Now that the mask mandate has been lifted, we’ve heard a lot of questions in the community about whether or not to keep wearing masks, so we’ve created a risk gauge to help inform that decision. You may want to consider COVID-19 transmission in your community when considering whether or not to wear a mask. That tells you the probability that anyone in a given room has COVID-19.
When case rates are high (>100/100,000 residents) it’s a good idea to keep masking in indoor settings to protect yourself and others.
When case rates fall below 100 per 100,000 it is safer for most people to begin unmasking in indoor spaces.
For those at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or those with household members at high risk, recommend continuing to wear masks until case rates are very low (<50/100,000).
As of today, March 16th Pacific County case rate is 97 which puts us in the LOW category.
Remember when the mask mandate is lifted on March 11th, masking is still required for staff and visitors in the following high-risk areas:
-Healthcare and medical facilities
-Long-term care settings
-Public transit, taxis, and rideshare vehicles
-Private businesses and local governments that want to require masks for their employees, customers or residents
-Private businesses can still require masks or proof of vaccination if they choose. Many individuals will choose to continue to wear masks for a variety of reasons. Please be kind, compassionate and respect the rules of the room.
Wearing a mask when COVID-19 case rates are high is an act of community. It offers protection not just for yourself but for those vulnerable members of our society around you. Let us keep practicing the care and compassion for our neighbors that has gotten us this far in the pandemic. As a reminder, high quality N95 masks are available free of charge for those who live or work in Pacific County. Pick yours up today at any Pacific County based Timberland regional library or either health dept location!
For more information on how case rates and transmission levels are calculated, follow the link here: https://www.cdc.gov/.../201.../science/community-levels.html
Updated School Guidance
Updated school guidance from Washington State Department of Health:
“A student, child, or staff who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status. The isolation period is 10 full days from the start of symptoms or the date of positive test.
The individual may return to school/care after 5 full days of isolation if:
• Their symptoms have improved or they are asymptomatic, AND
• They are without a fever for the past 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
AND IF returning to school/care days 6-10, the individual is required to:
• Wear a well-fitted mask or face shield with a drape during days 6-10 of their isolation period, consistent with CDC guidance, OR
• Test negative with an antigen or at-home test any day after day 5 before returning without a mask. Testing beyond day 10 is not necessary.
If the individual is not able to wear a well-fitted mask or face shield with a drape, AND does not test negative, they are required to continue isolating through the end of their isolation period”.
Complete info at doh.wa.gov/masks
For immediate release
Contact: Katie Oien, Director, Pacific County Public Health and Human Services
County, state to shift toward more strategic COVID-19 contact tracing, case investigations approach
As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved over the last two-plus years, so will the response to it, statewide and locally.
Over the next several weeks, Pacific County Public Health will begin a shift in COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing to a more strategic approach, reflecting the evolution of the pandemic and in alignment with new guidance from state and national leaders in public health.
Rather than reaching out to every person who tests positive for COVID-19, efforts will be focused on four key areas:
• Outbreak Investigations
• Case investigations in congregate, high-risk settings (long-term care facilities, etc.)
• Targeted case investigations among those at highest risk of more severe illness (older adults, the homebound, etc.)
• Targeted case investigations among those with unusual illness presentation
Those who test positive for COVID-19 and who do not fall into these categories are strongly encouraged to notify their close contacts and follow the updated isolation and quarantine guidance listed on the public health website, www.pacificcountycovid19.com
If there’s a need for further assistance after a positive COVID-19 test, the public can call the state Department of Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 – additional staff will be added that will ask questions like county of residence and date of positive COVID-19 test. Also, a new feature on the state’s WA Notify app allows users to enter a positive test result and receive a link to anonymously alert other WA Notify users of potential exposure.
This by no means is an indication that the pandemic is over, as current case trends in our county have shown. Public health continues to see more than 100 new COVID-19 cases reported each week in Pacific County, and more patients being admitted to hospitals due to infection.
It is still important to wear a mask when around others outside your immediate household, get vaccinated, and get tested when you are feeling unwell. Please also continue to stay home when you are feeling unwell.
Para liberacion inmediata
Contacto: Katie Oien, directora del Departamento de salud Pública y Servicios Humanos del Condado del Pacific
Cambios del condado y estado sobre estratégicas de rastreo de contacto y enfoque de investigaciones de caso del COVID-19
Tras las evoluciones de la pandemia del COVID-19 en los últimos dos años y mas, también ha evolucionado la respuesta hacia la pandemia, a nivel de estado y local.
En las próximas semanas, el Departamento de Salud Publica del Condado del Pacific empezara un cambio en las investigaciones de casos y rastreo de contactos del COVID-19, hacia un enfoque mas estratégico, que refleje la evolución de la pandemia y se armonice con las nuevas guías del estado y lideres nacionales de salud pública.
En vez de contactar a cada persona que de positivo al COVID-19, los esfuerzos serán enfocados en cuatro áreas fundamentales:
Si hay necesidad de más ayuda después de una prueba positiva del COVID-19, el público puede llamar a la línea del COVID-19 del Departamento de Salud del Estado al 1-800-525-0127, personal adicional serán agregadas que le harán preguntas como su condado de residencia y la fecha de la prueba positivo del COVID-19. También, una característica nueva en la aplicación de WA Notify (Notifica WA) les permitirá a los usuarios subir un resultado de prueba positiva y recibir un enlace anónimo de otros usuarios de WA Notify sobre una posible exposición.
Esto de ninguna manera es indicación que la pandemia ha terminado, como se ha demostrado en las tendencias actuales de nuestro condado. En la salud pública del Condado del Pacific aún se reportan más de 100 nuevos casos del COVID-19 cada semana, y aún más pacientes que son internados en hospitales a causa de la infección.
Aun es importante usar mascarilla afuera de su hogar y alrededor de otras personas, vacúnese, y hágase una prueba cuando no se sienta bien. Por favor manténgase en su hogar si no se siente bien.
Stacking up Mask Options
With the highly contagious Omicron variant still spreading across Oregon, some of our masks may not be protecting us as much as they did against previous variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Recently, the CDC updated their masking recommendations: N95 and KN95 respirators provide greater protection than cloth or disposable medical masks.
They are made to fit tightly to the face, and when worn properly do a better job than cloth or medical masks at keeping virus-carrying particles from passing through and around the mask.
◌ N95 masks ideally filter at least 95% of airborne particles with the proper fit, and they are approved by the NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
◌ KN95 masks also ideally filter at least 95% of airborne particles but are not approved by NIOSH. They are manufactured in China and meet China’s standard of quality requirements.
◌ KF94 masks ideally filter at least 94% of airborne particles, are made in South Korea and meet Korea’s standard of quality requirements. They are not approved by NIOSH.
These types of respirator masks may not be necessary to wear in all situations, but the CDC recommends them in certain high-risk circumstances (http://ow.ly/h2Ng50HH7mr), such as if you’re caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19, traveling on public transportation or if you’re unvaccinated.
To learn more about the differences between your mask options and how to spot a counterfeit or low-quality mask, visit our blog: http://ow.ly/SRNM50HH7mp
COVID 19 Testing- Updated info
Message on behalf of Pacific County healthcare providers:
Demand for COVID testing currently far exceeds local healthcare provider capacity to test. It is important that we reserve our limited testing for those who are symptomatic or for those who have been exposed. As such, we ask that you please do not use local testing clinics for travel or pre procedure testing at this time. We also ask that individuals in need of testing do not come to emergency departments and urgent care clinics just for COVID testing. Hospitals are overloaded caring for ill patients and cannot provide testing for people who do not need emergency care.
IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS but do not need medical care and can't get a test, you might have COVID-19 and you should isolate for at least 5 days to keep from spreading the virus to others. Monitor your symptoms. More info in the Q&A here:
IF YOU WERE EXPOSED to someone with COVID-19 ￼and need to quarantine and are unable to get a test 5 days after your last close contact, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have not had symptoms; wear a mask for 10 days after last contact. If you have been exposed and you ￼don’t have symptoms is important that to time your test correctly. Testing immediately after exposure (within the first couple days), may result in a false negative result. ￼￼Details here:
We are doing all we can to increase test supply and availability in the community. Current testing site availability and updates here:
For immediate release: December 9, 2021 (21-245)
Contact: DOH Communications
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Information Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
Eligibility expansion will further increase protection as omicron variant spreads
OLYMPIA – Booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are now available for teens ages 16 and 17. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) expanded booster dose eligibility to include everyone 16 and older following guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
“Ensuring booster doses are available to as many people as possible will add an extra layer of protection across our communities this winter, help keep families healthy as we gather this holiday season, and increase immunity as the omicron variant spreads worldwide,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “Please do not delay, make an appointment to get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible.”
Everyone 16 and older is recommended to get a booster dose:
“The recent emergence of omicron is another reminder of the importance of vaccinations and boosters, especially for children and adults with chronic conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Chief Science Officer. “We know vaccines are safe and effective at protecting us from hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Getting a booster is the best way to increase immunity that tends to wane over time.”
Across Washington, more than 1,282,000 people have received an additional dose, which includes both boosters and third doses. Boosters can be mixed and matched, which means adults can get any COVID-19 vaccine available. However, Pfizer is currently the only vaccine authorized for people ages 16 and 17.
To make a vaccine or booster appointment, visit Vaccine Locator, Vaccines.gov, or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available. If you are unable to make an appointment at one location due to high demand, please try another. DOH appreciates the public’s patience as vaccine supply continues to increase across the state. Those with further questions are encouraged to visit DOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions webpage or talk to their trusted health care provider.
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Visit the DOH Newsroom for all news releases.
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Washington State Department of Health is your source for a healthy dose of information.
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), local fiscal recovery funds have been allocated to Pacific County to help mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pacific County is happy to announce that a portion of its “ARPA” funds are available to assist nonprofit organizations that suffered a negative economic impact as a result of the public health emergency. As part of the application process, nonprofits will be asked to demonstrate a negative economic impact caused by the pandemic.
Examples may include – but are not necessarily limited to – showing a loss of revenue via fundraising in 2020 vs. 2019, demonstrating an inability to provide certain services as a result of the pandemic, etc.
The application period for nonprofits begins on Thursday, November 4, 2021. ARPA funds are only available for a limited time. In accordance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Interim Final Rule regarding the usage of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“SLFRF”), Pacific County may incur ARPA expenditures until December 31, 2024. However, funds may be exhausted prior to this deadline.
The “ARPA” application packet for nonprofits is available on the Pacific County website: www.co.pacific.wa.us/arpa If you have any questions, please contact Paul Plakinger, Management & Fiscal Analyst: • telephone: 360-875-9300 extension 2243 • email: email@example.com
From Washington State Dept of Health
For immediate release: November 3, 2021
Contact: DOH Communications
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
Pediatric vaccine will help protect children and slow disease spread across WashingtonOLYMPIA – The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children 5 to 11 years old. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which reviewed data that found the vaccine to be safe and more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in younger children.
“As a father and as a physician, I have been eagerly awaiting the day I can get my children vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. “There are nearly 680,000 kids ages 5 to 11 in Washington. Vaccinating this younger age group will help protect them, keep students in the classroom, and bring us one step closer to ending this pandemic.”
Across the country, COVID-19 cases in children ages 5 to 11 make up nearly 40% of all cases in adolescents 18 and younger. While it is true children often have more mild cases of COVID-19 compared to adults, they can become very sick and may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. According to the CDC, more than 650 children under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, three weeks apart. The pediatric vaccine is a smaller dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms). Side effects reported in the clinical trial were generally mild to moderate and included sore arm, fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and nausea, with most going away within a day or two.
COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children who received the vaccine and have had no serious side effects. Research shows COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfection. Families with questions are encouraged to visit DOH’s web page VaccinateWA.org/kids for information about vaccines and kids, or to talk to their child’s health care provider.
“This is incredible news and, as a pediatrician, I am thrilled younger children are now eligible to get immunized against COVID-19,” said Chief Science Officer Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH. “It is wonderful to think that families can take advantage of vaccination for both young and old to more safely gather during the upcoming holidays.”
To schedule an appointment, reach out to your health care provider, your child's pediatrician, local pharmacy, or a mobile clinic near you. As more pediatric doses arrive into the state, DOH is updating Vaccine Locator and will add an option for “Pfizer-BioNTech Pediatric” vaccine in the coming days. If you have questions or need help scheduling an appointment, call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.
Due to the state’s initial limited pediatric vaccine supply of roughly 315,000 doses, during the first couple weeks families may need to reach out to more than one provider to find vaccines for their kids. Over time, supply will increase and there will be enough vaccine for all eligible children.
To answer media questions regarding pediatric vaccines, DOH will hold a virtual press conference at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3. Reporters who would like to attend are asked to email DOH-PIO@doh.wa.gov for more information.
The DOH website is your source for a healthy dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the DOH blog, Public Health Connection.
From: Washington State Department of Health
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to get COVID-19. The vaccine also keeps them from getting seriously sick or dying if they catch the virus. But for those who do get COVID-19 — regardless of vaccination status — there’s good news. COVID-19 treatment options have improved dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic.
One type of available treatment is called monoclonal antibody treatment. It can prevent someone from getting hospitalized or even dying from COVID-19. But they need to act fast! Monoclonal antibodies must be given within 10 days of getting symptoms to work best. So, it’s important to get tested right away if symptoms develop. If you do test positive, your doctor can help you decide if this treatment is right for you.
What are monoclonal antibodies?Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that help jumpstart your immune system so you can fight off a COVID-19 infection. They can be given by a shot or an IV infusion.
“These are synthetic antibodies that stimulate your body’s own immune system,” says Dr. Bob Lutz, Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Medical Advisor. “The whole idea behind monoclonal antibodies is that they get your body ramped up a little faster to fight COVID-19.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorization for several monoclonal antibody treatments. This is because some treatments work better for certain variants of the virus. The FDA currently recommends the REGEN-COV™ and Sotrovimab monoclonal antibodies. These two treatments work very well against the variants here in Washington.
Studies show that the treatments successfully fight the virus and prevent serious illness.
“In the trials, they had very good outcomes, very low rates of hospitalization,” says Dr. Lutz. “Overall, the outcomes were much better than for those who did not receive the treatment.”
In some cases, people may qualify for monoclonal antibodies after exposure to COVID-19, even if they haven’t tested positive yet. REGEN-COV™ may be used to prevent severe illness in people with compromised immune systems if they were in contact with someone who tested positive.
What should I know about getting monoclonal antibody treatment?Monoclonal antibody therapies can treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children 12 and older (must weigh at least 88 lbs.), who are at high risk for developing severe illness. Some fully vaccinated people may even qualify for antibody treatment if they are in a high-risk category. Regardless of vaccination status, timing is important. Once someone is hospitalized or needs oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, they are no longer eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatments. So, check with your doctor right away to decide if this treatment is right for you.
The federal government provides some monoclonal antibody treatments for free. Depending on insurance coverage, some may need to pay an administration fee. This is to cover the costs of giving the treatment, not for the antibodies. As always, check with your insurance provider to learn more about treatment costs for your specific plan, first. For people with Medicare and Medicaid, the cost of administering the treatment should be covered.
Monoclonal antibody success in AlaskaElsewhere in the country, monoclonal antibody treatments have become a powerful tool that’s helping limit the need for hospitalizations. This is particularly the case in remote communities, including some villages in Alaska.
Remote parts of Alaska and many Alaska Native communities don’t have hospitals. So, the state encouraged pharmacies and clinics to give monoclonal antibodies to people who are vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. Alaska also sent rapid response teams to isolated villages to offer the treatments to people during outbreaks.
Coleman Cutchins is the lead pharmacist for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. He says monoclonal antibodies have made a big difference.
“I can really tell the difference between the number of people we have to medevac out when we use monoclonal antibodies and when we don’t,” Cutchins said. “I knew this was going to be a good tool in our state which is so medically vulnerable.”
The success in Alaska shows how important and life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments can be, especially in areas with limited medical resources.
So, the bottom line is this: if you test positive for COVID-19, ask your doctor if monoclonal antibody treatments are right for you. But remember, you will still need to protect others by isolating until your symptoms go away. Make sure to follow DOH guidance on what to do if you have COVID-19, even if you get antibody treatment.
More InformationInformation in this blog changes rapidly. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.