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COVID-19 EXPOSURE update from Clark County Public Health: An employee at Chiro One Wellness Center Salmon Creek, 13800 NE 20th Ave., tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The employee worked while potentially contagious and may have exposed nearly 300 patients who visited the office over four days last week. The employee also exposed the 14 other employees at the wellness center.

All patients who visited the Salmon Creek office Sept. 8, Sept. 9, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 are considered close contacts who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and should quarantine immediately. Patients who visited the Salmon Creek office on other days, or visited other Chiro One locations, were not exposed and do not need to quarantine.

Public Health will call each patient to notify them of their exposure and provide additional information about quarantine, but it may take several days to reach all 300 people. Patients who were in the Chiro One Wellness Center in Salmon Creek anytime Sept. 8-11 should quarantine immediately and not wait for a call from Public Health.

Patients should quarantine for 14 days from their most recent visit to the wellness center during that Sept. 8-11 timeframe. Individuals in quarantine should stay home and avoid all contact with anyone who isn’t a household member. They should not go to work, attend church or visit any public places, such as grocery stores.

Anyone who has questions prior to being contacted by Public Health can call 360.386.2140. Public Health recommends all close contacts call their health care providers and request testing for COVID-19, even if they do not have symptoms. Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test result. Anyone who develops symptoms during the 14-day quarantine, even if they tested negative earlier, should be tested for COVID-19.

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Clark County Public Health (CCPH) provided its latest update Tuesday, stating that over the Labor Day weekend, another 82 people have tested positive for COVID-19. One person has died – a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions.

Over the long weekend, CCPH said an average of about 21 new cases per day (Fri-Mon) have tested positive for the virus. To date, 2,797 Clark County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 52 people have died.

Beginning today, CCPH will also include the number of active cases in their daily COVID-19 case updates on social media and on their website.

”The number of active cases reflects the number of confirmed cases who are currently in their isolation period,” said CCPH. “Confirmed cases remain in isolation until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication) and symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms began. Just because a case is no longer in their isolation period and is not considered an active case does not mean they have recovered. Some cases may experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.”

Currently, there are 109 active COVID-19 cases in Clark County.

The current incidence of new COVID-19 cases in Clark County is 64.07 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days. That’s a slight increase from last week (63.05 cases per 100,000) and means Clark County remains in the “moderate” range under the state’s school reopening guidance.

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Clark County Public Health issued a statement today regarding last week’s Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) provisional death data update. Here is their statement:

We’re seeing a lot of misunderstanding around new data from the CDC, and we need to set the record straight. Provisional death data updated by the CDC last week shows that for 6 percent of COVID-19 deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. The remaining 94 percent of deaths were among people with other underlying conditions.

This does not mean that only 6 percent of deaths are due to COVID-19. It means that for the other 94 percent, there were underlying conditions that likely made their COVID-19 illness worse and made them more at risk for serious illness and death.

There are different types of cause of death: immediate, underlying and contributing. For COVID-19, a common example might be an immediate cause of death of acute respiratory distress syndrome (which is what actually killed them), and an underlying cause of death would be COVID-19 or pneumonia from COVID-19 (which are the triggering factors that lead them to get the thing that actually killed them), and then contributing factors could be asthma, COPD, or diabetes (something that may have made their illness worse than it would have been).

As an underlying cause of death, COVID-19 is the thing that triggered the cascade of events that eventually leads to death. For example, older adults are more likely to have more contributing factors, but if they don’t get COVID-19, then they don’t start this cascade of events that lead to death.

None of this is new information. We’ve known that individuals with certain underlying conditions are at greater risk for severe illness and death. You can learn more about conditions that increase the risk of severe illness on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

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Clark County COVID-19 Update

Monday COVID-19 update: Since the last update on Friday morning, another 76 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and two people have died – a man in his 60s (unknown whether he had underlying health conditions) and a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions.

Over the weekend, Clark County had an average of about 25 new cases per day (Fri-Sun). To date, 2,610 Clark County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 51 people have died.

Nineteen COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and five persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 are hospitalized.

Vancouver, WA — The Clark Regional Emergency Operations Center (CREOC) issued their latest COVID-19 update. Here’s the report by the numbers, as of August 24, 2020:

Clark County

  • Number of Positive Tests: 2,435 (cumulative since March 2020)
  • Current COVID-19 Cases Hospitalized: 17
  • Number of Deaths: 47
  • Rate of new cases per 100,000 population: 74.7 (goal is to get to a rate of 25 new cases per 100,000).
  • COVID-19 persons under investigation (PUI) hospitalized: 11
  • Percent licensed hospital beds occupied: 67.5%
  • Percent licensed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and PUIs: 4.5%

Washington State

  • Number of Positive Tests: 71,012 (cumulative since March 2020)
  • Number of Hospitalized: 6,530 (cumulative since March 2020)
  • Number of Deaths: 1,863

Individual and Business Assistance Information

A team of state agencies hosts a monthly ​webinar series​ with experts who discuss information specific to Washington small businesses. A panel of state and federal partners respond to live Q&A regarding unemployment insurance, returning employees to the workplace, small business relief funding, workplace safety measures, and other topics important to employers. The next webinar will be held on September 9 at 1:30 p.m. There is also a Spanish-language webinar​ on August 27 at 4 pm. Click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-requirements-and-resources-sbrr-covid-19-impact-webinar-tickets-105298340170?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch%5C

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are available to help rural areas struggling with the costs of the pandemic. Washington State Department of Commerce is now accepting applications from CDBG non-entitlement (rural) city and county governments for the first round of these CDBG-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV1) funds. Visit Commerce’s ​CDBG-CV website​ for details on eligible activities and how to apply. Applications are due by September 3, 2020. Here’s the link: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/community-development-block-grants/cares-act-community-development-block-grant/

The Washington ​State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million​ in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through its existing network of homeless services grantees and organizations serving homeless youth to operate a new rent assistance program launched Aug. 1. The program will focus on preventing evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current and future rent to landlords for eligible participants. Here’s the link to the site: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/news-releases/community-grants/100-million-rental-assistance-headed-to-washington-communities/

Clark County Public Health reported Tuesday that another 11 people have tested positive for COVID-19. To date, 2,121 Clark County residents have tested positive. The Health Department says the current incidence of new COVID-19 cases in Clark County is 88 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days. The target rate is less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Currently, 12 COVID-19 patients and 13 persons under investigation (awaiting test results) for COVID-19 are hospitalized.

The agency also said today “our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing appear to be working!”

Data in the latest statewide situation report shows the growth of new cases in the state is likely slowing. And the data in this new report “points to vigilant masking and physical distancing as the reason for the slowed statewide transmission, rather than changes to people’s mobility.”

While case numbers are flat or decreasing statewide among people younger than 40, they are increasing among those 40 and older.

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Report Highlights

  • While growth in new cases may be slowing overall, aggregated data masks diverging trends in older and younger populations. In both eastern and western WA, cases are flat or decreasing in the 0 to 39-year age group while increasing in the 40-69 and 70+ age groups.
  • Suggests that any flattening of new cases is due to non-mobility-related changes in behavior like vigilant masking and physical distancing when out.
  • The slight deceleration in the growth of new cases is an improvement over the rate of increase noted in their last few reports. However, it is too early to know with certainty whether this represents a real turnaround. Further, the observation at the state level that cases continue to increase in the older age groups and particularly in those 70 and older is concerning. State health experts expect that if the increase in cases in these older age groups continues unabated this will result in an increase in hospitalization and deaths.
  • The report says “We cannot definitively attribute this trend to the mask mandates because mask wearing is generally accompanied by heightened awareness and physical distancing, but a ​preponderance of evidence indicates that widespread use of masks significantly reduces transmission​.”
  • Strict adherence to masking and physical distancing policies and limits on social contacts remain necessary to further suppress COVID-19 transmission in Washington state and protect groups at higher risk for severe disease.

This week, Gov. Inslee and state health officials announced updated COVID-19 guidance for long-term care facilities and fitness businesses.

Beginning Aug. 12, long-term care facilities will be able to resume in-person visits, with restrictions. The state has established a phased approach with criteria for long-term care facilities to safely allow visitors, provide trips for residents outside the facility and group activities, among other things.

  • Facilities in Phase 1:
    • Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations. Compassionate care situations include end-of-life circumstances and for psycho-social needs. Any such visit must follow strict safety protocol.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed and limited to two visitors per resident per visit. These visits must include masking, social distancing, and appropriate hygiene.
    • Facilities may invite “window visits” at their discretion with safety protocol in place.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all Phases.
  • Facilities in Phase 2:
    • Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations. Compassionate care situations include end-of-life circumstances and for psycho-social needs. Any such visit must follow strict safety protocol.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed. These visits must include masking, social distancing, and appropriate hygiene.
    • Facilities may invite “window visits” at their discretion with safety protocol in place.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all Phases.
    • A designated “essential support person” may visit a resident once per day if the resident is unable to participate in outdoor visits and if remote visitation technology is unavailable.
  • Facilities in Phase 3:
    • Indoor visits are generally permitted, with limitations. Facilities will establish protocol for visitor hours, visitor limits, and safety precautions. Preference should be given to outdoor visits.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed and are subject to facility safety protocol.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all Phases.
  • Facilities in Phase 4:
    • Regular visitation resumes.

Fitness Guidelines

Fitness guidelines were also updated this week, allowing fitness and sports training other than group fitness classes

Changes in August 3 update:

  • Removing the restriction on independent fitness training by allowing fitness and sports training other than group fitness classes.
  • Increasing the distancing requirement while exercising indoors from six feet to 300 square feet per person, except while practicing certain team sports. For large facilities, occupancy is limited to 25 percent of the facility’s occupancy limit, as determined by the fire code. Occupancy and distancing requirements should be determined and posted for every room in the facility.
  • Requiring all patrons to wear face coverings when inside indoor fitness facilities, except while engaged in strenuous exercise. Patrons who remove their cloth facial coverings to exercise must wear them at all other times, including immediately before and immediately after exercise.
  • Clarifying the use of indoor team sports facilities for practice and limited competition with no spectators.
  • Harmonizing Phase 2 and 3 guidance to allow some limited indoor fitness and training activities in all areas of the state.
  • Clarifying that outdoors locations for fitness training and team sports are preferred to indoors locations and should be utilized to the greatest extent possible. Outdoor temporary structures may be used. Outdoor temporary structures should have no more than two walls to provide appropriate ventilation.
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Clark County COVID-19 Update

Clark County Public Health issued a new update today:

Another 13 people have tested positive for COVID-19. However, during routine quality control checks of our data, we removed 12 cases from our total due to duplications and cases being transferred to other counties (the county of residence).

With those changes, the total number of Clark County residents who have tested positive to date is 1992.

Another Clark County resident has died – a man in his 80s with undetermined underlying conditions. To date, 41 Clark County residents have died.

Currently, 13 COVID-19 patients and four persons under investigation (awaiting test results) for COVID-19 are hospitalized.

COVID-19
Long-Term Care Facilities Visitation.

Olympia, WA — Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation Thursday related to the state’s contact tracing efforts and personal information protection. 

Proclamation 20-64 exempts personally identifiable information collected by COVID-19 case investigators from public disclosure. The proclamation does not provide additional exemptions for employees or volunteers who are conducting the contact tracing work, as the Public Records Act already exempts many types of personal information relating to public employees and volunteers.     

The success of the response to the COVID-19 epidemic depends in part on the free flow of information and individuals’ willingness to share information and cooperate with public health authorities,” Inslee said. “Ensuring the protection of a person’s personally identifiable information may determine whether that person will fully cooperate with COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers.”

“While we believe that COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing information, and the personally identifiable information that is gathered as a part of that work, is already exempt under the Public Records Act, we need certainty because ensuring the protection of a person’s personally identifiable information is critical to our COVID-19 efforts,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

The proclamation will expire on August 29.

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Latest Clark County COVID-19 Update

According to Clark County Public Health, another 22 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has died – a woman in her 70s with no underlying health conditions.

To date, 1,778 Clark County residents have tested positive and 40 people have died.

Currently, 20 COVID-19 patients and 10 persons under investigation (awaiting test results) for COVID-19 are hospitalized.

Washougal WA — Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance will host an online art festival as an alternative to its annual August event cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic public gathering restrictions. 

“We are very excited that our virtual 2020 Washougal Art Festival will last not just one day, but the entire month of August,” said WACA president, Kelli Rule.  “Our website will be the hub, and from there people will be able to access the festival through our Facebook and Instagram pages.”

The goal of WACA’s art festivals is to create exposure and drive sales for local and regional artists. According to Rule, artists have pushed themselves to create exclusive videos, new and refreshed websites and more to help promote their art in a new way online.  “We hope our community will support these local artisans, hard hit by the cancellation of so many opportunities to sell their art,” Rule said.  “We’ll do our best through social media to give the artists the attention they deserve.  When you purchase original artwork, you are not only buying that object, but you’re investing in that person.”

The event will highlight the work of 25 artists, each selected to participate by a jury of art professionals. 2020 festival artists are Linda Andrews-Riggs, water color; Eric Berlin, porcelain jewelry; Shirley Bishop, fused glass; Jean Blatner, watercolor acrylic; India de Landa, plexiglass acrylic jewelry; Chrissie Forbes, found art & oils, Katy Fenley, silver jewelry; Kyla Rae Friedrichsmeyer, watercolor & ink; Anni Furniss, mixed media; John Furniss, woodworking; Suzanne Grover, pen & colored pencil; Charlene Hale, fused glass; Kellie Kuter, mixed media; Brenda Lindstrom, oil; Beck Lipp, woodworking; Toni McCarthy, jewelry; Diane Moeglein, fused glass; Liz Pike, oil on canvas; Spike Palmer, oil painting; Karen Reule, silver jewelry; Gary Suda & Pamela Hancock, ceramics; Tamra Sheline, watercolor on yupo; Hiroko Stumpf, watercolor & acrylic; Cyndee Starr, mixed media; Barbara Wright, water color, ink, pencil; Jeff Wirth, photography; and Tom West, acrylic, stationery.

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Each year a local artist is selected to create an image for the event poster that reflects Washougal in some way. This year’s poster art of a deer among tall grass was drawn by Washougal artist, Suzanne Grover, a founding member of WACA, whose work will be a part of the virtual festival. Her beautiful spring meadow scene was created from the photography of John Rakestraw.  Signed posters are available for a $20 donation.  There is a limited number of signed posters from previous festivals available as well, which can be purchased directly from WACA by emailing [email protected].

“This year has been hard for artists who have seen so many fairs, festivals and events cancelled,” Rule explained.  “Artists have not been able to meet potential customers face-to-face and we know it is hard for them to make connections.   We hope this virtual event will help in some small way.”

Join the festival at the WACA website http://washougalarts.org/ or  https://www.facebook.com/WashougalArts/https://www.instagram.com/washougal_arts/.

Art Festival
Washougal Art Festival

OLYMPIA — Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday a series of rollbacks and restrictions on bars, restaurants, fitness centers, weddings and funerals as new confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise statewide.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the changes:

Weddings and funerals — Effective Aug. 6

  • Receptions are prohibited (ceremonies permitted)
  • Occupancy is limited to 20 percent capacity or 30 people, whichever is less. People must be able to maintain physical distance of six feet.

Restaurants and bars — Effective July 30

  • Alcohol sales must end at 10 pm
  • Table size reduced to five people and total occupancy to 50 percent capacity in phase 3
  • Game areas must close
  • Bars will close indoor service
  • Limiting indoor dining at restaurants to members of the same household. People meeting from different households can still dine outdoors.
  • No indoor service at any bar, brewery, tavern, winery or distillery, regardless of whether food is being served.
  • For counties in the third phase of the four-part plan, restaurant table sizes must be reduced to five people, and indoor occupancy to 50 percent.
  • Restaurants must also close down game areas, such as for video games, pool tables and darts, until their county has reached the fourth phase.

Gyms and fitness centers — Effective July 30

  • Phase 2: Indoor fitness services limited to 5 people (not including trainers and staff)
  • Phase 3: Total occupancy limited to 25 percent capacity

“We do not take these steps lightly,” Inslee said. “We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners. But we know that if we fail to act, we will expose thousands of people.”

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Secretary of Health John Weisman also announced today new guidance on face mask requirements.

His new order mandates that face coverings are worn in all indoor common areas, not just public spaces. His new mandate includes elevators, hallways, apartment buildings, college dormitories, hotels, motels, universities, assisted-living facilities and adult family homes.

The new mask mandate goes into effect Saturday.

Olympia, WA — The Washington State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues its response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, and provides regular reports. Fully activated on January 22, 2020, the SEOC has been coordinating the acquisition and delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE), the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), intelligence and advanced planning, and logistical support to stakeholders throughout the state.

This latest situation report includes SEOC and state agency activities related to the continued incident response and the Governor’s Safe Start reopening plan.

A highlight from the current report is that “Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced that he is returning all COVID-19 Safe Start applications from counties whose applications were put on pause or pending review before Governor Jay Inslee implemented a statewide pause on reopening plans. By the time these applications are eligible for review, at least four weeks will have passed. Much has changed during this time period and information in the applications will be outdated. The following county applications have been returned: Clark, Cowlitz, Jefferson, Kitsap, Klickitat, San Juan and Walla Walla.”

Statewide Risks

  • Multiple agencies are concerned about general misinformation regarding the positive impacts of mask wearing, and misinformation about negative health effects of mask wearing and how that could be exacerbated further with the scientific debate on infectious transmission of COVID-19.
  • The mental and emotional health and wellbeing of healthcare workers and first responders may become a factor in healthcare readiness and capacity as well as overall response operations.
  • There is a lack of exhaustive evidence around schools and pandemic spread, but there is a body of research that suggests the closure of schools (in 1918 and 2009) does result in a trough in the wave, signifying schools do play a role in transmission. Potential increased risk for housing and food crisis as early as Fall 2020.
  • A possible seasonal influenza epidemic in the fall will lead to additional challenges including disruption of the health and social care systems and a large resurgence of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Covid-like Illness (CLI) with local or regional epidemics. A generalized increase in respiratory infections over the winter could also rapidly overwhelm test and trace capacity.
  • Following the suspension of routine clinical care and general fear from the public around healthcare systems during the pandemic, there will likely be an increase in the number of poorly-managed chronic conditions or undiagnosed diseases combined with a surge in post-COVID-19 morbidity resulting in overall and long term health consequences.

Statewide COVID-19 Hospitalizations

  • Currently Hospitalized: 354
  • Currently Ventilated: 42

Statewide there are 4,907 beds available, and 341 ICU beds available.

COVID-19 Case Spikes Statewide (by County*) July 13-19

  • Benton: 450
  • Chelan: 141
  • Clark: 114
  • Cowlitz: 58
  • Douglas: 94
  • Franklin: 278
  • Grant: 106
  • King: 1,014
  • Kitsap: 84
  • Kittitas: 92
  • Okanogan: 151
  • Pierce: 496
  • Snohomish: 306
  • Spokane: 529
  • Yakima: 783

*This isn’t all counties, but those that had major spikes. The total of new cases statewide during period was 5,203.

Cumulative Data

  • Deaths: 1,447
  • Tested: 809,339
  • Positive Tests: 46,946

Statewide Unemployment

Since the week ending in March 7, 2020 when COVID-19 job losses began:

  • A total of 2,283,609 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic.
  • A total of 1,261,075 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits.
  • ESD has paid out over $7.6 billion in benefits.
  • 920,153 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid.