Wednesday, August 4, 2021
► From the AP — Washington sees 1,500 new cases a day of COVID-19 in recent days — Washington state has seen an average of 1,500 new cases a day of COVID-19 over the past four days, and health officials said Tuesday they are concerned about not only a rise in cases but hospitalizations due to the highly contagious delta variant. Officials say that more than 94% of all recent cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in Washingtonians 12 years of age and older involve people who have not been fully vaccinated.
► From the Tri-City Herald — Local COVID cases continue climb. More hospitalized.
► From the Olympian — 119 COVID-19 cases in 2 weeks prompts closure of UNFI’s Centralia distribution center — With 119 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, Centralia’s United Natural Food Inc. (UNFI) distribution center announced its temporary closure Sunday. The facility serves 825 grocery stores in the region, plus a large military operation. Working with the state Department of Health and local public health officials, UNFI expects to reopen Saturday, Aug. 7.
► From the Seattle Times — Study: Less than 1% of fully vaccinated people experiencing breakthrough COVID infections — The Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed data from states that report breakthrough infections and found fully vaccinated Americans made up a very small portion of the infected population. The CDC only reports on breakthrough cases that have resulted in hospitalization or death, but the data there is even more promising. Less than 0.004% of people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and experienced a breakthrough case needed to be hospitalized, and less than 0.001% have died from the disease. To sum up, that’s roughly 6,600 severe breakthrough cases among the 163 million fully vaccinated people in the U.S.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In summary, THE VACCINE WORKS. Visit Washington state’s Vaccine Locator to find vaccine appointments near you.
► From the Columbian — PeaceHealth to require vaccinations for workers — Vancouver-based medical provider PeaceHealth has reversed its policy and will require its caregivers to receive a COVID-19 immunization. The reversal comes several weeks after an outbreak in a patient ward at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center sickened 20 patients and nine employees. Beginning Aug. 31, all caregivers will be required to provide proof of vaccination or submit a qualified medical exemption. Those who do not do so will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, additional masking and safety protocols, and potential reassignment to non-patient care duties. The rule applies to doctors, nurses, other patient care providers, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers.
► From the Bellingham Herald — PeaceHealth to require its Whatcom County healthcare workers to have COVID-19 vaccine
EDITOR’S NOTE — In doing so, PeaceHealth joins Kaiser Permanente and MultiCare in announcing vaccine requirements. The Washington State Hospital Association is urging hospitals throughout the state to require employee vaccinationsa.
► From the PSBJ — Microsoft will require proof of vaccination for workers
► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane businesses to require proof of vaccinations
► From the LA Times — California sees significant rise in vaccinations as employers issue mandates — The increase comes as a growing list of municipalities, businesses and venues are moving to require the shots for employees and, in some cases, customers.
► From The Hill — Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates — Biden rebuked Republican governors who have imposed bans on mask mandates and pleaded with them to “get out of the way” of businesses and schools that want to impose coronavirus-related requirements.
The Entire Staff of The Stand doesn’t want to play favorites by listing the results in some cities/counties, and not others. So check here for the latest results in Tuesday’s primary election in your community. That said, maybe we’ll play one favorite…
► From the Seattle Times — Teresa Mosqueda headed to general — Seattle City Council incumbent Teresa Mosqueda is headed for the general election with nearly 55% of Tuesday’s count. Her main competition could be either small business owner Kenneth Wilson (18%) or activist Kate Martin (13%). Mosqueda has been a council member since 2017. Last year, she spearheaded the council’s adoption of a “JumpStart” tax on high salaries paid by businesses with at least $7 million in annual payroll to cover major deficits in the city’s budget and pay for affordable housing starting in 2022.
► From Teamsters 117 — Teamsters at Auto Warehousing in Tacoma raise pickets, demand respect — Last Thursday, Teamsters at Auto Warehousing Company grabbed their picket signs and took it to the street. Fed up with their employer’s disrespect, Teamsters walked out during their lunch break on a practice strike protesting their company’s unfair bargaining tactics and attempts to push skyrocketing healthcare costs onto workers.
► From Crosscut — Fury with Seattle Children’s builds after racism report kept private — Frustration with Seattle Children’s Hospital continues to build among staff, stakeholders and community, as the institution’s leadership declines to release the findings from a months-long investigation into equity, diversity and racism at the hospital. That investigation was prompted by the November resignation and allegations of Dr. Ben Danielson, the beloved medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, which falls under the Seattle Children’s umbrella.
The Stand (Jan. 6) — WSNA, others call on Seattle Children’s to address racism
► From the AP — Oregon adopts emergency rules to protect workers from smoke — Oregon has adopted emergency rules meant to protect workers from wildfire smoke and shield workers living in labor housing from extreme heat. The rules will go into effect on Aug. 9 for six months.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries filed emergency rules on July 16 intended to help protect employees exposed to wildfire smoke. L&I filed an emergency rule on July 13 to protect workers from extreme heat.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Air Quality Index, explained: What it means when Spokane’s air is rated ‘unhealthy’ — By late Tuesday morning, the quality of Spokane’s air sat in the unhealthy range of the U.S. Air Quality Index due to wildfires across the Northwest. The 184 rating was consistent with ratings the city’s air earned this past weekend. The 151-200 range calls for everyone to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and to take more breaks during outdoor activities. Sensitive groups are advised to avoid such activities.
► From the Wenatchee World — Smoke expected to stay through much of week
► From The Hill — New hurdle slows $1 trillion infrastructure bill — Senate action on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has slowed to a crawl as lawmakers haggle over more than 250 proposed amendments to the legislation. In several instances, senators are holding their colleagues’ amendments hostage by objecting to voting on them unless their own priorities are also guaranteed a vote. But with nearly 300 amendments filed, not everyone is going to get their proposed changes to the legislation on the Senate floor, fueling frustrations among senators on both sides of the aisle.
► From The Hill — Staff seeks to create union at DNC — Rank-and-file staff at the Democratic National Committee are pressing to form a union after months of negotiations. Discussions started late last year after unionization plans were energized by President Biden’s win in the 2020 election and a more progressive mood in Washington took hold, sources said. While some Democrats say past unionization attempts have not got much traction, others say the political climate has shifted enough for the new effort to be successful.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
— Wash. State Democratic Party staff unionizes with IUPAT 1094 (Sept. 12, 2018)
— Washington campaign workers uniting for better pay, benefits (March 12, 2021)
► From The Hill — CDC issues eviction moratorium extension after Democratic outcry — The CDC on Tuesday issued a moratorium on evictions targeting areas of the country with high levels of COVID-19 transmission, extending an eviction ban for much of the nation just days after a blanket moratorium had expired. A congressional source said the order will likely apply to roughly 90 percent of the renter population in the U.S. The order will expire on Oct. 3.
► From Politico — Rep. Cori Bush steers progressives to win on eviction crisis — A new member of the liberal “Squad” stepped to the forefront this week, leading a Capitol steps sit-in that forced the White House to act.
► From The Hill — Democrats barrel toward August voting rights deadline — Congressional Democrats are barreling toward a self-imposed August deadline to pass voting rights legislation while struggling to figure out how to break a months-long stalemate.
► From the Washington Post — Biden calls for Cuomo to resign after investigation finds the New York governor sexually harassed 11 women — New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees, creating a hostile work environment for women in violation of state and federal law, state Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.
► From Politico — Establishment prevails as Brown beats Turner in Ohio special election — Brown’s victory in a special election primary for Congress marked a striking defeat for the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.
► From Politico — Trump-backed Carey wins GOP nod in Ohio special election
► From Vox — The Amazon union drive isn’t over yet — The union drive in Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama,
fulfillment center warehouse that ended with a majority of workers voting against unionizing may well get a second chance. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official is now calling for a reelection, citing Amazon’s misconduct in the first one. But it’s still not a sure thing that this reelection will happen, and if it does, it’s even less certain that the result will go the union’s way.
► From the NY Times — Passenger arrives taped to a seat and is charged with assaulting flight attendants — Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, punched a Frontier Airlines flight attendant and groped two others on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami, the authorities said. Frontier Airlines said in an initial statement that the flight attendants would be “relieved of flying” while it investigated, which drew sharp criticism from the Association of Flight Attendants.
► From the AFA (July 29) — 85% of flight attendants dealt with unruly passengers, nearly 1 in 5 experienced physical incidents in 2021 — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is calling on the FAA and DOJ to protect passengers and crew from disruptive, and verbally and physically abusive travelers.
► From NPR — Spirit and American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights, frustrating passengers — Half of Spirit’s Tuesday flights were canceled: a total of 347 flights, according to the Associated Press. By comparison, American Airlines had canceled around 300 flights — about 10% of the day’s total, by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. The disruptions come as many airlines are ill-prepared for the wave of returning passengers eager to travel once again.
► From NPR — One Medical employees say concierge care provider is putting profits over patients — Dozens of One Medical employees are trying to unionize as a response to what they say has been mismanagement of the organization’s COVID-19 response, poor working conditions for staff and, they allege, a declining focus on patients.
► From Vox — America is failing millions of unpaid caregivers — An estimated 47.9 million adults in the United States — a staggering 19.3 percent — provide informal care to an adult with physical or mental health needs. This unpaid work, which includes everything from trips to the doctor to feeding, bathing, and toileting, has been valued at $470 billion per year, equivalent to three-quarters of the entire budget of Medicaid. Even in the best of times, the vast majority of this work is invisible and undersupported, leaving millions of caregivers struggling in silence. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many caregivers into crisis.
► From the AFP — Racial employment divide continues in recovering U.S. economy — As vaccines help quell Covid-19 cases, millions of Americans have gone back to work — but fewer Black and Hispanic workers are being rehired, entrenching persistent inequalities in the United States. The divides are fueled by long-running employment discrimination, experts say, worsened by unique, virus-related disruptions that have left many jobseekers unable to find work they can get to, or feel safe doing.
► From the AP — Missouri’s GOP governor pardons St. Louis lawyers who waved guns at BLM protesters — Mark McCloskey, who announced in May that he was running for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, is unapologetic about waving an AR-15-style rifle at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters.
► From KCUR — Missouri governor does not pardon Kevin Strickland, who prosecutor says is wrongfully imprisoned — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson passed on an opportunity to release a Kansas City man who has spent 43 years behind bars for a crime prosecutors say he did not commit. Kevin Strickland, 62, was convicted by an all-white jury in 1978 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The conviction hinged on the testimony of a single witness, who recanted in 2009.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.