Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has publicly stated that anyone who is vaccinated against the novel coronavirus can resume all activities — such as going to the grocery store and gathering with friends — mask-free, the Washington State Department of Health is still urging caution.
In a May 19 press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) officials said that it is important to continue to exercise caution and care. The state’s transmission and disease levels are still not where they need to be, though more than half the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We are seeing with complete data and even the projection moving forward is that we believe that we are seeing that flattening and that decline,” DOH Health Sec. Dr. Umai Shah said of the state’s disease and transmission levels. “That does not mean that every place is having the same kind of decline.”
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Get a COVID Vaccine Through ICHS
International Community Health Services (ICHS) continues to receive COVID vaccine supplies and to vaccinate both patients and non-patients alike. ICHS was recently named by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as one of the first community health centers to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, and they are receiving regular shipments from this and other sources.
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on theEmerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Friday, Feb. 12
City Vaccinates 400 African American Elders | NAAM Shooting Update | Where Is the Urban League? | Queen Care Opens in Central District | A Look at the Mayoral Race
A large wave of COVID-19 cases is expected to arrive in Seattle due to a variant strain of the virus, meanwhile South King County remains the most impacted by the novel coronavirus, county public health officials said in a press conference Friday afternoon. Vaccinations have been distributed at higher rates in north and central King County. In response the county has stepped up efforts to increase the number of vaccination sites for South King County residents in the past week.
In an online press conference Friday, Jan. 29, Jeff Duchin, MD, the health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County said that while COVID-19 cases have declined in King County for the past three weeks, the current level of transmission still represents a “serious health threat.” Duchin said he expects that the more contagious and potentially more lethal B 1.1.7. variant, already discovered in Snohomish County, will be “likely be found in King County any day now.” Reacting to Gov. Inslee’s announcement this week that King County will be allowed to return to Phase 2 of Washington’s Road to Recovery Plan, Duchin acknowledged, “The mixed messaging is very challenging. We’re currently in a decline. And people are feeling good. But I need to remind everyone that we’re still at a high level even though we’ve come down.”
Seattle’s older adults living in supportive housing will be the next in line for vaccinations against the novel coronavirus offered by the City’s mobile vaccine clinics, the Office of the Mayor announced in a press release on Jan. 22. This newest mobile vaccination effort began on Jan. 21 and includes older adults who had formerly experienced homelessness and who now receive wraparound case management services, as well as older, low-income adults living in affordable housing.
For more than a month, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant received a series of increasingly threatening emails from a Seattle Fire Department (SFD) employee’s email address.
In total, four emails were sent to Sawant’s official email address. The first was sent on December 17 and the most recent was received on January 18 and ended with the message “Announce your resignation now, or else.” Previous emails from this same account said “If you don’t willing leave [sic], we will make that decision for you by any means necessary” and “If you need help leaving, try jumping head first off the top floor of your building. I’ll even come push you.”
The City of Seattle has been approved to become a vaccine distributor, and, as soon as Thursday, Jan. 14, will start distributing vaccines to adults living and working in adult family homes via two mobile vaccination units staffed by the Seattle Fire Department. The fire department is the first EMS agency in the state to be approved to become a vaccine administrator.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan made the announcement in a press conference on Jan. 12, saying that the mobile units — which will specifically focus on residents and staff of adult family homes who are not covered by the federal program to vaccinate people living and working in adult family homes — are just the beginning of the City’s vaccination efforts. The vaccines will be provided at no cost to recipients.
The Holidays, like everything this year, have been changed by COVID-19, and one of the annual programs affected by that change is Toys for Tots, an organization with over 70 years experience distributing toy donations to the community. Traditionally, Seattle fire fighters partnered with the Marine Corps by collecting donated toys at Seattle fire stations, but due to COVID, this year the Marines and the Seattle Fire Department held two drive-through drop-off events: one on Saturday, December 5 at University Village in North Seattle and one on Saturday, December 12, in the QFC parking lot on Rainier Avenue South.
Carol Slosberg, who lives in South Seattle, said, “when my kids were young we picked gift requests off the tree at U Village. This year I decided to stay closer to home and this toy drive fits that. The need feels especially overwhelming this year.”
A young man is on a ventilator at Harborview Medical Center, following his arrest for alleged property damage outside the East Precinct, during a protest in support of voting rights and against systemic racism in Capitol Hill on Nov. 4, 2020. The Emerald briefly touched on the incident in a story published yesterday, but misidentified the person as woman, based on the immediately available information.
The young man has since been identified as 30-year-old Kel Murphy-Duford, according to a Converge Media interview shared in full with the Emerald. In this same interview, Murphy-Duford’s lawyers said that multiple protestors who don’t know each other told them they saw officers “tackle and throw” Murphy-Duford to the ground, and that at least five officers “jumped” on top of Murphy-Duford, as he was lying unconscious on the ground. Bodyworn video released by the Seattle Police Department appears to show Murphy-Duford unresponsive, after the officers arrest him.
Emergency personnel told Murphy-Duford’s husband that he had a seizure and was suffering from “low oxygen” — but Murphy-Duford does not have a history of seizures, said a source who knows the man. It is also unclear whether or not Murphy-Duford was responsive the entire time officers were arresting him.
SPD later revised their SPD Blotter entry about the arrest to claim that Murphy-Duford’s alleged seizure was “potentially related to a substance the subject had ingested prior to police contact,” but his lawyers told the Emerald in an email that “[n]o one has released ANY medical information to [the Force Investigation Team (FIT)] or SPD. Doctors have not indicated at any point that there is any ‘substance’ responsible for our client’s condition.”