Filter Special Guests

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

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants
FindYourPhaseWA
Jefferson Co Move to Phase 2
Vaccine Progress
Covid Vaccine Road Ahead
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
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

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants

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.

Jefferson Co Move to Phase 2

(Feb. 12, 2021) Gov. Jay Inslee is moving Jefferson County, along with Clallam, Kitsap, and Mason counties, to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery on Sunday, February 14. Under Phase 2, restaurants, bars and indoor fitness centers can operate at 25 percent of capacity. For more details on Phase 2, go to Corona Virus (dot) WA (dot) gov. Although the governor’s decision moves 92 percent of our state to Phase 2, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke and other officials urge caution in reopening to minimize the risk of another wave of infections. Infections in Washington and the US have declined recently, but the more contagious UK variant is being found throughout the country, including King, Clark, and Snohomish counties. If you think you have symptoms or have been exposed, be sure to get tested immediately. And please, mask up, wash up, and keep your distance. Thank you.

COVID-19 Stay Vigilant

(Dec. 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!

COVID-19 Guidelines for Religious Services

(Dec. 23, 2020) 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

(Dec. 16, 2020) 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

(Dec. 9, 2020) 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.

WA Health Care Authority

(Nov. 30, 2020) 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.

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.

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!

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

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

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants
FindYourPhaseWA
Jefferson Co Move to Phase 2
Public Health Gratitude
Vaccine Progress
Covid Vaccine Road Ahead
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
COVID-19 Vaccinations
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

Stay Vigilant, COVID-19 Variants

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.

Jefferson Co Move to Phase 2

(Feb. 12, 2021) Gov. Jay Inslee is moving Jefferson County, along with Clallam, Kitsap, and Mason counties, to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery on Sunday, February 14. Under Phase 2, restaurants, bars and indoor fitness centers can operate at 25 percent of capacity. For more details on Phase 2, go to Corona Virus (dot) WA (dot) gov. Although the governor’s decision moves 92 percent of our state to Phase 2, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke and other officials urge caution in reopening to minimize the risk of another wave of infections. Infections in Washington and the US have declined recently, but the more contagious UK variant is being found throughout the country, including King, Clark, and Snohomish counties. If you think you have symptoms or have been exposed, be sure to get tested immediately. And please, mask up, wash up, and keep your distance. 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!

Vaccine Progress

(Jan. 29, 2021) Jefferson County ranks third among all counties in Washington for the number of vaccine doses issued per capita. We’re doing all we can to quickly use up each shipment of vaccine, and now, our minimum age for vaccination is down to 65.
Please, don’t call Jefferson Healthcare to make an appointment. Go to FindYourPhaseWa.org . That’s find your phase WA (dot) org.
After you confirm your eligibility, click on the link for vaccine locations and scroll down to Jefferson County. You’ll see a list of options, including Jefferson Healthcare and local pharmacies.
If no appointments are available there, keep checking back. We are continually adding appointments as we receive vaccine shipments.
In the meantime, please keep masking up, washing up, and staying six feet away from people outside of your household. Thank you.

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

(Dec. 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!

COVID-19 Guidelines for Religious Services

(Dec. 23, 2020) 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

(Dec. 16, 2020) 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

(Dec. 9, 2020) 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

(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.

WA Health Care Authority

(Nov. 30, 2020) 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

(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 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.

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 by Doug Rodgers.

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


Crucial Point in the Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pandemic Reflections

Photo credit: Mike Penney

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

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

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

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

In CONCLUSION…Be gentle with yourself, friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 and Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Tom Locke Recommendations for Protesters and Caregivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KPTZ’s COVID-19 Update ~ 3/16

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

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

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

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

KPTZ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Watch Continues

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

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

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

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

WA DOH Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resources & FAQs

County Public Health Report ~ 3/01

Today, March 1, 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.

Even though broadcast of the March 1, 2021 Public Health Briefings was incomplete, the entire segment is now included in this audio recording. 

  • We joined the update as Dr. Locke was discussing the progress and plans for getting schools back in session with all students present. Data for various in-person school programs shows that, even without teachers vaccinated, there is very little transmission among children younger than 10 years of age. The data shows that transmission occurs primarily among older students.
  • While no Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents currently exist with details about gathering with other non-member households who have completed their vaccinations, they are expected when sufficient data regarding transmission patterns are reported in the process of re-opening.
  • And while some experts suggest non-member households, fully vaccinated, could gather together, there are reasons not to do this at this time. There are still many in our community who will not be able to get the vaccines for months as the supplies are still limited. Circulating variants, which are more easily transmitted, are doubling every 10 days and it is expected the UK mutated virus will soon be the dominant variant in Washington. Any mild symptomatic or asymptomatic new infection allows the virus a chance to mutate and spread to other susceptible persons. We are advised to continue the CDC recommendations. Dr. Locke described it as a race to vaccinate enough of our population, while at the same time, greatly suppressing the amount of circulating virus in the community.
  • The protection the current vaccines provide may be about one year. It is expected that we will need yearly booster shots, and that those will be adjusted for variant strains, similar to the yearly flu vaccine program. Re-engineering the proteins prominent in the circulating variants is easily facilitated by the technology used initially in developing these vaccines.
  • The need to vaccinate entire populations yearly means public health and healthcare institutions need to create a high-volume infrastructure to accomplish this goal.
  • While vaccinations are generally given through points of care and pharmacies, the volume of vaccinations needed would strain our current system. It will depend on how the pandemic plays out from here forward. The best scenario would be a steady decline in cases, mass vaccinations administered simultaneously, with good suppression of this virus, thus allowing traditional public health measures to further control the spread of outbreaks.
  • The other possible scenario might be that, as we reopen our economy, the virus continues to mutate and spread, especially in dense, urban areas, typical of the community spread characteristic of the three waves seen so far in this pandemic. Hence the phrase “Don’t let down your guard”.
  • The Governor is looking very carefully at signs of increased virus transmission as the state proceeds into Phase II of our Road Map to Recovery. With limited occupancy in indoor settings specified in Phase II, data regarding transmission is being carefully scrutinized. It may take a few weeks to see the effects of the reopening before planning for Phase III can be developed. The Governor is leary of re-opening too soon as cases decline, and then having to reverse progress made and imposing restrictions again. This cautionary stance has served Washington state well, placing us among those states with the lowest morbidity and mortality rates in the nation.
  • Regarding vaccination news, Dr. Locke announced this week that Jefferson Healthcare will be giving both first and second doses in the drive-thru clinic, which actually doubles the number of persons served. Vaccine allocations now number 1,170 doses for the first dose to Jefferson County, and are paired with a similar allocation for three weeks later, as well as the same amount for initial doses each week. When eligible for more than this amount, a mass vaccination site will be opened.
  • This week, the age band continues to drop for those eligible to be vaccinated, currently notifying those aged 67 years and older who have registered. Those in households with grandparents who are the legal guardians of their grandchildren, as well as those in households who care for a dependent elder are now also eligible. The legal guardians and elder caretakers need to be 50 years of age or older. They are directed to the Jefferson Healthcare website to register to be notified when a supply becomes available.

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

  • The vaccine call center now has a plan for those residents without an email address, WiFi, or computer access to schedule an appointment for a vaccination. Those in this category who are 65 years and older can call the phone line and a volunteer will make the arrangements. Individuals who are in multigenerational households 50 years and older, who are the legal guardians of their grandchildren, or a caretaker of an elder can also use this phone line to schedule a vaccination if they have limited access to the internet or a computer. Call 360-344-7971, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm for assistance.
  • As the age band drops lower, the phone assistance line remains in operation, with ongoing evaluation as to the need to remain open. For the foreseeable future, Mr. Bence sees it remaining open to assist those with limited internet and computer access.
  • Plans for a mass vaccination clinic continue to be developed with the county facing the limitations of a drive-thru clinic as vaccine allocations continue to increase and hold steady. Timing for this mass vaccination site again depends on available supplies and is anticipated to begin either near the end of this month and/or early next month.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke and to Willie Bence 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.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 2/26

Chris Bricker, KPTZ host, along with Lynn Sorensen, RN, meet once again with Dr. Joe Mattern, Jefferson Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, via Zoom for this week’s Through Science to Health episode. Dr. Mattern coordinates JHC’s COVID-19 vaccination program and speaks to the state’s distribution of the vaccine supply and the process of getting the vaccine into the arms of Jefferson County’s 12,000 residents 65 years and older. Dr. Mattern addresses equity in access to the vaccine supply and how JHC plans to reach county residents who may be unable to access the vaccine appointment registration process via the internet.

County Public Health Report ~ 2/22

Today, February 22, 2021, our local Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners.

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.

General Remarks:

  • Nationally, new COVID-19 cases are continuing to decline, noting a 44% drop from two weeks ago, averaging 66,000 cases a day. The actual case numbers, unfortunately, are far greater than those actually detected through COVID-19 testing. Hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline as well, although the nation saw deaths attributed to COVID-19 reach over a half million this past weekend.
  • As of February 12, 2021, Jefferson County has reported 330 cases, only 2 cases last week, and a case rate down to 65.83 cases per 100,000 population and a 1.76% case positivity.  The New York Times continues to place Jefferson County among the areas nationwide with the lowest case rates and percent positivity numbers.
  • Neighboring county metrics continue to decline among those areas placed in our regional RoadMap to Reopening plan.  Clallam County reports 54 cases per 100,000, Kitsap County reported 86 cases per 100,000, while Mason County recorded 65 cases per 100,000 population.
  • Although case rates per 100,000 population are substantially decreasing, the appearance and rise of viral variants of SARS-CoV-2 pose a continued risk in terms of their increased ability to be easily transmitted, as well as cause more severe disease and death.  The United Kingdom variant has been found in Washington state with the confirmation of 19 cases and is expected to become the dominant strain in the US, within the next few months. While the UK variant is sensitive to the two vaccines being given, the South African and Brazilian variants show some vaccine resistance. 
  • The  appearance of these variants highlights the need to continue CDC recommendations, and most importantly, vigilance in refraining from mixing non-member households at this point in time.  At the same time, all individuals wearing high quality masks and doubling them keeps the virus variants from getting a stronger foothold in communities. Double masks, surgical on the inside with cloth on the outside, improves protection for the source case, reducing the spread of infection.
  • Dr. Locke cautioned that as much as 60% of the NK95 respirators available here do not meet FDA standards.  Residents can find a list of acceptable KN95 respirators on the FDA and CDC websites.  
  • Nationwide, first vaccine doses have been administered to 12.2% of the population, with 4.5% having received both doses. Locally, Clallam and Jefferson County stand at 2,958 vaccine doses administered per 10,000 population.  There will be a steady ramping up of supplies available week by week.
  • A third manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson is expected to present their data from clinical trials this week to the FDA, and if approved, may have a supply available near the end of March, with 1,000,000 doses in the first delivery. By May, another two manufactures may be approved and producing vaccines. 

Questions from KPTZ listeners: 

  • Current guidelines for gathering with non-household members, who both have completed their vaccinations, do not exist at this point in time, but current studies may offer some guidance when completed.  Vaccine trials did not answer the question, once vaccinated, if subsequently infected with the coronavirus, could you pass it on to others.  The trials addressed the severity of disease and death.   
  • Jefferson Healthcare does not encourage residents to sign up more than once with the registration notification process. Currently, there are approximately 7,000 residents over the age of 70 years waiting to be notified for a vaccination slot and the limited supplies of vaccine available. Registrants are being called or emailed in descending order by age. 
  • For nearly a month, Jefferson County did not receive any vaccine for first doses.  This week 1,100 doses arrived for first doses, and our county is slated to receive the same amount next week.  Areas residents 71 and older are now being notified by JHC to sign up for an appointment, so it is important to go online and register to be notified.  Vaccinations are also available at area pharmacies, which receive between 100-200 doses a week and they all have registration for appointments at their websites. 
  • A solution is in the works for vaccine registration for those without email or internet access.  The Department of Emergency Management operates a phone line at 360-344-9791 to register residents M-F, 9am to 4pm for those without internet access or an email to register with JHC. They are testing the solutions this week.  
  • Healthcare providers are listed in priority as 1A and qualify currently for vaccination now through the JHC registration process or pharmacies.  They must be actively seeing patients and have a current license. 
  • Most people will have a sore arm as a result of vaccinations, with both first and second dose.  Some people will have side effects from the second dose, such as fatigue and/or headaches, chills, fever, itching, and a rash at the injection site.  These reactions are more typical in vaccine recipients under 55 years of age. You are fortunate if you don’t have side effects, but this does not suggest your immune system is not reacting as it should. 
  • The most serious reactions to the vaccine manifests within minutes of receiving the shot.  Reactions include the feeling that the throat is closing or a drop in blood pressure, signaling a systemic allergic reaction.  All vaccination sites are prepared for this rare type of reaction and can treat persons on the spot, if necessary. Those individuals with this type of reaction should not get a second dose. This is the reason for all those vaccinated to be observed and monitored for 15 minutes after the injection or 30 minutes if you have this type of reaction with other vaccines. 
  • It is advised for you to stick to your own county of residence for the vaccine, although every vaccination, anywhere, increases our safety.  Currently, the available supplies are allocated by population percentages, with a new plan being finalized by the Governor that accounts for the number of persons at highest risk by age or other factors.  Available supplies are the limiting factors, nothing else.
  • While age has been the primary factor for selecting those persons for the limited availability of vaccine doses, persons over 65 years of age with underlying health conditions are being considered for vaccinations.  The medical conditions are listed on the CDC website and include those undergoing chemotherapy, severe lung and heart disease, and diabetes, to name a few.  This hierarchy is subject to change and is controlled by the Governors and guidance from the CDC. 
  • With the expected revised plan for vaccine allocation from the state soon, vaccine tiers will be opened in the future for mass vaccinations sites, as the predictability of long-range supply supplies will be more stable, forecast for three weeks in advance.  Locally, we may be able to do this in March, as the vaccine supplies will outpace our capacity at the drive thru sites.  

County Public Health Report ~ 2/16

Today, February 16, 2021, our local Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners.

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.

General Remarks:

  • Nationally, new COVID-19 cases are continuing to decline, noting a 41% drop from two weeks ago, with hospitalizations down nearly one half million. A more troubling trend is the decrease in COVID-19 testing nationally and statewide. 
  • Washington, having seen a surge in December and January, continues to see a drop in new cases, averaging 670 cases per day.  This is down 58% from the last two weeks, bringing the cases per 100,000 population to 259.  New case positivity has also dropped to 6.3%, from 7.0% last week. Dr. Locke reminded us, although this is a decline in case rates and positivity, we are coming down from a peak in the pandemic that is the highest we have seen to date.
  • As of February 12, Jefferson County has reported 326 cases, with a case rate down to 66 cases per 100,000 population and a 3.4% case positivity.  The New York Times recently placed Jefferson County among the areas nationwide with the lowest case rates and percent positivity numbers.
  • Neighboring county metrics continue to decline among those areas placed in our regional Road Map to Reopening plan as well, enabling all four counties to move into Phase 2 as of February 14.  Clallam County reported 62 cases per 100,000 population with 2.6% new case positivity.  Kitsap County reported 112 cases per 100,000 and 5.1% new case positivity, while Mason County recorded 105 cases per 100,000 population and 4.9% new case positivity. 
  • Vaccines rates are rising, now achieving the goal of giving vaccinations as soon as supplies are received.  The US is averaging about 1,000,000 doses per day, with Washington State having vaccinated about 1,000,000 residents to date. Locally, Jefferson County has vaccinated about 8,000 high-risk persons, with Jefferson HealthCare inoculating about 85% of county residents and 15% being given by local pharmacies.  The county is soon to finalize its plans for mass vaccination sites, when it is anticipated the vaccine supply will be more readily available near the end of March. April and May may bring more supplies, with June and July having more massive supplies, when anyone will be able to get the vaccine without significant problems. 
  • The path of this pandemic stands at a fork in the road, according to Dr. Locke.  He quoted Dr. Tom Friedan, a former CDC Director, who stated that to avoid a fourth wave of increased cases as we reopen our communities, our commitment to safer behavior will determine the direction of our local epidemic.  So now is the time to recommit ourselves to masking, distancing, and washing our hands.  Masking directives were recently published by the CDC, giving us specific information on the greatest protection for dampening the transmission of this virus.  A good quality mask has a tight weave (can’t see sunlight) in the fabric of the outer mask, preferably three layers, over a paper surgical mask worn next to your face, which provides a tight fit. If an infectious source case is not masking, only an N95 respirator could provide as much protection (90-95%) as this double masking protocol.  We have been advised to mask anytime you are with a non-household person, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Dr. Locke discussed the importance of continued testing for COVID-19.  We may be less motivated to get a test when we have symptoms, but this remains the way to further control transmission in our community.  Although we have virtually eliminated an influenza season, it is critically important to get a test, especially when you are running a fever, a hallmark of COVID-19 infection.   Testing when symptomatic and isolation / quarantine can continue to reduce spread locally.   It protects other household members as well as anyone with which you interact and continues to be our best public health strategy.  
  • Moving to Phase 2 on the Olympic Peninsula seems doable at this time if we continue to follow prevention protocols. Dining with the same members of your immediate household is safer than mixing households in indoor settings for a prolonged time period.  The evidence of the sustainability of the current reopening measures will be first seen in those communities along the I-5 corridor. This will be evaluated every two weeks. If there is no rise in new cases, this may indicate a better outlook for us locally.  
  • The recent drop in cases is not likely due to increased vaccination rollouts, but more reasonably attributed to seasonality factors. We are coming out of the prime time of the year for reduced transmission in respiratory illnesses.  While some areas have seen higher naturally acquired infections that limit the spread of this virus, masking of nearly 80% of the nation also contributes to the drop in new cases. While cases continue to drop, Dr. Locke reminded everyone that it is from an extremely high prevalence of cases.  It is important to recognize the intersection of widespread rollout of vaccinations and prevention measures that will end this pandemic for us locally. 
  • KPTZ listeners were concerned about ADA access when the current volume of vaccinations are being done through a drive-thru near the hospital, not really accessible to those with only wheelchairs. Dr. Locke stated that upcoming mass vaccinations sites will accommodate these individuals, as well as point-of-care opportunities. 
  • Washington state currently does genomic sequencing on about 2% of respiratory isolates to look for virus variants.  The cost is very high to build more capacity, so the state has a focus on two variant problems identified.  The first priority is testing those persons who test positive for COVID-19 two weeks after completed vaccinations. The second is testing those persons with an anomaly with their PCR results, specifically the third arm of the test that triggers a positive result called the ‘S” drop.  
  • Dr. Locke encouraged those who are trying to convince others to get the vaccine to let individuals proceed according to their own timeframe.  Safety data continues to be similar to the results reported by the two leading manufacturers, with nearly 38 million doses given in the United States.  Nearly 71% of citizens have expressed an interest in taking the vaccine, which will be good coverage to protect us all.
  • Regarding the KPTZ listener question about rapid testing in schools, Dr. Locke stated that the verdict is not in on the efficacy of using this in school settings. School superintendents have done some trial testing and a report is expected soon. This type of testing is more accurate with those reporting symptoms versus those without, again being a timing issue of test application and best used in areas of high seroprevalence of new cases. If the report warrants use, Jefferson County would be able to get the testing kits.
  • Vaccine eligibility continues to focus on those at highest risk of severe disease and death. A new supply of first doses are expected this week. About 7,000 residents have signed up for notification through Jefferson HealthCare and will be called as their age tier comes up, older through younger, the goal being saving lives.
  • Dr. Locke explained that you are fully immune 14 days after the second vaccination and cautioned that one in twenty people, if exposed, still may experience severe disease if they are exposed and become infected.
  • Jefferson County has not been penalized for it’s low seroprevalence of new cases. It’s just a factor of uneven distribution of the vaccine. He explained that the state still needs to determine a formula for distribution, as the counties still do not know, from week to week, whether they will receive an allotment and how much. The professional association of public health officers has suggested allotment based on the percentage of high-risk groups in each county, until supplies increase. Currently, when an allotment comes in, you have about a 10% chance of finding an appointment for the prime dose, relative to the demand.

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Willie Bence, Director, Department of Emergency Management:

  • Recruitment continues for medical and non-medical volunteers, with an eye toward the mass vaccination sites to be held when supplies of vaccines increase. It will take months to respond to this demand for the vaccine and many in the community are needed for this task. The call center to assist with making appointments is still in operation and anyone can call 360-344-9791, Monday thru Friday, 9am to 4pm.
  • Those over 65 years of age are encouraged to register on the Jefferson HealthCare website to be notified when their age tier appointments are available.
  • Phase 2 has arrived in Jefferson County and Mr. Bence asked that you observe masking guidelines when indoors as our service and support staff are not currently eligible for vaccinations and the risk of transmission continues since they interface with the public for many hours at a time.  Closing and reopening becomes expensive and threatens their existence when safety protocols are not strictly followed. 
  • Our stellar county road crew employees were able to salt traffic areas prior to the snow as well as ploughing where needed. This is a good time to revisit your emergency preparations for readiness, as this year pandemic concerns occurred alongside pandemic concerns. 

Vaccine Update / BOCC Briefings Move to Tuesday 2/16

Jefferson Healthcare is scheduled to open its COVID 19 vaccination clinic this Wednesday, February 17 after its vaccine order was approved by the state. The order includes 975 Pfizer first dose vaccines and 200 Moderna second dose vaccines. Deliveries usually arrive on Mondays but were delayed by the weather. The hospital reported that it will operate the vaccine clinic, located near Manresa Castle, every day until the vaccine is used. Those needing vaccines can register with the hospital for notification of their eligibility. For more information go to https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine/.

This week’s Monday, February 15 Board of County Commissioners Meeting and Public Health Briefings are rescheduled for Tuesday, February 16. Briefings from Dr. Locke and Willie Bence will now begin at 9:45am on Tuesday morning.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 2/12

One must be nimble to respond to the changing landscape of the pandemic. Lynn Sorensen, RN and Chris Bricker, KPTZ host had prepared for Through Science to Health earlier on February 11, only to have Governor Inslee announce later that same day that the Northwest Region – Jefferson, Clallam, Mason, and Kitsap Counties – were being advanced to Phase 2 in Washington’s Roadmap to Recovery. Other topics discussed:

  • Advancing to Phase 2 will benefit businesses such as restaurants and bars by allowing indoor seating to 25% of their capacity (see coronavirus.wa.gov for details).
  • In addition, the UK variant virus has been identified in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. The UK Variant is more infectious than COVID-19 and double masking is recommended to reduce risk of transmission.
  • A better fitting mask (or two masks) equals better protection for the wearer.
  • Vaccine, vaccine, whose got the vaccine? Uncertainty in vaccine allocation and supply continues to be a problem in Jefferson County.

#170 Carolyn Salmon

(First airdate: February 9, 2021) CAROLYN SALMON: A VISION FOR SENIORS TO SHARE. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Carolyn Salmon, president of the owners association at Quimper Village. This senior co-housing development speaks to the emerging consensus among many seniors that assisted living isn’t for them. But they realize they might also need some assistance. It’s a network of friends purchasing townhouses in a new development. They intend to take care of each other as much as they can. Currently, communal dinners and the like are on hold due to COVID-19. So far the COVID-free group has kept to outdoor activities. But they are anxious to return to group events. Quimper Village is perhaps an idealized view of small town interconnectedness. But the group seems determined to make it work.

County Public Health Report ~ 2/08

Today, February 8, 2021, our local Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke shared his assessment of the pandemic in Jefferson County and answered questions submitted by KPTZ listeners.

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.

General Remarks:

  • Nationally, new COVID-19 are declining rapidly, noting a 31% drop from two (2) weeks ago, with an average of 118,000 new cases a day, which was last seen in November 2020.  There has also been a decline in COVID-19 testing, suggesting many actual cases may go undetected. 
  • Washington, having seen a surge in December and January, has seen a similar drop (27%) in new cases detected, with 298 cases per 100,000 population and 7% case positivity.  Washington state ranks third (3rd) in the nation behind North Dakota and Hawaii in the decline of new cases. 
  • As of this day, Jefferson County has reported 321 cases, up from the previous two (2) weeks. Our case rate now stands at 125 per 100,000 population, up from 72 per 100,000 population in the previous reporting period, with an increased case positivity of 4.46%.  Increased cases are driven by cluster outbreaks, with 23 cases within a contained, non-public setting and the others by small non-household gatherings. These clusters, investigated quickly, limit spread to the wider community, making containment possible when close contacts are quarantined prior to testing positive. Dr. Locke reaffirmed the efficacy of the PCR test with regard to the cycle threshold (Ct) criticism mentioned during public comments today. 
  • Neighboring Clallam County has 82 cases per 100,000 population with 3% new case positivity.  Kitsap County reported 132 cases per 100,000 and 5.7% new case positivity, while Mason County recorded 143 cases per 100,000 population and 8.1% new case positivity. 
  • Vaccine supplies from the state continued to be limited, with 5,945 vaccinations given by Jefferson Healthcare(JHC) to date, while local pharmacies have vaccinated an additional 890 county residents. Our allotments locally have been reduced temporarily to give previously under-allotted counties their fair share. Currently, nearly two-thirds (2/3rds) of supplies ordered have been left unfilled. Vaccine allotments and shipments are expected to stabilize towards the end of February with an expectation that counties will know the allotment quantity weeks ahead of planning appointments.  Although JHC is set up to vaccinate large numbers of residents a day, they have not received a supply for prime doses for a few weeks.  This is expected to be resolved over time, with expectations of receipt of supplies to match the demand for vaccinations, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate that is seeking an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) hearing from the FDA scheduled for February 27, 2021. 
  • Three (3) variants currently found in the US, discovered by genomic sequencing, are being tracked. Mutations in viruses are expected due to the high frequency with which they replicate, however, these changes appear to make these variants more readily transmitted to another person by as much as 30%.  These strains have varying sensitivity to the current vaccines being used. Hence, strenuous control efforts need to be increased, to reduce chances for replication and the virus “escaping” the vaccines’ mechanisms of mounting an immune response. 
  • The current focus to reduce the spread of the new variants revolves around  improving the science behind masking design and use.  Guidelines for a better fit, improved filtration, and source control will be addressed by a new statement from the CDC to be released soon.  Dr. Locke warned that face shields only provide eye protection from flying debris and are useless to protect from infection or as a mechanism for source control.  Surgical masks, now more widely available, worn under cloth masks reduce your risk of infection and better protect others. He expects these protective measures to continue for the next few months, until a steep and sustained drop in new cases occurs.  
  • Dr. Locke addressed residents going to other county pharmacies to get the vaccine. He stated the counties were not in competition as the goal is to get as many residents vaccinated as soon as possible, although he cautioned that getting the second (2nd) dose should be given at the same site of the first (1st) dose. He noted that Mason County ranks first (1st) in completion rate of both vaccine doses delivered,  while Clallam County, supplemented by vaccine supplies from the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, ranks first (1st) among all counties in rate per 10,000 residents vaccinated for the prime dose.

KPTZ listeners questions:

  • The proposed revamping of health board regions by the Governor was purported to be linked to an area’s healthcare and hospital surge capacity, but does not appear supported by epidemiological data, per Dr. Locke. Plans are still being considered in senate committees, with an eye toward significant funding of public health infrastructure to possibly come from the health insurance system, in recognition of the long-standing, under funding of this vital disease prevention program.  
  • A new COVID-19 test kit will soon be available for home use. This new device uses a link to your smartphone, reports the results to the state DOH, and in combination with symptoms, reliably indicates infection.  Sensitivity of this COVID-19 test (the reliability of a true indication of infection), remains dependent on when the test is taken in your disease process.  
  • Currently, individuals who are over 75 years, or undergoing chemotherapy, or other complicated medical conditions remain the focus for prime vaccinations as supplies permit. Jefferson Healthcare is using its current patient database to identify these individuals for appointments or when next they interact with the healthcare system to provide the prime dose.  Unidentified high-risk elders are encouraged to contact their primary care provider for assistance in getting in the queue for a prime dose. 
  • With vaccine supplies limited currently, appointments for those in the 65-74 year old age cohort may have to rely on area pharmacies to provide vaccinations, as Jefferson Healthcare is still allowing appointments only for the 75 year old and up age cohort, due to their high risk of severe disease progression and death.   
  • Timing of the second dose of the vaccine series can be reasonably delayed and still provide expected protection from severe disease and death. It does not need to be matched exactly to manufacturer’s time frame, but should not be a problem if vaccine supplies are limited.  Most vaccine providers are making appointments for the second dose when the prime dose is delivered, however, actual vaccinations are supply-dependent at this time. 
  • The question of transmission of the coronavirus to others once you have been vaccinated has not been thoroughly studied, as this is difficult to study and carry out.  There is some preliminary, non-peer-reviewed data that suggests interruption of transmission is possible with a vaccine currently in clinical trials, AstraZeneca. It’s not exactly clear at this point in time, but may be an unexpected benefit of the vaccination.
  • Clinical trials are currently enrolling teenagers to answer questions of safety and efficacy. Pfizer is studying 12 to 16 year olds, with Moderna enrolling 12 to 18 year olds. It may take until the summer to have initial data for the older age groups.  Children 11 years and under typically have very mild symptoms and may not be involved in clinical trials in the near future. 
  • Vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer used messenger RNA technologies to create their vaccines, which delivers a bit of the genetic code to cells, providing the RNA recipe to make surface spike proteins which activate your immune response. It requires a prime dose and a final dose within 3 to 4 weeks of the first dose.  The Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines use a more common technology called viral vectored vaccines. This method uses a harmless adenovirus engineered to carry the genetic code for the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein into cells and requires only one dose.  All these vaccines prevent progression to severe disease and death, have side effects similar to seasonal flu vaccines, and can be reformatted easily if regional variants become predominant in an area. 

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

  • State medical licensing boards are allowing medical practitioners in retirement, without a current license, to apply for emergency authorization during this pandemic to assist with mass vaccination efforts. So the medical pool for these events has grown.  Non-medical volunteers have also stepped up to volunteer, although the current need has been filled.  Mr. Bence stated that 112 shifts were filled in about 4 hours, demonstrating the willingness of this community to support the goal of mass vaccination events as the supplies increase over time, providing us a prospective view of this long-term commitment.  
  • President Biden has enacted changes to the Stanford Act by Executive Order that will allow states and counties to recover more of their local costs due to this pandemic. Counties can now recover 100% of their costs through FEMA and our local DEM is currently reviewing their costs and will resubmit their documents for more reimbursement, which means the traditional 25% local match is recouped by our county.  This is retroactive to January 2020, the start of the pandemic.