Today, Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke shared about the recent Jefferson County increase in COVID-19 cases. He answered questions from KPTZ listeners about:
*Case count in WA state is up by 20%, which overwhelmed the state’s data system causing it to be down some in the past week.
* Jefferson County has the lowest case rate in the region.
* People with public health backgrounds are welcome to volunteer to assist Jefferson Co. Public Health with contact tracing.
* Distancing is the most important technique for avoiding the virus. Outdoors, at least 6 feet. Masking does not substitute for physical distancing. Even though not required, wearing a mask while bike riding is also recommended.
* Current recommendation is to stay home and stay healthy for at-risk individuals. Doctors’ offices are not at high risk for transmission.
* Cooked take-out meals are minimum risk, and helps the local economy.
* The real risk in dining out is when gathering with non-household members. The safest way is to dine only with one’s own household.
* Best time for testing is 5 days following a close contact with someone who contracts Covid-19.
* The 25% occupancy (of fire capacity) is up to the store itself to maintain.
* Discussion of vaccines: the government has purchased enough for the entire US population, so they will be available at no out of pocket cost.
* Vaccination levels need to be at least 70%, and perhaps more, before it will be possible to stop wearing masks.
* Vaccines have not been tested on children under 18, which will delay rollout of the vaccine to youth.
* WANotify phone app system is recommended, for anonymous contact tracing of both time and distance.
Department of Emergency Management Director Willie Bence said that 45,000 additional N95 masks are being delivered, prioritizing hospitals and first line workers. This represents an increase in capacity.
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.