On Monday, March 24, the Winlock City Council held their meeting to start a new era in the City of Winlock. Winlock City Council voted for not just a new mayor for the city but also a new city attorney. The City of Winlock is poised for success.
On Tuesday afternoon, March 24, Washington State Patrol Trooper Justin Schaffer was killed in the line of duty during a high speed chase on Interstate 5. Trooper Schaffer was deploying spike strips when William David Thompson swerved and hit Trooper Schaffer.
On March 16 Governor Inslee issued an order closing restaurants, bars, taverns and coffee shops and prohibiting large gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19. On March 17 the governor followed with an order closing all schools in the state. On that same day Pacific County launched its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the local coronavirus response. Since then both the county and the state in rapid succession, have issued new orders to control the coronavirus pandemic. The local orders started with the closure of beaches to razor clam digging, followed several days later by a closure of all beach approaches and hospitality lodging, followed by an amendment clarifying that order. And on March 23 the governor issued a Stay-at-Home order which included the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state. For the general public, the coronavirus outbreak, the response and the ramifications have been almost impossible to comprehend.
The Pacific County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is tracking and coordinating the local COVID-19 response to both state and local orders. Pat Matlock, Chief Criminal Deputy in the Sheriff's Office has now assumed the role of EOC's Public information Officer. In a conversation on March 26, he summarized the status of these orders, beginning by stating that local schools, government agencies and businesses are in compliance with these orders. The purpose of each of these actions is to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community. To date Pacific County is one of five out of 39 counties in Washington without a confirmed case of the disease.
The Senate and House approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus recovery rescue package for Americans, businesses and hospitals last Wednesday and Friday - the largest emergency aid package in history. There were more than 3.3 million unemployment claims last week.
Married couples will receive one-time payments of $2,400 who filed jointly with an additional $500 per child for each qualifying child claimed as a dependent in their family to help fight off the economic derailment caused by coronavirus. The package includes payments of $1,200 to individuals making less than $75,000. One-third of the economy is being covered by the package, a lot of it to middle and lower income people. One hundred and seventy-five million are expected to receive checks.
The Herald reached out to Willapa Harbor Hospital Chief Executive Officer/Administrator Matthew Kempton, MHA, about the Coronavirus Pandemic that is surrounding the world. As of Friday, 24 of 39 Washington counties had reported cases of the virus; however, Pacific County was not one of them.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, we've all seen pictures of long lines at grocery stores and carts overloaded with toilet paper. Is your store experiencing "panic" buying? What items have been selling out?
Rick responded emphatically that "yes" Pioneer Grocery is definitely experiencing panic buying. People are buying large quantities of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, disinfection wipes and other paper products. Staple food items such as rice, beans, potatoes and canned goods have been hard to keep in stock. Bakeries aren't able to keep up with the demand for bread.
It's hard to believe that a virus has changed the way we live today, but it has. Many of us had never heard of the coronavirus, the virus that would stop us in our tracks. Washington is not under a "stay at home" order yet, but if people don't take it seriously, we could be next.
As most citizens know by now, on March 13 Governor Jay Inslee ordered all K-12 schools in Washington State to close from March 16 - April 24. That is a six-week closure. Despite these closures, students are still required to learn their curriculum during this time. How they're supposed to complete work in the upcoming weeks we'll get to in a second. There are many questions that need to be answered, like what the plan is and how Napavine is handling this. Thankfully the district office and Geoff Parks were sure to keep everyone in the loop.
Monday, March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee spoke directly to Washingtonians to announce he will sign a statewide order that requires everyone in the state to stay home. The order will last for two weeks and could be extended.
This Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is similar to orders that other governors, in places such as California and New York, issued last week.
This proclamation will:
"The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save," Inslee said.
FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available for the state of Washington to supplement the state, tribes and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.
The President's action makes federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas of the state of Washington.
Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas impacted by COVID-19 in the state of Washington. The federal cost share is 75 percent.
Governor Jay Inslee released a statement late Sunday night that further expands protections against COVID-19. Below is Gov. Inslee's statement.
"Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation (Monday) to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities.
"Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted.
"The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy.
"Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.
"These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.
"Tonight, after consultations with me and with the Department of Health, King County announced that they will be taking these actions immediately. King County has been the hotbed of this outbreak and has the largest population center in the state. I have spoken to Executive Dow Constantine and I applaud their decision to act quickly."
SOUTH BEND - Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a State of Emergency for all counties throughout the state as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). All schools in Washington were closed effective yesterday until April 27. Sunday night, Gov. Inslee added more protections against COVID-19. (See story page 1). As of Monday morning in the USA, 30 million students are staying home because 33 states have been forced to close schools.
Washington was touched by a brief artic front over last weekend. On Saturday snow actually accumulated in higher elevations. Hopefully it is the last gasp of winter weather.
The Winlock City Council is looking for volunteers to help the City of Winlock and other volunteer organizations. Winlock has seen volunteers disappear these past few years and the council would like your help in bringing Winlock back. Volunteers are needed for Winlock, whether it's the Winlock Park Board, the Lions Club, or the Winlock Improvement Network, your help is needed.
Gaelon Spradley, as CEO of the Valley View Health Center, I'm anxious to talk to you about your response to a potential local coronavirus outbreak. But first let's talk about Valley View. How many Valley View Health Centers are there and where are they located?
We have 13 clinics located in three counties. We serve Lewis County, Thurston County, and Pacific County.
Valley View is a nonprofit, federally qualified health center. What does that mean? And who do you serve?
Valley View is a nonprofit provider of health services, medical, dental and behavioral health. Our focus is serving rural communities and also low income and special needs individuals. Federally qualified health centers may also focus on other underserved groups, such as new citizens, immigrants or the homeless.
We qualify for federal healthcare subsidies. In the past communities have depended on doctors in private practice. These practices are disappearing in small towns and we are trying to fill that void.
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