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Here’s what we know so far regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for Clallam and Jefferson counties and around the world.
For more local coronavirus stories, click here.
The count of cases and deaths is a moving target, with jurisdictions reporting sometimes-contradictory numbers. Ours might not match what other media are reporting.
• As of 11:59 p.m. May 5, Washington state has 380,109 confirmed cases (meaning the person has the virus) and 5,533 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
• 400 cases in Jefferson County. 3 deaths.
• 1,270 cases in Clallam County. 9 deaths.
• 7,725 cases in Kitsap County. 108 deaths.
For other county numbers, visit www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.
Thursday, May 6
• Under order by the Supreme Court, India’s government on Thursday agreed to provide more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital city of New Delhi, potentially easing a 2-week-old shortage that worsened the country’s exploding coronavirus crisis.
Government officials also denied reports that they have been slow in distributing life-saving medical supplies donated from abroad.
• G. Balachandran turned 80 this spring — a milestone of a birthday in India, where he lives. If not for the coronavirus pandemic, he would have been surrounded by family members who gathered to celebrate with him.
But with the virus ravaging his homeland, Balachandran had to settle for congratulatory phone calls. Including one from his rather famous niece: Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Unfortunately, because of the COVID, I cannot have such an elaborate function,” the retired academic said in a Zoom interview Thursday from his home in New Delhi.
• Several world leaders Thursday praised the U.S. call to remove patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help poor countries obtain shots. But the proposal faces a multitude of hurdles, including resistance from the pharmaceutical industry.
Nor is it clear what effect such a step might have on the campaign to vanquish the outbreak.
• Can COVID-19 vaccines affect my period?
It’s not known, but researchers are starting to study the issue.
Vaccines are designed to activate your immune system, and some experts have wondered if that could temporarily disrupt menstrual cycles.
• Cece Linder was living in a 770-square-foot apartment outside Washington, D.C., last spring when the area went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In May 2020, after a few months of both living and working in the small space, Linder decided to leave the capital area and move into the 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter) beachside home she jointly owns with her parents in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Now she gets to see the sunrise over the water each morning before work.
“If I’m teleworking anyway, why not move to this other place that is more visually attractive, it’s beachside, and someone can occasionally cook for me?” Linder said. “Though that didn’t exactly work out. My mom has me cooking for them.”
Linder was not alone in her thinking. According to a new study and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, she was one of thousands of people who migrated out of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and into smaller ones during the pandemic.
Wednesday, May 5
• Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19′s toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday.
But they also warn that a “substantial increase” in hospitalizations and deaths is possible if unvaccinated people do not follow basic precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.
• The Biden administration on Wednesday joined calls for more sharing of the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic, a shift that puts the U.S. alongside many in the developing world who want rich countries to do more to get doses to the needy.
United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position, amid World Trade Organization talks about a possible temporary waiver of its protections that would allow more manufacturers to produce the life-saving vaccines.
• On a cloudy spring day, hundreds lined up in their cars on the Canadian side of the border crossing that separates Alberta and Montana. They had driven for hours and camped out in their vehicles in hopes of receiving the season’s hottest commodity — a COVID-19 vaccine — from a Native American tribe that was giving out its excess doses.
The Blackfeet tribe in northern Montana provided about 1,000 surplus vaccines last month to its First Nations relatives and others from across the border, in an illustration of the disparity in speed at which the United States and Canada are distributing doses. While more than 30% of adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, in Canada that figure is about 3%.
• After more than a year of fretting over her 13-year son with a rare liver disease, Heather Ousley broke into tears when she learned that he and millions of other youngsters could soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This day is the best day in the history of days!!! I love this day!!!” she texted, joining other parents and educators in welcoming the news that the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine by next week for children ages 12 to 15.
Tuesday, May 4
• COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible.”
India’s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
• Sotero Cirilo sleeps in a small blue tent under a train track bridge in Elmhurst, Queens.
The 55-year-old immigrant from Mexico used to make $800 per week at two Manhattan restaurants, which closed when the COVID-19 pandemic started. A few months later, he couldn’t afford the rent of his Bronx room, and afterward, of another room in Queens he moved into.
“I never thought I would end up like this, like I am today,” he said in Spanish, his eyes filling up with tears.
• President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a new vaccination goal to deliver at least one shot to 70% of adult Americans by July Fourth as he tackles the vexing problem of winning over the “doubters” and those unmotivated to get inoculated.
Demand for vaccines has dropped off markedly nationwide, with some states leaving more than half their available doses unordered. Aiming to make it easier to get shots, Biden called for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and he will direct many pharmacies to do likewise.
His administration for the first time also is moving to shift doses from states with weaker demand to areas with stronger interest in the shots.
• The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce has updated its listing of restaurants that are currently open under COVID-19 restrictions:
• Via The Associated Press: What you need to know today about the virus outbreak.
Washington 211 COVID-19 Call Center. Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help.
You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are.
You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students and more.
Do you need support due to stress from COVID-19? Call Washington Listens, a line that provides nonclinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19.
People who call Washington Listens will speak to a support specialist and receive information and connection to community resources in their area.
The program is anonymous and no identifying information is maintained. People who staff Washington Listens will receive basic training needed to provide support to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To reach Washington Listens, call 1-833-681-0211 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Read the Washington Listens fact sheet.
A smartphone app has been launched statewide. It can alert users if they come into close contact with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.
Gov. Jay Inslee, along with the state Department of Health (DOH), announced the launch of WA Notify on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The app is an anonymous exposure notification tool meant to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
By adding WA Notify to their smartphones, state residents can be alerted if they spent time near another WA Notify user who later records that they have tested positive for COVID-19.
To turn on WA Notify on an iPhone:
- Go to Settings
- Scroll down to Exposure Notifications
- Click “Turn On Exposure Notifications”
- Select United States
- Select Washington
If you haven’t received a notification on your iPhone, you may need to check your device’s notification settings and make sure you’re on the latest iPhone firmware. You may also need to check to see whether Government Alerts are enabled on your device.
DOH also lists installation instructions for the Android app, which users must download to opt into the service. The department asks you to search for the “Washington Exposure Notifications app” — but you should instead search for “WA Notify”:
- Go to the Google Play Store
- Download the WA Notify app
Department of Health launches Care Connect Washington. The new service is meant to help people who have to isolate or quarantine at home after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed.
Care Connect Washington, working with local health jurisdictions and their partners, will provide critical resources to people who need support when they’re staying home. Care coordinators will connect people to community-based services such as medication delivery, health care, help applying for unemployment, local housing agencies, food banks, childcare providers and more.
“People who receive help meeting essential social and health needs are more likely to complete home isolation and quarantine successfully,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary of Health for COVID-19 response. “Care Connect Washington will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help families get through what could be a hard time by making sure they have what they need.”
Care Connect Washington will be available to people who qualify for it via referral. Referrals come from a variety of sources, including case investigators or contact tracers, who ask about each person’s ability to successfully home isolate or quarantine. Help will be made available based on need.
COVID-19 information & best practices
What is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, known as SARS-CoV-2, is the virus strain identified in January that causes COVID-19, coronavirus disease, and is spreading from person to person.
Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer.
Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.
While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits, such as:
1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
2. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, mainly by the following routes:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- People who are infected but do not have symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
Less common ways COVID-19 can spread
- Under certain circumstances (for example, when people are in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation), COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission.
- COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces.
What to do if you’re sick
• If you suspect you have COVID-19, isolate at home during illness. Restrict activities outside of the home except for getting medical care. Call ahead unless you are in crisis.
• Call 360-417-2430, a hotline that provides local information on the infection.
For more information on COVID-19 testing, click here.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
As a reminder, according to the CDC, here are recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
For more information on using cloth face coverings and how to make your own, click here.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Once home from work, school, running errands, etc., immediately wash your hands.
• Consider purchasing the following supplies: extra fluids and hydrating drinks (Gatorade and Pedialyte); food for when you’re sick (soups, broths, crackers, honey, nonperishable items); pain and fever medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen); cough drops and cough medications; prescription medications; tissues; household cleaners (bleach, alcohol, soap, disinfecting wipes).
• You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.