The biggest sources of air pollution in Washington state in 2020 were vehicles and wildfires, showed a new report released Tuesday, Oct. 5. The report from a handful of environmental and public health groups took a closer look at air pollution across the nation last year.
Kristina Bowman thought she and her family were doing all the right things to avoid COVID-19. She and her husband got vaccinated as soon as they were eligible. They only invited other vaccinated people to their home. They always wore masks in public.
So when her two young kids came down with fevers in mid-July, she was shocked.
Bowman’s parents, both vaccinated, were visiting from Montana at the time. A few days after her dad arrived, he started coughing.
“My mom told him he needed to go to the doctor … because he was coughing so much,” Bowman said.
She later added, “My first thought was for my kids.”
The number of COVID-related hospitalizations at St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham climbed over the weekend and now stands at 27, the hospital reported Monday morning, Oct. 4. While the 27 current COVID hospitalizations are still well below the record high of 40 set on Sept. 11, it was seven more than the hospital reported on Friday, Oct. 1. The count climbed to 22 on Saturday, Oct. 2, and 23 on Sunday, Oct. 3, before Monday’s report of 27, which was the highest total the hospital has reported since it had 28 on Sept. 25.
Nearly one in three COVID-19 cases within Whatcom County has been among the county’s school-aged population since schools began opening their doors to students in early September. The Bellingham Herald’s analysis of the most recent age-group data on the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard found that there have been 567 COVID cases in residents 19 and younger over the four weeks between Aug. 29 and Sept. 25. Of those, 333 residents (59%) were 11 and younger, meaning they were too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Western Washington University will require all spectators over the age of 12 to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend indoor athletic events beginning Oct. 18. The school’s administration announced updated measures for visitors to campus, including a new attendance policy for WWU fans to be allowed to sporting events held inside Carver Gymnasium, according to an athletic department news release Friday, Oct. 1. “The new policy falls in accordance with federal, state, and local guidelines, and to provide a safe environment for all visitors to the WWU campus, including student-athletes, coaches, staff and spectators,” the release states.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the nation's first coronavirus vaccination mandate for schoolchildren, requiring that all elementary through high school students get the shots once the vaccine gains final approval from the U.S. government for different age groups.
The government has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 and over but only granted an emergency authorization for anyone 12 to 15. Once federal regulators fully approve it for that group, the state will require students in seventh through 12th grades to get vaccinated in both public and private schools. Newsom said he expects that requirement to be in place by July 1.
A troubled student debt relief program for teachers, police officers and other public service workers will soon get the makeover that borrowers have been demanding.
Next week, according to a source familiar with the plans but who is not authorized to discuss them publicly, the U.S. Department of Education will unveil a significant overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which has been a magnet of confusion, mistakes and mismanagement since its inception in 2007.
The changes will come in two phases — a long-term renovation to make the program easier to navigate, achieved through the federal process known as rule-making, and a temporary move using the department's executive authority to retroactively relax the program's rules to immediately help thousands of affected borrowers.
In a potential leap forward in the global fight against the pandemic, drugmaker Merck said Friday that its experimental pill for people sick with COVID-19 reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half.
If cleared by regulators, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, adding a whole new, easy-to-use weapon to an arsenal that already includes the vaccine.
The company said it will soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize the pill’s use. A decision from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could come within weeks after that, and the drug, if it gets the OK, could be distributed quickly soon afterward.
Demonstrators shutting down a school board meeting by refusing to wear masks. Protesters picketing the hospital campus against the vaccine mandate for health care workers. Hospital patients suspicious about the new shots — or over the very fact that they have COVID-19.
The scenes playing out in Wenatchee are familiar across Washington in recent months.
The backlash to vaccine and masking requirements hit perhaps a new high: thousands of people protesting in Olympia and Spokane. Government meetings shut down by demonstrators in Sequim, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and elsewhere. Schools put on lockdown in Vancouver after protests there.
Whatcom County surpassed three COVID-19 vaccination milestones, according to data reported on the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard Wednesday, Sept. 29. A total of 256,188 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, according to the dashboard, which was an increase of 782 doses from the state’s last vaccine report on Monday, Sept. 27. That increase was enough to push Whatcom County to 60% of all residents completing vaccination, the state reported, as 135,713 residents have now completed a vaccination cycle.