First confirmed cases of West Nile Virus reported in Washington

OLYMPIA/YAKIMA – The first two cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Washington this year have been reported by the Yakima County Health District and Benton-Franklin Health District. The Yakima County resident, a man in his 50’s, was hospitalized due to the infection. The Benton County resident, a man in his 60’s, was not hospitalized.

WNV can be a serious, even fatal, illness. It can affect people, horses, birds, and other animals. WNV is almost always spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on birds that carry the virus. There is no evidence that WNV spreads by direct contact with infected people or animals. The majority of people infected with WNV do not get sick. About one in five will develop a fever or other symptoms that go away without medical treatment. Even fewer, about one in 150 people infected, will have more severe symptoms.

Severe symptoms may include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and coma. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away.

Health officials advise people to take action to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use an effective, EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Cover up: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
  • Avoid mosquito prime time. Many mosquitoes bite in the evening between dusk and dawn. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and morning hours.
  • Mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos outside.
  • Reduce mosquito-breeding areas around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

“Spending time outdoors can help with social distancing to prevent COVID-19, but it can also put you at risk for mosquito-borne disease,” said epidemiologist Hanna Oltean. “People throughout Washington should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.”

WNV has been detected this summer in mosquitos in Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties; historically, counties across Washington have been affected, although risk is generally highest in Eastern Washington. WNV season starts as early as July and can last until early October.

JEFFERSON COUNTY COMMISSIONER WEEKLY MEETING COVID-19 SUMMARY 4/20/2020

Department of Health (Dr. Locke):

  • No new positive cases for Jefferson County reported from Sunday, April 19th.

Case / Test Data:

  • Jefferson County has peaked during this first phase of the virus transmission. We can expect to see additional phases developing until we can develop a robust testing and tracing protocol.
  • Jefferson County is ahead of the curve by 3 to 4 weeks. This is a good thing, but it also makes it harder to see if we are losing ground.
  • 775,000 COVID-19 cases nationally
  • 12,000 COVID-19 cases Washington State
  • 41,000 deaths nationally
  • 634 deaths in Washington State
  • In WA State, of all testing, 9.0% are positive
  • In Jefferson County, of all testing, 4.0% are positive
  • The Washington State COVID-19 website with county data is currently not accurate for Jefferson County. The site is showing that we have 11.0% of all tests are coming back positive, when in fact it is running a little lower that 4.0%. The disconnect is potentially from the national reporting lab network

Advisories:

  • Social distancing not only appears to be working – it is working.
    • Models assume social distancing at least through May 5th.
    • If we stop this mitigation too early additional virus phases will be upon us quickly
    • Doing so could cause positive rates to increase at 3×5 times (worse) rate than we are currently experiencing statewide.

Roadmap to Reopening:

  • How fast we move to re-opening will be based on how fast we can detect.
  • Robust and sustainable testing for only those who are symptomatic and who have been exposed to the symptomatic population, medical/hospital workers, long care facility teams, and first responders.
  • Testing program and protocol is critical, but testing is not enough.
  • Ability to analyze tests and investigate contacts through active and passive surveillance.
  • Outbreak investigations – positive cluster areas defined and mitigated.
    • There was one cluster event in Jefferson County at a residential care facility. That cluster was mitigated very quickly with no additional transmission.
  • Jefferson County is requesting clarification from the governor’s office to relook at some industries as being essential if social distancing protocols can be adhered to. Those would include, but not limited to:
    • Construction
    • Recreational
  • Caution should be heeded on portable immunity testing for anti-bodies. The companies producing the tests are unregulated and tests are typically unreliable.
  • The unknown about re-opening strategies is FEAR. The higher risk population will show a great deal of caution regard moving around safely.
  • We know the reopening is starting to happen because hospitals are starting to perform some elective surgeries.
  • DEM states the COVID-19 is like a 26-mile marathon race, it is important to know that we are in the beginning stages of this race and we are far from the finish line.
  • DEM is modifying and developing virus continency plan timelines for 30-day, 3-month, 6 month and 1-year scenarios.
  • Protests about stay at home. 70 to 80% of the population supports and agrees with the stay at home program. Even though it is inconvenient and annoying, they see the need.

Personal Protection Updates:

  • Jefferson County DEM continues to receive N-95 masks and gloves from WA. State Emergency Operations Center (EOC). There seems to be a shortage of gowns and eye protection. They expect more in the near term.
  • DEM states that 1,000 homemade masks have been produced and distributed. A large demand still exists

JEFFERSON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT – WEEKLY UPDATE 4/6/2020

Department of Health

  • An announcement will be made later today, and the website updated to show an additional (6) positive COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County. This brings the county total up to 25.

Case / Test Data

  • Jeff Co. has a higher level of testing than do most rural counties.
  • Expectations are that we will experience a factor of 10X (250 in total during the whole outbreak) or more in positive cases.
  • Percent of positive cases per total tested is running at about 50% of statewide levels.
  • Washington is doing 10K tests a day… will be 2x that by next week.
  • Tests are being processed at UofW and local specialized testing locations for quick turn-around
  • National testing labs are no longer being used due to response time of test results which have run as high as 14 days.

Advisories:

  • 20% of people that are infected are a-symptomatic (no symptoms) or pre-symptomatic the 2 days prior to feeling any symptoms when your body is shedding the virus.
  • It is crucial to adhere to organized precaution efforts for the next 7 weeks.
  • King County cases expected to peak mid-April
  • Jefferson County cases expected to peak end of April
  • Highest risk of exposure will be during the next 4 weeks.
  • Case rates are climbing
  • Try to avoid:
    • In person grocery shopping during the next 4 weeks
    • Crowded areas even while social distancing
    • Vacation homes or short-term rentals.
  • If you are sick, do not leave your home.
  • Malaria drugs:
    • Testing should have results in two weeks.
    • These drugs could have some very serious, negative, unintended effects
  • Deaths from COVID-19 continue to be greater in the over 65 age group, with the 80+ being significant.

Updated protocol on grocery store visits.

  • If you do need to go to a grocery store:
    • Wash or sanitize your hands prior to going in the store
    • If wearing gloves, wash or sanitize those prior to going into the store
    • Adhere to the 6-foot social distancing protocol
    • Be aware that stores may be implementing one-way isles to help with distancing.
    • Do not touch anything unless you are taking it. especially perishables.
    • Wear a mask if you are comfortable in doing so.

Personal Protection Updates:

  • Washington State has a stronger supply of PPE – and has developed a more robust vendor supply chain.
  • Gloves – Non-medical personal that wear gloves often do not wash their hands enough due to a false sense of security that glove wearing gives.
  • Masks are good for source control but offer a false sense of security because of improper human use.
    • Masks can increase the risk of infectious spread if people touch the insides where droplets have been deposited.
    • Homemade masks with some filtering media between inner and outer layers are more relevant and act more like surgical masks.
    • Homemade masks should be thoroughly disinfected, washed and dried after each use.
    • People tend not to practice social distancing when wearing masks due to a false sense of security.

Jefferson Healthcare:

  • Has been planning for the surge that is likely to take place this month.
  • Only a limited number of infected patients have been admitted.
  • Although they normally only have 25 beds, there are ways in an emergency, to increase that number substantially
  • There are limited ventilators, however the number is enough for immediate requirements.
  • Jefferson Health is part of an area hospital collective which share resources or take overflow patients if needed.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT LIMITED ACTIVATION (March 23, 2020)

On Monday, March 16, Jefferson County declared a county-wide state of emergency, and the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) announced a “Limited Activation” of Emergency Services. In a normal activation, the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) becomes the central coordination point to serve the County.

A Limited Activation means the EOC has been activated, with only limited personnel working at the EOC, and most activities will be performed by telephonic or electronic means.

In Port Ludlow a COVID-19 Task Force has been established which combines the resources of two PLVC Committees, Emergency Management and Health & Wellness.  The Village Council Emergency Management Committee is initiating a Limited Activation of the Block Captain network.  Block Captains will be reaching out to their respective neighborhoods via phone, email or in person, considering social distancing as a priority, to assess the community. Block Captains will answer questions as well as gather needs information.

The COVID-19 Task Force is working with the DEM and Jefferson County Department of Health to provide relevant information on the pandemic and develop methods to respond to our community. We will be sending out additional information about this shortly.

COVID-19 RESPONSE PLAN

OBJECTIVE:  To provide the entire Port Ludlow community with information relative to the coronavirus outbreak and be a resource to assist residents in obtaining supplies and services as required.

PARTICIPANTS:  

  • Health & Wellness Committee
  • Emergency Management Committee
  • Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM)

ELEMENTS:

  • Use PLVC eblast system to communicate information and status
  • Post information on PLVC website
  • Use NextDoor social media system to further communicate info and status
  • Share all information with SBCA & LMC
  • Develop and maintain resource lists for food, prescriptions and supplies (open?)
  • Monitor Weekly Jefferson County Commissioners’ Meeting COVID-19 Update
  • Monitor Jefferson Healthcare website and information
  • Monitor Jefferson County Emergency Management website
  • Monitor Jefferson County Department of Public Health website
  • Limited activation of Block Captain Program to assist residents
  • Encourage residents to contact Block Captain with questions or problems
  • Encourage residents to use PLVC website to obtain information or assistance

Fireworks Prohibited on National Forests

Public Service Announcement: Pacific Northwest Region Olympic National Forest
Olympia, WA, June 29, 2018 – As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, fire officials want to remind visitors that fireworks are prohibited on all national forests.
“Fireworks of any kind are prohibited on the Olympic National Forest,” says Micah Johnson, Zoned Fire Management Officer, “we welcome visitors to our public lands, however, we ask that everyone stay safe and deal with fire responsibly.”
Fireworks are banned on national forests at all times, regardless of weather conditions. Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of a fine of $5000 and/or up to six months in jail. Additionally, anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs.
At this time, no other fire restrictions for the public are in place on the Olympic, but visitors are asked to be mindful of Washington’s increasingly dry conditions when visiting the national forest this summer.
If you plan on having a campfire, please remember:
  • Know before you go whether campfires are allowed where you are visiting and check if fire conditions have changed
  • Use a designated fire ring when available
  • Keep fires away from low-hanging vegetation
  • Keep water and a shovel nearby
  • Extinguish all campfires before leaving – remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave
Enjoy a great Fourth on your public lands, and play safely and conscientiously. Additional campfire and wildfire safety information can be found at www.smokeybear.com.

REGISTER TODAY! Emergency Prep Workshop Series for Vulnerable People.

The Port Ludlow Village Council Emergency Management Committee (PLVC-EM) will host STEPUP, a two-part “Special Training in Emergency Preparedness for Unique People”, on Monday, September 18, from 1pm-4pm, at the Beach Club, and 1pm-4pm, Wednesday, September 20, at the Bay Club. Unique people in this context are those with disabilities, Senior Citizens and the vulnerable population

Deb Reithmeyer, Program Coordinator for Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (JCDEM), will facilitate the two-part workshop that will cover many unique topics, including sheltering in place, caring for your service animal or pet during a disaster, compiling your important documents prior to a disaster, among other related topics.

STEPUP is sponsored by the JCDEM and offered free of charge. However, seating is limited at both venues, so please pre-register today with Deb at dreithmeyer@co.jefferson.wa.us or 360-344-9728 so she knows how many people to expect. There will be a drawing for a Stuffed Grab and Go Backpacks at each session, but you must be present to win.

Please CLICK HERE to learn more about how to get ready and/or help your neighbors to do the same by becoming a PLVC-EM volunteer.

APPOINTMENT OF NEW DISASTER PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR

Rob Stern has been appointed Disaster Preparedness Director by the PLVC Board of Directors. Port Ludlow has been without a Director for almost a year and Mr. Stern brings significant experience to this role. He is the founder and principal of Defense Research, LLC, which develops advanced media for civil defense and emergency response information systems. He has developed a Citizens’ Emergency Response Guide which contains considerable disaster preparedness information and self-help articles. It can be accessed at www.911emg.com. The Port Ludlow Disaster Preparedness organization involves about 100 volunteers throughout the Community and its mission continues to be threefold:

  • Educate residents
  • Be a communications vehicle
  • Foster self-help when needed

Following a disaster, information can be radioed to Communications Centers at the Bay and Beach Clubs and then is relayed to Jefferson County Emergency Management and Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue. An updated Disaster Preparedness Plan will be developed by Mr. Stern along with assistance from North Bay Coordinator Joe Lanjiahr and South Bay Coordinator Pat Lohrey. The first event of the new organization will be a Community Preparedness presentation by the American Red Cross in March. Details to follow.