March 16 Corona Virus Update

RELIABLE CORONA VIRUS MAPS
High Schooler From MI
https://ncov2019.live/

THIRD CASE
As of this morning Whatcom County has 3 confirmed cases and 111 negative test results. The case is a woman in her 20s and the Health Department is currently working to identify and advise people who have had close contact with her. On Friday, March 13, a woman in her 40s tested positive for COVID-19 after self-isolating after being notified that she was in close contact with a lab-confirmed positive case from another county, according to a Health Department press release. [From Bellingham Herald]

DINE IN RESTAURANTS, BARS, THEATRES ORDERED CLOSED
Gov. Jay Inslee announced that restaurants, bars, health and fitness clubs, entertainment and recreational facilities will be shut down statewide to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus after midnight tonight. Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out, drive through and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted. The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy. Details were not released on the types of retail businesses that would be affected.
[From Bellingham Herald]

LEAVE SOME FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR
Especially items labeled WIC. Parents on WIC can’t choose a different brand of beans or cereal. As long as you can, please do!
https://medium.com/wadepthealth/leave-some-for-your-neighbor-5bd7b941e332
Jennifer Karchmer

CHILD CARE
”Even if they are your parents. And even if they are begging to provide childcare. For the health and safety of the loving grandparents, consider whether it’s possible for your family to find an alternate source of backup childcare,” the health department wrote in a press release Saturday, March 14.
▪ Consider sharing the care of small groups of kids with other neighbors who must work.
▪ Take kids outside to play rather than staying in crowded indoor spaces. Parks remain open and Whatcom’s weather is supposed to return to the 50s after a cold weekend.
▪ Watch for school district news. Some districts are continuing to provide meals and offer on-line learning.
[From Bellingham Herald]

ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITIES
My healthy and active dad lives with me so I had extra precautions to decide where to go out and with whom to socialize. I’m feeling relived today because over the weekend we made a good plan. In addition to washing hands, taking care not to share germs in the house, and social distancing, we will
– choose not to go to group events.
– socialize outside in fresh air.
– before and after socializing,
ask the people we are social with, including partners and their families, to inform us if anyone is sick in any way.
– inform the people we are social with if we develop any symptoms of sickness.
– I will do the grocery shopping (he will not go to places with lots of people).
– get outside for walks or bike rides at least once a day.
Laura Ridenour
Peabody Street

BLEACH DANGERS: DON’T MIX IT
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a32773/cleaning-products-never-mix/
2tbs bleach to 1 quart of water makes a disinfecting solution you can spray on surfaces and food and let dry to disinfect. Food safety and other disinfecting stuff is surprisingly simple. Letting things air dry after getting the bleach treatment is key.

March 15 Neighborhood Update

TRESPASSING & BURGLARY ON UTTER ST
I caught a man stealing from the shed inside my yard on the 2700 block of Utter St. today at 5:15 PM. He was at my backdoor around 3:00 PM, asking to take an old BBQ from the alley. He returned two hours later, and my husband saw him on our doorbell camera and called to tell me that he was on our back porch again. When I looked outside, he wasn’t there. I went to my side window and found him stealing tools from our shed. I called 911, and they were able to find him along with a bag of stolen items. I was able to identify tools stolen from our shed, but there are items belonging to other people in the bag as well. The patrol officer Tori James told me to reach out to the neighborhood, especially close neighbors, to see if they find anything missing and if so, to contact her at (360) 778-8839 with the case number 20B-16291 to claim any missing items.
Diana Lim
Utter St.

March 15 Corona Virus Update

THE REASON NOT TO GATHER – DATA FOR WHATCOM COUNTY
From Heather Shepherd
Dear Friends,
There is a lot of COVID-19 data floating around out there. Here are some numbers estimated for Whatcom County recently sent. It helped me put this pandemic into perspective. I hope it can do the same for you.
– Number of hospital beds in Whatcom County: 253
– Number of ICU beds in Whatcom County: 24
– St Joesph Medical Center hospital census this last month has ranged from all 253 beds occupied to ~53 hospital beds available (prior to any confirmed COVID-19 cases).
– Number of individuals in Whatcom County greater than 65 years of age: >40,000
– Estimated hospitalization rate for COVID-19 infections: ~15% with “severe illness” (defined as respiratory failure requiring oxygen support).
– Estimated ICU rate for COVID-19 infections: ~5% with“critical illness” (defined as organ failure)
– Average length of stay for hospitalized COVID-19 patients: several weeks
Applying the numbers: If just 1% of our over 65 population becomes infected with COVID-19 in the next week, we can expect the need to hospitalize 60 patients (15%) with “severe illness” and an additional 20 patients (5%) with “critical illness”. As you can see, this already exceeds the supply of hospital and ICU beds in Whatcom County, and we know these ill patients will occupy those beds for weeks. This situation of the hospitals/ICUs being completely overwhelmed by COVID-19 is exactly what is happening in Italy.
As we ride this out remember that we are a community. Practice all the things that are being recommended (social distancing/hand washing/stay home, etc). Take care of one another, practice generosity. Call the elderly. Identify what you have (time, energy, resources) and find a way to safely share it with others.

LISTS OF HELPERS!
Someone has created a Google spreadsheet to gather names of people willing to help out their neighbors all across Bellingham, organized by neighborhood:
tinyurl.com/bhamhelpers

There is also a Facebook group, also organized by neighborhoods:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/bellinghamcovid19helpers/
ht/t Alex Pandel
You can sign up on either or both, to offer or look for help. I am so delighted!

And here’s an article about similar groups in England, from Marcia Leister:
https://freedomnews.org.uk/covid-19-uk-mutual-aid-groups-a-list/

You don’t have to wait to start contacting your immediate neighbors to organize mutual support on your block. If you don’t have their email or phone, leave a note with your own contact info, ask for theirs, and then share that with everyone who joins in so we can find each other.

If you know someone who is elderly or in frail health, see if you can set up a daily check-in. See if they have relatives who should know how to contact you and vice versa. We’ll all be safer if we knit our community together this way. Interdependence can support independence. We need each other now.

If one person is going to the store anyway, they can pick up stuff for others. We can reimburse each other using PayPal or other internet apps because they are touch-free. We’re all about to learn some new skills, but we can do this!!! You can start right now. You can teach me, and I’ll pass it on.

MORE HELP NEEDED
If anyone has TENTS you could spare, people without shelter could really use them. And a specific request for a pair of really warm women’s boots, size 10. Or men’s size 8. Thank you. You can bring them here to my house.
Fl!p Breskin
2518 Cherry
flip@columbianeighborhood.org

HEALTH DEPARTMENT CONFIRMED CASES
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Whatcom County
This information will be updated daily at 12:00pm, or sooner if significant developments occur. Last updated: Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 9:32 am
◦ **Confirmed Cases: 2
◦ *Negative Results: 95
◦ Deaths: 0

CIVILIZATION
…Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
**Ira Byock, in his book The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (Avery, 2012)

MAP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD SIGN-UPS
Names have been streaming in. I am delighted! For those who haven’t yet considered this, I will be hosting a virtual (on-line) meeting for people willing to host their own block (also on-line only) for a Map Your Neighborhood session on helping each other through this emergency together. Email me with your name, address, phone and say it’s for MYN and I’ll get you on a list and email back with possible times. Right now I’m getting some additional training specific to epidemics. But soon!

CHILDCARE
It is a calculated risk to bring people together. Yet there are parents who must go to work in health care, groceries or other critical services. Try to keep your sharing circles compact. Families sharing care will want to consider and keep track of whether anyone in their group has been exposed. Check the new Helper lists at the top of today’s Update to offer or seek help.
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/ParentsCaregivers

STATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE POSSIBILITIES
I don’t know whether any of this will come through or not, but it may be worth checking. State government structures & employees are scrambling to try to meet our needs. Be kind to them please.
https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/newsroom/COVID-19/covid-19-scenarios-and-benefits.pdf

PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT
https://dfi.wa.gov/coronavirus-financial-resources
ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition. Visit: https://paidleave.wa.gov/ • I
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/Resource%20List%20for%20WA%20State%20Businesses%20and%20Workers%20Impacted%20by%20Coronavirus.pdf

PARTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT
Some people who are losing significant hours without paid time leave due to CoVid-19 might be able to go online to file a claim for partial unemployment benefits. Or call 800-318-6022.
esd.wa.gov

UPDATE FROM AN EPIDEMIC
This is someone to follow for real, compassionate, accurate information from the trenches. “This is truly not about you getting exposed, but your responsibility to not give it to someone else.”
https://betsybrownmd.substack.com/p/march-13-2020?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=facebook

WARMING OUR WORLD
Oh my dear neighbors! You’ve been magnificent. Yesterday morning my front entry was filled by an amazing stream of neighbors and friends bearing sleeping bags, coats, hats, gloves, warm socks, beautiful hand-knit hats and scarves and sweaters, everything you could think of and spare. And cash donations – almost $350! Jana came and picked it all up around noon and crammed it in her car. And I do mean crammed! Trunk, backseat, everywhere but just room to squish in the driver. Jana took it to Shari, who got tearful, and then went and bought tarps with a bunch of the cash and handed your gifts out today, with tarps to wrap around the sleeping bags to help cut the bitter wind. THANK YOU!
If you didn’t yet contact our city and county government to ask for emergency shelters to be opened, it would still be useful. You can still bring things here, and Jana will pick them up.

CDC: HANDWASHING TEMPERATURE DOESN’T MATTER (!?)
From the Center for Disease Control’s “Show Me the Science — How to Wash Your Hands”:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Why? Because hands could become recontaminated if placed in a basin of standing water that has been contaminated through previous use, clean running water should be used. However, washing with non-potable water when necessary may still improve health. The temperature of the water does not appear to affect microbe removal; however, warmer water may cause more skin irritation and is more environmentally costly. Turning off the faucet after wetting hands saves water, and there are few data to prove whether significant numbers of germs are transferred between hands and the faucet.

PERSPECTIVE
We live in a culture that idolizes action and struggle, gun-slingers and ass-kickers. But gun-slingers are no use today, if they ever were. You know who’s going to make a difference in this crisis, who’s going to save lives? The patient, the cautious, the careful, the caring, the steadfast, the nervous, the slightly obsessive, the checkers and double-checkers, the cooks, the cleaners, the good neighbors, the kid wranglers, the meal deliverers, the errand runners, the wash-your-hands naggers, the care-givers, the home schoolers, the late-night tale tellers, and the chicken soup makers.
I see you. You are my people. This could be our finest hour.
Rosalind Reynolds

UPDATED RELIABLE SOURCES
From Victor Street neighbor Greg Hope, who works in emergency management.
• http://whatcomcounty.us/ncov
• http://www.whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19
• https://www.doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus
• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
• https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.  Open 7 days, 6 AM to 10 PM. [I talked with them yesterday and they did their best to help. ~Fl!p]

TAKING IT SERIOUSLY
I’m looking at Passover Over The Internet this year. Since I subscribed to Zoom for a year, I can lead my big family gathering this way. I love my family and want them to stay home. Not just to protect themselves, but even more, to protect Everyone.
Love/Fl!p

JOYFUL CONNECTION
https://www.today.com/news/moving-videos-show-italians-singing-during-coronavirus-quarantine-t175966

March 13 Corona Virus Update

“Here is the thing to understand about flattening the curve.
It only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
And if it works, people will think we over-reacted.
We have to be willing to look like we over-reacted.”
Kaila Colbin

STAY HOME
Whatcom County still has only one confirmed case as of today, Friday March 13, at 4:45. Staying home is how we keep the numbers low. In-person City Of Bellingham governmental meetings will be limited to 10 or fewer participants. It would be good if almost all of us followed that guideline. There are people who really can’t. Ask yourself if you are really one of them. A Lummi Indian Business Council employee has tested positive for COVID-19, but they live in King County so you can start breathing again for the moment. Their contacts are being traced. We’re wishing them luck and health.

SCHOOLS TO CLOSE MONDAY
From the Bellingham Herald
The closure will include all public and private schools for levels K through 12 in every district across the state, Inslee said, and will must begin by Tuesday, March 17, and will extend through April 24.
Inslee said a restriction also will be placed on all colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools, preventing in-person education on campus.
Inslee said he made the decision after statewide confirmed coronavirus positive tests climbed by more than 400 in four days and deaths in the state climbed to 37 on Friday. He added that COVID-19 has spread to 15 of the state’s counties that combine to represent 75% of the state’s population.
Bellingham Public Schools announced that it would begin the closure a day earlier than Inslee mandated on Monday, March 16. The Blaine, Lynden, Nooksack Valley, Meridian and Mount Baker districts said they also will be closed Monday. Ferndale will close Tuesday.
I phoned the district earlier today. They’re working on the challenges as hard as they possibly can, including how to continue meals for hungry students. Here’s a link to the most current info:
https://bellinghamschools.org/news/covid-19-march-12-update/
From Bellingham Public Schools:
Everyone, please keep in mind that this is an unprecedented situation and we, along with hundreds of school systems across the country, are working hard to plan and communicate. We ask that you please hold on emailing questions to teachers and other staff. As questions arise, please consult webpage and the links on it. District staff will follow up with you as soon as possible. The decision to close raises all kinds of questions and implications including childcare needs for our staff and families, school meals, graduation, and much more. We are working on plans to address a range of impacts, and we will be in communication as we work through these challenges. We are also working with our community partners to determine how to best mitigate the impact of our closure.

WHATCOM COUNTY CASES
As of 4:45 today, March 13, 2020
◦ 1 ◦ The total number of confirmed cases (test results that are positive for COVID-19).
◦ 35 ◦ The total number of negative results (test results that are negative for COVID-19).
◦ 0 ◦ Total number of deaths due to COVID-19.

EMERGENCY HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE CLOSED
Please contact the Mayor’s Office <mayorsoffice@cob.org> and County Executive’s Office <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us> to ask for their help. The city has not reopened the emergency shelters despite the freezing weather. We know governments are overwhelmed right now, but this is one of the urgent issues. The cold weather will not wait. The remaining shelters are jammed such that social distancing is not possible. We have night time temperatures in the low 30s and wind chill factors into the teens. Those among us who have no shelter are at high risk of the pandemic as well as the weather. Please donate good gloves, sleeping bags and blankets, warm coats, socks, hats, and money. Donations can be brought to my house, or call me and I’ll help you figure out how to connect. 360-671-4511. Thank you to the people who have brought me warm supplies!

FOLKS WILLING TO SHOP
There are folks willing to pick up groceries and such. Let me know if you need stuff, and I’ll pass the word to them.

“Here is the thing to understand about flattening the curve.
It only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
And if it works, people will think we over-reacted.
We have to be willing to look like we over-reacted.”
Kaila Colbin

March 12 Neighborhood Update

DOUBLE-CHECK EVENTS & DONATE
If you’re planning on going to an event, it’s a good idea to double-check that it hasn’t been cancelled. And if it has, and you can afford to, you might donate to the artists or event because it means they’ve lost their income stream. We’d like to have them back in the future! And please let me know of cancellations. Zeke and I cancelled our tour to Oregon at the end of this month. Our hosts are willing to reschedule in the future.
Consider donating to your favorite restaurants and other businesses as well, to help them survive this outbreak.

PERSON TO PERSON

BEACH CLEAN-UP FOR WORLD WATER DAY
Sunday, March 22nd, 10:00 a.m., Squalicum Beach parking lot in Bellingham |RSVP on Facebook
Water deserves a day of celebration more than, say, Columbus. Participants get a pass for a FREE yoga class and an entry to win a sunset sailing cruise from Gato Verde!

END OF LIFE PLANNING
[From my friend Micki Jackson
For those who need further impetus to complete their healthcare advance directive, look no further than the novel coronavirus. This virus and the resulting disease state, COVID-19, could adversely impact our already over-burdened U.S. medical care system.
Will the COVID-19 epidemic be limited?  No one knows, but even if it is, the planning efforts currently underway by government agencies, hospitals, clinics, health departments, research facilities, and others will not be wasted, because the planning is good preparation for the next 21st century disaster or pandemic.
Healthcare facilities could experience severe capacity demands, which could be mitigated to some extent if people have documented their healthcare wishes prior to illness and possible hospitalization. When we complete our advance directive, we help our professional care providers better manage potentially lifesaving resources, especially if our region is in the throes of an epidemic.
Whatcom County has multiple resources to assist with advance care planning (ACP), including the presentation, The Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions and follow up ACP workshops. An upcoming Realities’ talk is scheduled March 19, at the Cordata Community Co-op at 6:30PM; follow up workshop on March 25, same time/same venue.
For information: https://www.healthministriesnetwork.net/calendar
ACP should be done before accident, illness — or disaster — strike. Let’s not put ourselves, our family, our professional healthcare providers, nor our community into impossible situations. We are all in this together.

CAPTIONING SERVICES FOR STREAMED EVENTS
Hello there, I am a TypeWell Transcriber (www.typewell.com) providing meaning-for-meaning (i.e. not word for word but slightly condensed for ease of reading) transcription for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. With the recent move online of Whatcom Community College, I have lost nearly all of my hours there. I am available to caption streamed events that may have moved online due to the increasing self-quarantines. This service is normally $50/per hour of content, but I am open to reducing rates in order to support the community in this time of need. Captions can be read by any web-enabled device. Contact me for more information. Thanks!
Rachel Ballard
Walnut Street
rachelroseballard@gmail.com

LITTLE SQUALICUM ALERT
The streams that run through Little Squalicum Park off-leash dog area are BRIGHT green. All the way down to and including Squalicum beach. Whatcom Department of Health had no idea what it is, and the Department of Ecology said that they looked at it and it doesn’t *appear* to be toxic but also wasn’t sure what it was. You might want to avoid that area for a few days.
Rory O’Connor
Walnut Street

POSTPONED:
Whatcom Chorale’s “Life’s Harmonies” concert on Sunday, March 22, 2020 with guest artist (and local pianist) Henry From, at First Congregational Church of Bellingham. We hope to reschedule the concert later this year.  http://www.whatcomchorale.org
B U G (Bellingham Ukulele Group) has postponed their activities for now.
Many other activities have also been postponed. Check before you go.

EVENT STREAMING SET-UP
My friend Nellie Korn is a professional sound person. She has volunteered to stream the funeral of a friend of mine this afternoon. I asked her, and she has free time coming up because so many events are being cancelled. Nellie has the skills to set up businesses, churches, funeral homes, and other gathering places so they can start live-streaming events. And she can teach the new users how to run that equipment.

KAREN WEILL & LARRY HILDES
I don’t know if there are folks in our neighborhood familiar with Karen & Larry. They have been community activists for years all around our region. I’m sorry to say that Karen died a few days ago of cancer. Her funeral is at 1:00 PM today. I’ve been helping set up live-streaming for folks like me who are staying at home. It will stream over my facebook page, which is set to public. If you want to watch and need help getting on, please contact me by 12:30, because I want to be able to play attention during the funeral.
Love/Fl!p

March 12 Corona Virus Update

EQUIPMENT TO LOAN
Since some families may be taking elders out of institutions and suddenly dealing with complicated care issues, I would be willing to loan equipment I acquired while caring for a family member.  Our main issues were 1) balance and fall risk, intermittent loss of walking ability and 2) memory loss
So I have:
1) walkers, transport chair, transport chair that can climb stairs but needs new batteries, 8 foot 80 pound aluminum foldable wheelchair ramp, mattress alarms that beep when a person gets out of bed, baby monitors, pneumatic lift to get a person up after a fall without hurting yourself if the person is not seriously hurt but cannot get up, electric chair that goes up and down in bathtub and can also help get a person off the floor, button that can be used to beep for help in another part of the house or maybe next door.
2) web based nanny cams, you would have to arrange and pay for the service, also a one button telephone that a cognitively limited person can use to telephone you for help.
Some of the items might also be useful for monitoring individuals in quarantine.
Mary Anne Pultz
Victor Street
Please leave message at 360 738 1633

COMING FREEZE AND HOMELESS FOLKS UPDATE
Snow & power outages are possible. We have night time temperatures in the low 30s and wind chill factors into the teens. It will warm up into the high 30s and mid-40s during the day and plunge again at night. Once again, those among us who have no shelter are at high risk. Please donate good gloves, sleeping bags and blankets, warm coats, socks, hats, and money. Donations can be brought to my house, or call me and I’ll help you figure out how to connect. 360-671-4511.

INDOOR PARK CANCELLATION
The open playtime at Immanuel Bible Church will not be held this Friday, March 13

EQUIPMENT TO LOAN
We have a portable aluminum wheelchair ramp here. Also Mom’s alert buttons. We could loan them if someone needs them right now.

HOLDING AT ONE CASE
Whatcom County still has only one confirmed case as of this morning. Nineteen under investigation, and 18 negatives. The test does not appear to yield false positives, though it can yield false negatives. But fingers crossed, we may be doing well.

FLATTENING THE CURVE
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart:
https://www.vox.com/2020/3/10/21171481/coronavirus-us-cases-quarantine-cancellation
Our big job is to slow down contagion. One difficulty is that we are contagious before symptoms show, so the best move is for everyone to stay home. Let friends know if you get sick, and phone for medical help if it gets hard to breathe. We lack hospital capacity for managing masses of people with severe pneumonia. Please stay home if you possibly can. If you’ve got to go out, offer to pick up stuff for your neighbors. We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy was my source for “contagion before symptoms show.” They also say data generally backs a 2-week quarantine.

REFUTING INACCURATE ADVICE
World Health Organization refutes viral claims that holding your breath can test for COVID-19. Facebook posts shared thousands of times a claim that holding your breath for more than 10 seconds is an effective test for the novel coronavirus, and that drinking water regularly can prevent the disease. The claims are false; the World Health Organization and other experts said there was no evidence to support these claims.

MORE ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
One other thing to add to Carol’s info about the health exchange’s SEP… The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has used Inslee’s declaration of emergency to create an emergency order that health insurance carriers who are regulated through the state of WA must cover COVID-19 testing with no cost shares (copays, deductibles, coinsurance). Those who test positive (or just need additional treatment) will still have cost shares for any treatment rendered, but the test itself should be covered. Insured individuals should confirm with their carrier – some out of state plans may have exclusions, while Medicare plans are overseen on a federal level and not by the state.
Laurel Larsen
(Licensed insurance producer)
Eldridge Ave

SHOPPING HELP?
A kind couple have reached out to say that they’re willing to do shopping runs for our elderly and immune-compromised neighbors in Columbia. For now, contact me, fl!p@columbianeighborhood.org. I’ll pass you on to them, just to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed. What a wonderful offer!

BELLINGHAM SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTER CLOSURES
The Whatcom Council on Aging is cancelling all Bellingham Senior Activity Center programs and closing the facility beginning March 12th until further notice. While we have not been instructed to close we feel it is our responsibility to protect our at-risk population by limiting interaction at this time.
Congregate Lunch Program (Senior Community Meals)
The regular congregate lunch program will close until further notice. The Whatcom Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels and More program is committed to ensuring seniors are able to access nutritious food during this very difficult time. Bellingham Senior Activity Center and our partner senior centers will provide meals for pick up during regular scheduled lunch hours. Please call your local senior center for details.
Meals on Wheels
There are currently no changes to the Meals on Wheels Program.  Meals on Wheels program will continue regular hot and frozen meal delivery for Meals on Wheels clients as long as staffing and volunteer capacity allows. If you are age 60 or older, homebound, and in need of meals please call 360-746-6480 or complete a request form at https://whatcomcoa.org/request-meals/.
Bellingham  360-733-4030

CITY PARKS AND REC
Arne Hanna Aquatic Center: Risk of in-water transmission is low, but crowded locker rooms and large groups in enclosed spaces such as the Aquatic Center spectator area should be avoided. All instructional programs will be cancelled. Passes will be put on hold until April 30th and extended the same number of days as the request was made. All large, City sponsored, public events will be cancelled through April 30. Participants in all operational programs will be notified and given the option for a full refund.

DON’T FLUSH SANITARY WIPES
Public Works renews request during COVID-19 response. Even  so-called flushable wipes need to go in the trash
The first official case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Whatcom County. The County Executive has declared a public health emergency and today the Governor announced community protection strategies.  The City of Bellingham has plans in place to ensure the continuity of essential services, including water delivery and wastewater removal. Utility customers have a role to pay, as well.  To protect oneself and help prevent the spread of this new virus it is important to wash hands with soap and water, stay home if ill, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces. For those who use sanitary wipes for this cleaning, it is important to know that “there is no such thing as a ‘flushable’ wipe.”
Eric Johnston, Bellingham’s interim Public Works director, says it is important for the effective continuity of the City’s sewage treatment process to keep those wipes out of the waste stream. “Wipes have to be pulled out of the City’s wastewater during collection and treatment – they plug up the whole system,” said Johnston. “Please just put them directly into the trash, as that’s where they will end up.”

VIRUS
The first confirmed case of CoVid-19 was announced today on the Whatcom Health Department website. Fourteen tests are pending. The website in updated each day at noon, and immediately if anything has changed.
https://whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19
The Bellingham Herald has removed it’s paywall from articles about the virus.
https://www.bellinghamherald.com/

Please stay home if you can.

For more information
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information emerges on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also follow DOH & Whatcom County on social media.

March 11 Corona Virus Update

VIRUS
The first confirmed case of CoVid-19 was announced today on the Whatcom Health Department website. Fourteen tests are pending. The website in updated each day at noon, and immediately if anything has changed.
https://whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19
The Bellingham Herald has removed it’s paywall from articles about the virus.
https://www.bellinghamherald.com/

Please stay home if you can.

For more information
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information emerges on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also follow DOH & Whatcom County on social media.

DOUBLE-CHECK EVENTS & DONATE
If you’re planning on going to an event, it’s a good idea to double-check that it hasn’t been cancelled. And if it has, and you can afford to, you might donate to the artists or event because it means they’ve lost their income stream. We’d like to have them back in the future! And please let me know of cancellations. Zeke and I cancelled our tour to Oregon at the end of this month. Our hosts are willing to reschedule in the future.
Consider donating to your favorite restaurants and other businesses as well, to help them survive this outbreak.

March 5 Neighborhood Update

DARK ROOM?
SU student seeking access to a dark room
Seattle University is going to online classes secondary to COVID-19 concerns.
My daughter is returning home for the rest of the quarter but would like to develop/process her film for her photography class.
All supplies used will be paid for.
Holmgren’s
360-303-6821 or harrietandrob@comcast.net
2212 Victor ST

GARDEN VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Maple Alley Inn, a program of Opportunity Council, prepares and serves hot meals to anybody who walks in the door. Volunteers grow food for the program at Faith Community Garden (next door to Faith Lutheran Church that hosts two of the meals), as much as 4000 pounds a year.
Volunteers participate in one or more of several weekly work parties, each lasting about two hours. Experience is not necessary; enthusiasm and a desire to help people is. Our volunteers range from Master Gardener and Master Composter to novices wanting to learn about gardening; from near-octogenarians to several who won’t be eligible for a driver’s license for about 10 years.
We are currently harvesting lettuce, spinach and bok choi, grown under cover, and preparing beds for beets, chard, cucumbers, tomatoes and other summer crops.
If you would like to join us, or learn more, please email me at oldwoodpile@comcast.net, or call at 360 647 5770.
Ed Wood
Garden Manager, Maple Alley Inn

SEEKING A GREAT HOUSE CLEANER
My husband and I are looking for a recommended house cleaner.  We seem to be working too much and don’t want to spend our precious weekend time catching up on chores!
~ 3 hours week. We have one dog and 2 cats that they’ll need to work around.
Debbie Alleman
archway88@comcast.net
360-739-4406 (cell)
Elizabeth Street

March 5 Corona Virus Update

CONNECTING
You might want to check in with your neighbors to see if anyone is particularly vulnerable to the virus. Safety could be as simple as a single daily text back and forth, and if the text doesn’t happen, a phone check-in. And if that doesn’t work, call for medical assistance for them. If everybody on your block has a buddy (and it doesn’t have to be you) we’ll all be much better prepared.

If you know folks who live in elder residences, this is a good time to phone them (or see if you can set up a video visit). Elder housing complexes are desperate to prevent transmission, as they should be. But the folks who live there can be stuck in their apartments or rooms and it can get boring and lonely. I remember when my folks lived at the Willows. They’d get locked down by some bug that someone had caught somewhere in the complex, for sometimes up to a week. My folks would go out of their minds. Do NOT go visit in person but it’s a good time to check in. And the same goes for any elderly or immunocompromised neighbors. Or far flung family and friends. It’s a good time to connect!

HOW HAND WASHING WORKS
From the incomparable Tom Noddy: Solid, understandable information
Soap and detergent molecules are odd.
One end of a soap molecule is a lot like grease, it doesn’t like water, it’s “hydrophobic”.
But the other end of soap molecules are “hydrophilic” they like water (they are attracted to water molecules, electrically, like when your socks are attracted to the other clothes in the drier).
So, unlike grease, soap goes into solution with water when each molecule works to attach itself to a nearby water molecule.
But meanwhile, the end that doesn’t like water is looking for some place to go to get away from the water. Everywhere it turns there is more water and water repels that end of the soap or detergent molecule … where can it go to get away from the water?
Well, if you can then offer it something, maybe something non-watery, maybe something dirty or greasy, then the end of the soap molecule that doesn’t like water can attach itself to the grease to get away from the water.
For the soap, that’s a perfect solution, the end that likes water is attached to a water molecule and the end that doesn’t is now attached to grease.
If you wipe it a bit then the soap molecules can and do completely surround the grease (and any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) that might be stuck to the grease). Then you can float that stuff away in the flood of soapy water.
So, no … soap doesn’t disinfect … it doesn’t kill virus but it can vastly lower the accumulation of them from your skin and remove the hiding places that could otherwise hold virus close.
A 60% alcohol solution is useful between the times that you can get yourself to soap and water but all of that alcohol is going to wreak havoc with your skin and it’s going to kill the good and bad bacteria and rework the ecosystem each time.
The first line of defense really is washing with soap (or detergent) and water.

SCIENCE BEHIND A BIG PICTURE
From someone I know and have confidence in.
https://bedford.io/blog/ncov-cryptic-transmission/

MAP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ORIENTATION
Thursday, March 26 6:00-7:30pm
Fireplace Conference Room
625 Halleck Street, Bellingham
This is a meeting for potential hosts. I have decided to postpone the meeting I had planned for next weekend and let folks go to this one instead. For more information, contact Victor Street neighbor Greg Hope at oem@cob.org or 360-778-8443.