COVID-19 Local Information

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing ContactUs@KPTZ.org

COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
Jefferson County December 2020 Case Numbers
COVID-19 Stay Vigilant
COVID-19 Guidelines for Religious Services
Running Out of ICU Beds
Dr. Locke’s Advice for Our Community
WANotify
WA Health Care Authority
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

COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments

COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Jefferson County, and moving down through the list of age brackets.
Appointments can be made online at Jeffersonhealthcare.org or at TriAreaPharmacy.com.
Please do not telephone the hospital or pharmacy for scheduling.
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

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.

Jefferson County December 2020 Case Numbers

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

As of December 31, 2020 the total number of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County was 225. There were 58 cases in December, down from the spike of 79 in November. 

COVID-19 Stay Vigilant

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!

COVID-19 Guidelines for Religious Services

Governor Inslee issued a revised “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order on December 21, pertaining to religious services and singing in enclosed spaces. Under the new order, the indoor and outdoor limit of 200 people is a recommendation, not a requirement. Restrictions on singing only apply to indoor singing by congregations. Soloists may sing indoors and congregations may sing outdoors provided every singer wears a face covering. To learn more about COVID-19, go to coronavirus.wa.gov.

Running Out of ICU Beds

Washington hospitals have 341 ICU beds, but as of mid-December, 80 percent of them are occupied. UW modelers predict we’ll have zero ICU beds available by January 1.

So if you haven’t been masking up, it’s time to wake up.

ICU beds are needed for stroke and heart attack victims and people injured in car wrecks and shootings, not just COVID-19 patients on ventilators.

Wear your mask…Stay six feet apart…Wash your hands…Repeat.
…Until everyone’s had a chance to get vaccinated.

Dr. Locke’s Advice for Our Community

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 the like. 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

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.

WA Health Care Authority

Staying healthy is more important now than ever. If you need health insurance, the Washington Health Care Authority wants you to know that plans are available through the Affordable Care Act until December 15. To find out if you’re eligible, visit WAHealthplanfinder.org – that’s WAHealthplanfinder dot o-r-g. Don’t wait. Sign up today.

Rising COVID, Rising Risk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 21. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(30-second PSA) 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Photo of Blue Camas in PT Prairie by Doug Rodgers.