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The month of November brought a dramatic, 193% increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in North Bend. The 30 cases reported in October surged to 88 in November, due in part to an outbreak at North Bend Regency skilled nursing facility.
The Regency outbreak includes 24 residents and 23 staff members and sadly has resulted in 4 deaths to date. According to King County Public Health, COVID positive nursing facility residents are typically included in the case numbers of the city where the facility is located, and positive staff members are included in the case numbers of the city where they reside.
On a positive note, although coronavirus activity continues in North Bend, new cases numbers have decreased from the peak level seen in late November. The City continues to encourage residents to follow all safety precautions to help #KeepNorthBendHealthy – Mask Up, Spread Out, and Keep Gatherings Small. The City also encourages residents to support local businesses during this time of additional pandemic restrictions. It is more important than ever to Shop, Eat and Support Local North Bend businesses.
New COVID-19 Exposure Tracker Tool: The Washington State Department of Health launched a new statewide COVID-19 exposure notification tool. WA Notify is a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool. By adding WA Notify to your smartphone, you will be alerted if you've spent time near another WA Notify user who later tests positive for COVID-19.
WA Notify uses privacy-preserving technology jointly developed by Google and Apple and works without collecting or revealing any location or personal data. If you have an iPhone, you simply turn it on in settings. For android phones, you install an app.
New Business Grants Available: Applications have opened for a NEW round of state Working Washington business grants. Small businesses struggling to survive the impact of COVID-19 can apply for up to $20,000 in this new round of state grants. Priority is focused on businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019 and those most impacted by the recent public health measures, as well as businesses in sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music and event venues.
Information and applications for this third round of business grants are available through an online portal on the Washington State Department of Commerce website at www.commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants. Commerce encourages businesses to apply by December 11th.
New Quarantine Guidance Adopted: The Washington State Department of Health is adopting the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to reduce quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19. Although both the WA DOH and CDC currently recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, there are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine. These include:
Good Vaccine News - The Washington State Dept. of Health is hopeful it will have a COVID-19 vaccine to begin administering by mid-December. The federal government estimates 62,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for Washington’s initial allocation. The state should then receive an estimated total of around 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December. Regular weekly vaccine shipments should also begin in January.