It’s time for another installment of of our special series COVID-19 Update, bringing you the latest developments on the novel coronavirus outbreak that public health authorities here and across the country are working to mitigate.
On Tuesday, November 2nd, the CDC recommended that Pfizer-BioNTech’s lower-dose COVID vaccine be made available to children five to eleven.
(Moderna has a similar vaccine in final testing.)
As of November 9th, over 900,000 children had been vaccinated, with another 700,000 set with appointments to be vaccinated, out of twenty-eight million eligible children.
On Friday, November 19th, the CDC endorsed new rules regarding vaccines and boosters. Under the new rules, anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose.
(The CDC had previously authorized boosters for all recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, two months after their primary dose.)
People can mix-and-match boosters from any manufacturer.
Most adults were already eligible for the boosters, but fewer than 18% had received one, according to CDC data.
Many public health officials felt the previous eligibility requirements were too complicated, and a handful of states such as New Mexico and California were already making boosters available under what are now the new federal rules.
As of Monday, November 22nd, over 90% of all federal employees will have had at least one vaccination shot, with around 5% requesting extensions or requesting or having been given exceptions.
On Tuesday, November 23rd, the Biden Administration requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which was given responsibility through a multi-circuit lottery, end a stay of its coronavirus “vaccination or testing” requirement for private businesses, the result of an earlier ruling on November 6th by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which heard and consolidated a number of suits to halt the requirement.
The requirement is scheduled to take effect in January 2022, but even though there is settled case law that allows governmental intervention in vaccination requirements, it will likely be resolved by the Federal Supreme Court.
While over 92% of military personnel have been vaccinated, with 4% having received exemptions, there are concerns regarding the higher than average likely refusal rate among the Marine Corps. That said, in recent years the military of the United States has had an increasing issue with vaccine hesitancy.
On Thursday, November 4th, two dozen city of Spokane firefighters who were previously terminated for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 were denied reinstatement to their jobs by a federal judge.
On Thursday, November 11th, Republican State Senator Doug Ericksen of the 42nd Legislative District confirmed he had contracted COVID-19 while in El Salvador and appealed to his colleagues for help obtaining monoclonal antibodies.
On Monday, November 22nd, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended two previous emergency orders. His order requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and his order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 are both extended until Wednesday, December 29th.
On Tuesday, November 23rd, a digital vaccination passport process, WA Verify, was officially announced. (It had been implemented and available just over two weeks earlier.) It provides people who have been vaccinated in Washington state a QR code dates of vaccination that can be saved on mobile devices for access.
You need only input your name and date of birth, which are then run through the state’s record system. You’ll also need to create a four-digit PIN during the application process, which you’ll need to retrieve your digital vaccine verification. You can access your record via email or mobile phone.
(NOTE: If you create your digital vaccination passport before you have received your booster, you will need to repeat the process for the new date to appear.)
On Wednesday, November 24th, it was announced that King County’s vaccination mandate, in place since October for larger businesses, which are required to verify that their customers have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or who can present proof of a negative COVID test within the last seventy-two hours, will be extended to small restaurant and bar owners as of December 6th.
On that same day, it was announced that the latest in a series of COVID outbreaks at the Yakima County Jail had infected over fifty prisoners and staff.
Also on the same day, likely in response to the severe weather occurring periodically of late within the Puget Sound region, Governor Jay Inslee amended vaccination requirement proclamation 21–14 to address potential life-threatening circumstances in 24⁄7 facilities by allowing use of the services of contractors whose full vaccination status has not been verified in in the event that contractors with verified vaccination status aren’t available.
Those circumstances are emergent events or conditions that are unanticipated, discrete, temporary, and likely to result in death or serious bodily harm if the contractors’ prompt actions are not taken.
On Wednesday, November 3rd, it was announced that one hundred and sixty-three employees at Asante Hospital in Medford had resigned or been fired from their jobs, in order to be in compliance with the state vaccine mandate that all medical workers within a health facility be vaccinated by Monday, October 18th.
On Monday, November 8th, a Douglas County man who nearly lost his life from COVID-19 publicly urged those still unvaccinated to get the shot.
On Friday, November 12th, the Adrian School District in Eastern Oregon was fined for failing to uphold the state indoor mask mandate and related violations. In August, their Superintendent was fired for refusing to violate the mandate.
On Tuesday, November 23rd, the Oregon Health Authority lifted the requirement for outdoor mask wearing in crowded settings, which had been imposed in August of this year amid the surge in more contagious delta variant cases.
On that same day, the Oregon Department of Education announced its implementation of a “test to stay” policy, which would allow students, vaccinated or not, to stay in classes and not have to be quarantined at home, thanks to the availability of free COVID-19 testing kids at schools across the state.
On that same day, famous saddlemaker and former member of the Pendelton Round Up’s board of directors, Randy Severe, died of COVID-19, likely the victim of an outbreak during this year’s Round Up.
If you or your loved ones need to be tested for COVID, here is were to check for test locations within the state nearest where you live.
The leadership of the Dominionist Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, while railing against various COVID mitigation mandates and vaccines, has applied for and received access to loans designed to compensate businesses for the impact of coronavirus restrictions through the pandemic.
On Tuesday, November 16th, Idaho legislators passed seven bills regarding COVID-19, one of which would provide worker’s compensation for employees who have side effects after being vaccinated, and another of which would prohibit employers from questioning the sincerity of those seeking religious exemptions for the vaccine.
On Monday, November 22nd, Crisis Standards of Care were deactivated for all parts of Idaho except the northern Panhandle area, which has over seven thousand surgeries in limbo due to the number of people filling local hospitals on account of COVID infections.
On Wednesday, November 23rd, Governor Brad Little held what is likely to be his last pandemic-related town hall this year, urging citizens to be vaccinated.
Earlier that same day, the Idaho Supreme Court declared that jury trials may resume starting the week of December 6th under specific conditions overseen by the state’s seven local judicial districts.
There isn’t, unfortunately, a state-specific site for where testing for COVID-19 is available. This site appears to be what is recommended by the state of Idaho.
On Friday, November 5th, in order to eliminate inter-transmission with humans and potential further mutation of the SARS-CoV‑2 virus, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced Friday a permanent ban on breeding mink, with all operations closed by 2025.
In the aftermath of devastating storms over the weekend of November 14th, the federal Canadian government granted an exemption for Canadians traveling to get gas and food in the United States to the current law requiring a negative molecular COVID-19 test for re-entry into Canada.
On Friday, November 19th, provincial health officials approved use of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s lower-dose COVID-19 vaccine be available to children 5 to 11.
On Tuesday, November 22nd, they confirmed that the provincial government will begin contacting families to make appointments next week for children registered into a database to be eligible for the vaccine.
About one in four children have been already entered into the system, and this number is expected to rise with the availability of the children’s vaccine.
On Wednesday, November 24th, through a series of tweets, health authorities declared that there was no truth to social media rumors that more than a dozen stillbirths had occurred within the last twenty-four hours among vaccinated pregnant mothers at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C.
On Wednesday, November 17th, Northern Health Medical extended indefinitely COVID-19 health orders that were due to expire on Friday, November 19th. The orders restrict indoor and outdoor personal gatherings to no more than twenty-five fully vaccinated people over most of Northern Health’s jurisdiction, with some exceptions.
Here is a focal point for testing provided by the provincial government.
Washington has had 771,525 cases and 9,261 attributable deaths.
The state has the forty-fifth worst infection rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
The state has the forty-fifth worst death rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
9,842,443 tests have been recorded.
- Doses of vaccine distributed to the state: 13,841,085
- Doses administered: 111,192,709 (80.87%)
Oregon has had 387,485 cases and 5,116 attributable deaths.
The state has the forty-sixth worst infection rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
The state has the forty-sixth worst death rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
7,999,746 tests have been recorded.
- Doses of vaccine distributed to the state: 7,921,355
- Doses administered: 6,083,982 (76.8%)
Idaho has had 305,133 cases and 3,891 attributable deaths.
The state has the seventeenth worst infection rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
The state has the thirty-fourth worst death rate among the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico per million population.
2,252,817 tests have been recorded.
- Doses of vaccine distributed to the state: 2,732,430
- Doses administered: 1,854,048 (67.85%)
British Columbia has had 216,758 cases and 2,316 attributable deaths.
British Columbia has the sixth worst infection rate and the sixth worst death rate among the thirteen Canadian provinces and territories per hundred thousand population. (If it were an American state, it would be fifty-third and fifty-third, respectively, out of fifty-three.)
- Doses of vaccine distributed to the province: 9,005,050
- Doses administered: 8,609,643 (95.61%)
That does it for this installment of COVID-19 Update. Stay safe and well!