In the Media

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 12:33pm - The Bellingham Herald

A robin on a mossy tree, the Lummi River estuary, a line of sailboats, a pink blossom, a mysterious woman on a bench, fog blanketing a forest, Lake Padden circled by snow and flood water running across an intersection — these are the images that define the essence of Bellingham in 2022.

The city of Bellingham announced its eight top award winners in the 17th annual “Essence of Bellingham” photo competition Wednesday, May 18. Best of Show top honors went to Jeffrey Barclay’s “Robin,” showcasing a bird perched on a moss-covered tree illuminated in sunlight, according to a release from the city.

The competition, which is sponsored by the city of Bellingham and Whatcom Museum, was judged by representatives from each organization who weighed how well each photo entry captured the essence of Bellingham and the quality of each photo.

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 12:30pm - The Bellingham Herald

It’s been more than two years since Gov. Jay Inslee issued his first COVID-19 emergency proclamation in the state of Washington.

Since then, the governor has signed 87 COVID-related proclamations, rescinding 58 fully so far, while all or portions of 29 proclamations are still active statewide. In February 2020 the governor first issued proclamation 20-05, which declared that COVID-19 is a statewide emergency. Without that emergency declaration in place, the governor would not have authority for other emergency powers under the law.

Of the proclamations, one of the most debated and controversial orders is still in effect. The proclamation requires workers in state, educational and healthcare settings to be vaccinated unless those individuals have a religious exemption or have a disability that prevents them from being vaccinated.

Mike Faulk, deputy communications director and press secretary for Inslee, told McClatchy that the Governor’s Office does not have any immediate plans to rescind any of the remaining orders. He said that most of the proclamations are still in effect because they’ve heard from stakeholders, policy analysts and other elected leaders that those proclamations are still needed “based on current conditions — whether it’s the status of the virus itself or labor and supply chain issues.”

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 12:26pm - Seattle Times

If you are traveling internationally or within the U.S. this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you test for COVID-19 in the days before flying.

The agency’s recommendation for all travelers regardless of vaccination status came in an update to its COVID-19 testing website on May 16.

“Consider getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before your trip” when heading to any destination, the CDC said.

Before the update, the CDC’s recommendation did not include domestic travelers considered up-to-date on their vaccines, according to CNN.

The agency still recommends wearing masks when using public transportation, but doing so is no longer enforced as of April 18.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 11:52am - Cascadia Daily News

Music from Western Washington University students, concerts to support efforts in Ukraine, a tribal gathering, an exhibit about the history of music in Bellingham, fun at the Outback Farm, a dance concert for families and jazz tributes. Per usual, there's something for everyone this week!

Western Washington University’s Wind Symphony presents “Music of the Spheres” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Western’s Performing Arts Center. 

The WWU Bassoon studio presents "Bassoon Day" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at Western's Performing Arts Center Band Room. 

Come celebrate the Outback Farm's 50th anniversary from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 22. Western Washington University’s 5-acre organic farm on Fairhaven College’s campus provides the Western community with veggies fresh from the garden, fruit and nuts from the food forest, and honey from on-site bees — plus, there are chickens! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 11:47am - Associated Press

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

Right now, the increases are concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. “(But) prior increases of infections, in different waves of infection, have demonstrated that this travels across the country,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said at a White House briefing with reporters.

For an increasing number of areas, “we urge local leaders to encourage use of prevention strategies like masks in public indoor settings and increasing access to testing and treatment,” she said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 2:01pm - Seattle Times

An at-home COVID-19 test that can also detect other common respiratory viruses like the flu was authorized for emergency use Monday by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The test is made by Labcorp, a laboratory testing company based in North Carolina, and is the first nonprescription test authorized to look for multiple respiratory viruses in one sample. COVID symptoms can be similar to those from other respiratory illnesses like the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, so the new test is meant to help people more easily determine which virus they have.

Labcorp’s test consists of a nasal swab, performed at home, which is then sent to the company for testing. Diagnostic results from the test are provided through an online portal. If the test is positive, a health care professional will follow up, a release says. The tests can be purchased online or in stores. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 2:00pm - Associated Press

The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases are rising again in some areas of the country.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 1:53pm - Seattle Times

Eileen Wassermann struggles to calculate her daily risks at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic — with infections drastically undercounted and mask mandates gone.

The immunocompromised 69-year-old ensconces herself in her SUV for the half-hour ferry ride across the Puget Sound from her home on Bainbridge Island to Seattle, where she undergoes treatment for the rare inflammatory condition sarcoidosis.

A retired scientist and lawyer who worked with drug companies, Wassermann is comfortable analyzing coronavirus data. But she said current numbers, which don’t account for most at-home test results, are unreliable.

Americans like Wassermann are navigating murky waters in the latest wave of the pandemic, with highly transmissible subvariants of omicron spreading as governments drop measures to contain the virus and reveal less data about infections. With public health authorities shifting their focus to COVID-related hospitalizations as the pandemic’s U.S. death toll hits 1 million, people are largely on their own to gauge risk amid what could be a stealth surge.

Experts say Americans can assume infections in their communities are five to ten times higher than official counts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 1:44pm - Cascadia Daily News

Western Washington University's women’s rowing team is headed back to the NCAA Championships.

The Vikings, the No. 1 team in the West Region, were one of six teams selected to compete for the national title. 

Western returns to the national stage for the first time since 2019 after the 2020 championships were canceled and a limited schedule in 2021.

“This has been our goal the whole season,” senior Haley Moss said. “To be here and have it finalized feels really good.”

Strong performances late in the season at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association and Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships catapulted the Vikings to the top of the West Region.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 1:35pm - Associated Press

U.S. regulators on Tuesday authorized a COVID-19 booster shot for healthy 5- to 11-year-olds, hoping an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections once again creep upward.

Everyone 12 and older already was supposed to get one booster dose for the best protection against the newest coronavirus variants -- and some people, including those 50 and older, can choose a second booster.

The Food and Drug Administration’s authorization now opens a third shot of Pfizer’s vaccine to elementary-age kids, too — at least five months after their last dose.

There is one more hurdle: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must decide whether to formally recommend the booster for this age group. The CDC’s scientific advisers are scheduled to meet on Thursday.