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[KING COUNTY, Wash.] – (MTN) An anti-vaccination protest led by the Proud Boys turned violent in Olympia today, with one person shot. The Northshore School District reported new COVID cases at multiple schools on Friday. Predictions of a sickout over vaccine mandates by Washington State Ferry appear to have not come true.
The Washington state employees union appears to have reached a deal with the state over the COVID vaccine mandate. Federal unemployment programs including $300 a week in extra federal benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for the self-employed, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and extended unemployment benefits end today for Washington state residents.
Washington State Update for September 4, 2021
Washington state COVID update
The Washington State Department of Health does not report data over the weekend.
The USA Today COVID Tracker reported 48 COVID-related deaths on Friday and the third day in a row with more than 4,000 new COVID cases in the Evergreen State.
Anti vaccination “End of the Mandate” rally turns violent in Olympia with one shot
After forcing three schools into lockdown on Friday in Vancouver, Washington, the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys, planned an anti-vaccination protest in Olympia on Saturday called End of the Mandate. The group originally planned to gather on the Capitol grounds but moved their planned event to Sylvester Park to confront a group of Antifa protesters.
Several short video clips showed 50 to 75 heavily armed Proud Boys, including some carrying firearms and others with shields, paintball guns, and baseball bats, roaming the streets of Olympia chanting, “fuck Antifa.” The Proud Boys and their supporters left the main anti-vaccination protest and stalked the streets of Olympia for 20 minutes, assaulted several people including area residents who were uninvolved in the protest. All of their actions were documented on live streams.
Reporter Alissa Azar was chased, beaten, and sprayed with bear mace before patrons in a bar came to her aid and pulled her inside. A short video on the edge of the assault has Azar screaming in pain, while Proud Boys laugh.
The group then started chasing another person for approximately a half-mile. According to a Facebook post by the Washington State ACLU, several people running from the Proud Boys tried to board a city bus, and reports are one of them fired 5 shots, striking one person in the foot. The bullet allegedly struck Proud Boy leader Tusitala “Tiny” Toese in the ankle. A single 9mm casing was observed at the scene on a live stream.
Other people are reporting that the gunshot was self-inflicted, while others are claiming it was fired at the people boarding the bus by a person among the Proud Boys, ricocheted, and struck Toese. There is no update on Toese condition. The actual shooting was not caught on camera.
In another video, Toese required a tourniquet and there was a significant amount of blood loss. The Proud Boy leader is currently on probation and was involved in violent assaults in Portland, Oregon last month. Tiny’s profile has increased in recent months with the arrests of Ethan Nordean and Rufio Panman for their alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection, thrusting Toese into a leadership role.
Reports of multiple people being shot and a potential stabbing appear to be untrue. The situation is evolving and more information continues to come in. Despite multiple claims of a person arrested by right-wing social media accounts, the Gateway Pundit is reporting no one has been arrested.
There is an additional report of a person being arrested for pepper-spraying police officers before the shooting, but that is also unconfirmed. Olympia Police and Washington State Patrol didn’t have a significant presence, gathering on the edges of Sylvester Park. At one point the Proud Boy mob marched past the Washington State Patrol building adjacent to Capitol grounds. Over police scanners, the Olympia Police reported they didn’t have adequate resources to respond to the Proud Boys.
This is by far the most violent incident involving protests against mask and vaccination policy in the United States after a series of increasingly violent events in the past week.
Washington Federation of State Employees reaches tenative agreement with Governor Inslee over vaccine mandate
In sharp contrast to the bloodshed in Olympia, the Washington Federation of State Employees announced they have reached a tentative agreement with the state of Washington over the looming vaccination mandate. The agreement will move to a ratification vote on Tuesday among the almost 47,000 members.
The union is reporting the following concessions were made by the state and is encouraging members to vote in favor of the deal.
- Members who complete vaccination by October 18 will be credited one day of personal leave as an incentive, that must be taken within the 2022 calendar year
- Anyone who wishes to retire by December 31, 2021, can do so regardless of their vaccination status as long as they submit their retirement paperwork by October 18
- Any employee who files for a medical exemption by September 13, and has not had the evaluation process completed by October 18, will not have their pay suspended until the exemption decision is made
- If an exemption is denied on valid grounds, the employee can use their annual leave and leave without pay to become fully vaccinated within 45 days
- If an employee is not fully vaccinated by October 18, but has received their first dose, they can use leave without pay for up to 30 days to complete vaccination and return to their previous position or equivalent
- The state will share vaccination rate data with the union, and partner to target worksites that are lagging for vaccine education and access
- A requirement for telecommuting workers to return to the office on 3 days notice has been removed
Washington State Ferries sickout over vaccine mandate never materializes
According to the Washington State Ferries site, operations have been smooth over the holiday weekend. The only run impacted due to staffing issues was Seattle/Bremerton, which is operating on one ferry over the weekend, which was announced yesterday.
PeaceHealth reports 95% of employees elected to get vaccinated by deadline
PeaceHealth is a 6,000 employee hospital and medical clinic with facilities in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. The medical group was one of the first in the country to announce a COVID vaccination mandate, with a deadline of August 31, 2021 to be fully vaccinated.
When PeaceHealth made the announcement, they reported that 80% of their staff had already been vaccinated. On August 31, leadership reported that 91% of employees had been fully vaccinated. Yesterday evening, PeaceHealth reported that 95% of employees were fully vaccinated, leaving approximately 300 remaining across the three-state network.
Among the less than 300 remaining, an undisclosed number are awaiting final disposition on medical exemption or religious requests. The number of personnel who opted to resign is far lower than what activists predicted.
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Another poll has come out showing support for getting the COVID vaccination is growing. The latest NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll conducted after the Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer vaccine full approval for people over 16 years old, mirrors findings from the Axios/Ipsos poll we reported on last week.
The survey was done from August 26 to August 31 and found 19% of U.S. adults declaring they do not intend to be vaccinated. This is down 5 points from the previous poll and is almost identical to the Axios/Ipsos poll that found 14% would never get vaccinated, and 6% declaring it was unlikely.
The same poll reported 72% of respondents have already received the vaccine. According to the CDC, 74.8% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose. On September 3, 1.4 million COVID vaccine doses were administered, including 550,000 people who were newly vaccinated. It was the highest number of doses given since July 1.
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital appealed to the public to follow guidance from officials to prevent any additional surges The 226-bed facility is caring for 223 patients, 50 with COVID and 6 on ventilators. Although the hospital has 226 beds on paper, 36 of those are for psychiatric care and labor and delivery. The hospital has expanded capacity by adding wards and parking patients in the emergency room while they wait for an available bed.
Back to School
|Lake Washington||YELLOW||– Kamiakin Middle School (28)|
– Juanita High School (8)
|Northshore||YELLOW||– Bothell High School (12)|
– Cottage Lake Elementary (3)
– Crystal Springs Elementary (6)
– Fernwood Elementary (4)
– Frank Love Elementary (1)
– Hollywood Hill Elementary (1)
– Inglemoor High School (1)
– Kokanee Elementary (1)
– Maywood Hills Elementary (4)
– North Creek High School (2)
– Northshore Middle School (2)
– Ruby Bridges Elementary (15)
– Shelton View Elementary (4)
– Skyview Middle School (2)
– Sunrise Elementary (1)
– Timbercrest Middle School (2)
– Wellington Elementary (6)
– Westhill Elementary (1)
– Woodin Elementary (2)
– Woodinville High School (8)
– Woodmoor Elementary (6)
The scorecard has been updated to include data from the Northshore School District.
How we score a district
GREEN: Less than 10 reported COVID cases within the entire school district contained to one facility.
YELLOW: More than 10 confirmed COVID cases resulting in quarantine of students, faculty, coaches, or transportation, or less than 10 confirmed COVID cases in more than one facility. Less than 10% of the student body is infected, and no school buildings have been closed due to infections or loss of faculty.
RED: The district has been forced to close at least one school or makes the decision to move to remote learning due to COVID infections, or the district remains opens with no school closures, but more than 10% of students are quarantined.
Officials in Spokane are reporting an unknown number of COVID cases among students at Rogers High School. Spokane Public Schools Spokesperson Sandra Jarrard doesn’t know how many cases there currently are, she told KREM 2’s Morgan Trau. In an email to parents, she added that the “situation is considered confined and not considered an outbreak.”
The contact tracing team is conducting an investigation to compile a list of close contacts, she said. Anyone who is considered to have been in close contact with those COVID-19 positive received “separate communication” with more information regarding testing and quarantine requirements. Staff and students that are not notified by the contact tracing team, have been determined not to have had close contact with the confirmed case, she added in the email.
The next board meeting for the Lake Washington School District is September 13, 2021, at 7:00 PM and will be remote only.
Yesterday in the comments, there were questions about the vaccination rates by zip code in our area. We have that information.
|Zip Code||Percent vaccinated, at least one dose, 12 and older|
Local area vaccination rates far exceed state and national averages, and are even higher for adults 18 and over. There is a touch of irony that the lowest vaccination rate is in the same zip code where the first COVID death was officially recorded in the United States.
Johns Hopkins University Cumulative Case Tracker reported 300,957 new cases and 3,910 COVID-related deaths on Friday. It is important to note several states, including hard-hit Florida, only report their data once a week. This creates an artificially high number. Data is best viewed on a 14-day rolling average to analyze long-term trends and a 7-day rolling average for emergent trends.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reported he had COVID in February, shortly after the Super Bowl. He has since been vaccinated, and NFL officials report that the Buccaneers are one of only two NFL teams to be 100% vaccinated. It is reported that COVID filed a complaint with the NFL, claiming Tom Brady cheated by deflating his blood pressure and watching films on how COVID infects cells and replicates. A representative for Brady refused to comment.
Brady’s former coach, Bill Belichick, created controversy on Wednesday when being asked about the release of Quarterback Cam Newton. Belichick dodged the question, but went on to say, “high number of players, coaches and staff members” have tested positive for COVID-19 after they were fully vaccinated.”
“We released our data last week from the first three weeks of August, and that data has consistently shown higher rates of infection in unvaccinated players than in vaccinated players. That was true at intake when they first came into training camp and it was true during that first three-week period of August that we released,” he said. “From a medical perspective, go to any major medical center in the country and as you walk around, those patients who are hospitalized, those who are in the ICU, you see the evidence the vaccines are working.
“We know that vaccines are working. What we are seeing are some vaccinated people who test positive. But their illness tends to be very short and very mild, and that’s exactly what the vaccines were designed to do,” he continued. “Let’s all remember the vaccines were designed to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death. They’re doing a terrific job of that so far, not only in the NFL where we haven’t seen any serious cases but in society as a whole.”
According to data from the NFL, 0.3% of players experienced a breakthrough case from August 1 to 21, while 2.2% of unvaccinated players became ill. The sevenfold difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated mirrors data across the country.
COVID also claims that Belichick filmed how it operates against the immune system and supplied the films to Brady. However, officials were quick to point out that the relationship between the two soured in 2019.
After the Labor Day holiday, 90% of all school districts in Alabama will require students to wear masks. Infections among students doubled last week, with 83 of143 districts and charter schools reporting COVID positive cases.
At a Madison County School Board meeting Thursday night, parents remained split on masks with seven speakers opposed to a mandate and four in support.
“What kind of future will our kids have if they are being told from a young age to cover their mouth?” Kim Davis said during the meeting. “This is a decision for we the parents, not the school board. I demand the right for parents to decide for their child.”
A coalition of teachers, parents, and advocates are trying to overturn Arizona laws that provide protections to students and faculty at primary schools and universities. The group wants to make mask mandates illegal, prevent universities from requiring vaccinations, and forbid establishing so-called vaccine passports.
The state argues the coalition lacks legal standing to challenge a law that, among other things, bars communities from enacting COVID-19 restrictions that affect businesses, schools, and churches. Irvine argued members of the coalition can’t show they were harmed by the law.
Irvine also argues the challenged provisions are constitutional.
Kelly Walker has not been arrested for his role in the incident at a Tuscon elementary school on Thursday, despite instigating the incident and issuing threats over social media.
Although California has done better than other west coast states in the current surge and has a highly vaccinated population, regional hot spots persist. Hospitals in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region have had fewer than 10% of staffed adult ICU beds for three consecutive days. State officials labeled it a “surge,” triggering special rules announced last month that require nearby hospitals to accept transfer patients.
In Fresno County and neighboring counties, the number of confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients in hospitals is more than double what it was four weeks ago, the Fresno Bee reported.
If ICU capacity were to drop to zero, the state of California would enact forced patient transfers to other facilities where surging cases are not occurring.
It’s another sign that Florida has reached a peak, but the last part of a COVID surge is the worst. While new cases and hospitalizations continue to drop, COVID-related deaths continue to climb. Fatalities are a trailing indicator, and typically peak 4 to 6 weeks after new cases reach a peak, and 2 to 3 weeks after hospitalizations peak. Outcomes for patients who end up on ventilators are poor with the Delta variant, with 70% to 80% dying. For the lucky few who quality for ECMO, only 30% will move back to a ventilator.
The state added 129,240 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, the lowest weekly case rate in more than a month, in a state report released Friday.
But it also reported 2,345 new COVID-related deaths, the highest single-week death toll since the start of the pandemic.
Due to normal lags in how deaths are reported, more than 1,900 of these deaths occurred weeks earlier. New federal data shows that Florida’s daily death toll peaked at 244 on Aug. 15, well above the previous record of daily deaths set in August 2020.
It is estimated 40,000 Floridians received monoclonal antibody treatment, which is credited for preventing 10,000 hospitalizations.
Overnight officials reported that ICU capacity is outstripped and AirGas, the largest producer of oxygen on the islands, reported to FEMA on August 27 that the state would run out of medical-grade oxygen on Monday.
Currently, the only thing that has staved off a worst-case scenario, in which health care officials have to start rationing care to those most likely to survive, is 438 medical relief workers, including nurses and respiratory therapists, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a blunt assessment that Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, provided Friday to the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19. HAH is the major trade group for hospitals and long-term care facilities.
While last week Raethel didn’t want to disclose projections on when the state’s demand would outstrip supply, he told senators Friday that AirGas, which runs the state’s largest liquid oxygen plant, notified FEMA on Aug. 27 that Hawaii could run short as soon as Monday. Since then federal, state and hospital officials have been scrambling to find a remedy.
Oxygen is being flown to the state and is expected to arrive on Sunday. Another shipment is expected to be flown in on Wednesday.
Lt. Governor Josh Green warned that if total hospitalizations exceed 500 people, a statewide shutdown would be considered. Additionally, government officials warned that if the state has to move to “crisis standards of care,” vaccination status would be considered.
Currently, 85% of all hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
Micron announced on Friday it would require all employees and contractors to be vaccinated in the United States. Micron released a statement to employees on Thursday, announcing the mandate.
“On Sept. 3, 2021, we will require all U.S. employees, plus all U.S. contractors who must work inside our buildings to conduct their jobs, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Any U.S. employee (without an approved accommodation exemption for religion or disability) who chooses not to complete a full vaccine regimen by Nov. 15, 2021, will no longer be permitted to work for Micron following that date. Any U.S. contractor (without an approved accommodation for religion or disability) who chooses not to complete a full vaccine regimen by Nov. 15, 2021, will no longer be permitted to work inside a Micron building following that date. As vaccines become more readily available in other Micron locations worldwide, we anticipate requiring vaccination where allowed by local law.“
Micron has locations in Colorado, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. The company is one of Idaho’s largest employers.
Governor Andy Beshear announced on Saturday he is calling a special session of the legislature to work on pandemic policies after the legislature stripped the governor of most of his emergency powers.
Various emergency measures issued by Beshear are set to expire as a result of the landmark court decision. Lawmakers will decide whether to extend, alter or discontinue each emergency order, and they are expected to put their own stamp on the state’s response to COVID-19.
While Minnesota hasn’t seen a surge in cases similar to other states, in areas where vaccination rates are lower, hospitals are feeling the strain.
In the CentraCare health care system, which operates hospitals and clinics in central Minnesota including St. Cloud, the number of hospitalized patients is higher now than during the spring surge, said Dr. George Morris, medical incident commander for CentraCare’s COVID-19 response team.
The vast majority of patients with COVID in CentraCare’s hospitals — more than 90 percent — are unvaccinated, Morris said.
“I’m not trying to shame or blame here,” he said. “But so much of our resources have to be committed to unvaccinated COVID patients … that limits our ability to provide needed medical care for others.”
State officials activated the statewide patient transfer center as increasing cases push rural hospitals to the brink. Nurse Sarah Swistak at Nebraska Medicine is exhausted and frustrated.
“It’s filling up quicker and quicker every day that I come in,” said Swistak. “Last week I think our numbers were in the 40s. I believe this morning we were in the 70s. So our infectious disease unit is full.”
Swistak said the pandemic is overwhelming the hospital once again.
“The rate of this surge and this spike is so much quicker than what it was last fall that it’s scaring a lot of us,” said Swistak.
Starting September 4, nurses at the center will call hospitals around the state to find open beds for COVID-19 patients.
“I tell people I’m crisped. I’m way past burnt out,” says Dr. Andrea Jones, a Nebraska Medicine family medicine physician who has spent much of the past 18 months caring for desperately ill COVID-19 patients. “It’s hard for me to understand why people won’t do the right thing. What’s it going to take for people to do the right thing?
“I’m going to be honest. It’s really made me question my faith in humanity.”
Jones says she has been screamed at by hospitalized COVID-19 patients who refuse to believe they have the virus. On other occasions, she has told family members that a patient’s heart is damaged, or their liver is failing, and the patient’s family members have laughed in her face.
That’s ridiculous, they say. That can’t be from COVID-19. It can’t make anyone this sick.
“These people are in complete denial,” Jones says. “All I can do is care for them the best I can and move on.”
Last week we wrote about Josephine County and how the COVID ravaged county suffers from poverty, low overall vaccination rates, and rampant misinformation supported by their political leaders. The numbers out of the rural county are in a word, devastating.
On Saturday, Josephine County released information on the deaths of their most recent COVID fatalities, including a 25-year-old unvaccinated woman who had underlying conditions.
Josephine County officials said they now have a total of 145 COVID-related deaths. Of those patients, 144 died from complications relating to COVID infections. Of the 145 COVID-19 patients who died, 129 were unvaccinated.
Combined, the southwestern counties of Oregon have a COVID death rate 17 times greater than the more vaccinated metro tri-counties.
To provide some context on how extreme 60.1 deaths per 100K is, the target for new COVID infections is 25.0 or less per 100K.
Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater County has been forced to move to “crisis standards of care,” which includes the canceling of day surgeries and considering patient care on a “case by case basis.” The 99-bed acute care hospital located in Rock Springs is currently caring for 16 COVID patients, but the emergency department is overwhelmed with both COVID and normal medical cases.
Emergency services director Kim White stated, “We are at crisis level. We appreciate the patience. The emergency room staff is extremely busy keeping up with the number of people presenting in the ER. Extra members of the hospital’s healthcare team have been brought in to help cover the influx.”
Only two weeks after school started, multiple districts are enacting mask mandates. Some parents have pulled students out of school rather than complying, and some teachers have been suspended. Wyoming has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation.
In the rugged state, no state agency is tracking COVID infections or impacts to schools, resulting in a patchwork quilt of reporting sources, frustrating some.
Ivermectin, again. Outrage has grown among advocates of ivermectin that the US government is giving the drug to Afghanistan refugees. The theory being pushed in social media memes and short twitter bursts is the refugees are being given the drug to treat and prevent COVID while Americans aren’t being offered the same options.
These messages use a common misinformation technique, linking to a document that doesn’t support the position in the meme in the hopes no one will actually go to the document and read it. Well, we did.
The document referenced is the Overseas Refugee Health Guidance, which was updated in 2019. There is your first problem with the conspiracy theory, the document was updated before SARS-CoV-2 was detected. We bolded the key language.
This guidance is intended for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) physicians and other panel physicians who administer overseas pre-departure presumptive treatment for intestinal parasites but may also be referenced by U.S. medical providers caring for refugees who will be receiving presumptive treatment after they arrive in the United States.
While these recommendations have been implemented in many overseas sites, logistical and procurement issues still limit their full implementation in some. All Middle Eastern, Asian, North African, Latin American, and Caribbean refugees should receive presumptive therapy with:
- All Middle Eastern, Asian, North African, Latin American, and Caribbean refugees should receive presumptive therapy with:
- Albendazole, single dose of 400 mg (200 mg for children 12-23 months)
- Ivermectin, two doses 200 mcg/Kg orally once a day for 2 days before departure to the United States.
- Albendazole, single dose of 400 mg (200 mg for children 12-23 months)
Further in the documents for recommendations, which were created in 2008:
Prior to departure for the United States, all refugees originating from the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Latin American, & Caribbean should receive presumptive therapy with ivermectin for Strongyloides infection and with albendazole for infections caused by soil-transmitted helminths.
Further, the guidance states that children under 33 pounds, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding should not be given ivermectin. Ivermectin is listed as a Category C drug, which indicates, “Either studies in animals have revealed adverse effects on the fetus (teratogenic or embryocidal, or other) and there are no controlled studies in women or studies in women and animals are not available. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.”
In simple terms, ivermectin can cause birth defects.
An analysis of existing studies concluded, “After excluding dozens of ivermectin studies with “high risk of bias,” the collaboration left little room for optimism: “Based on the current very low- to low-certainty evidence, we are uncertain about the efficacy and safety of ivermectin used to treat or prevent Covid-19.” The Cochrane Collaboration recommended that ivermectin use be restricted to clinical trials that might actually generate high-quality data.
One more time, for the people in the back, ivermectin is an effective treatment used around the world to treat intestinal parasites and some parasites of the dermis and epidermis.
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