Our Town

Melanie Bakin: Finishing High School in the COVID Era

(Airdate: June 1, 2021) Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Melanie Bakin, a graduating senior at Port Townsend High School. High school was going smoothly for Melanie – she was even going to be dancing in the student production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” But the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled that production. In fact, it cancelled all in-person classes, sports and other student activities for the better part of the academic year. But the high school is now inching toward a complete reopening. The junior/senior prom was a smash hit, even though it was held outside on the tennis courts with various social distancing protocols in place. The class of 2020 wasn’t so lucky. Now Melanie and her classmates are excited about getting on with their lives and are pondering that age-old question: “what next?”

Celebrating a Covid Christmas

(Airdate: December 4, 2020) Mari Mullen of PT Main Street, Denise Winter of Key City Public Theatre, and Yos Lichtenberg of Aldrich’s, on celebrating a Covid Christmas.

COVID-19 Archive of PSAs

Photo by Doug Rodgers

Vaccination Clinic at Sunrise Coffee on June 25
Two Vaccines at PT Farmers Market on June 26
Vaccinations at Tri-Area Food Bank June 23
2nd Dose Vaccine Clinic on May 29 in Brinnon
New CDC Vax Guidelines May 2021
Schedule Your 5/15 or 5/22 Vaccination Appointment Now
4th Wave, Pay Attention!
Tiers for Vaccine Appointments
Mass Vaccination Upcoming Event
Schedule Your 3/27 Vaccination Appointment Now
Post Vaccination Behavior
Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants
FindYourPhaseWA
Public Health Gratitude
Covid Vaccine Road Ahead
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
COVID-19 Stay Vigilant
Dr. Locke’s Advice for Our Community
WANotify
Rising COVID, Rising Risk
Gatherings
Be a Leader
Third Wave
Case Count Rising
Thanksgiving at Home
Governor Inslee’s New Order
Pandemic Pep Talk
Avoid Large Gatherings
Three Things to Do
Pandemic Fatigue
State of Washington Thanks You
Tarboo Lake Covid Testing Needed
Covid JeffCo Pats on Our Backs
Masks and Shields
Masks Are Effective – Coughing
Jeff Co Public Health/Covid-19 Testing
Hand Washing
Top 10 Reasons to Wear a Mask
Washington Listens Call Line
Reopening / Your Behavior
Safe Reopening
Safer Reopening / Testing
Testing Caregivers
Dept. Emergency Mgt. – Mask Fabric
EOC Masks #1
Masks for You
Dr. Locke / Support Local Restaurants
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #1
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #2
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #3
Dr. Tom Locke / Mid-May
Face Masks Q&A
N95 / Surgical Masks
Don’t Call 911 to Report “Stay at Home” Violations
Don’t Flush Wipes
COVID-19 Mask Guidelines
Grocery Shopping
Stay Home

Two Vaccines at PT Farmers Market on June 26

(June 18, 2021) Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will hold a free vaccination clinic at the Port Townsend Farmer’s Market on Tyler Street, Saturday, June 26 from 10am-1pm. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. You must be at least 18 years old to receive either vaccine. Walk-ins welcome. To make an appointment, call 360-344-9791 or register online.

Vaccination Clinic at Sunrise Coffee on June 25

(June 18, 2021) Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will hold a vaccination clinic in the parking lot at Sunrise Coffee at 308 10th St. from 3-7pm om Friday, June 25. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. You must be at least 18 years old to receive either vaccine. Walk-ins welcome. To make an appointment, call 360-344-9791 or register online.

Vaccinations at Tri-Area Food Bank June 23

(June 17, 2021) Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will host a vaccination clinic at the Tri-Area Food Bank in Chimacum, Wednesday, June 23rd from 9:30am to 2pm. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. You must be at least 18-years-old to receive either of these vaccines. For more information and to make an appointment online or by calling the Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791.

2nd Dose Vaccine Clinic on May 29 in Brinnon

(May 24, 2021) Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will hold a second dose Moderna vaccination clinic at the Brinnon Junior High School located at 46 Schoolhouse Road from 9am to noon on Saturday, May 29.
That afternoon from 1-2:30pm, they will offer a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination opportunity at the same location. Appointments for that vaccination are preferred; however, walk-ins will be accepted.
To make an appointment for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, register here or call 360-344-9791.

New CDC Vax Guidelines May 2021

(May 7, 2021) The CDC has new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated.
You’re fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of other vaccines.
Fully vaccinated people don’t need masks for most outdoor activities, including small gatherings with vaccinated and unvaccinated people, outdoor dining with other households, or walking, running or biking with members of your own household.
Vaccinated people should still wear masks at crowded outdoor activities like sporting events, performances, and parades.
Everyone should continue to wear masks indoors, including hair salons, stores, gatherings of multiple households, theaters, and worship services.
To make an appointment, go to vaccine locator (dot) doh (dot) wa (dot) gov (here).
Or, call the Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791 from 9am to 5pm weekdays. That’s 344-9791.

Schedule Your 5/15 or 5/22 Vaccination Appointment Now

(May 6, 2021) Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will hold a second dose Moderna vaccination clinic at the Chimacum High School Multi-Purpose Room, 91 West Valley Rd., on Saturday, May 15 from 9am to noon. In the afternoon from 1-2:30pm on May 15, the single-dose J&J vaccine will be offered. Only 54 doses will be available. Appointments are recommended and walk-ins will be accepted. Also, there will be a first dose vaccination opportunity in the afternoon from 1-2:30pm. Appointments for the first dose vaccination are preferred, however, walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, log on to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov//reg/2656445109 or call 360-344-9791.

4th Wave, Pay Attention!

Although we’re leading the state in vaccinations, COVID-19 infections are rising quickly in Jefferson County and all over Washington. After just 10 local infections in March, we’re on pace for 50 in April.
Why? A key reason is three of the “variants of concern” – the so-called UK variant and two California variants – account for the majority of new infections. These variants are much more contagious and can cause more serious infections.
We’re seeing more infections in younger people, and statewide ICU bed occupancy has remained above the 80% “caution threshold” for nearly two months.
Don’t let your guard down just because we’ve been able to open the economy a little more. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Sign up for a free, drive-through, local vaccination.
And please, don’t go to work or other gatherings if you’re sick. Even if your symptoms seem mild, it’s essential to get tested right away. Thank you.

Tiers for Vaccine Appointments

(April 5, 2021) Two new tiers are open for vaccine appointments. All current locations, along with specifics on who is eligible, are listed on the website, JeffersonCountyPublicHealth (dot) org. If you don’t have online access, help is available weekdays at the Department of Emergency Management Vaccine Phone Line. Call 360-344-9791. That’s 344-9791. Thank you!

Mass Vaccination Upcoming Event

(March 22, 2021) Our next local mass vaccination clinic, open to those now eligible, is happening this Saturday. This Department of Emergency Management and Jefferson County Public Health event is at the Chimacum School District Multi-Purpose Room, 91 West Valley Road, from 9am to 3pm. You’ll find the web links and phone number to schedule your COVID vaccination appointment are posted now at KPTZ.org.

Schedule Your 3/27 Vaccination Appointment Now

(March 22, 2021) The Department of Emergency Management together with Jefferson County Public Health will continue to operate the mass vaccination clinic on Saturday, March 27 at the Chimacum School District Multi-Purpose Room, 91 West Valley Road from 9am to 3pm. For more information about how to schedule an appointment and the most-current COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria, go to https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/.

To make an appointment, first go to www.FindYourPhaseWA.org to check eligibility. Print a copy of the confirmation page to bring to the clinic for your appointment. Next, log on to bit.ly/jeffcovax to schedule your appointment. For those who do not have access to a computer, please call 360-344-9791 to make an appointment.

Those eligible for a vaccination include:

  • Critical workers in some congregate settings; agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, corrections, fire, law enforcement, staff and volunteers in congregate living settings.
  • People ages 16+ that are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at higher risk.

This information is provided by the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management together with Jefferson County Public Health.

Post Vaccination Behavior

(March 11, 2021) Our state Department of Health has adopted recent CDC vaccination guidance. We can now cautiously lift some restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after your Pfizer or Moderna second dose, OR 14 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Fully vaccinated people may now gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated, without wearing masks, and can meet with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 infection.
We all need to remain vigilant in the face of slowing, but continued viral transmission and more variants, regardless of your vaccination status. Please continue to follow CDC guidelines to keep us all safer until everyone who wants a vaccine can get one.
Thank you.

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants

(February 25, 2021) COVID-19 infections have been declining across the country as well as in Washington, where Jefferson County has the second-lowest number of cases per capita in the whole state.
That’s great news, but… Every expert from Dr. Fauci to our County Health Officer, Dr. Locke, is concerned about the recent COVID-19 variants first discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Both of these are now in Washington state. The South African variant may render some vaccines less effective. The UK variant is much more contagious and fast becoming the dominant strain in the US.
We’re vaccinating people as fast as we can in Jefferson County, but until that job is done, it’s essential that everyone – vaccinated or not – continue to mask up, wash up, keep your distance, and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.
If you think you may have symptoms or been exposed to someone with symptoms, please, get tested right away. Thank you.

FindYourPhaseWA

(Feb. 22, 2021) If you’re one of the 7,000 people who signed up online to get vaccinated by Jefferson Healthcare, please be patient. You’ll get a phone call or an email when there are appointments available in your age group.
To register for the hospital’s drive-through vaccination clinic, go to JeffersonHealthcare.org.
If you haven’t signed up yet, you can go to FindYourPhaseWa.org to confirm your eligibility. That’s find your phase wa (dot) org.
You can print out your confirmation of eligibility, and find links for making vaccine appointments at Jefferson Healthcare and local pharmacies.
If you don’t have online access, volunteers are available from 9am to 4:00pm weekdays at the Department of Emergency Management. Call 360-344-9791. That’s 344-9791.
Meanwhile, please keep masking up, washing up, and staying six feet away from people outside of your household. Thank you.

Public Health Gratitude

(Feb. 10, 2021) KPTZ would like to express our gratitude to Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke and Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence. And to all our public health professionals, our elected officials, also to the many volunteers who serve our community. Since the pandemic started, you’ve provided the tools and support to empower us to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe. We appreciate all your hard work!

Covid Vaccine Road Ahead

(Jan. 27, 2021) Getting enough of us vaccinated takes time ~ and more importantly, a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccine.
As Dr. Tom Locke says, all pandemics end, eventually.
Vaccinated or not, we’ll need to keep masking up, washing up, and social distancing until the pandemic subsides.
Until then, local restaurants and businesses really need our support.
It’a long road ahead, and we can get there if we all do our part.

COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments

(Jan. 20, 2021) COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Jefferson County, and moving through the age brackets.
Appointments can be made online at Jeffersonhealthcare.org, at Safeway, at Tri-AreaPharmacy.com, and now at QFC in Port Hadlock.
Please do not telephone the hospital or pharmacy for scheduling.
Go online to make your appointment, instead. Keep trying, and if you can, late at night and early mornings are good times to check.
If you do need help registering, call the local Department of Emergency Management weekdays from 9am to 4pm at 360-344-9791.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

(Jan. 20, 2021) COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Jefferson County, starting with our most at risk citizens and moving down the age brackets.
Currently, Jefferson HealthCare and TriArea Pharmacy, offer vaccines by appointments only. These can be made online at Jeffersonhealthcare.org or TriAreaPharmacy.com.
Both websites have details about the process, including what to expect, what to bring and any paperwork needed to get your vaccine.
If you know anyone who is in this priority group, you are encouraged to reach out and let them know about this vaccination opportunity.
Please do not call Jefferson Healthcare or the pharmacy for scheduling.
KPTZ will let you know when other people in the current tier can get vaccinations, after our most vulnerable folks have received the vaccine.

COVID-19 Stay Vigilant

(December 23, 2020) Overall, Jefferson County has done well handling the pandemic. And now in the third wave of infections, we all need to be more vigilant than ever.
Lately there are higher amounts of circulating virus in our community. Without signs of flattening the steep rise, COVID-19 cases will persist. And since local case counts have gone up, this increases potential for life-threatening disease, and for running out of ICU beds.
We all need to focus on what we know stops transmission. It takes continuing the prevention measures: less in-person shopping, less mixing of non-household members, less visiting, reducing out-of-county travel except for absolutely necessary appointments, and increased attention to distancing, which gives more protection on top of masking.
KPTZ urges you to stay informed to be safe and healthy, during this challenging season!

Dr. Locke’s Advice for Our Community

(December 9, 2019) The COVID-19 pandemic is steadily worsening throughout the U.S., including Washington state and Jefferson County. Exposure risk is likely to remain high for the next three to four months. People are tired of having their lives disrupted and are willing to take more and more risks. Activities like social gatherings that were low risk during the summer are now much more likely to result in COVID-19 transmission.
My advice is to try to forgo as much preventable risk as possible, including club meetings, social events, non-essential travel, and alike. We’re experiencing the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will almost certainly be worse than anything we’ve previously experienced.
On a hopeful note, vaccines are on the verge of licensure and deployment. Vaccine supply will be very limited at first, but as winter gives way to spring supplies will improve and the end of this long public health emergency will finally be in sight.

WANotify

(Dec. 2, 2020) Washington State’s Department of Health now offers WANotify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The privacy-preserving technology works without collecting or revealing any personal data or location. WANotify can be easily enabled in iPhone settings, or downloaded as an app for Android phones. More information at doh.wa.gov.

Rising COVID, Rising Risk

(Nov. 25, 2020) We’ve all done a great job of keeping the spread of COVID at bay, and with new advances in vaccines, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. But it’ll be a good number of months before we can say “hasta la vista, baby” to the virus and cases are on the rise. So, our Department of Emergency Management is asking you to be COVID S.M.A.R.T. ! That’s S-M-A-R-T:
S: Sanitize frequently.
M: Mask appropriately – even with family & friends outside your household.
A: Air Flow – When socializing try to stay outside. If you’re inside, use fans and open windows to keep that air moving.
R: Room between people – Stay six feet apart whenever possible.
T: Technology for gatherings – Use video conferencing technology instead of in-person visits.
Keep up the great work everyone and Jefferson County will get through this…together.

Gatherings

(Nov. 24, 2020) The State of Washington would like to remind everyone that you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by gathering more safely this holiday season.
Try to keep gatherings outside – or virtual.
If in-person, limit to 5 or fewer guests, and make sure everyone can stay 6-feet apart.
Don’t share food, utensils or drinks.
And wear masks whenever you’re with people you don’t live with.
Learn more at coronavirus.wa.gov/gatherings.

Be a Leader

(Nov. 17, 2020) You can be a leader, and help stop the spread of COVID-19, help our front-line workers survive, and help keep our hospitals from filling up. Have a holiday celebration within your household. Save the parties for after the new year. We can make it through this together, and return to the people and activities we love. In early November, our state’s daily case rate was around 600. Soon after, it surpassed 2000. Let’s be part of the solution, for a healthy future.

Third Wave

(Nov. 17, 2020) The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is already larger than the first two, and is expected to have a significant impact on our resources and our capacity to control the spread of infection.
Researchers at the University of Washington predict our state will run out of ICU hospital beds in December if the current rate of new cases continues.
Our public health officer, Dr. Locke has recently recommended two more actions that reduce transmission as well. First, assume that cold like symptoms may indicate a COVID-19 infection and get tested. Second, do not attend or plan any gatherings of family and friends from other households.
By continuing to take these precautions, each of us can help reduce the burden on our hospitals and front line workers.
So continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and stay at least six feet apart from others when out in public.
Currently, our own individual behaviors are the most important tool we have to slow the spread of this infection.

Case Count Rising

(Nov. 17, 2020) You’ve heard that COVID cases are rising rapidly around the world, and until recently Jefferson County has been a relatively safe bubble. Not so much, anymore.
Our county and our region are experiencing the exponential growth that we’ve been trying to avoid. King County new daily infections rose to a record 300 on November 1st, and just two weeks later they hit 800!
Jefferson County’s infection rate has also been rising fast, driven in part by spread among attendees of a party. And our local healthcare system is already maxed out.
We all want to spend holidays with friends and family, and temptations abound for letting our guard – or our masks – down. This is not the time! Please, for your sake and for the sake of the people you care about, stay home, especially during the holidays. We urge you to pay attention to travel restrictions and the ban on indoor gatherings. We can get through this, but it takes ALL of us to bring the infection rate back down.

Thanksgiving At Home

(Nov. 17, 2020) Maybe you’ve heard, the Governor’s order prohibits spending Thanksgiving with anybody outside your household. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re healthy and your friends or family are healthy and you can defy those Thanksgiving rules. Please don’t! Nobody knows who’s infected and it takes every one of us to stay at home to bring the infection rate down. Please do your part, again, to make the exponential spread of COVID a thing of the past.

Governor Inslee’s New Order

(Nov. 17, 2020) Governor Inslee has issued a new COVID-19 order rolling back most “Safe Start” rules, effective through December 14th.
Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they have quarantined for 14 days or quarantined for seven days AND received a negative test result no more than 48 hours prior to the gathering.
Outdoor social gatherings are limited to five people from outside your household.
Restaurants and bars are closed to indoor dining. Take-out and outdoor dining are still permitted.
Groceries and retail stores are limited to 25 percent occupancy.
Indoor activities are prohibited at gyms, museums, and other venues.
Weddings and funerals of up to 30 people are permitted, but indoor receptions, wakes, and similar events are prohibited.
For more information on these temporary guidelines, go to coronavirus. wa. gov.

Pandemic Pep Talk

(Nov. 17, 2020) Governor Inslee appeared on TV directing us to forego holiday gatherings with family and friends. With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising, this will save lives, ease the burden on front line workers, and reduce hospitalizations.
Like all pandemics, this one will end. Early vaccine results are promising, but are months away from universal availability.
Jefferson County has been doing a great job. Thanks to all who continue to keep everyone safe!

Avoid Large Gatherings

(Nov. 17, 2020) A cluster of COVID-19 infections in Jefferson County was discovered among attendees from unrelated households at a Halloween party.
If multiple events of this scale take place during the Thanksgiving or December holidays, we would continue to see a steeper increase of cases in our county – which until now, has had one of the lowest infection rates in the country.
With lower infection rates, we have the opportunity to continue our economic progress and lower the risk of health consequences to our citizens.
KPTZ, our radio family, urge all residents to resist any holiday gatherings that involve friends or family outside of your immediate household. That is, only those with whom you now live. Every time we mix households, we give this virus another chance to spread.
Wishing you Happy Holidays and will be seeing you on Zoom!

Three Things To Do

(Nov. 17, 2020) Reducing COVID-19 transmission is as simple as 1-2-3:
1. Limit your time in poorly ventilated spaces.
2. If you have cold-like symptoms … assume it’s COVID-19 and get tested, just as our county health officer Dr. Locke suggests.
3. Practice the trifecta: Distance yourself, wash your hands, and keep wearing that mask.
Jefferson County has been doing a superb job. Thanks to all who continue to keep this community safer!

Pandemic Fatigue

(Nov. 17, 2020) Now that we’re in the “third wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, our state is experiencing a huge increase – not just in infections, but also, people have “pandemic fatigue.”
Yes, we’re getting pretty tired of wearing masks, staying six feet away from other people, washing our hands all day, and not being able to gather with our friends for a meal or a beer.
Like all pandemics, this one will eventually end. Early vaccine results are promising, but it appears we’re some months away from widespread vaccine availability.
So, fatigued or not, the most important thing for us all to do going forward, is maintain our efforts to slow the spread of infection ~ so our medical system isn’t overwhelmed.
Jefferson County has been doing a superb job. Thanks to all who continue to keep everyone safe!

State of Washington Thanks You

(Sept. 18, 2020) The State of Washington would like to thank everyone for helping stop the spread of COVID-19:
– By wearing a mask, even when you’re outside.
– By keeping six feet apart, even when everyone you’re with feels healthy.
– And by keeping gatherings small, even if you’re just with close family or friends.
Together we can keep ourselves and our communities safe.
More information about stopping the spread of COVID-19 at coronavirus.wa.gov

Tarboo Lake Covid Testing Needed

(Aug. 21, 2020) This is an urgent announcement from the Jefferson County Health Department:
Anyone who went to Tarboo Lake on Saturday, August 15 or Sunday, August 16 needs to get a COVID-19 test. Call your medical provider or the COVID testing clinic at 360-344-3094.
A Covid case reported earlier this week has been associated with a gathering at Tarboo Lake. Another case reported Thursday may also be related. The Health Department has so far identified 23 contacts to this incident and needs to reach all these people for them to quarantine.
Jefferson County continues to rise in COVID-19 cases. At large gatherings, people need to follow the mask and distance guidelines. Two cases were added on Thursday, August 20, bringing our total to 64.

Covid JeffCo Pats on Our Backs

(Aug. 13, 2020) Hi, Phil Andrus here, host of Cats in Our Laps. In 1977 when I decided to stake my future in Jefferson County, I was drawn by the physical beauty of the Peninsula, the nearby mountains and the sea, but also by the people I would meet, their openness and their sense of shared destiny. 
Now we’re living in the fateful year 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is those very same values that sustain us, that make us a model of adaptation to a vicious virus. The mountains and the sea give us respite from the constantly dismal national statistics, and each other. Our friendliness and our sense of shared destiny keep masks on our smiling faces and distance where we would rather hugs would be. 
We are behaving ourselves so wonderfully well, we owe each other, all of us, even the skeptics, and especially our healthcare professionals, a resounding Thank You. How very lucky we are to be here, and to have KPTZ on our radios at 91.9.

Masks and Shields

(Aug. 12, 2020) This is Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.
To address the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington has a state-wide “no mask, no service” order.
This prohibits businesses from serving customers unless they are wearing masks.
If you are one of those few people who has a medical exemption to masking, you must refrain from entering businesses. Instead, you’ll have to arrange for curbside pickup, delivery, or have someone else – with a mask – do your shopping for you.
Please note a mask has to cover your mouth and your nose to be effective. Worn properly, masks can prevent 95% of transmissions.
A plastic face shield can give you additional protection, but does not protect anyone else. If you choose to wear a face shield, you must also wear a mask to protect other people from infection.
Masks are required in outdoor locations when social distancing cannot be maintained, and in all indoor public spaces. Thank you.

Masks Are Effective ~ Coughing

(Aug. 12, 2020) To stop the spread of COVID-19, cloth face masks protect others when you talk, cough or sneeze.
A mask is effective only when both your nose and mouth are covered.
Once your mask is in place, don’t touch! Keep it clean ~ wash it with soapy hot water, and heat-dry it.
Our Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke agrees with the CDC: cloth masks are effective to help stop the virus. Face shields are not recommended.
Be Safe, and Mask up, Jefferson!

Jeff Co Public Health/Covid-19 Testing

(Aug. 12, 2020) Coronavirus symptoms, even when mild, are unique to each person. And fever is a common factor, says Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke. Other symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. See more at the webpage: jefferson (dot) wa (dot) u s. When exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or after coming in contact with someone who has the virus, you are encouraged to contact Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend and ask for a test. Jefferson Healthcare’s dedicated Nurse Consult Line is staffed seven days a week, 8am to 5pm: 360-344-3094.

Hand Washing

(July 22, 2020) This Larry Stein from KPTZ. I’m in Seattle for awhile during this social distancing period. But wherever we are, we all have to wash our hands. I’ve found a silver lining – it’s how darn clean my hands feel. I really like the World Health Organization’s guidelines for washing your hands. You put the soap on and you scrub your hands before you put much water on them. You lather your hands, scrub the nails of one hand on the palm of the other hand. They give that wonderful technique where you wrap a hand around your thumb and scrub your thumb. You interlace your fingers from the bottom and then from the top to get in between your fingers really good. You do this all for twenty, thirty, forty seconds. Then you rinse it. Wow! It feels so good. I think after all this is over, my hands will be a lot cleaner. 

Top Ten Reasons to Wear a Mask

(July 1, 2020) 10. Kids can go back to school. Wear a mask and keep all kids healthy.
9. Small businesses can stay open. With more people out and about, wearing a face covering protects our economy.
8. Be a leader in the community. Demonstrate how to take care of others.
7. It’s rude to make other people sick. With a new virus that can be spread to others when we talk or breathe, cover your face to keep your germs to yourself!
6. Show essential workers they’re appreciated. Protect their health by covering your face.
5. Express yourself. Use your mask to uphold your freedom of speech.
4. Leaving home to go out. To see friends and family, or get your hair cut, keep everyone healthy.
3. Support your cause. Many nonprofits benefit from your purchase of a mask.
2. Save money on make up. Or cover a blemish. Whatever good reasons!
1. It literally saves lives. Fewer people will get sick if we all wear our masks.
Be a good neighbor! And, thank you.

Washington Listens Call Line

(June 30, 2020) The Washington Listens program supports anyone in Washington experiencing stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or any of the events that have occurred because of it. The Washington Listens call line offers support services to help people deal with their stress from the outbreak and build recovery. Call 833-681-0211 Monday through Friday 9am to 9pm and weekends from 9am to 6pm. The number again, is 833-681-0211. Washington Listens!

(60-second PSA) The Washington Listens program supports everyone in our state, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All services are anonymous, and available to any state resident ~ everyone in Washington ~ for children and youth to older adults.
Through the Washington Listens call line, support services are available to help people deal with their stress from the outbreak and build recovery. This includes providing someone to talk to, groups to help work through the stress together, resources to self-manage, and connection to resources.
The Washington Listens support line at 833-681-0211 is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Washington Listens is available to anyone in Washington to speak to a support specialist. The number again, is 833-681-0211. Washington Listens!

Reopening / Your Behavior

(June 18, 2020) Public Health professionals have given us tools and guidance on strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Taking these measures keeps us safer. If the level of community participation in these recommended practices is not giving you the protection from infection that you seek, you can still limit your public interactions to reduce your participation in more public settings.

Maritime Center Deals with COVID-19 Challenges

(First airdate: January 6, 2021) Today we talk with Jake Beattie, the Executive Director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. Jake details how the Maritime Center has had to adapt to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen in to hear about the new 360 Race and other exciting events and programs.

Beach Tours During the Time of COVID-19

(First airdate: October 14, 2020) The Pacific Northwest has a long history of offering educational beach walking tours on its beaches and along its shores, where families and naturalists alike learn about the wonders of our sea life. Marine Ecologist, Jeff Adams, with the University of Washington and Washington Sea Grant, works on a wide range of aquatic and watershed issues with colleagues from Washington State University and numerous other partnerships and particularly Jeff develops beach naturalist and watershed stewardship programs. Learn how Jeff and his colleagues continued their work and adapted beach tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chaos, Coffee and Covid – Recovery Cafe

(Airdate: September 1, 2020) Catching up with Recovery Cafe manager Brian Richardson and volunteer extraordinaire Tom Young, we learn how a non-profit in the midst of opening with hopes to provide a vital service stays the course during our Pandemic. Consider the progress and promise of this community space with Missy Nielsen of Everybody Can.

Habitat for Humanity During COVID-19

(Airdate: July 21, 2020) The critical need for housing that has been laid bare by the Coronavirus. Permanent, affordable, healthy and low cost housing is  urgently needed. Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity offers that opportunity. Executive Director Jamie Maciejewski speaks with Missy Nielsen of Everybody Can to catch us up on how this organization is doing.

#155 Kelly Barlow, No Hands on in the Time of COVID

(Airdate: June 30, 2020) NO HANDS ON IN THE TIME OF COVID. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews massage therapist, Kelly Barlow, owner of one of the many local businesses that was forced to shut down during the COVID-19 crisis. Kelly had zero income for almost three months. She spent down her savings and tried (mostly without success) to find her way through the thicket of regulations to get federal or state aid. She’s now back with a very limited and thoroughly sanitized operation. By definition, massage is a hands-on profession. So Kelly’s also begun studying to expand her skill set. She was once in the catering business. Now she’s taking courses in nutrition, planning perhaps for a career expansion into nutritional consulting.

Stepping Up in the Midst of COVID Chaos

(First airdate: June 9, 2020) During this time of Covid Chaos and social distancing, folks have found creative ways to support and respond to the needs of others. Continuing our “Stepping Up” series Missy Nielsen of Everybody Can speaks to a couple of folks who stepped up. Fred Hammerquist, an avid outdoorsman and national park advocate for the Washington National Park Fund, managed to shake his cabin fever while serving his community. Joy Winfrey leans into her quilting skills, launching a mask-making challenge. Please join us to discover the micro-moments that are the building blocks of caring communities such as ours.

Special City & County Meeting on COVID-19 ~ 5/19

On Tuesday, May 19, KPTZ aired a joint COVID-19 emergency situation meeting. Jefferson County Commissioners, Port Commissioners, County Board of Health, and Port Townsend City Council convened together to address the option of applying for a variance for Jefferson County to move sooner to the governor’s Safe Start Phase-2 reopening activities. Our elected leaders reviewed public comments and heard from representatives of some of the different sectors.  

In addition to hearing from Dr. Tom Locke of Jefferson County Public Health Officer, featured speakers included Brian Kuh of EDC Team Jefferson, Arlene Alen of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Williams and Frank Redmon of the North Hood Canal Chamber of Commerce, and Dave Robison of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority. This meeting was preparatory to the BOCC vote this Friday on whether to accept Public Health recommendations for the Washington Safe Start, Phase 2 options.

Joint Meeting 5/19/20, Part 1
Joint Meeting 5/19/20, Part 2
Joint Meeting 5/19/20, Part 3

Special City & County Meeting on COVID-19 Audio – 5/07

On Thursday, May 7, KPTZ aired a joint COVID-19 emergency situation meeting. Jefferson County Commissioners, County Board of Health, Port Townsend City Council convened together to address the option of applying for a variance for Jefferson County to move sooner to the governor’s Safe Start Phase-2 reopening activities.

Featured speakers were Dr. Tom Locke of Jefferson County Public Health Officer, Willie Bence, Director of Jefferson County’s Emergency Operations Center and Mike Glenn, CEO of Jefferson Healthcare. Dr. Locke discussed the attributes of Inslee’s Phase-2 plan, to be determined by our elected leaders. The next step will be a special County Public Health meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 14.

Joint Meeting 5/07/20, part 1
Joint Meeting 5/07/20, part 2
Joint Meeting 5/07/20, part 3

COVID-19 Local Information

Photo by Doug Rodgers

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing ContactUs@KPTZ.org. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.

Click here for a complete List of all KPTZ COVID-19 PSAs

Post Vaccination Behavior
Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variant
Public Health Gratitude
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
WANotify
Pandemic Fatigue
State of Washington Thanks You
Tarboo Lake Covid Testing Needed
Covid JeffCo Pats on Our Backs
Masks and Shields
Masks Are Effective – Coughing
Jeff Co Public Health/Covid-19 Testing
Hand Washing
Top 10 Reasons to Wear a Mask
Washington Listens Call Line
Reopening / Your Behavior
Safe Reopening
Safer Reopening / Testing
Testing Caregivers
Dept. Emergency Mgt. – Mask Fabric
Masks for You
EOC Masks #1
Masks for You
Dr. Locke / Support Local Restaurants
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #1
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #2
COVID-19 Transmission Fact #3
Dr. Tom Locke / Mid-May
Face Masks Q&A
N95 / Surgical Masks
Don’t Call 911 to Report “Stay at Home” Violations
Don’t Flush Wipes
COVID-19 Mask Guidelines
Grocery Shopping
Stay Home

Post Vaccination Behavior

(March 11, 2021) Our state Department of Health has adopted recent CDC vaccination guidance. We can now cautiously lift some restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after your Pfizer or Moderna second dose, OR 14 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Fully vaccinated people may now gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated, without wearing masks, and can meet with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 infection.
We all need to remain vigilant in the face of slowing, but continued viral transmission and more variants, regardless of your vaccination status. Please continue to follow CDC guidelines to keep us all safer until everyone who wants a vaccine can get one.
Thank you.

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants

(February 25, 2021) COVID-19 infections have been declining across the country as well as in Washington, where Jefferson County has the second-lowest number of cases per capita in the whole state.
That’s great news, but… Every expert from Dr. Fauci to our County Health Officer, Dr. Locke, is concerned about the recent COVID-19 variants first discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Both of these are now in Washington state. The South African variant may render some vaccines less effective. The UK variant is much more contagious and fast becoming the dominant strain in the US.
We’re vaccinating people as fast as we can in Jefferson County, but until that job is done, it’s essential that everyone – vaccinated or not – continue to mask up, wash up, keep your distance, and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.
If you think you may have symptoms or been exposed to someone with symptoms, please, get tested right away. Thank you.

Public Health Gratitude

(Feb. 10, 2021) KPTZ would like to express our gratitude to Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke and Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence. And to all our public health professionals, our elected officials, also to the many volunteers who serve our community. Since the pandemic started, you’ve provided the tools and support to empower us to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe. We appreciate all your hard work!

COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments

(Jan. 20, 2021) COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Jefferson County, and moving through the age brackets.
Appointments can be made online at Jeffersonhealthcare.org, at Safeway, at Tri-AreaPharmacy.com, and now at QFC in Port Hadlock.
Please do not telephone the hospital or pharmacy for scheduling.
Go online to make your appointment, instead. Keep trying, and if you can, late at night and early mornings are good times to check.
If you do need help registering, call the local Department of Emergency Management weekdays from 9am to 4pm at 360-344-9791.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

(Jan. 20, 2021) COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Jefferson County, starting with our most at risk citizens and moving down the age brackets.
Currently, Jefferson HealthCare and TriArea Pharmacy, offer vaccines by appointments only. These can be made online at Jeffersonhealthcare.org or TriAreaPharmacy.com.
Both websites have details about the process, including what to expect, what to bring and any paperwork needed to get your vaccine.
If you know anyone who is in this priority group, you are encouraged to reach out and let them know about this vaccination opportunity.
Please do not call Jefferson Healthcare or the pharmacy for scheduling.
KPTZ will let you know when other people in the current tier can get vaccinations, after our most vulnerable folks have received the vaccine.

WANotify

(Dec. 2, 2020) Washington State’s Department of Health now offers WANotify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The privacy-preserving technology works without collecting or revealing any personal data or location. WANotify can be easily enabled in iPhone settings, or downloaded as an app for Android phones. More information at doh.wa.gov.

Pandemic Fatigue

(Nov. 17, 2020) Now that we’re in the “third wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, our state is experiencing a huge increase – not just in infections, but also, people have “pandemic fatigue.”
Yes, we’re getting pretty tired of wearing masks, staying six feet away from other people, washing our hands all day, and not being able to gather with our friends for a meal or a beer.
Like all pandemics, this one will eventually end. Early vaccine results are promising, but it appears we’re some months away from widespread vaccine availability.
So, fatigued or not, the most important thing for us all to do going forward, is maintain our efforts to slow the spread of infection ~ so our medical system isn’t overwhelmed.
Jefferson County has been doing a superb job. Thanks to all who continue to keep everyone safe!

COVID-19 Information Features

Crucial Point in the Pandemic
Pandemic Reflections
How to talk to your child about the Coronavirus – Part 1
How to talk to your child about the Coronavirus – Part 2
Dr. Tom Locke Recommendations for Protesters and Caregivers

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing ContactUs@KPTZ.org. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.


Crucial Point in the Pandemic

As Jefferson County awaits and shifts part of its COVID-19 response to the arrival and distribution of long-awaited vaccines, KPTZ brings you an important message for your consideration regarding the state of our COVID-19 epidemic.

This year, holiday gatherings present a challenge to our celebratory expectations. It’s so tempting to want to gather with friends and family during this holiday. It’s what we expect and want to do this time of year….but we are faced with the fact that COVID-19 cases are being reported in greater numbers now than in the beginning of the pandemic.

Following warnings from government and public health officials, many Americans either stayed home or limited the size of their Thanksgiving gatherings. In nearly all counties, people had fewer contacts this Thanksgiving than they did last year…but cases are still rising. As one public health official stated, ”The fact is, many people took precautions and that helped towards slowing the steep increase in cases … but it’s not been enough. Many of our hospitals are close to running out of ICU beds and staff to care for really sick people.” The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has projected that our state will run out of ICU beds in early January 2021. The surge of COVID-19 cases is threatening the well-being of our medical professionals. as well as tragically having to consider rationing our medical care.

Every community sits at a crossroad. Our individual and collective behavior is crucial in determining whether coronavirus cases continue to rise over the next few months. Our efforts at masking, distancing, and hand-washing served us well when there was a low amount of virus circulating, but each surge has increased the level of circulating virus enough to make an impact now. We need to use every action and recommendation from public health professionals to dramatically shut down the continued spread of this virus.

Here is what we know works:
• Following public health recommendations reduces new COVID-19 cases.
• Distancing provides the best protection from coming into contact with the virus.
• You get an added layer of protection when social distancing is paired with wearing a mask over your nose and mouth any time you step out your front door.
• And handwashing is always a defense against spreading germs.

Your greatest risk for exposure to the virus is being inside a closed environment. The more time you spend inside, the more likelihood of exposure and infection. Our public health officer Dr. Tom Locke has stated that small gatherings with people who don’t currently live in our house currently drive the increase in cases in Jefferson County. Case investigation and contact tracing is critical to reduce the spread of any communicable disease. When the number of cases outpaces the local resources available, it becomes more difficult to quickly identify and quarantine infectious persons and their close contacts. Although it’s typical for viruses to mutate, a lower number of cases means fewer chances to mutate.

The good news: here is what we can do going forward:
• In November our Governor, upon the advice of health professionals, asked us to forgo the traditional family and friends gatherings we typically have this time of year. More of us need to keep this up until the cases go down to a manageable level.
• If you have any symptoms typical of COVID-19 infection, get tested. Don’t hesitate.
• Re-visit what you consider are your basic and indispensable needs. Dr. Locke has encouraged us not to skip routine or preventative medical and dental care, but cautions us to reduce travel to nearby counties that have a greater surge in new cases.
• Staying home is still safest. To get essential supplies, keep it quick, keep your distance and wear a face covering.
• Support local businesses. Many of our local merchants and restaurants have demonstrated their willingness to adapt their services with curbside pick-up. Supporting them makes it possible for them to survive this pandemic.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of our communities, our workforce and our beloved businesses.


Pandemic Reflections

Photo credit: Mike Penney

December 1, 2020. Hi, this is Dick “the Rooster“ Keenan, the host of Vinyl Dialogues here on KPTZ, and a retired clinical social worker. I have been thinking about the effects of the pandemic and want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Pandemic fatigue is mental and physical tiredness that is the result of navigating constant change and uncertainty. The long months of social distancing and quarantining contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness. It is normal to be experiencing these feelings.

Here is one person’s experience: “All of the sudden, I felt like I was drowning in exhaustion and sadness. I could only do two things: BE and BREATHE. Sometimes, the worst thing that we can do when we’re tired is to keep doing more things.”
– BE…I gave myself the gift of just accepting who I was in that moment, even if I wasn’t in a good place. It was okay for me to not be okay.
– BREATHE…I allowed myself to concentrate on breathing. It took about an hour for me to rise back up. But as I practice “be and breathe” I knew that the feeling will pass. It will for you, too.

Then, BALANCE…Life must go on. I’ve had to re-evaluate how much I do, how fast I’ll move and how far I’ll go.

In CONCLUSION…Be gentle with yourself, friends.

The relentlessness of this pandemic has been exhausting and stressful for all of our citizens. Over the summer there was some indication that as a nation we were making some headway on the virus due to our diligence with the behavioral recommendations. Hot spots seemed to be related to increased public circulation, especially large gatherings of non-member households and an increase in virus circulation.

It would not be unusual for people to want to quit following the guidelines in the face of their exhaustion and the confusing messages played out on the media. Some of the thoughts we have all had to contend with include: I am tired of being protective; I don’t care anymore; I want my freedom/independence; the president says it is not a big deal; no one I know has died; when state governments okay the opening of bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters, that means these are safe places to attend.

Likewise, when you see people socializing without wearing masks or social distancing, it looks normal and the temptation is to join in. It is increasingly hard to stick to long-term behaviors that look like all downside and no upside. That’s because the immediate gratification of socializing freely is more appealing than the constant protective measures we do day-in and day-out with the unspectacular reward of not getting the virus.

Think about these symptoms and whether they are present lately in yourself or your family:
• eat or sleep more or less than usual
• trouble focusing (brain fog)
• feel edgy or nervous
• snap at or argue with others
• lack motivation
• unable to stop racing thoughts
• withdrawing from others

The process of changing our behavior has many ups and downs. It is expected that individuals will back slide at times. These are normal reactions to the rigor and determination required to change our behavior. Rather than thinking of pandemic restrictions as something we are forced to do, we can remind ourselves that we are freely choosing these actions to help our loved ones, ourselves, and everyone in our community.

To help with stressors, here are some Healthy ways to cope and recharge your batteries:

  1. Take care of your body – exercise, sleep, meditate
  2. Limit news intake – read, play games, sort photos
  3. Lower your stress – go out in nature, take a bath
  4. Connect with others – reach out to others for your mental health and for theirs
  5. Accept your feelings – they are normal; stop and listen to yourself
  6. Try positive self-talk – I can do this
  7. Create new traditions – movie/game nights; cooking, have a child teach you something

If symptoms persist despite using various coping skills, please consider reaching out for help. A good first step is talking with your doctor about current symptoms and asking for recommendations for counseling if they don’t offer it. Remember, most of your contacts are going to be over the internet, so you will interact with a counselor from the comfort of your own home.

I hope this presentation has given you some perspective on the impact of the coronavirus on our mental health and has added some ideas to your skill set of coping mechanisms during these trying times. This is Dick “the Rooster” Keenan and my wife, Kate Keenan on KPTZ FM 91.9, saying, “Stay well and stay informed.”

COVID-19 and Kids

How to talk to your child about the Coronavirus,
from all of us at KPTZ – Part 1

April 15, 2020. Let’s talk about how to talk with children about the coronavirus. Madeline Levine, a clinical psychologist, tells the story of a boy, about 8 yrs old, asking his mother if he can have a playdate with a friend. She responds, “ OK, but I’ll only pencil it in. In case, you know, the world ends.” This seemingly lighthearted response may be confusing, or terrifying, to her son. Many parents may unknowingly communicate their own fear concerning this serious pandemic. Our fear – or discomfort – with the unknown can affect our judgement and decision making. Many of us can relate to this when we think about being in a serious situation in which we nervously laughed.

The following information about children is meant to aid parents when talking with them about the pandemic we face. Children under 5 think magically, so trying to explain the specifics of the coronavirus pandemic would not tend to comfort them. Typically, young children do as well as their parents are doing and will look to you for clues on how to react. Letting them know that you will take care of them provides comfort and a feeling of security. Use simple and matter-of-fact instructions about hand washing and social distancing to inform them that “this is how we can help ourselves and help others, and stay healthy.”

Children 5 to 10 years old have begun to think more logically but are still concrete in their way of thinking. They may lag in their understanding of abstraction or sarcasm. If they overhear someone expressing their fear about the virus they may come home saying, “Are we all going to die?” It is appropriate to state, “No, we are not all going to die. What is it you heard that makes you think that could happen?” It’s good to keep an open line of communication with your children in order to find out what they are hearing. You can correct any misinformation they might hear. It is appropriate to minimize exposure to TV news which is often overly dramatic and fear raising. It is not just what your children overhear, but more importantly, how they interpret it. 

Young adolescents (11 to 15 years old) think much more logically and can understand abstract concept – that is, the bigger picture. They are more likely to understand sarcasm, yet it is wise not to assume that they do. Adolescents are stressed just by being a teenager. You might hear your teenager say, “This sucks. I’m not staying home. None of my friends are sick.”  You can express understanding by saying, “We know you miss hanging out with your friends.” Remind them that other people, especially relatives and friends, are counting on them to stay home so that COVID-19 is not spread further into the community. This reinforces the concept that adolescents can be very self-centered but are also very socially conscious and want to help.

As parents, our task is to calm ourselves so that we don’t alarm our children with our own fears and anxiety. Limiting our exposure to all the media and news can be helpful. This particular time in the world is a great opportunity to share with our children the behaviors we all can engage in to reduce stress, such as games, meditation, walking, nature. And we can work on developing new ways, as a family. In times of uncertainty like the current pandemic, adults and children will all be stressed by the many changes that have occurred in our lives.

Some fun things to do that reduce stress are: dancing, singing (make up songs about having to stay home), making videos, drawing (children often reveal a lot of what they are feeling when they draw), painting, play wrestling, yoga, shooting baskets, kicking a soccer ball, making empty boxes into tents or caves, bicycling, cooking together, and assorted games are all fun activities that let families blow off some steam and get away from daily concerns. One of the more illuminating activities is to let your child teach you a game or concept. It’s fun for the parent and allows the child to feel that they can be in the teacher / knowledgeable role.

We hope that this information will help you to rise to the occasion during these most challenging times. Stay tuned to 91.9FM KPTZ, and stay healthy!

How to talk to your child about the Coronavirus,
from all of us at KPTZ – Part 2

May 18, 2020. Let’s talk some more about how to help children and their parents cope with the pandemic and the needs to quarantine. 

Like many difficult subjects, talking to children about the pandemic may leave parents tongue-tied and searching for words. Children are actually quite good at accepting explanations of things, as long as they can see that their parents are composed. Typically it is us, the adults, who are uncomfortable with certain subjects, such as death, mental health, divorce, pregnancy, and adoption, to name a few. 

If you are uncomfortable talking about the coronavirus and its risks, it may be helpful to have another adult to help you, or use a therapist to help discuss the issue. A classic example of this is when a child asks his or her parent where babies come from. The parent embarrassingly stumbles through some semblance of the birds and the bees lecture only to find that the child wanted to know if you got babies through Amazon. A good first step is to have the child tell you what they think. For example, you can ask, “Where do you think babies come from”? Or in this case, “What have you heard about the new virus going round?

Children under 5 years old will not understand concepts like a worldwide pandemic, death, losing your job, financial problems, and so on. Use simple language such as: the virus is a bad cold that can make you really sick and we are being asked to stay home, so that we don’t get sick, and so that others don’t get it from us. 

Children will feel more in control by knowing what they can do to help, for example: washing their hands, staying home, wearing a mask, and social distancing. Most children will have follow-up questions at some time. Keep your answers simple and try to directly address their worry or confusion. Older children can be given more advanced information, but simple is still best, depending on their maturity. It’s a good idea to check with your child to see what their understanding is of your explanation. Remind them that this is an open topic and they can talk about it any time. Think about where they are getting their news from: their friends or the internet. A good practice is for the adults to screen information from the news and inform their children in an age-appropriate manner. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you can use this as an opportunity to research together by going to a reliable source of information, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

The pandemic is a worldwide period of transition that we are all experiencing. Transitions happen throughout our lives and some are more stressful than others. Some common ones are; starting school, marriage, moving, teen years, loss of job, or being bullied. Our ability to navigate through these changes in our life is an example of what we mean by coping. Do we have the resources to handle this ourselves or do we need help from family or friends? Sometimes professional help is needed because we may not be coping as well as we thought.

Here are some examples of behaviors in children that may benefit from working with a therapist:
– Up to 6 years of age: loss of previously gained childhood milestones, such as, toileting, eating independently, sleep difficulty; eating more or less than usual, clinging, tantrums, crying often.
– 7 to 12 years: decline in school functioning, eating more or less than normal, isolating themselves from family or friends, poor hygiene, less cooperative, sleep issues.
– 13 to 18 years: decline in schoolwork, eat and sleep changes, isolating, oppositional behaviors, acting out with drugs, alcohol, or sex.

What you know about your child’s everyday functioning is your key to detecting changes in their behavior. This goes for adults as well. Find your inner Columbo! Being a good detective is a useful parent skill. You may not be able to visit your child’s pediatrician, or to your own doctor, but you can call in to start assessing what is going on. Doctors can rule out medical conditions, and can refer you to a therapist if needed. 

Lastly, we the adults need to monitor our own feelings and behavior. Are you more irritable lately, cranky, having less patience, feeling more anxious due to the virus and quarantine? Depression can also be a problem, as many people cannot work, and may be facing severe financial hardship. The best way to take care of your family is to take care of yourself!

You can Google “How to talk to children about the coronavirus “ for more information. Thanks for listening to 91.9FM KPTZ. Stay healthy and Stay Safe!

Dr. Tom Locke Recommendations for Protesters and Caregivers

June 18, 2020. Recently during a public broadcast of the weekly COVID-19 briefings to the Board of County Commissioners, our local Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke made recommendations for any Jefferson County residents who may have participated in the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the Seattle area. He recommended they should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, which can include cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fever, shaking chills, headache, fatigue, body aches or sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste. This self-monitoring should occur for at least 14 days since their last exposure. This is the longest period of time it may take for symptoms to show if you have been exposed and infected. If any of these symptoms develop, testing for COVID-19 should be done.

For area residents who also take care of people at high risk for COVID-19 complications (i.e. elderly parents, nursing home residents, individuals with chronic heart or lung disease or immunosuppression), these individuals should consider being tested one week after their last exposure to a large crowd to screen for asymptomatic infection that may be spread to others.

Dr. Locke currently does not recommend testing for people who attended the Black Lives Matter protests on the Olympic Peninsula, although anyone who has been in a large crowd of people where masking is not being observed and physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained should monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days and get tested if they develop symptoms. COVID-19 is much less prevalent on the Olympic Peninsula in comparison to King County and the risk of transmission in large groups here is lower.

Peaceful protest is an important constitutional right and the Black Lives Matter protests are a historic opportunity to express opposition to institutional racism and police misconduct. Unfortunately, this does not lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmission in situations where large crowds gather, unmasked, speaking loudly, and being subjected to tear gas attacks (which cause intense coughing) and are in close proximity to each other. All of these factors make the recent Seattle demonstrations a high-risk exposure for COVID-19. Testing will allow those with the infection to be appropriately treated and to take the actions necessary to prevent further spread of the infection.

KPTZ’s COVID-19 Update on Monday, March 30, 2020

On Monday, March 30 at 9:45am, Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director of Emergency Management provided public updates during the County Commissioners’ weekly meeting about COVID-19 and our county’s preparedness.

KPTZ broadcast via 91.9FM and streamed at KPTZ.org this timely COVID-19 information, which was also videostreamed live and recorded for online viewing any time thereafter at the Jefferson County website.

Click on the triangle above to listen to the recorded broadcast.

KPTZ’s COVID-19 Update on Monday, March 23

On Monday, March 23 at 9:45am, Vicki Kirkpatrick, Jefferson County Public Health Director, and Willie Bence, Director of Emergency Management provided public updates during the County Commissioners’ weekly meeting about COVID-19 and our county’s preparedness.

KPTZ broadcast via 91.9FM and streamed at KPTZ.org this timely COVID-19 information, which was also videostreamed live and recorded for online viewing any time thereafter at the Jefferson County website.

Click on the triangle above to listen to the recorded broadcast.

Special City & County Meeting on COVID-19 Audio ~ 3/19

On Thursday, March 19 KPTZ aired a joint meeting at City Hall of the Port Townsend City Council and the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners for their COVID-19 strategy meeting. This informative meeting featured speakers including Dr. Tom Locke of Jefferson County Public Health, Willie Bence of Jefferson County’s Emergency Operations Center, Siobhan Canty on behalf of Jefferson Community Foundation, PT Main Street, Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION), and the Port of Port Townsend. There were other speakers and comments read from our local citizenry.

Joint Meeting 3/19/20 part 1
Joint Meeting 3/19/20 part 2
Joint Meeting 3/19/20 part 3

KPTZ’s COVID-19 Update ~ 3/16

On Monday, March 16 at 9:45am, Dr. Tom Locke, Public Health Officer for Jefferson County and Willie Bence, Director of Emergency Management provided public updates during the County Commissioners’ weekly meeting about COVID-19 and our county’s preparedness.

KPTZ broadcast via 91.9FM and streamed at KPTZ.org this timely COVID-19 information, which was also videostreamed live and recorded for online viewing any time thereafter at the Jefferson County website.

Click on the triangle above to listen to the recorded broadcast.

Commissioner meetings to include Dr. Locke’s COVID-19 updates are scheduled to happen at this same time Mondays over the coming weeks. These are opportunities for all local government, members of the public, and businesses to tune at 9:45am to hear accurate public health information on COVID-19 from our Public Health Officer; and from Willie Bence on how the County is preparing both now and for the future.

KPTZ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Watch Continues

As your community radio station, KPTZ’s Emergency Team and our dedicated News crew are working on ways to keep the local public informed with updates about the fast-breaking Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. It’s our goal to be prepared if – and, so we’re told – when any cases occur on the Olympic Peninsula. A helpful Information Sheet addressing public concerns, is available:

Update on COVID-19 and Jefferson County
(updated March 5)

Jefferson Healthcare has set up a dedicated COVID-19 Respiratory Illness Nurse Call-in Line to answer questions and address concerns regarding the virus. The Call-in Line number is 360-344-3094, and is active daily from 8am to 5pm. For contacting your health care provider, is very important to call first, before going to the doctor’s office or Emergency Department ~ unless there is an urgent health condition. [This paragraph updated March 4.]

KPTZ’s Emergency Team is in communication with both the local Department of Emergency Management and the WA Department of Health. We will continue making announcements on 91.9FM and streaming as well as posting here any pertinent information as it unfolds. Stay tuned!

WA DOH Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resources & FAQs

County Public Health Report ~ 7/19

The following is a summary of the presentation during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Officer, and Dr. Allison Berry, who now takes on the mantle of Jefferson County Public Health Officer. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

During the County Commissioners’ meeting, Dr. Allison Berry was introduced as Jefferson’s new County Health Officer. Dr. Tom Locke, who has been in this role for over 25 years, is stepping back to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve got to be honest that the COVID-19 response is exhausting as well as gratifying, and it’s not over,” Locke admitted. “We all have a lot more to do, both in our official capacities and as volunteers. This has been, and continues to be, a community-wide response.”

Locke cautioned that COVID-19 is not the only public health crisis we face. He said the opiate epidemic is still raging and has become worse during the pandemic. Locke gave Dr. Berry high praise as the health officer for Clallam County as well as being a colleague and co-worker at the Jamestown Family Health Center. 

Dr. Berry said it was her pleasure to step forward in the role and it was “quite an honor to take over for such an incredible health officer. “I think Tom Locke has really set the stage for what a health officer can do and what a difference a health officer can make, and I have been honored to learn from him,” she said.

All three Commissioners leveled praise on Dr. Locke’s commitment to the community. Heidi Eisenhour said she called Dr. Locke Mr. Rogers “because the adults and kids of the county have been tuning it to hear his weekly updates. I think we need to give you a cardigan sweater,” she said.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry by emailing contactus@kptz.org. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/12

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

Of all the eligible County residents 12 years and older, County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that 70% have been fully vaccinated. “This is among the highest rates in the state,” he said. “ But it’s not where we really need to be to control the variants.  We need that population immunity rates in the 80-85% range to really control that transmission of variants, and we knew very early on we were in a race with the variants that if we didn’t get people vaccinated soon enough.” Locke said vaccine-induced immunity is much more protective than natural immunity, and “you don’t run the risk that 10-30% getting long COVID or the 5-10% risk of being hospitalized, or if your child is around 2% of children who are getting COVID-19 are now being hospitalized.” He stressed that people who have had COVID-19 “still need to get vaccinated because it is the only way to give them good protection from the variants that are likely coming.” It takes five to six weeks from the first vaccination to be fully protected. COVID-19 cases in Jefferson are circulating among those who are unvaccinated. Dr. Locke noted of the 10 cases reported last week, five were in one household. Every person tested positive. None were hospitalized . As of today, two people are in the hospital and one is  in the ICU with COVID-19.

Director Of Emergency Management Wilie Bence said DEM is winding down its pop-up clinic efforts. They will be ready to handle long-term vaccination strategy focused on distributing booster shots when they’re available. If you have questions about vaccinations, are homebound or just need help scheduling, call 360-344-9791. He noted hospitalizations and bed occupancy are up across the state due to people choosing elective surgeries.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/06

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that the Jefferson County COVID-19 infection rate has seen a drop in positive cases, with 11 in the past 2 weeks. There have not been any Gamma or Delta variants reported in Jefferson County. For those 12 and older, 73.3% of the eligible County population have received one dose of the vaccine, while 70.1% have been fully immunized. Jefferson is bested only by San Juan and King counties.

Dr.Locke said that cold viruses are beginning to circulate in Jefferson County and that wearing a mask if you are sick is “incredibly effective for source control.” It protects others from you. Consider wearing one.

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence told Commissioners that a special pop-up vaccination clinic will be held for veterans during the Veteran Stand Down event at the Elks Club in Port Townsend, July 26 from 10am to 2pm. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. No other pop-ups are being scheduled at this time, although DEM stands ready to activate if events warrant. Vaccines continue to be provided through local pharmacies and Jefferson Healthcare’s Express Clinic. Emergency Management’s COVID-19 Call Center will continue to operate. For information, call 360-344-9791.

Next week’s Monday, July 12 BOCC meeting will be held in-person at the Courthouse in the Commissioners’ Chambers beginning at 9am. If you plan to attend, please leave plenty of time to check in at the basement entrance. Be prepared to show your vaccination card, sign an attestation, or wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated. The meeting also will be live-streamed through the county website at www.co.jefferson.wa.us, with links to Zoom or phone. The Chambers has a 49-person occupancy limit. This is the first live BOCC meeting in the courthouse since the beginning of the pandemic.

County Public Health Report ~ Tuesday

Please note that KPTZ’s broadcast of the Public Health Updates on COVID-19 live from the Board of County Commissioners’ weekly meeting is at 9:45am on Tuesday, July 6 this week. Dr. Tom Locke, Public Health Officer for Jefferson County and Willie Bence, Director of Emergency Management, provide information and guidance to keep us all safe. The 9:45am Monday meeting will resume on July 12.

Compass for 7/03/21

This week on the Compass we talk with Benji Project founder Cynthia Osterman and child psychologist Lexa Murphy about the results of a survey of local teens on the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and about things adults can do to help teens in crisis.

County Public Health Report ~ 6/28

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, EOC, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting.
Note: Due to the legal holiday this coming Monday, the next BOCC meeting is rescheduled to Tuesday, July 6, at the same time, 9:45 am. The following week, July 12’s meeting will resume on Monday morning.

According to County Health Officer Dr.Tom Locke, in Jefferson County, 67% have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine while 64% are fully vaccinated. That’s the second highest rate for a fully vaccinated population in the state, second only to San Juan County. In the 12-and-over-eligible population, 73% have had at least one dose and 69% are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Jay Inslee are coming to an end this Wednesday.  Retail establishments will not require a mask for entry. However, unvaccinated individuals still are required to wear masks indoors for their own protection, given the more transmissible variants that now predominate.

Vaccinated people and those under 5 years old are not required to mask, however they should still wear masks indoors in crowded settings. Anyone who is immune suppressed, taking immune-suppressing medications, who is on cancer chemotherapy, or who has had a cancer that affects their immune system should speak with there physician. Look to the Public Health Webpage for messaging around these changing guidelines.

Emergency Management Director Willie Bence said because of the decreased demand for vaccinations, COVID-19 pop-up clinics are being wrapped up for the time being. Local pharmacies and Jefferson Healthcare Express Clinic will continue to offer vaccines. The County has  a good supply of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on hand. The community masking program will stand down, too. Community volunteers have distributed masks to community groups, grocery stores, and local businesses free of charge since the beginning of the pandemic. The Department of Emergency Management Call Center (360-344-9791) will remain open but will not be staffed completely during business hours. Questions requiring an immediate need can be fielded by the Nurse Consult Line at Jefferson Healthcare at 360-344-3094.