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Here’s what we know so far regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for Clallam and Jefferson counties, plus regionally, nationally and internationally:
Monday, Aug. 3
• Slow, grinding negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill are set to resume, but the path forward promises to be challenging. Both the Trump administration negotiating team and top Capitol Hill Democrats reported progress over the weekend even as they highlighted their differences.
Ahead of Monday’s talks, all sides predict a long slog ahead despite the lapse of a $600-per-week supplemental COVID-19 jobless benefit, the beginning of school season and the call of lawmakers’ cherished August recess. Several more days of talks are expected, if not more.
The White House is seeking opportunities to boost President Donald Trump, like another round of $1,200 stimulus payments and extending the supplemental jobless benefit and partial eviction ban.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democratic negotiator, appears intent on an agreement as well, but she’s made it clear she needs big money for state and local governments, unemployment benefits and food aid.
Areas of agreement already include the $1,200 direct payment and changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to permit especially hard-hit businesses to obtain another loan under generous forgiveness terms.
“We still have a long ways to go,” said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. “I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term.”
• A group of Pac-12 football players say they will not practice or play until their concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic and other racial and economic issues in college sports are addressed.
The players posted a statement Sunday on The Players’ Tribune website and social media with the hashtag #WeAreUnited and sent out a press release. The release listed the names of 12 Pac-12 players from nine schools, including Oregon star safety Jevon Holland, and provided a statement from each one.
• A Norwegian cruise ship line halted all trips and apologized Monday for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship infected at least 5 passengers and 36 crew members. Health authorities fear the ship also could have spread the virus to dozens of towns and villages along Norway’s western coast.
The confirmed virus cases from the MS Roald Amundsen raise new questions about safety on all cruise ships during a pandemic even as the devastated cruise ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after chaotically shutting down in March.
• Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clallam County had crept to 101 since March by Saturday while Jefferson County reported a new total of 53.
• A judge has ruled that a petition to remove a Washington state county sheriff from office can move forward after he was accused of not enforcing a state mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.
Judge Jeanette Dalton on Wednesday heard arguments and decided charges filed against Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza met the legal standard for recall, The Olympian reported.
• Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it’s a vexing decision.
“Not everybody’s going to like the answer,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told one of the advisory groups the government asked to help decide. “There will be many people who feel that they should have been at the top of the list.”
Traditionally, first in line for a scarce vaccine are health workers and the people most vulnerable to the targeted infection.
But Collins tossed new ideas into the mix: Consider geography and give priority to people where an outbreak is hitting hardest.
And don’t forget volunteers in the final stage of vaccine testing who get dummy shots, the comparison group needed to tell if the real shots truly work.
“We owe them … some special priority,” Collins said.
It’s a global dilemma. The World Health Organization is grappling with the same who-goes-first question as it tries to ensure vaccines are fairly distributed to poor countries — decisions made even harder as wealthy nations corner the market for the first doses.
• The captain and owners of a popular Manhattan party boat were arrested for defying coronavirus social-distancing mandates and going for a crowded booze cruise, officials said Sunday.
The Liberty Belle, a four-story riverboat that can hold up to 600 people, had just returned to Pier 36 in Lower Manhattan about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when officers from the New York City Sheriff’s department broke up the 1920-themed party and made arrests.
• Alaska health officials reported that there were 159 new COVID-19 cases in the state Sunday, including 111 within the municipality of Anchorage.
The new cases included 145 Alaska residents and 14 nonresidents, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
The health department reported that 27 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Sunday and 12 people were hospitalized with test results for the virus pending.
Alaska has had 3,280 confirmed cases of the coronavirus including 134 people who have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, officials said. There have been 24 deaths of Alaska residents connected to COVID-19.
• Via The Associated Press: What you need to know today about the virus outbreak.
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 8 p.m. Aug. 2, 1,008,280 individuals have been tested in Washington state, with 58,173 confirmed cases (meaning the person has the virus) and 1,596 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
• 1,596 deaths statewide.
• 15,501 cases in King County. 657 deaths.
• 10,017 cases in Yakima County. 204 deaths.
• 5,143 cases in Snohomish County. 189 deaths.
• 5,127 cases in Pierce County. 127 deaths.
• 645 cases in Kitsap County. 4 deaths.
• 53 cases in Jefferson County. 0 deaths.
• 101 cases in Clallam County. 0 deaths.
For other county numbers, visit www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.
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.
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.
While the virus has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people, about 80 percent of cases are relatively mild.
• Key symptoms of COVID-19: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, cough, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
• In mid-May, the CDC quietly added congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea as sign of COVID-19.
• Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
• Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.
• COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
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.
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.