In the Media

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 12:01pm - Seattle Times

As the coronavirus morphs into a stubborn and unpredictable facet of everyday life, scientists and federal health officials are converging on a new strategy for immunizing Americans: a vaccination campaign this fall, perhaps with doses that are finely tuned to combat the version of the virus expected to be in circulation.

The plan would borrow heavily from the playbook for distributing annual flu shots, and it may become the template for arming Americans against the coronavirus in the years to come.

But some experts question how well a renewed vaccination push would be received by a pandemic-weary public, whether the doses can be rolled out quickly enough to reach the people who need them most — and whether most Americans need additional shots at all.

On June 28, scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will meet to identify the coronavirus variant most likely to be percolating in the United States as temperatures cool. That should leave manufacturers time to decide whether the vaccines’ composition needs to be revised and to ramp up production, hopefully enough to churn out hundreds of millions of doses by October.

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 11:57am - The Bellingham Herald

St. Joseph hospital is asking people seeking care for conditions that are not urgent to visit a primary care physician or drop-in clinic before visiting the emergency department.

“The medical center has seen a significant influx of patients to the emergency department with nonurgent conditions causing long wait times,” according to a PeaceHealth news release Tuesday, May 17. The average number of emergency department patients per day has increased each month since February, according to an email from Beverly Mayhew, PeaceHealth spokesperson.

The number is up 7.5% for May over April, with data from just half the month.

Serious and life-threatening medical emergencies that require a visit to the emergency department, according to a January PeaceHealth news release, include fractures, serious cuts, severe bleeding, head or eye injuries, sudden blurry vision, dizziness, weakness or loss of coordination or balance, chest pain, difficulty breathing, moderate to severe burns or loss of consciousness.

Non-life-threatening or minor medical issues such as mild burns or cuts, allergies, sprains, urinary tract infections or flu and cold symptoms can be dealt with by primary care providers and urgent care or same-day clinics, according to the hospital.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 11:52am - Cascadia Daily News

In September 2021, Natalie Vinh saw a need for a local music publication. About a month later, she launched Breakout Magazine.

Managed entirely by Vinh, Breakout is a collaborative online music magazine that aims to cover bands and artists who are just breaking out (hence, the name) and may not have many press opportunities.

Vinh, 20, studies marketing at Western Washington University, where she has worked on The Front and Klipsun, both university publications. Though she considered majoring in journalism, she wanted to gain experience in other areas.

On Oct. 18, 2021, @breakoutmag posted an introduction on Instagram, announcing a launch date of only four days later. Within its first two months, Breakout had amassed over 680 Instagram followers and more than 2,000 website views.

For Vinh, Breakout is a learning experience for everyone, and anyone who expresses interest in contributing is given a chance, no matter their qualifications.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 11:28am - Methow Valley News

Balsamroot bloomed early this year on some sunny, south-facing slopes amid warmer- and drier-than-normal weather in February and March.

But an early-April snowstorm withered the tender blooms. The cool weather persisted, so it wasn’t until May that hillsides were studded with sunflowers, the emblematic symbol of spring in the Methow.

Naturalists and locals who track these seasonal events have observed a variety of anomalies this year. Some birds and wildflowers were out early, but others showed up late, they said.

The study of the relationship between climate and biological phenomena like bird migration, plant flowering, and insect hatching, is called phenology. Farmers and gardeners have long relied on signals — like waiting for the snow to melt off McClure Mountain — as the cue that it’s warm enough to plant. Others keep an annual log because they’re curious about the natural world and about what these patterns indicate about more widespread changes in climate.

On some level, these annual variations are just that — variations — but they’re occurring amid inescapable signs of a changing climate. Weather patterns that take place over 20 years become climate, said Joshua Porter, who tracks natural cycles in his role as director of Sustainability Pathways for Western Washington University.

Porter keeps a journal of what he notices every day. Phenology helps natural historians develop essential skills for tuning into changes in the land and patterns in nature, he said. His students track specific plants every week, along with weather and cloud cover, since that also affects whether you see birds or other animals, Porter said.

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 10:48am - 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, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, officials said.

“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.

However, officials were cautious about making concrete predictions, saying how much worse the pandemic gets will depend on several factors, including to what degree previous infections will protect against new variants.

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.