Virus Watch Reports

No BOCC Briefings Monday 11/30

Because there are 5 Mondays in November, there is no weekly meeting of the Jefferson Board of County Commissioners scheduled for this Monday, November 30.

The next BOCC meeting will be on Monday, December 7. Once again next week, KPTZ will live broadcast the new Public Health Updates on COVID-19, by Dr. Tom Locke, Public Health Officer for Jefferson County, and Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 11/27

In this special edition of Through Science to Health, Lynn and Chris speak with two graduates of Port Townsend High School who are now working as medical professionals in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.
Jesse Maupin, Hospitalist at the University of Wisconsin Medical Hospital, and Will Bringgold, who is doing his pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at University of Wisconsin in Madison, offer their perspective from the front lines.

They candidly and compassionately speak of the long hours, increasing staffing needs, and the sincere need for community support and empathy to help them with the day-after-day challenges in patient care during these times.

Jesse has written a letter to the Leader, which will be published in its December 2 edition. The title: “Empathy in the Time of COVID.”

County Public Health Report ~ 11/23

Today, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared about the recent Jefferson County increase in COVID-19 cases. He answered questions from KPTZ listeners about:

• Numbers are worse: nationally, overall cases increased 54% in 2 weeks, and deaths are also up, with lagging count behind the increase in case count.

• Jefferson County increased by 53 cases in the last 2 weeks. Testing turnaround is slower. Clallam having a similar surge. Other areas of the state are even worse.

• The ability to do high-quality contact tracing is limited when the case levels are higher. Jefferson County has 11 trained contact tracers, and so far they have been able to keep up with the pace.

• The holidays are a big concern, and it’s highly everyone recommended stay home with one’s own household.

• He recommends that healthy people schedule needed health care appointments, rather than postponing.

• COVID-19 has a residual effect on people’s health afterwards, with lingering effects for 10% of confirmed cases.

• Mask type studies on cloth masks vs. disposable masks are not conclusive.

• There are delays in testing due to higher case loads, based on staffing issues.

• Vaccines will go to first-tier responders who have first-line contact with people who may be Covid-infected. By April, the hope is that everyone can be vaccinated. So far, side effects have been mild.

• Because of higher infection rates, to be at lower risk, you should shop at less busy store times.

• Increase air exchange with ventilation system and open windows.

• Schools have reduced classroom teaching, pending reduction of transmission rate.

And, from Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence:

• A field hospital is a temporary popup hospital and if it becomes needed there is potential for opening a regional field hospital. At this point, models are not showing this to be needed. Maintaining staffing is the current concern.

• An outreach campaign “COVID SMART” is embarking, featuring Sanitation, Masks, Airflow, Room Between People, Technology for Gatherings.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

County Public Health Report ~ 11/16

Today, date Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared about the recent Jefferson County increase in COVID-19 cases. He answered questions from KPTZ listeners about:

• The country and our county are in exponential growth phase, with state case increase of 124% in the past 2 weeks.
• Locally in Jefferson County, 31 new cases in the last week. Four were from household and close friend spread, others were from out-of-county visitors or from visitors here; extended family infections; cluster in a pod;
• There is a 7-day threshold following exposure, meaning that if the person who was exposed is negative on Day 7, they are likely not to become infected or infectious.
• Tests of the new vaccine are looking to be viable strategies. It is thought that it will require 70% of the population to be vaccinated in order to be effective.
• Baking for others is considered to be minimum risk.

Don’t forget, you can submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Through Science to Health ~ 11/13

On today’s Through Science to Health KPTZ Host Chris Bricker and Lynn Sorensen, RN, continue to stress the importance of maintaining the mitigation measures of masking, hand washing, and social distancing as the US experiences the third wave of the pandemic. The upcoming holiday season when families will want to get together are advised not to by Dr Tom Locke, our public health officer. Jefferson County’s case rate is much lower than other counties across the state and sticking to the mitigation measures will help to maintain that rate.

Pfizer has announced a vaccine that is 90% effective to the coronavirus and could be distributed before the end of 2020. Lynn explained how this vaccine differs from past vaccines with its genetic mechanism to stimulate the immune system.

KPTZ listeners are encouraged to listen weekly to Dr Tom Locke’s pandemic updates to the BOCC on Monday’s at 9:45am.

County Public Health Report ~ 11/09

Today, date Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared about the recent Jefferson County increase in COVID-19 cases. He answered questions about:

• Case count has increased by 8 in the last 7 days, with the total now at 96. This moves us into the moderate risk positivity rate, at 34 cases per 100,000. Some other counties in Washington are farther along into the third COVID-19 wave, as had been predicted for the fall-winter season.

• Our Public Health Department is working very actively to be ready for vaccine distribution, is likely to prioritize first responders and those at greatest risk.

• As for masks, surgical masks are the most effective, but cloth masks are nearly as effective for source control such as when out shopping.

• The costs of quarantine, although challenging for people and families, is a concern our local public health department is working to address, whenever needed.

Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence expressed preliminary concern about whether there will be adequate PPE available here, should the case count continue to increase.

My-My-My-My Corona

Image: WA Department of Health

Reflections about our own experience with COVID-19:

KPTZ DJ host Dick Keenan and his wife, Kate, a public health retiree, share their experience after Dick was diagnosed in August with COVID-19. They recount their surprise at the diagnosis, and why it’s important to know the symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical advice. In addition, they worked with the Jefferson County Public Health nurses to inform their few contacts, and used technology to trace their whereabouts during the period when Dick may have been the most likely to spread the infection. Dick experienced a very mild infection and Kate tested negative, as did all their contacts.  

While it takes a particular constellation of circumstances to become infected, we’re reminded that continued adherence to public health practices to keep us all safer through the winter, is worth the effort. 

On Monday November 16, at 5:40pm, tune in to learn more about the Coronavirus pandemic, in this informative rebroadcast of reflections about this personal experience with COVID-19.

County Public Health Report ~ 11/02

At today’s Public Health Briefings for the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed:

• Schools open safely trade-off for low community spread

• Rapid tests are more prevalent; these are most accurate when the viral load is greater.

• The divisive national conversation is making the situation worse; meanwhile we are in a good situation here in Jefferson County.

• Most all of the activities allowed under the current Safe Start Phase 2 restrictions are not 100% safe. Yet, it makes no sense to close down when there are activities in which no cases have been experienced.

Willie Bence’s briefing stated that DEM plans are in place for messaging over the winter, to sustain us through the expected surge in cases while continuing with limitations to lifestyle.

County Public Health Report ~ 10/26

At today’s Public Health Briefings for the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke and Willie Bence discussed:

Dr Locke:
• We are now in the third wave of the Covid pandemic, with Jefferson County now at 86 cases.
• Some Phase 3 activities are allowed here, even though Jefferson County is still under Phase 2 of the Safe Start program.
• School opening continues to go well, as example to other counties.
• The issues of indoor spread, since aerosols are causing spread.
• Encourages Flu vaccines to reduce risk of COVID-19.
• Discussion of testing accuracy and availability

Willie Bence:
• Mask availablity
• La Nina weather pattern may bring colder, wetter weather. Our Department of Emergency Management is preparing.
• People should prepare for storm situations with flashlights and supplies.

County Public Health Report ~ 10/19

At today’s Public Health Briefings for the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed:

  • Jefferson County Case count increased to 81.
  • Masks are more important than previously thought.
  • Bracing for 3rd wave of the pandemic.
  • Testing technology has improved, new 15-minute tests are being added to the resources.
  • Clinical application is better – death rates have reduced.
  • Natural immunity is still unknown following recuperation, but seems likely to be less than 1 year.

Willie Bence discussed:

  • Concerns about Halloween and upcoming holidays, information to be released in weekly reports.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Through Science to Health ~ 10/16

The novel coronavirus continues to impact people around the world and, of course, locally. Chris Bricker, KPTZ Host and Lynn Sorensen, RN continue in their every other week series; Through Science to Health, to discuss local, state, and national news about the pandemic of 2020.

There is always more news and developments than Chris and Lynn have time for, but some of today’s discussion points were; the importance of getting a flu shot, the continuation mask wearing and other public health endorsed behaviors to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, and the definition of the term ‘herd immunity’.

County Public Health Report ~ 10/12

At today’s Public Health Briefings for the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed:

  • Jefferson County’s case count remains admirably low, with 2 new cases added over the weekend for total of 79.
  • Governor’s Safe Start program: even though Jefferson County is in Phase 2, a number of previously limited to Phase 3 activities are now permitted during the current phase, e.g., use of libraries, movie theaters, and weddings.
  • Procedures for quarantine, following exposure
  • Use of “Humanity Face Shields”
  • Procedures for local school students, designed to keep schools open while assuring kids safe.
  • Concerns for opening the pools

Willie Bence discussed:

  • Activation for this emergency continues
  • DEM website has updates weekly, on any developments
  • WA DOH has provided PPE for the school districts

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Through Science to Health ~ 10/02

Chris Bricker, KPTZ host of Through Science to Health series, imparted current information on novel coronavirus infection cases throughout the nation, and, as of today, those numbers include the president of the United States and the First Lady.

Lynn Sorensen, RN relayed numbers of cases in Jefferson County and our surrounding counties. Lynn also reiterated topics from Jefferson County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Locke’s briefing to the BOCC from Monday September 28th.

Briefly mentioned was the New Yorker article (September 28, 2020 issue) about Max Kennedy’s (grandson of Robert Kennedy) own experience working as a volunteer in Jared Kushner’s Supply Chain Task Force in April 2020.

County Public Health Report ~ 9/28

At today’s Public Health Briefings to the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed:

  • Jefferson County case count remains at 71, no new cases in 2 weeks.
  • The local schools have been in session for a month and are examples for other counties, statewide.
  • KPTZ questions: dilute bleach, isopropyl alcohol are sanitizing agents. Alcohol-based wipes are a preferred product.
  • For gyms, distancing guideline is 300 square feet between people, or a 17-foot radius.
  • PCR antigen test is the “gold standard” for Covid testing.
  • County Commissioners are looking at ways for Jefferson County to maintain, encourage and support behaviors that keep the incidence of Covid-19 cases low in our area.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Through Science to Health ~ 9/18

Through Science to Health series with Chris Bricker, KPTZ host, and Lynn Sorensen, RN, discuss the politics of the ongoing news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic information, coverage that is often confusing and opposing in nature depending on the source.

Lynn reviews a recent article in the Washington Post regarding the difference between those who gather for a Trump rally and those who gather and participate in a protest march as far as risk of transmission of coronavirus infection.

Is the worst of the pandemic behind us? A new term, long-haulers syndrome is being applied to some people who have ‘recovered’ from Covid 19 but are still suffering from multiple symptoms such as brain fog, severe fatigue, and trouble breathing.

County Public Health Report ~ 9/21

At today’s Public Health Briefings to the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed:
• Latest regional case count statistics
• Folly of non-mask wearing
• Timing for COVID-19 vaccine is not imminently expected
• Need for ventilation to be inside when smoke prevents air flow from outdoors
• Dose exposure of virus is a big factor
• Efficacy of testing

And Willie Bence discussed the additional available N95 masks.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Brewocracy Now with John Mauro ~ 9/17

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro is on KPTZ with a web-based format, in a weekly time slot Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:40pm.

This week John’s featured guest was City of Port Townsend Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Alex Wisniewski.  John and Alex provided background on the golf course lease and took questions from the public regarding the current golf course request for proposals process, and discussed how the public could continue to engage on the topic.

Stay tuned for the weekly chance to learn more about developments for the City of Port Townsend. John will take questions and encourage productive dialogue (and exemplary virtual meeting etiquette) to steer through a range of topics. 

Brewocracy Now Call-In Line
(call in your question during the 12:10 to 12:40pm broadcast):
360-215-7270
Email your questions in advance to tim@kptz.org

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 1438 1087
Password: 816197

County Public Health Report ~ 9/14

On Monday, September 14 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.

Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke joined the meeting also, to address questions from KPTZ listeners. Potential for Phase 3 designation for Jefferson County was discussed, along with advise for getting the new flu shots.

Regarding the challenges for providing fresh air to reduce Covid-19 transmission, while smoke particles are at a dangerous level, Willie Bence stated that N95 masks are available to at-risk populations. Other options for safe open air space, are being explored.

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.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Brewocracy Now with John Mauro ~ 9/10

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro is on KPTZ with a web-based format, in a weekly time slot Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:40pm.

This week, Port Townsend Library Director Melody Eisler joined the broadcast and shared some of what happened at last week’s Library Strategic Plan Open House, and talked about what’s next.

Stay tuned for the weekly chance to learn more about developments for the City of Port Townsend. John will take questions and encourage productive dialogue (and exemplary virtual meeting etiquette) to steer through a range of topics. 

Brewocracy Now Call-In Line
(call in your question during the 12:10 to 12:40pm broadcast):
360-215-7270
Email your questions in advance to tim@kptz.org

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 1438 1087
Password: 816197

Through Science to Health ~ 9/04

Through Science to Health continues into September with Lynn Sorensen, RN and Chris Bricker, KPTZ Host discussing and commenting on the latest pandemic developments.

Lynn reiterated a number of talking points from Dr Tom Locke, Jefferson County Health Officer’s briefing to the BOCC on Monday, August 31st.
The University of Alberta researchers have developed a possible anti-viral treatment drug that works by stopping the novel coronavirus replication within human cells, thereby stopping the infection process. Also discussed is Dr Scott Atlas, a newly favored consultant to the president, regarding ‘herd immunity’.

Brewocracy Now with John Mauro ~ 9/03

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro is on KPTZ with a web-based format, in a weekly time slot Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:40pm.

Today’s topics included:

  • Providing for the homeless
  • The future of the Port Townsend Golf Course
  • Coordinating development projects with the County and other government agencies
  • City Council term limits
  • Engage PT

Stay tuned for the weekly chance to learn more about developments for the City of Port Townsend. John will take questions and encourage productive dialogue (and exemplary virtual meeting etiquette) to steer through a range of topics. 

Brewocracy Now Call-In Line
(call in your question during the 12:10 to 12:40pm broadcast):
360-215-7270
Email your questions in advance to tim@kptz.org

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 1438 1087
Password: 816197

County Public Health Report ~ 8/31

At today’s Public Health Briefings to the Jefferson County Commissioners, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke discussed the latest national and local case statistics, wherein Jefferson County’s count increased over the weekend by one to 70 total. Dr. Locke answered a number of questions submitted on behalf of KPTZ listeners, addressing developments in testing, concerns about essential workers, and potentials for vaccine.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

Brewocracy Now with John Mauro ~ 8/27

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro is on KPTZ with a web-based format, in a weekly time slot Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:40pm. For the August 27 show, Larry Stein co-hosted John’s virtual online meeting. Topics included were:

  • Engage PT website survey and “Ambassador” opportunity.
  • City preparations to serve the homeless this fall.
  • City Council discussion of the Police Department budget.
  • Ways to improve processing of permits for ADUs and other development.
  • Status of ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft.

Stay tuned for the weekly chance to learn more about developments for the City of Port Townsend. John will take questions and encourage productive dialogue (and exemplary virtual meeting etiquette) to steer through a range of topics. 

Brewocracy Now Call-In Line
(call in your question during the 12:10 to 12:40pm broadcast):
360-215-7270
Email your questions in advance to tim@kptz.org

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 1438 1087
Password: 816197

County Public Health Report ~ 8/24

On Monday, August 24 Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared about the recent Jefferson County uptick in COVID-19 cases. He answered questions from KPTZ listeners regarding mask recommendations and enforcement, and overall public health strategies.

Some topics Dr. Locke addressed included: types of masks, the need for ventilation in public places, potential for super spreaders, safety at hospitals, and school reopenings.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing contactus@kptz.org.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 8/21

Through Science to Health, a continuing bi-monthly interview and commentary with Lynn Sorensen, RN and KPTZ Host Chris Bricker began today with a public service announcement from the Jefferson County Public Health Dept. The announcement, authorized by Dr Tom Locke, Health Officer, was sent to KPTZ on August 20 asking for people who had attended a social gathering at Tarboo Lake on August 15 and 16 to contact their provider or call the Nurse Hotline at JHC at 360-344-3094 for possible exposure to coronavirus. Two persons from these gatherings were positive for COVID-19. The Health Dept has already identified 23 contacts at this party and is working quickly to get these people into isolation and quarantine.

Other topics include clinical studies of trial therapeutics for those already infected with coronavirus: Convalescent Plasma Therapy, and Remdesivir (antiviral) and Interferon beta in combination. Both of these therapies may prove to shorten hospital stays for those with COVID-19 by 4 days. The ongoing issue of masking included the care and feeding of your mask. Local case numbers are compared with Kitsap and Clallam county.

Brewocracy Now with John Mauro ~ 8/20

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro is on KPTZ with a web-based format, in a weekly time slot Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:40pm. Discovery Road DJ host Tim Quackenbush hosts John’s virtual online meeting as a live broadcast, with updates on the fast-changing local world in and around Port Townsend.

Topics covered included:
– Status of the golf course
– “Starting the conversation” with Engage PT
– Correcting factual inaccuracies on social media
– City’s response to Black Lives Matter and public art policy
– US Census

Stay tuned for the weekly chance to learn more about developments for the City of Port Townsend. John will take questions and encourage productive dialogue (and exemplary virtual meeting etiquette) to steer through a range of topics. 

Brewocracy Now Call-In Line
(call in your question during the 12:10 to 12:40pm broadcast):
360-215-7270
Email your questions in advance to tim@kptz.org

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 1438 1087
Password: 816197