December 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Nobody doubts that when Dr. Maxine Hayes retires at the end of this year she’ll still be giving advice about how to avoid catching the flu.
“Wash your hands!” the state health officer is fond of saying at this time of year. For 16 years, Hayes has advised governors and secretaries of health not only on influenza outbreaks, but on a wide variety of public-health issues, including disease investigation, health promotion, chronic disease prevention, and emergency response.
“Maxine has served our agency, the people of our state, and the public-health system incredibly well and will be greatly missed,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman in a statement. “She’s well-known and admired on a national level, and we’re grateful to have had such a wonderful leader and champion of public health in our midst for all of these years.”
Dr. Kathy Lofy, an agency medical epidemiologist, will serve as acting state health officer beginning Jan. 1. As a consultant to the health department’s offices of communicable disease epidemiology and infectious disease, Lofy oversees influenza surveillance. She is the state’s former epidemic intelligence service officer and foodborne disease epidemiologist. (more…)
December 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM
Washington state Liquor Control Board members signaled today they will recommend to lawmakers that medical-marijuana patients be allowed to continue growing pot in their homes.
Board members would allow qualified patients, or designated providers, to grow up to six plants, three flowering and three non-flowering. A formal recommendation, expected at next week’s board meeting, would reverse a proposal by staff at three state departments — Health, Revenue and the Liquor Control Board (LCB) – to outlaw home growing.
That proposal was the most controversial of those made by the staff. In public comments about the proposals, keeping home grows was the most common request, made by 362 people. Advocates said home growing would provide patients with more affordable marijuana and rare strains, believed to have therapeutic qualities, that they might not find in dispensaries or new recreational retail stores.
“We’re all in agreement on home grows,” said Sharon Foster, chair of the three-member board. Board members today discussed changes they’d like to see to staff proposals, but did not take formal action.
That will come next week, when members vote on recommendations due to the Legislature by Jan. 1. The hope is that lawmakers will reconcile the heavily taxed and regulated recreational system with the largely unregulated and untaxed medical system. If that is not done, state consultants have predicted the medical system would siphon customers from the new recreational system, and deter it from its goal of undercutting the illicit market.
December 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM
VANCOUVER, Wash. — The infant daughter of Washington state U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is back home in Camas this week after spending months under the supervision of doctors in California.
Herrera Beutler’s first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, was born prematurely in July with Potter’s Syndrome, a kidney and lung condition that’s typically fatal. She received dialysis treatments at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., and will eventually need a kidney transplant.
The Columbian reported Wednesday that Herrera Beutler is asking for “continued patience and prayers in the coming weeks as our family adjusts to life back home.”
The Republican congresswoman, who has been on leave since her daughter’s birth, also announced she would travel to Washington, D.C., to vote on a federal budget deal. She had previously returned to take some votes, including one in October to end the partial government shutdown.
December 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM
Seattle Times staff and Associated Press reports
A boy who died on a Delta Air Lines flight Saturday passed away from natural causes likely related to a rare disease, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement Monday.
The boy was identified as Zachary Bisiar, 16.
“The cause of death is currently listed as ‘pending’ further microscopic and other studies, but is thought to be a rare complication of a rare disease process,” the medical examiner’s statement said.
Spokane Fire Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer told The Spokesman-Review that family members were traveling from Seattle to Atlanta that day because the boy’s father is being transferred from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the Tacoma area.
The boy had been cleared for the flight but suffered a medical emergency. His heart and breathing stopped. The crew performed CPR but couldn’t revive him.
The plane diverted to Spokane International Airport, where medics continued CPR without success.
Delta Air Lines Flight 128 had 258 passengers on board. Delta spokesman Michael Thomas says passengers later returned to the plane to complete their trip.
December 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM
A 24-year-old woman is being held in King County Jail after allegedly running over her husband during a fight that started at an office holiday party on Queen Anne on Saturday, according to Seattle police.
The couple decided to leave the party when they began to argue but continued fighting while at their car, which was parked in a lot in the 2000 block of 15th Avenue West, police said. The husband got out of the car and walked away as things became more heated, police said.
“He then noticed that his wife was maneuvering their black 2004 Mitsubishi Galant toward him so he sheltered behind a small tree at the edge of the parking lot. His wife drove over the tree, struck him with the car and ran over him. She then sped off down the road,” wrote Seattle Police Department spokesman Jeff Kappel in a post on the SPD Blotter.
A state trooper pulled the woman over when he saw her driving recklessly, police said. Seattle police also responded and booked the woman into jail on investigation of felony domestic violence assault.
King County Jail records show that she was denied bail.
The 34-year-old victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
December 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM
A burn ban is in effect in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties due to stagnant weather conditions and increasing levels of air pollution.
Puget Sound Clean Air Energy said the ban prohibits the use of fireplaces and uncertified woodstoves in all three counties. In addition, the use of pellet stoves and certified woodstoves is prohibited in Snohomish County where the ban is categorized as a Stage 2 ban.
The ban will continue until further notice but does not affect those who depend on a wood-burning device as their only source of heat, according to the agency.
“Calling a burn ban when it’s this cold out is not something we want to do, or that we take lightly,” Craig Kenworthy, the executive director of the agency, wrote in a news statement released Sunday. “People in our region have already been exposed to high levels of fine particle pollution a number of times this year. We’re asking people to use another source of heat for what we hope is a short time.”
The purpose of a ban is to reduce the amount of pollution due to excessive wood smoke. Violators could be subject to a $1,000 fine, the agency said.
December 5, 2013 at 5:26 PM
Some fast-acting teachers at Redmond’s Overlake School saved the life of a colleague today, according to a news release from that city’s fire department.
As recounted in the release, a 54-year-old music teacher collapsed during class and became unconscious. Hearing calls for help, teachers in nearby classrooms — one of whom is an instructor in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillation (AED) — hurried to help.
His colleagues “shocked” the 54-year-old and managed to re-establish a heartbeat, according to the release. The man was showing signs of life when Medic One and the fire department arrived. The man was taken to Evergreen Hospital and Medical Center, where he is said to be in stable condition, according to the release.
From the release:
“This group of teachers and staff definitely saved the life of their co-worker, according to Redmond Paramedics.”
“… The health teacher who provides CPR and AED courses to students at the Overlake School, as well as this group of teachers who were part of this lifesaving team had never seen a cardiac arrest. This real-life experience demonstrates the importance of delivering CPR education early on in the schools, as well as to the success of the community CPR programs. King County, WA has the highest resuscitation rate in world, which is over 50 %. This is because of the aggressive CPR and AED training programs and most importantly, the citizens, dispatchers and emergency responders who comprise the Medic One system.”
November 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM
The confirmation of a measles case in a King County infant has health officials asking the public to be on the lookout for symptoms of the infection and to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.
The infant was too young to have been vaccinated and likely was exposed to measles while overseas, according to a release from Public Health – Seattle & King County.
From Public Health:
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It is mainly spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
People at highest risk from exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under 6 months of age and those with weakened immune systems.
The King County baby may have exposed others during a contagious period at the following locations:
- Sea-Tac Airport, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: S Gate, customs, baggage claim
- Arbor Place Tower, 121 Vine Street: lobby and elevators
- Nov. 17, 1-5 p.m.
- Nov. 18, Noon-11 p.m.
- Nov. 19, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Nov. 23, 4–8:30 a.m.
- Nov. 25, 7-9 p.m.
- Nov. 26, Midnight–2 a.m.
- Rite Aid, 2603 Third Ave., Nov. 18, 1-3 p.m.
- Macy’s, 1601 Third Ave., Nov. 19, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Ross Dress for Less, 301 Pike St., Nov. 19, 1-3:15 p.m.
- Target, 1401 Second Ave., Nov. 19, 1:15-3:45 p.m.
- Ross Dress for Less, 17672 Southcenter Pkwy., Nov. 18, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
- Seafood City, 1368 Southcenter Mall, #100, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Public-health officials say the risk to the general public is low because most people are immune to measles through vaccination. Those who have not been vaccinated and may have been exposed should call for treatment if they notice the following symptoms: fever, red and watery eyes, and illness with an unexplained rash.
To prevent further spread of the disease, those who want to have a doctor evaluate them for possible infection should not go to a hospital or clinic without calling first. More information about measles is available in several languages at the Public Health – Seattle & King County website .
November 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM
What could be more boring than yet another public-service announcement reminding you how to prepare for earthquakes and other disasters?
Especially one with a crudely drawn cartoon?
But Bellevue’s Office of Emergency Management is sending that familiar message in the form of a video that jumps out of the usual ho-hum genre.
The words, delivered by a Sasquatch family and band, “Liv and the Survivors,” are delivered with an infuriatingly catchy rock beat and driving vocal recorded by musically inclined city bureaucrat, Inness Pryor.
Heaven help us if we end up walking around singing:
“Gotta survive, gotta stay alive,
“Gotta have supplies and a master plan.
“Gotta know your neighbors,
“Gotta build your kits,
“Gotta lend a helping hand.”
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
November 18, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Pot entrepreneurs eager to get into the state’s new recreational-marijuana industry started submitting license applications Monday.
By 2 p.m., 299 applications had been received at the state Department of Revenue (DOR), the first stop in the application process.
While business was brisk at DOR there were no long lines of pot entrepreneurs at the agency’s offices.
Everyone is being encouraged to apply on-line because it is more convenient, said DOR spokeswoman Beverly Crichfield. Still, some folks “just sort of trickled into” DOR offices Monday, Critchfield said.
There’s no rush for entrepreneurs (other than perhaps the thrill of applying) because the process is not first-come, first-served.
The state will accept applications for 30 days. It will then assign a marijuana investigator to each applicant, to make sure they comply with rules – such as a three-month residency requirement for applicants, their partners and financiers — and they have a viable business plan.
All applications received or postmarked by Dec. 19 will be reviewed. Applications submitted after Dec. 19 will be returned.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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