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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

Schedule Your 4/24 Vaccination Appointment Now
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

Schedule Your 4/24 Vaccination Appointment Now

(April 15, 2021) A first-dose clinic will open in Chimacum on April 24.
The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management together with Jefferson County Public Health will open a Moderna vaccine clinic on Saturday, April 24 from 1-4pm at Chimacum School District Multi-Purpose Room located at 91 West Valley Road in Chimacum. All appointments for the April 17 clinic have been scheduled.
Three hundred doses of the vaccine have been ordered for this clinic. Anyone 18 years of age and older can get the Moderna vaccine.
To schedule an appointment, go to bit.ly/jeffcovax. For Spanish translation, click on ES in the top right hand corner when the page opens. For those who do not have access to a computer, please call 360-344-9791 to make an appointment.

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

Schedule Your 4/24 Vaccination Appointment Now
Tiers for Vaccine Appointments
Mass Vaccination Upcoming Event
Post Vaccination Behavior
Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variant
Public Health Gratitude
Covid Vaccine Road Ahead
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
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
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

Schedule Your 4/24 Vaccination Appointment Now

(April 15, 2021) A first-dose clinic will open in Chimacum on April 24.
The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management together with Jefferson County Public Health will open a Moderna vaccine clinic on Saturday, April 24 from 1-4pm at Chimacum School District Multi-Purpose Room located at 91 West Valley Road in Chimacum. All appointments for the April 17 clinic have been scheduled.
Three hundred doses of the vaccine have been ordered for this clinic. Anyone 18 years of age and older can get the Moderna vaccine.
To schedule an appointment, go to bit.ly/jeffcovax. For Spanish translation, click on ES in the top right hand corner when the page opens. For those who do not have access to a computer, please call 360-344-9791 to make an appointment.

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.

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 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.

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 10 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 17, 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.

Safe Reopening

(June 16, 2020) The progression for safely reopening our local economy calls on us to willingly take healthy measures of mask wearing, sanitation, and physical distancing.
Individuals over age 65 are encouraged to remain at home until Phase 4 of the Governor’s orders, especially those with underlying health conditions. Wearing a mask and distancing are safe practices for essential shopping trips, appointments, and outdoor activities.

Safer Reopening / Testing

(June 17, 2020) If you expose yourself to a high risk setting, your responsibility is to then quarantine. If you do actually have an infection, entering back into the public could spread the virus.
When you quarantine for 14 days to wait for onset of symptoms, this reduces transmission of infection, should you progress to disease.
Accuracy of COVID-19 test results is dependent on timing.
If tested before there’s enough circulating virus to be detected, may give a false negative result.
Dr. Locke, Jefferson County’s Public Health Officer, recommends waiting to be tested until onset of symptoms ~ from the list, including fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, or nausea.
The health of our entire community depends on each of us, playing our part.

Testing Caregivers

(June 16, 2020) Symptoms get you access to COVID-19 testing, rather than your participation in high-risk exposure settings. So reviewing the CDC symptom list is the guide for knowing when to be tested.
The exception to this involves caregivers of high-risk persons, who may develop life-threatening conditions if their caretaker has asymptomatic or symptomatic infection. The caregiver needs to include this information in any interaction with a health care provider.

Dept. Emergency Mgt. – Mask Fabric

Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management is asking for donations for masks, also gift cards for JoAnn Fabrics.
Those wishing to donate funds or gift cards can mail them to:
..Department of Emergency Management
..81 Elkins Road
..Port Hadlock, 98339
To donate fabric that can be made into masks, please contact Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management office to make arrangements.

EOC Masks #1

(June 2, 2020) The most protective measures to stop the spread of new infections during this pandemic are to wash our hands, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and wear a face cover.
Since face masks are a new thing, many of us have scrambled to find them.
Face Masks Challenge Port Townsend is a community of seamstresses who volunteer to make cloth masks according to guidelines from our local Emergency Operations Center.
Listen to KPTZ for info on where you can find these. And, stay well!

Masks for You

(May 27, 2020) This is for you!
First of all, I wear a mask in public ~ not for ME, but for YOU.
I know I could be asymptomatic ~ and still give you the virus.
No, I don’t “live in fear of the virus.” I just want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
I don’t feel like the “government is controlling me,” I feel like I am contributing to our community.
Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared, stupid or even “controlled.” It makes me considerate.
The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s not all about me and my comfort.
If we all could live with other people in mind, this whole world would be a much better place.
This is for you.

Dr. Locke / Support Local Restaurants

(May 20, 2020) Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr Tom Locke spoke at the recent City and County COVID-19 emergency situation joint meeting and stated: “I really do support organized efforts to encourage greater use of takeout and keep our restaurants alive. If you want those restaurants to be here when this is all over, you have to support them now and through this entire process.”
In a recent KPTZ Compass interview Dr. Locke added the following:
“That’s going to be a push of ours in the weeks ahead, just trying to save restaurants. We’ve got to get people to commit to doing a certain amount of take-out every week.” KPTZ joins with Dr. Locke in encouraging all of us to support local restaurants.

COVID-19 Transmission Fact #1

(May 19, 2020) When an infected person coughs or sneezes, this means two hundred million viral particles are released. Some of the virus hangs in the air, some falls onto surfaces, most fall to the ground.
When you’re facing another person, having a conversation, if that person sneezes or coughs straight at you, it’s pretty easy to see how possible it is to inhale a thousand virus particles and become infected.
Remember: The Likelihood of Infection equals Exposure to Virus, multiplied by Length of Time.
Information from Dr. Erin Bromage: “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them” 

COVID-19 Transmission Fact #2

(May 19, 2020) When an infected person coughs or sneezes, even if not directed at you, some infected droplets – the smallest of small – can hang in the air for a few minutes, filling every corner of a modest sized room with infectious viral particles.
Then, if you enter that room within minutes after the cough or sneeze, and take a few breaths, you potentially will have received enough virus to cause an infection.
Remember – The Likelihood of Infection equals Exposure to Virus, multiplied by Length of Time.
Information from Dr. Erin Bromage: “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them” 

COVID-19 Transmission Fact #3

(May 19, 2020) One single cough releases about three thousand droplets, and the droplets travel at fifty miles per hour. Most droplets are large, and fall quickly, but many stay in the air and can travel across a room in seconds. One sneeze alone releases about thirty thousand droplets, with these droplets traveling at up to two hundred miles per hour. Most droplets are small and travel great distances, easily reaching across a room.
Remember- The Likelihood of Infection equals Exposure to Virus, multiplied by Length of Time.
Information from Dr. Erin Bromage: “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them” 

Dr. Tom Locke / Mid-May

(May 15, 2020) This is Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County Health Officer. In the past month we have seen a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County. This tells us that physical distancing works, and enough people are doing it to make a real difference.
It’s important to remember that we are still in the very early stages of this pandemic. Until there is a vaccine or effective antiviral medications, social distancing is the best tool we have for protecting ourselves and the vulnerable members of the community. That means restricting travel, keeping six feet apart in public, and when we can, wearing masks.
We need to wash our hands frequently, cover our coughs and, very importantly, stay home if you are sick. If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19 please call the Jefferson Healthcare hotline at 360-344-3094.

Face Masks Q&A

(April 23, 2020) Here are some Questions and Answers about wearing masks.

Q: Should healthy people wear a mask?
A: The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing a cloth mask when out in public and not within social distance guidelines. Children age 2 and younger should not wear face covers.

Q: Why wear a mask?                                                             
A: It helps protect those around you. Evidence shows that COVID-19 can spread by just talking or breathing, even when you seem healthy. 

Q: What type of mask is best?
A: Wearing a cloth mask to cover your nose and mouth. Ideally, masks should have at least two layers of a tightly woven fabric that’s breathable and washable, like cotton. If you don’t have a mask, you can also use a bandana or scarf as a face covering. 

Q: What’s the best way to wear a mask?
A: Before putting on your mask, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. With clean hands, cover your nose and mouth with the mask and secure it, making sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. It’s important not to touch the front of your mask.

Q: How can you clean a used mask?
A: Cloth masks or face coverings should be washed after each use. Clean them using hot, soapy water — either by hand or in a washing machine — then on a hot cycle in the dryer. Disposable masks should not be used more than once.

N95 / Surgical Masks

(April 21, 2020) New federal guidelines regarding masks stresses that N-95 respirators and surgical masks must be prioritized for use by healthcare workers and first responders. These types of filter masks are life-saving protection for staff who perform intubations and other procedures that generate infectious sprays. Without them, our front line workers face increased risk.   
If you have filter barriers, unused N95 respirators or surgical masks, and you want to protect our front line staff, you can donate them. There are dropoff stations around town, including at both libraries. Thank you!

Don’t Call 911 to Report “Stay at Home” Violations

(April 20, 2020) To address the Coronavirus, Governor Jay Inslee has issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, closing nonessential businesses and prohibiting both public and private gatherings.
For more information about the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, go to coronavirus.wa.gov, where you can also find additional resources for addressing the coronavirus.
You’re asked NOT to call 9-1-1 to report suspected violations of Stay Home, Stay Healthy. Please remember that our 911 system is for emergency calls only. Only call 9-1-1 to report a medical emergency, a fire, a crime in progress, or other life-threatening situations.
For additional information about the CoVid-19 situation please visit the Washington State Department of Health website.

Don’t Flush Wipes

(April 24, 2020) The City of Port Townsend’s Wastewater Operations Manager reminds people not to flush any sanitizing or baby wipes down the toilet. 
Including the wipes that say ‘flushable’ on the label. Only toilet paper down the toilet.
The wipes do not break down and instead can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the city’s collection system and treatment plant equipment.
No wipes of any kind or paper towels should be flushed. Instead, throw them in the trash.

COVID-19 Mask Guidelines

(April 20, 2020) In an epidemic as fast moving as Covid-19, it’s not surprising that new information from scientists means current guidelines need adjustments. Federal health officials recently announced their efforts to update guidelines on wearing barrier masks for anyone leaving their home for an essential trip.
These recommendations have added one more tool to starve the virus in its efforts to find a new host. The thinking is this: If you combine the practice of social distancing, sanitizing all surfaces you touch, the addition of a home-made barrier covering or mask can increase the odds of not getting infected. This can be thought of as the trifecta: three ways to keep the infection away from you and your loved ones. Stay healthy!

Grocery Shopping

(April 20, 2020) From Jefferson County Public Health, here are some tips for grocery shopping – we all need to be careful and change our behavior.
First, avoid crowding, don’t go in if it looks crowded; instead choose a different time.
Wash your hands when you go in – this helps protect the entire community.
Wash your hands again when you leave – this is to protect you.
Maintain 6 feet of physical distance in the store, in case someone coughs or sneezes.
Minimize your handling of things. Take whatever you touch. Once you touch something, consider your hands contaminated.
People are cut off from socialization, so you may want to talk with people you know but remember to keep your distance, and don’t go to stores to socialize.
Finally, ordering take-out is encouraged. It also helps our local restaurants. Remember, don’t congregate at the pick up spots.

Stay Home

(April 20, 2020) Please be aware, this is a critical time when people are asked to Stay Home and Stay Healthy. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, we’re encouraged to limit any outings, particularly visits to the store. Travel as little as possible, and if you do need to go out, be sure to maintain physical distance. Remember it’s good to recycle and reuse, whenever possible. And during these challenging days, thanks to everyone for caring!

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

Critical Conversations #8

(Airdate: April 12, 2021) Are we facing a permanent COVID-19 pandemic and, if so, how do we proceed into the future? Cohosts Robert Ambrose and Dahr Jamail talk with Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke about the success of the vaccination drive, and the threats posed to that success by the emergence of more dangerous virus variants. Brazil is facing a “biological Fukushima” with uncontrolled virus spread, largely because its president denies COVID-19 is anything to worry about. Sound familiar? Is there a more rational pathway to the future?

Critical Conversations airs on 91.9FM KPTZ the second and fourth Mondays each month, from 5:30-6pm.

County Public Health Report ~ 4/12

Today, April 12, Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners. Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence also gave an update on current Emergency Operations actions, in light of the most recent developments.

General comments: 

  • The national picture continues to demonstrate a steady increase of new infections, with a daily average of 69,000 new cases reported each day. This current peak is higher than the peak in new cases last summer, demonstrating a failure to significantly lower the circulation of this virus. The states hardest hit are midwest and eastcoast states. Hospitalizations are increasing as well, with a 32% increase from the previous two weeks. Those hospitalized are younger residents between the age of 40-50 years, a departure from the morbidity seen among older residents in the beginning of the pandemic – clearly a protective effect from vaccinations among this older age group. This translates into a decline of the death rate of 27% over the last two weeks.
  • The recent rise in new cases in Washington is driven by the presence of variants of concern, primarily two homegrown strains from California, B.1.427 and B.1.429, circulating within this state since November and December of 2020, respectively. These strains account for 50% of the new cases in this state. The UK variants continue to circulate here, accounting for nearly 34% of cases sequenced, doubling every 12 days, and expected to account for the majority of the new cases by the end of April.
  • All the new strains pose a challenge to containing this pandemic as is evidenced with outbreaks recorded in British Columbia to our north. Although the US/Canada border is closed to recreational travel, commercial travel still continues to be a potential for further spread into our state of these variants of concern. All the newly documented strains are more infectious as well as being able to evade the vaccine’s effectiveness.
  • Jefferson County recorded 10 new cases last week; including 7 cases the previous week, this brings our new case rate to 53.29 per 100,000 population, which doubles our rate from the previous two weeks. Our case positivity remains below 1%, most likely an artifact of less testing among residents of this county. This does impact surveillance efforts, thus the need to repeat recommendations isolate and to seek COVID-19 testing after 7 days of the onset of any respiratory symptoms, as well as seeking testing 3-5 days after travel to an area with increasing new case rates.
  • Surrounding counties are recording increased new cases as well. Clallam is reporting 87 new cases per 100,000 population with 5.4% positivity of those seeking testing. Kitsap has risen to 144 new cases per 100,000 population and reports 6.1% new case positivity.
  • The RoadMap to Recovery used by the Governor to move forward with our economic recovery relies on two metrics that signifies the collective containment of this virus, as well as our capacity to manage and contain outbreaks and clusters of new infections. Both new case rates and hospitalizations are assessed every three weeks for all counties. Failure to meet the thresholds for large and small county metrics may push some counties back to the previous phase for a temporary period. Currently, any county failing either of these two metrics may expect to be pushed back to a prior phase, however, many health officers are asking that failure of both metrics be the standards from this point forward. This current method, they believe, unfairly impacts smaller counties, putting thresholds so high, so as to have the local spread get out of control before thresholds are met and state restrictions are imposed. Other states, like Michigan, have seen outbreaks coinciding with increased capacity at sporting events and indoor dining, placing residents at risk of infection, especially those who are unvaccinated. A group of Health Officers from smaller counties is sending a letter to Governor Inslee regarding this issue. The fact remains that the authority to impose restrictions to control the spread of new cases lies with the local county health officer, under current laws.
  • This is a critical issue of timing, with about two more months of intensive efforts to get more residents vaccinated before returning to more activities indoors or large group gatherings as allowed in Phase III, thus preventing widespread transmission of the coronavirus. With daunting logistical measures, Washington has given more than 4 million doses of vaccine, with nearly a third of residents receiving one dose and 21% fully vaccinated. Jefferson and Clallam remain among the counties with the highest efficiency of getting their residents vaccinated. Jefferson has 51.6% of its population receiving at least one dose and 36.7% fully vaccinated. Clallam ranks second in these efforts.
  • Vaccine dose supplies will remain flat for the next few weeks, although our capacity to vaccinate residents exceeds our current allocations. The Johnson&Johnson vaccine experienced a manufacturing error at a plant pending FDA approval and has delayed delivery of 65 million doses, so states can expect a nearly 80% reduction in expected supplies. These doses were expected to be used for pop-up clinics in many counties, so these clinics will be on hold until supplies increase.
  • The targeted pop-up clinic in Quilcene this past weekend provided 123 vaccinations to its residents, with more specific geographical areas slated for the future, such as Brinnon. These clinics are all staffed by volunteers and can provide about up to 300 doses in about three hours. These special clinics are likely to be planned for the time period when greater numbers of vaccine supplies are coming in May.
  • Don’s Pharmacy is receiving about 100 J&J doses as they join the organizations giving vaccinations. TriArea Pharmacy and Jefferson Healthcare continue to provide Moderna for their clinics, as well as J&J allotment to the S’Klallam Tribe now being shared with Jefferson Healthcare for their drive-thru clinics. The J&J vaccine is especially favored by younger residents, who like the convenience of just one shot. Additional clinics in Port Angeles and Sequim are scheduled in an inter-county effort to get the Olympic Peninsula upwards of the needed 70-80% fully vaccinated rates which would confer herd immunity. Residents are encouraged to get vaccinations in either county as soon as appointments are listed.
  • An additional clinic is scheduled this week with the Pfizer vaccine approved for persons 16 and 17 years old. Although counties are not receiving Pfizer vaccine supplies at this time, a supply of vaccines has been stockpiled as extra doses are being put into vials and they have been reserved for this age range. This company was the only manufacturer to use this age range in their clinical drug trials.
  • More young persons will be able to get vaccines over the summer as more manufacturing companies conduct clinical trials for younger age groups and begin to apply to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for these younger subjects. Preliminary results show the same safety and efficacy data seen in the adult clinical trials. It is critical to get this population vaccinated with the necessity of students to return to school in person and the increased circulation of more transmissible viral variants.
  • Today at 2:30pm, Governor Inslee will announce the plans for any rollback to Phase II for those counties who do not meet the adjusted metrics. Dr. Locke reminded us that we have one chance to respond to rising metrics, and if we wait, we have to take more drastic measures to bring down high case rates, which just prolongs the pandemic. He praised the Governor for his leadership, given the complications of this pandemic. Washington has fared better than other states given his leadership and recommendations from public health officials.
  • Vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue for our state’s efforts to reach herd immunity, with outreach to those who are waiting outcomes for those who have received the vaccine. Messages need to target those who have reservations. Research shows that trusted medical staff are good persuaders for the hesitant. For those whose world view intertwines vaccinations with other life views, persuasion is less useful, no matter where it comes from. This tends to be 5-10% of the population.
  • Dr. Locke reminded us of the phenomenon of “long haulers” – those with long-lasting, troublesome aftereffects of COVID-19 infections. This is an important reason to get the vaccine as this is not benign illness. Some people – 10-30% – experience debilitating symptoms, such as cardiac complications, from getting a COVID-19 illness. Vaccines can prevent this and have been deemed better protection than getting the disease naturally. In general, preventing the disease is better than getting the disease. If we prevent infection and disease, long-hauler incidence will also decrease, relieving further suffering.
  • Dr. Locke mentioned a KPTZ program he recorded this past weekend to be aired this coming week, so check the KPTZ website for opportunities to listen to the recording.

Willie Bence, Director, Department of Emergency Management:

  • Mr. Bence stated that the Quilcene pop-up clinic this last weekend served 123 residents with the J&J vaccine supplied through the TriArea Pharmacy and staffed by volunteers. More of these types of clinics are planned for Brinnon and areas with a high concentration of Spanish-speaking residents. The mass clinic scheduled for this coming weekend at Chimicum Schools on April 17 has about 19 slots left for first-dose vaccinations. Second doses will be given in the morning, with first doses given in the afternoon. Call the Emergency Management COVID-19 Vaccine Phone Line to schedule -360-344-9791.
  • Volunteers are still being recruited, as the effort to vaccinate everyone who wants a vaccine will take more months to accomplish. Currently, over 250 volunteers, medical and non-medical persons staff all the clinics. To get these vaccinations accomplished, a huge reserve of volunteers are needed to prevent exhausting anyone and taking turns to staff clinics.
  • Still needed are medical staff who once had a license in Washington, active or inactive. Non-medical volunteers are needed for traffic control, computer experience, logistics, set-ups, customer service, or the vaccine phone line. Commitment for a few months is important as this is a monumental task and requires regular attendance when you sign up.
  • Currently, background checks are being conducted on those who recently applied and the DEM is trying to catch up, so please be patient with the process. But you will be needed for this massive task.

Silent Request for Your Support

A year ago we all entered a Twilight Zone episode where, from one day to the next, life changed profoundly. As the COVID-19 virus spread exponentially around the world, we isolated ourselves from community, friends, and even family. In isolation we watched, horrified as the death toll rose to unbelievable levels, in part due to a paralyzed federal government. Many of us suffered the wrenching loss of family or friends to the pandemic.

Yet it is now spring, and with the widespread distribution of vaccines there is a palpable feeling of hope in our community. It’s almost like spring has entered our hearts, allowing us to believe we have surpassed the worst period many of us have experienced in our entire lives. We yearn for things to return to normal, though it is unclear what normal life will be; we shall have to define the new normal, together.

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Silent Request for Your Support

A year ago we all entered a Twilight Zone episode where, from one day to the next, life changed profoundly. As the COVID-19 virus spread exponentially around the world, we isolated ourselves from community, friends, and even family. In isolation we watched, horrified as the death toll rose to unbelievable levels, in part due to a paralyzed federal government. Many of us suffered the wrenching loss of family or friends to the pandemic.

Yet it is now spring, and with the widespread distribution of vaccines there is a palpable feeling of hope in our community. It’s almost like spring has entered our hearts, allowing us to believe we have surpassed the worst period many of us have experienced in our entire lives. We yearn for things to return to normal, though it is unclear what normal life will be; we shall have to define the new normal, together.

Throughout the past year KPTZ has, through the dedication of our small staff and many volunteers, operated as close to normal as it could. In fact, I am so proud of how the station grew its presence in the community by:

  • becoming the main local conduit for COVID-19 information via Dr. Locke’s weekly updates to the county and city councils,
  • broadcasting important local meetings,
  • hosting John Mauro for City Manager weekly access to the public,
  • expanding daily local news, as well as offering National Native News.

The pandemic has had a transformative impact on fundraising for KPTZ, as it has for many non-profits. Forced to abandon traditional biannual on-air fundraising weeks (which may be a relief to many including myself) we have shifted to short on-air appeals and even “silent” requests, reaching out to you directly for support.

This is one of those silent requests for your donation.

One major drawback of traditional community radio on-air drives is that it conditions listeners to think they should give once a year, which distorts our income, whereas expenses are constant. That is why we encourage you to become a sustaining donor, to convert your giving to a monthly payment, just like you probably do for other media sources. As a sustaining donor I do not have to wonder if it is time for me to donate because I know I am doing it regularly. And, it allows me to consider giving extra when I receive an appeal like this one.

Federal stimulus payments to you could help KPTZ.

I recognize that there are many unprecedented needs in our community, and that the many organizations working to meet those needs could put better use to the stimulus checks I receive than I can. So I have been fortunate to be in a position to redirect those funds to causes that matter to me. If KPTZ matters to you, and if you financially do not need your stimulus check, please consider using it to stimulate us! Yet just as importantly, think about the impact your giving can have on other worthy organizations.

Thank you very much for your support.

Cheers,

Robert Ambrose
President, KPTZ Board of Directors
Host, Rhythm Connection (Tuesdays 1-3pm)

Photo credit: Allan Bruce Zee
Allan Bruce Zee Photography

County Public Health Report ~ 4/05

Today, April 5, Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners.

General comments: 

  • The national picture continues to be concerning at this point. An 18% increase was recorded for new cases nationally the last two weeks, with an average of 64,000 cases a day. This may be an undercount of new cases as testing for cases has declined nationally. Upper Lake states such as Michigan and northern states, are recording an increase in new cases, similar to the epidemic curve witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic, a year ago last March 2020. This most recent wave of cases is being driven by the new variants identified, particularly the UK, B.1.1.7 variant.
  • All the variants are considered more infectious, as seen by the epidemiological curve playing out through Europe and now Canada, with consequential lockdowns until new cases subside. Home-grown variants, particularly B1.427, found in California, was thought to be the dominant strain causing the increase in cases in California during November and December of 2020. It is predicted that 35% of all new cases are the UK B.1.1.7 variant, with a doubling of these cases seen every 12.3 days. Washington State ranks third in the nation in genetic sequencing of new cases, and expects the UK variant (B.1.1.7) to be the dominant strain here by the end of April. With more infectious strains, epidemiologists and local health officers are monitoring cases weekly, looking towards acting with proven public health mitigation sooner, rather than later, if cases begin doubling week by week. The public showing their fatigue with pandemic measures and failing to suppress new cases, requires the recognition that individual liberty is a distraction here and our ability to act collectively on our own behalf is the limiting factor.
  • New cases in this state have increased by 30% over the last two weeks, without a decrease in testing, as seen in other states. Testing rose by 45% over the last two weeks. New case rates stand at 136 per 100,000 population, with 3.4% positivity among those being tested. Pierce, Kittitas, and Yakima counties remain above the 200 new cases per 100,000 population threshold for remaining in the Phase III RoadMapTo Recovery plan outlined by Governor Inslee.
  • Washington continues to record an increase in hospitalizations – 9% in the last two weeks – primarily among younger residents. This reflects the massive efforts by our state to get the most vulnerable age groups – 75 years old and up – vaccinated, thus avoiding hospitalization.
  • Jefferson County recorded 7 cases last week, bringing our new case rate per 100,000 population to 22, with 1.65% positivity in persons being tested.
  • Kitsap County is trending with a steady rise in cases, 104.3 per 100,000 population, with 5.5% case positivity. Clallam County recorded 38 new cases per 100,000 population, with 2.4% new case positivity among those tested.
  • Nationwide, nearly three million vaccinations are given every day. Nearly 3.4 million vaccinations have been given in Washington, with 29% receiving at least one dose, and 18% fully vaccinated. Jefferson County has given nearly 23,000 vaccinations, with 49% of all county residents receiving at least one dose, and 34.5% fully vaccinated to date.
  • In all regions, it is literally a race between getting residents vaccinated and the continual spread of more infectious COVID-19 variants, as communities struggle to further reopen businesses. Although Jefferson and other surrounding counties were early in receiving and giving available vaccine allotments, there are several issues that now impinge on this effort to get to the 70-80% fully vaccinated status which confers herd immunity. Dr. Locke is asking us all to evaluate the relative risk of all our activities and continue to mask, distance ourselves from others, wash our hands and get vaccinated, refrain from unnecessary travel and refrain from mixing with a lot of non-household persons, outside your small pod.
  • Vaccine hesitancy also remains an issue for communities, with many of those wanting the vaccine having already received it. Those not really opposed to vaccines in general, but waiting on safety data from mass vaccination outcomes, need to be encouraged to make an appointment. Vaccine campaigns will stress the necessity to have higher levels of herd immunity to thoroughly reopen our community life with little or no new COVID-19 cases. Since vaccine availability is still ramping up, the playing field is not equitable yet for all residents who are still trying to get in line for vaccinations. Stratifying those who will choose not to get vaccinated, for whatever reason, takes away from our efforts to promote the risks and benefits of this modern and effective vaccine for those willing to consider the greater community benefits. With this virus, herd immunity is our economic ticket out of these recurring waves of new cases and continual threats of business closures.
  • Although Jefferson County has one of the highest school exemptions for vaccines, those staunchly opposed to vaccinations are relatively small, about 5% overall.
  • The most effective, persuasive model for most people who may be hesitant about getting the vaccine is to talk with a trusted medical provider or public health professional. Experience with other recommended vaccines can also persuade a person as to the risk and benefits of this particular vaccine. What does not seem to persuade anyone is scaring them about the consequences of not receiving the vaccine. It is a personal choice and one everyone should be well informed about.
  • Facts about the benefits of having more people vaccinated also makes a difference for some who are hesitant. Dr. Locke pointed to a recent New England Journal of Medicine citing a study that shows the efficiency of reducing the spread of COVID-19 among the most exposed medical workers after their first and second dose of the vaccine. Medical staff were followed from mid-December 2020, through mid-March 2021. Transmission was interrupted by 80% after the first dose and rose to 90% by the end of the third month after the second dose. Dr. Locke cited this as strong evidence of the power of “herd immunity” in an environment with high exposure to circulating COVID-19 virus. These types of studies to determine the ability of the vaccine to stifle new infections were expensive and time-consuming, but necessary in order to document the powers of a fully vaccinated community, and the community benefits of collectively working toward herd immunity.
  • Now is the time to expand the entities and organizations giving vaccines, as the cost of the larger organizations have borne the brunt of the organizing clinics, as well as the cost of giving vaccinations. Efforts continue to get other organizations to step up and apply to receive and give the vaccines. All organizations who receive an allotment of vaccines are required to get them dispensed into arms; otherwise, vaccine allotments are reduced if not given within a specific time frame. In the meantime, the three counties of Jefferson, Clallam, and Kitsap have formed a collaborative effort to sustain the scheduling of clinics and labor of getting county residents vaccinated, such as mobile and pop-up clinics for difficult to reach residents and homebound residents. These clinics require fewer resources and can be mobilized with fewer volunteers. A press release is expected soon to announce a pop-up clinic for less populated areas of our counties. The press release will be posted on the Jefferson County Public Health website with details about this clinic and how to make an appointment.
  • The joint clinic sponsored by Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management at the Chimicum Schools site will resume Saturday, April 17. For those receiving their first dose at this site on March 17, staff will provide shots for those needing their second dose from 9am to noon. The afternoon will be dedicated to those residents wanting their first dose from noon to 3pm. These Saturday clinics are expected to serve about 600 residents for their first and second vaccinations each Saturday and are a convenient location for eastern Jefferson County residents who are currently working during the week. Residents can call the DEM COVID-19 Vaccine Phone Line for more information at 360-344-9791, M-F from 9 to 5pm.
  • Starting April 15, all Washington residents, 18 years and older, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. If the Pfizer vaccine is available, those residents 16 years and older are eligible for that vaccine. Current organizations providing vaccinations include the Jefferson Healthcare drive-thru clinic, near the hospital, as well as three pharmacies: QFC at Port Hadlock, Safeway in Port Townsend and TriArea Pharmacy in Port Hadlock with websites for vaccine registration. The fifth clinic is the PublicHealth joint clinic at Chimicum Schools on Saturdays.

KPTZ listener’s questions:

  • Listeners commented on the confusion of CDC guidance for safer traveling versus how that compares to eating indoors at a restaurant.  Dr. Locke admitted it may seem confusing, but cautioned that evaluating risk depends on several factors, including the number of persons in a confined area, time spent indoors, ventilation, adherence to masking, distancing, and mixing of unrelated households.  Airports will not allow anyone to fly if all protocols are not strictly followed. Traveling by air showed few situations where this posed a formidable risk of exposure and infection, whereas there has been clear documentation of outbreaks in restaurants.  If you fly somewhere, exposure has to do more with the activities you engaged in, once you arrived, such as maskless parties. If all the protocols are not followed in a restaurant, such as masking when you are not putting food in your mouth, the risk increases.  
  • Data from the Washington State Immunization System contains all the vaccine doses administered to residents within 24 hours of receiving the shot. If this requirement is not met, the organization will not receive future doses of the vaccine allotments.  This is considered the most timely and accurate data on the vaccine rollout in this state. 
  • Kitsap County has one confirmed case of the UK variant and Clallam County is reporting three probable cases.  These are considered more infectious than the original strain that circulated the globe in January 2020. 
  • Access to COVID-19 PCR testing locally is targeted for those who exhibit typical symptoms for COVID-19 and those with known exposure to a confirmed Covid-19 case.  Although the CDC recommends getting tested 1 to 3 days before travel and 3 to 5 days after your return, sources for funding these sophisticated and costly tests remain limited.  Home test kits have been developed, but are not yet widely available.  Washington state is beginning a free voucher program through Walgreens in Bremerton.  Residents seeking testing due to travel may need to pay from their own funds, until less expensive, yet accurate testing is more widespread. 
  • If an unvaccinated couple socializes with another fully vaccinated couple, which couple has the greater risk for exposure or transmission of the virus?  In general, more fully vaccinated persons present among those gathering reduce the risk of exposure for everyone, even those unvaccinated. However, the unvaccinated person needs to evaluate their individual risks, in light of any health conditions they have which may put them at risk of disease progression, once infected.  If the unvaccinated couple is at low risk, no masking or distancing is needed. Masking and social distancing should be used if the unvaccinated person is at high risk for developing complications, once infected. 
  • The phased system for reopening the economy is not based on numbers of fully vaccinated residents, it is based on low new case rates, staying at or below a threshold, where current medical and public health resources would not be overwhelmed.  It is a balancing act of the economics of recovery and suppression of circulating viruses by traditional public health measures.  Looking back, ideally, many in charge would have liked to shut down completely until massive suppression of the virus occurred, but we are not ideally set up for the cost to our economy it would have taken to do this, nor was there the political will.

Willie Bence, Director, Department of Emergency Management:

  • All those needing a second dose at the JCPH and DEM clinic at Chimicum Schools for the 4/17 mass vaccination clinic have been emailed to remind them to sign up. Those wanting assistance with securing an appointment can call the Vaccine Phone Line at 360-344-9791.
  • Mr. Bence urged residents not to sign up more than once for a vaccine series, as once you have an appointment, you are guaranteed a shot, as well as the second dose, with the same organization. If you have signed up for more than one site, please cancel, as there are many waiting to get an appointment. There is no need to make an appointment at more than one site.
  • The community mask program continues to produce masks and distribute them in the community. As we all participate more in community life, we will need masks for the foreseeable future. They can be found at food stores, as well as libraries. Disposable masks are seen more and more, littering our environment. If you see a disposable mask on the ground, please place it in a trash can. Mr. Bence also stated that reusable mask need to be laundered regularly.

Compass for 4/03/21

As Jefferson County leads the state of Washington in the rush to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is clear that there is a widespread urge to get back to the kind of normal where we can all once again mingle freely, perhaps imbibe some brew, and maybe even talk about old times. In honor of that sentiment, this week on the Compass we bring back a show first aired on April 15, 2013, about a gathering organized at that time to reminisce about Port Townsend’s legendary Town Tavern of the 1970s.

Jefferson County March 2021 Case Numbers

This graph shows the monthly and cumulative number of COVID-19 infections reported in Jefferson County, from March 2020 through March 2021. Data source: Jefferson County Public Health Department website, graph created by KPTZ.

As of March 31, 2021 the total number of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County was 345. There were only 10 cases in March, down significantly from the spike of 79 last November. 

Community Tides ~ 4/02

On this edition of Community Tides, Chris Bricker and Siobhan speak with Deisy Bach, Vice President of the Jefferson County Food Bank Association, and John Cantlon, President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul for East Jefferson County. The COVID Response and Recovery Fund and its community donors have had a profound impact for families and individuals in need here in Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Food Bank and Saint Vincent’s are just two of the organizations that the Fund has helped in so many ways during the Pandemic year to address the short-term and long-term needs of our neighbors. Deisy and John relate their experiences when Pandemic hit, and talk about how the Fund helped them respond effectively and compassionately during these difficult months. Siobhan explains how listeners can continue to donate to the COVID Fund.

County Public Health Report ~ 3/29

Today, March 29, Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners. Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence also gave an update on current Emergency Operations actions, in light of the most recent developments.

General Comments:

  • The national picture appears troubling at this point. Past weeks recorded a decline in new cases, then a plateau. A 15% increase was recorded for new cases nationally, with an average of 63,000 cases a day. Twenty two states, with more than a 10% increase of new cases are seeing the evidence of the fourth wave of this pandemic. The presence of this fourth wave will also further complicate keeping schools safer, even as many teachers become fully vaccinated.
  • To limit morbidity and mortality, suppression of the new variants imported from other countries, as well as our own homegrown variants of concern is critical. It is estimated that nearly one half of all new cases will be caused by the UK variant by mid-April nationwide. Washington State ranks third in sequencing efforts and this tracking shows the UK variant is spreading slower in this state currently, as compared to other states.
  • Although nationwide deaths and hospitalizations continue to decline, it is projected that deaths among our citizens will exceed 650,000 by the time this pandemic ends, making it as lethal or more lethal than the 1918 pandemic.
  • Washington recorded a 29% increase in new cases in the last two weeks, with cases primarily among the 20-39 year old group, possibly driven by variants of concern, especially the UK variant that has proven to be more contagious and can cause more severe disease progression in younger people. Washington’s new case rate stands at 125 per 100,000 population, while the new case positivity of those testing for COVID-19 is 3.3%. Plus there are a few counties with high new case rates, which are generally dense urban areas or areas with a concentration of college aged persons.
  • Hospitalizations also increased in our state, up 12% statewide, with King County experiencing a 40% rise in hospitalizations, primarily among people aged 40-50 years. Hospitalizations for those older than 75 are non-existent at this time and have been attributed to the effectiveness and high rates of vaccinations for COVID-19 among this age group
  • Jefferson County had no cases this last week, but recorded 7 new cases two weeks ago. Our case rate stands at 22 per 100,000 population, with 2% positivity of those testing for COVID-19. Neighboring counties are showing similar trends. Clallam recorded 43 new cases per 100,000 and 2.2% new case positivity. Kitsap recorded 80 new cases per 100,000 population. Jefferson, Clallam and San Juan County remain the lowest in the state for these metrics.
  • More than 3 million vaccine doses have been dispensed statewide, with 24% receiving at least one dose and 15% fully vaccinated. Jefferson County leads all counties in dispensing one dose to 43.19% of its residents and 28% of its population fully vaccinated. 20,000 doses were allocated to this county as of a week ago Friday, and that does not include those delivered this last week (about 1,000 doses). Clallam County ranks high as well, making the peninsula counties leading in doses provided.
  • This last Friday, Jefferson County did not receive all the doses requested, dropping to 800 doses. This is the temporary situation of reduced doses that Dr. Locke warned us about several weeks ago. Reallocation to other areas was expected, with a surge in allocations expected by mid April, and enough vaccine for all those who want the vaccine to be available by May. Vaccinations will remain by appointments for the near future.
  • Vaccination efforts still face many challenges. Federal funding was not allocated for distribution within states or to the local counties, infrastructure, paid dedicated staff or the development and outreach to specific underserved or hard-to-reach populations. In the absence of these necessary funds, public hospitals, pharmacies and public health organizations have borne the burden and expense of vaccine rollout in local counties, without additional funding, creating administrative challenges. Funding is now in the pipeline from the current administration and plans are being made to support pharmacies and other organizations to develop more vaccination clinics which serve a variety of specific populations. This will be especially critical as the county has more vaccine supplies and the effort will be directed at encouraging more individuals to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
  • The next tier to become eligible for vaccine appointments begins Wednesday, March 31. These new tiers include all people 60 years and older, all people 16 years and older who have 2 or more co-morbidities or underlying health conditions, people, staff and volunteers in certain congregate settings, such as correctional settings, group homes for persons with disabilities, or settings in which people experiencing homelessness live or access services. It also includes high-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings such as restaurants, food service, construction, or manufacturing. The last tiers and the newly eligible tiers will add about 5 million more residents seeking the vaccine.
  • While this approach continues to address and prioritize population groups who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to external social factors and systemic inequities, there is the recognition that these tiers are becoming more difficult to interpret for the general public as to whether or not they fit the profile of the eligibility tiers. Dr. Locke stated that many of his fellow health officers have proposed dropping the current tier system as vaccine supplies become more available. They propose this move to begin as early as mid-to-late April, if allocations to local counties are increase as projected. In the meantime, Dr. Locke asked everyone to use the state WAPhaseFinder with truthful responses to determine their eligibility and take advantage of available appointments. He stated we are beginning to have appointments available, with fewer takers, as the tiers have been difficult to figure out for the general public.
  • The second clinic sponsored by Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management at Chimacum Schools this past Saturday ran smoothly and vaccinated 309 residents. As vaccine supplies increase, this clinic is anticipating serving about 600 residents a week for either their first or second vaccine doses.
  • Jefferson Healthcare is delivering the bulk of vaccines (80%) at their clinic across from the hospital, while commercial pharmacies make up approximately 20% of doses given. The new public health clinic at Chimacum Schools vaccinated 639 residents of the nearly 21,000 doses given in this county to date.
  • Dr Locke also spoke about the “best practices” we all need to maintain as more variants of concernbegin to circulate and our community works toward herd immunity. He referenced the recently published CDC recommendations for those fully vaccinated.
  • Small gatherings with family members or others fully vaccinated people remains the safer course, although we are beginning to see the effectiveness of vaccines in suppressing new infections among hospitals and at-risk individuals. He cautioned those wanting to travel to areas with increasing or high prevalence of new cases or with more infectious strains. Traveling close to home may be safer for those fully vaccinated. The threat of an increase in cases close to home has not yet passed and it is unclear how and when we will reach herd immunity, especially if local or surrounding area resistance to getting the vaccine is high. Source from an infectious patient is still highly reduced if everyone continues to wear a well fitting mask, maintains social distance, and takes advantage of better ventilation by opening windows in closed, indoor spaces wherever possible.
  • It is clear at this point in time that there remains disparity in access to vaccinations in every county. The goal of vaccinations remains preventing progression to serious disease among those determined to be at risk. While initially the tiers have served to capture a large portion of these individuals, a very different strategy, other than complicated tiers is needed and has been communicated to Governor Inslee. Barriers to access need to be determined and plans made to circumvent these problems, such as pockets of elderly, homebound seniors, or flexible programs for special-needs populations such as the homeless shelters or jails, with the use of the one dose Johnson&Johnson vaccine. This vaccine has only 5 doses per vial and lends itself to inoculating small groups of people, homebound seniors, or group homes for the developmentally disabled. Plans for these types of vaccination outreach efforts are in the planning stages.
  • The issue of “extra or leftover doses” was raised and addressed. Organizations administering vaccines may have doses not used when a vial is opened and not everyone scheduled for an appointment shows up. As every vial has an expiration time limit, some clinics dispense unused doses to volunteers in the clinic and others may establish a wait list according to various criteria or networks of those needing the vaccine.
  • Those counties exceeding the metrics for staying in Phase III have not, to date, been moved back to the Phase II. The recent statewide advancement to Phase III is not seen as the cause of the increase in new case rates or hospitalization. Dr. Locke noted that the current increases are most likely attributable to behavior 4-6 weeks ago due to opening up activities and increasing capacity in closed, indoor spaces.

KPTZ listener’s questions

  • There is a difference between the state vaccination numbers cited and local entries giving vaccines, such as Jefferson Healthcare (JHC) because JHC only counts the vaccines they administer (80%), not all the vaccines given in the entire county. Pharmacies account for about 20% and are counted through the state database. There is also another stream of accountability as some residents have received their vaccines out of county. All entities are required to report the number of vaccines given within 24 hours, making the state numbers the most accurate.
  • Social distancing remains important as more residents get their vaccine. Six feet, established in the United States, was based on respiratory droplet studies and the likelihood of aerosolized particles emitted from an infectious patient. Although studies have documented aerosolized spread beyond six feet, this distance provides good, but not complete protection.
  • When you receive a vaccine at a pharmacy, the staff are permitted to charge an administration fee for providing the service, but there is no patient co-pay. The vaccine is at no charge to all residents and was relatively expensive to develop.
  • If you did not experience any side effects from a second vaccine dose, it does not indicate the vaccine did not work. Although between 60-80% of individuals experience some side effects from the second dose, don’t worry if you don’t.
  • Dr, Locke stated that for those seeking a vaccine appointment, if you answer the WAPhaseFinder questions honestly, and it states you are eligible, do make an appointment. As this may be the last two weeks of restrictions, Dr. Locke asks you abide by the hierarchy, because by mid-April, if supplies of vaccine comes through, there may be no need for tiers at that point. It is not possible for vaccine clinic staff or volunteers to verify the eligibility of every person scheduled for a vaccine. Those in Tier 3 and 4 can sign up starting March 31.
  • For spring break plans next week, avoid travel or stay close to home. If you do travel, pay attention to new case rates, especially if you are not fully vaccinated. When you return home, isolate for 4-5 days and then seek a COVID-19 test and be sure to tell the nursing staff you have returned from out of the area. If you do not get a test, CDC guidelines advise you to quarantine for 10 days.

Willie Bence, Director, Department of Emergency Management(DEM):

  • Although 309 people received vaccines this last weekend at Chimacum School, there is not enough vaccine allocated to Jefferson County to run a clinic this upcoming Saturday. Those receiving their first dose on March 21 at this clinic site can schedule for a second dose for April 17 on their own or through the DEM Vaccine Phone Line at 360-344-9791. If you do not schedule an appointment, you will be reminded by email or a call to make sure you receive the second dose.
  • Volunteers are continuing to be recruited as all the clinics are staffed by volunteers and it will take months to vaccinate all residents who want a vaccine. Volunteers are now also needed to assist the Bainbridge retired medical corps who currently staff the Chimacum Grange site through TriArea Pharmacy in Port Hadlock.
  • For those retired medical volunteers stepping up to assist, please be aware of the more extensive screening required for your category, as well as the few weeks of training needed before you are cleared for an assignment. Your participation is greatly needed and the DEM staff needs to clear some bureaucratic hurdles before you are put to work. All volunteers are directed to email JCDEM@co.jefferson.wa.us to sign up with vaccination efforts.