Updated: Sep 1
On August 24, OCH hosted a virtual behavioral health collaboration call. The call brought together behavioral health providers, Jefferson County’s Health Officer, and the Salish Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization to discuss opportunities for regional alignment and to explore possible solutions and supports for challenges faced during COVID-19.
COVID-19 update and projections for 2021 from Jefferson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Locke
Statewide: The statewide data system temporarily shut down due to data overload from testing. Most countries would consider good suppression to be 5-10 cases per 100,000 people. Currently WA’s rate is 108 cases per 100,000 people. This rate is a decrease from the July surge seen 3-4 weeks ago. The July surge saw an increase in younger populations (ages 20-39) leading to a decrease in hospitalizations.
Clallam County: 97 cases per 100,000 people
Kitsap County: 53 cases per 100,000 people
Jefferson County: 38 cases per 100,000 people
Schools are typically using the rate of 25 cases per 100,000 people as the threshold to safely open in-person. Outbreaks burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring under control (testing, contact tracing, etc.).
Projections: Rather than several well-defined waves we will likely have continued up and down rates, with a possibility of larger than previous surges in the winter. Dryer air, cooler temperatures, and more time spent indoors promote viral infection spread. In the most optimistic scenario, we are half through with 6 months to go. Federal funding will conclude at the end of October and may not be renewed until after election. Expect further job loss, evictions, etc.
Vaccine: Several promising vaccines pending approval, and many are producing now to get a head start in production. Most vaccines being tested are two doses. A vaccine is expected late December or early January. Even when a vaccine is available, it takes months before enough people are vaccinated to make a difference in disease transmission. There is concern that once a vaccine is available people will stop precautions and experts expect a last surge.
Workplace: It is recommended that everyone prepare for when workers are identified as exposed to COVID-19, as this is becoming more likely to occur. Do the best you can to prevent the spread within the workplace and be prepared to react in the case that someone is exposed. Reassure staff that responsive measures are time limited. Public Health is here to advise for appropriate precautions and response.
Larger Community Needs Discussion
Request flexibility for current funding, OCH and BH-ASO engaged in conversations to coordinate advocacy with legislature and state partners
Form informal community groups, engage faith-based communities, offer more classes and trainings for adults and youth, and connect with groups addressing food security. Need to continue collaboration efforts to understand community needs and coordinate appropriate resources. Check out OCH’s revised learning and convening calendar for more opportunities to connect.
Encourage people to keep up efforts to reduce transmission as well as seek appropriate preventative care, such as well-child visits. Check out OCH’s Stay Healthy, Stay Connected toolkit for sharable resources encouraging community health in the time of COVID-19. Submit additional requests for resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support workforce resiliency. OCH’s COVID-19 resources page has self-care materials to support yourself and staff.
Housing is in desperate short supply for everyone, especially those with co-occurring serious mental illness, elderly, disabilities, and substance use disorder. There is a strong need for advocacy at the state-level and to work with local partners on immediate solutions.
The September 28 behavioral health collaboration call has been canceled to be respectful of Yom Kippur.
The October 26 behavioral health collaboration call has been cancelled in lieu of the county-level collaboration calls. We hope you can join your county's call:
Kitsap – October 16 10am-12pm via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86024876185
Clallam – October 20 10am-12pm via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277931416
Jefferson – October 29 10am-12pm via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83114990825
The November behavioral health collaboration call has been rescheduled to November 16, 2-3:30pm. Join via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81968458830.