more than 80 cases of COVID-19 linked to four wrestling competitions across the state. Some of the cases included the new variant omicron.

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Too Many Patients, Too Few Staff Members Create Unsafe Conditions, Unions Announce

by Sally James


Nurses and other hospital-based workers joined union officials Dec. 13 to launch a lobbying effort aimed at creating minimum standards for staff numbers in hospitals.

In an emotional press conference by livestream, several workers shared their own experiences with covering gaps left by short staffing. There were staff shortages before the pandemic began, but the crucible of the outbreak made it worse. The project is called the Washington Safe and Healthy Campaign

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Seattle Public Schools to Offer Vaccine Clinics for Students This Weekend 

by Sally James


Some South Seattle school buildings will be offering COVID-19 vaccines this weekend for students in the district and their families. 

Students do not have to attend the school where the clinic is offered.

Some of the clinics offer both first and second doses, and some offer only second doses. All students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If your child is receiving their second dose, please bring their vaccination card with you to the clinic to be updated.

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Omicron Variant Discovered in King, and Two Other Counties

by Sally James


As State officials predicted, three cases of the omicron variant were confirmed Dec. 4 in three different counties in Washington. Experts did not reveal details about the travel history of the patients. There was one patient each in Thurston, Pierce, and King counties. 

Elsewhere in the nation, patients have been diagnosed with omicron who had no travel history, and infectious disease doctors predict that the new variant is likely already in many communities.

“We knew this day was inevitable, but the good news is we have more tools at our disposal to fight the virus than at any previous point in the pandemic, and we must continue to protect ourselves and our communities,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. 

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Washington Latino Communities Still Lag in Vaccinations, Warns Researcher

by Sally James


Now is not the time to feel safe in regard to the threat of COVID-19, especially for Latino communities, warns physician Leo Morales, the leader of the Latino Center for Health at the University of Washington (UW). The group just released a policy statement based on vaccination numbers from around the state.

“The greatest risk we face now is to be complacent … We cannot rest until we have reached all unvaccinated and under-vaccinated Latinos in our state,” said Morales in a press statement about the policy brief. 

Health disparities that lead to a higher risk of hospitalization and death for Latino people, in comparison to white people, will likely continue, even as boosters and new shots for children ages 5 to 11 become available across the state. 

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Custodian Photo Exhibit Hopes to Help Public Value Essential Workers

by Sally James


A mother and daughter want you to look twice when you see a custodian in a hallway. 

The art exhibit, called  (in)Visibility, consists of a series of photographs, mostly taken by custodians themselves, many of them immigrants or People of Color. Curator Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano is using the images to fight against what the pandemic highlighted for her: that society was ignoring custodians, including her own mother, Evalina. 

As a student studying public health when the coronavirus pandemic began, Evalynn was struck by the disparity among essential workers. At first, she saw some get food or flowers or free personal protective equipment. Later, those same people received early access to vaccines. But custodians didn’t qualify for this preferential treatment, despite their being essential to keeping buildings clean, hospitals tidy, and schools safe.

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COVID-19 Forces Pro Sports Teams to Mandate Vaccine Proof for Fans

by Sally James


A late summer surge of the COVID-19 delta variant has schools scrambling to adjust to in-person learning, parents worried about the safety of unvaccinated kids, and sports fans on edge.

Local professional sports teams, including Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, and Seattle Kraken all announced that they would require proof of vaccination from fans who want to attend games. Following those announcements Tuesday, Sept. 7, the Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, and Seattle Mariners also announced similar rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The rules don’t apply to fans under 12 years old, who cannot yet be vaccinated. In a story this week, the Emerald outlined the updated guidelines for student athletes.

For participants in outdoor sports and fans of all ages, the delta variant continues to spread throughout the community, requiring changes to fall plans and public health guidance.

Off the field, the Washington Hospital Association (WSHA) reported an almost 7% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide over the previous week. Some of that press conference is in this video from television station KIRO-7. WSHA leader Cassie Sauer explained that overcrowded hospitals anywhere are a problem for all hospitals, because patients are sometimes shifted to other facilities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the County is trying to create some vaccine verification standards that could become effective in October. These would help businesses and others quickly verify a person’s vaccine status.

In this week’s Q&A, we hope to help you make sense out of the latest COVID-19 health and safety headlines with links to credible sources.

Send your questions to us at editor@seattleemerald.org.

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