Pierce Pioneer

Fully vaccinated people not required to quarantine

The CDC announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine after being in contact with people diagnosed with COVID-19

 

On February 10, the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine if they are in contact with someone that has COVID-19. However, this doesn’t mean that vaccinated people can ignore other CDC guidelines, as stated by CNN reporter Christopher Rios.

“[T]he CDC makes clear that vaccine trials have largely focused on preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19.” Rios stated. “That doesn’t mean people can’t catch the virus and spread it asymptomatically.”

The CDC states that there are three criteria needed to be met in order to not quarantine:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

“Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.” The CDC stated.

Almost all vaccines in Phase 3 use a two shot method; only one currently requires a single shot. For the vaccines that require two shots, there is a two week to three month window for the second shot to be administered. Currently it’s unknown if every vaccine fits the CDC’s requirements for “skipping quarantine.”

This is an ongoing story; as such, updates will continue to be released here as the CDC provides more future information.

UK COVID Strand Found at University of Washington

Between Dec. 25 and Jan. 20, 1,035 DNA samples were collected and tested at the University of Washington’s virology lab, two of which tested positive for the B.1.1.7 strain previously identified in the UK in September. 

Chris Spitters, a health officer for the Snohomish Health District says the district had already instituted standard case investigation, isolation, and contact tracing prior to learning about these cases; he adds that containment protocols will not be handled any differently than with standard COVID-19 cases.

In regards to vaccinations, UW medicine states that the current Pfitzer and Moderna vaccines will still be effective against new variants, but encourage taking extra precautions until then such as double masking, maintaining social distancing, and keeping your hands clean. “This new variant is 30%-50% more contagious than the original strain, so wearing masks and physical distancing is even more important,” UW stated.

The University of Washington encourages people to take extra care in following the CDC guidelines while awaiting their vaccinations. “[The] B.1.1.7 variant spreads the same way other coronaviruses spread; it’s just better at it,” UW stated. “Strictly following prevention measures is the best way to slow the spread of all variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Recommended steps to take in order to prevent contracting or spreading the B.1.1.7 variant are maintaining a social distance of up to 6-feet with people not in your household, avoiding crowds or poorly ventilated areas, washing your hands, staying home or away from others if you or someone around you is showing signs of COVID-19, getting vaccinated when you are eligible, and/or wearing a properly fitting mask with multiple layers if available.

The University of Washington states that wearing a facial covering with at least two-layers can block up to 80% of exhaled respiratory particles as well as inhaled and adding a double facemask can provide additional filtration.

The B.1.1.7 variant may sound scary and new for the residents of Snohomish and King county, but by taking the necessary prevention steps and staying vigilant with our health as well as our community’s can make the situation easier to contain and manage.

Pierce College Athletic’s Road to Recovery

Pierce College reopens sports and practices on campus following a 2020 press release

In a press release on Dec. 13, 2021 the Northwest Athletic Conference confirmed that all sports would return to play during the Winter quarter. After competition was suspended on March 17, 2020, no NWAC programs have stepped on the field together in official contests. The Covid-19 pandemic has barred student-athletes from competing and practicing when some programs haven’t competed since fall of 2019.

During the first week of February, all Pierce College sports were up and running, beginning their safe return to play. This marks the first time that all sports have competed during the same quarter, which adds pressure to scheduling and safety measures. 

According to the NWAC’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Policies manual, each NWAC competition will conduct a four-phase plan that will ease restrictions going forward. 

The first phase or grey phase includes a mandatory shelter-in-place where student-athletes are limited to essential travel only. This travel includes work, food shopping, mandatory labs and school-related responsibilities. Coaches are not permitted to hold in-person meetings or engage in socially distant workouts for two weeks.

Once the shelter-in-place is completed, practices are able to occur in person. Full team practices are not permitted, as small team training in pods of five or six must be followed. Each pod could practice on the same field, but no contacts between each divided group are allowed. Once two weeks of this process is finished, teams will be able to resume full team practices. 

Moving into the yellow phase, teams will be allowed to resume full team practices and sports facility gyms will be allowed to open. In every phase, teams are required to wear masks at all times, including in games. Although, these protocols are subject to change as the NWAC and Pierce College follows the guidelines set by Pierce County and Washington State health officials.

Since Pierce County is in phase two of Governor Inslee’s Road Map to Recovery, Pierce College competitions are allowed to practice in full roster capacity. Other counties who remain in phase one will have to stay in small group practices until they meet three out of the four Covid-19 restrictions. 

According to the NWAC, these restrictions include a 10% decrease in biweekly cases per 100,000 people, a 10% decrease in biweekly Covid-19 hospitalizations, an ICU occupancy of less than 90%, and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.

When the NWAC enters the blue phase, all competitions are allowed to resume. Although, competitions this year will look different due to the banning of all fan attendance. This came as a measure to mediate the risk of Covid-19 exposure to NWAC student-athletes.

Before each game and practice, each player and coach is required to complete an online Health Check form to be eligible for competition. Furthermore, before each team meeting, all players and staff must have their temperature taken to ensure no symptoms of Covid-19 are shown.

Games are expected to take place on March 1 and have a window to complete all competition until June 15. This wide window allows each program to complete approximately 20 games for all sports. All games are subject to change as Covid-19 restrictions can alter the road to recovery laid out by the conference and state.

The NWAC and Pierce College sports will not be the same without fans and the support of Pierce students but there are several ways to catch every competition. All games will be streamed online through the NWAC website where all games can be viewed online. Another location for streamed games is through the NWAC Youtube channel that will broadcast all competitions.

In our want to social distance, has ordering delivery actually brought financial strain to restaurant businesses?

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, third-party delivery apps such as Doordash, Grubhub, and Ubereats have seen double the amounts of customers and partnered businesses. Despite the large following these delivery apps have gathered, nobody seems to be on the winning side when it comes to ordering from them. To Irene Jiang of the Business Insider, restaurant owners may be losing money. 

“Diners are seeing their costs raised, either by delivery companies that need to pay delivery drivers or by the restaurant owners who raise prices to offset delivery fees,” Jiang stated. “And delivery drivers still make low, unpredictable wages frequently with no benefits.” 

Delivery services were popular pre-pandemic, but with the loss of dine-in options for many restaurants, delivery has become a way to substitute a loss of business and to help keep restaurants afloat. However, Jiang states that these local businesses are losing a large chunk of their money to pay for these delivery partnerships, approximately 30% in commissions. 

To offset these rates while supporting the community, look for restaurants that offer curbside pickup instead. Curbside pickup gives the restaurant all of the money directly and allows users and the restaurant staff to stay healthy and safe by social-distancing.

For those preferring delivery to takeout, Kerry Breen of Today would encourage checking to see if the restaurant delivers directly. “Third-party sites can charge restaurants a significant amount, meaning that only a small amount of what you’re spending goes to the restaurant you’re trying to support,” Breen stated. 

Delivery drivers are another piece of the food delivery puzzle, with drivers working on low salaries with little to no benefits during the COVID pandemic. Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura of the New York Times revealed that while drivers working for food delivery apps can earn as much as $22 per hour, including tips, many drivers say they’ve never earned anywhere close to that much.

Since many delivery drivers are relying on these apps for full time income while their places of employment are closed, it’s important to tip drivers as much as possible when placing an order. An even better way to help out your delivery drivers is to tip in cash, especially with apps like Doordash that use gratuities to provide their workers’ minimum wages. 

The blog  Maid Sailors backs this up by saying when tipping a Dasher in cash, DoorDash has no record of it. “Instead, they see that the driver has not made the minimum guaranteed amount for the order, so they kick in the amount required to meet that minimum,” Maid Sailors stated. 

“On top of that, the driver receives the cash tip that you provided. This increases the driver’s total pay for the delivery without costing you an extra penny. In addition, paying cash makes the Dasher a happier person as they can readily use the money and not have to wait until payday.”

By following some of the examples above – ordering from local deliveries, doing curbside pickup, and paying attention to the pay models of different delivery apps – customers can help our local businesses and delivery workers while not doubling the cost of a single meal.

Writen by, Lizbeth Martinez-Santos

Grocery stores in the Pierce and King County area have seen a spike in shoppers, with many aisles empty approaching the holidays. This follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement Nov. 15, which would have state-wide restrictions on social gatherings taking place until Dec. 14.

In a matter of hours following the announcement, people began stockpiling groceries from store to store, buying food and supplies. One such store hit hard by panic-buyers includes Costco, as the store quickly sold out of items such as bottled water and toilet paper.

As reported by Kara Kostanich from Komo News, panic-buying across the region had grown worse within 24 hours of the announcement. “A small line formed outside Costco in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood,” Kostanich stated. “A drastic difference from Sunday when lines wrapped around Costco warehouses across Puget Sound.” At one point, Costco placed a white board outside their store which listed what they did and did not have in stock.

Shopping increased over the last two weeks, but not because of the holidays. Despite being around the corner, shoppers aren’t actually thinking of the holidays at all. Most shoppers are simply looking to have enough to eat this Thanksgiving week. According to an annual report conducted by the WSU Insider, 83% of shoppers do not plan to do any in-store shopping for Thanksgiving, while 77% said the same for Black Friday.

As stores like Costco or Winco continue to resupply during the uprise in buyers, shoppers could consider visiting other stores not hit as hard by shoppers, such as Target. As of Nov. 25, Target continues to have most of its supply in stock. El Jalapeño, a small business located on 1012 72nd St E in Tacoma, is another grocery store stocked with food and supplies, having in-store shopping for all customers.

Shoppers should look into attending smaller stores within their community if trying to avoid big crowds or a shortage in supply. Going to stores such as Fred Meyer and Target make good alternatives for places like Costco. More information will be available on this topic in the following weeks.

Statewide Restrictions for Washington Are Here

Washington State issues a statewide four-week restriction on social gatherings amidst rising COVID-19 cases, taking full effect following Monday, Nov. 15. These restrictions will carry through the upcoming holidays, including Thanksgiving, with a suspected end-date of Dec. 14. This announcement comes from Gov. Jay Inslee during a press conference held on Sunday.

Inslee spoke on a potential third wave of cases projected to hit Washington during the holidays, this being the restriction’s main motivator. “Inaction here is not an option,” Inslee said. “We have to take bold, decisive action and we are doing that today.”

“Average daily cases in [Washington] have doubled just in the last two weeks. It cannot go on like this. We have to get this under control, or our medical system will soon be overwhelmed.”

As reported by Google statistics, Washington has seen a sharp increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,753 new cases being last reported on Monday alone. Washington state currently has 135,365 confirmed cases, with Pierce County making up 14,453 of these cases. This follows the increase of cases in Pierce County by 2,694 people since Nov. 2.

Source: www.governor.wa.gov An infographic of new cases in Washington State provided by Governor Jay Inslee

Monday’s new restrictions will primarily affect indoor gatherings and operations, as Inslee aims to limit the amount of in-person contact. K-12, higher education, child care, and court related proceedings will not be affected by new restrictions however, as stated by the Medium. Restaurants will also continue to provide take-out and delivery services as before.

Indoor gatherings have been prohibited, with gathering capacities being no more than five people at a time. Restaurants and bars will be closing indoor services as well, with religious gatherings, in-store retail and grocery stores limiting to 25% capacity. Fitness facilities and gyms will also close, alongside zoos, aquariums, bowling alleys, movie theaters and museums. 

For those looking to best prepare for upcoming restrictions, this week would be the week to get groceries and supplies. As these restrictions approach and certain facilities begin closing, shoppers have already begun stockpiling groceries and cleaning supplies, similarly to when restrictions were first introduced in March. Whatsmore, with Thanksgiving only a week away, there may be a potential shortage in groceries, as more places across the country report a rise in shoppers.

The Washington Emergency Management Division has since released a statement on Monday regarding the increase in shoppers this week. “We see the bare shelves in some places and recognize that some folks are panic buying,” the division states.

“Grocery stores are continuing to receive supplies like normal. The supply chains will remain strong as long as people only buy what they need. Don’t forget your mask and to maintain social distance in stores and please stay patient with hardworking employees, who are just trying to do their job.”

These restrictions will be here until Dec. 14. For more information on COVID-19 in Washington state and the current guidelines being placed by county, Inslee regularly reports any announcements on his personal site. Any further information and updates will be provided here until then.

Pierce College Facing Budget Cuts Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Ciara Williams , Staff  Illustration

As the 2020-2021 school year approaches, Pierce College prepares for potential budget cuts due to a wide state fund decline.

On May 11, Pierce College Chancellor Michele Johnson sent out a mass email stating that Pierce College will be experiencing budget cuts in the 2020-2021 school year. As a response, the college is preparing a budget development process that is taking place over the next few months.

Pierce College braces for budget cuts as high as 20 percent. While that percent only accounts for less than half of Pierce’s revenue, according to Johnson, that still is a 10 percent reduction, adding up to around $6 million.

“This work will be difficult and unfortunately, painful,” Johnson stated. “There is no way to handle revenue declines of this magnitude without pain. Departments throughout the college will need to rethink and retool their entire operation.”

Along with Pierce College, multiple other state agencies could face general fund reductions of 15 to 20 percent or higher. This is due to a large decline in Washington State’s general fund revenue. 

“Currently, state officials and legislators are still trying to understand the full extent of the issue,” Johnson stated. “But preliminary forecasting by the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council points to a very large decline in revenue that started in March and could continue for several years.”

Pierce College has made a temporary plan, in hopes of getting the college’s budget through the summer and parts of fall. “Over the next few weeks, the Budget Team and the Budget Planning Groups will be working on ideas and concepts to build a temporary spending plan to present to the Board of Trustees in June,” Johnson stated. “The proposed budget will be reviewed by the District Cabinet and presented to the Board of Trustees in October for approval.”

The Budget Team is currently formed around large groups of departments and divisions throughout the district, including Instruction, Student Services, Self-Support Programs, Facilities/Safety, and Institutional Support Services, as stated by Johnson.

Many questions still remain, such as what departments will be affected by these budget cuts the most, as well as programs or student resources. However, as the months go by, Johnson assures staff that Pierce will continue to answer questions and address the situation.

“The Budget Team and college leadership will continue to share information, involve constituents, and be open and transparent in this process.”

Going Back Home During a Pandemic

Joy Kim, a videographer for the Pioneer, went back to home due to COVID-19. She talks about how Korean government operate a measures for returnees to South Korea.

Videographer: Joy Kim
Editor: Joy Kim
Future Image: Ciara William
Logo Intro: Jesus Contreras, Kyla Roygor

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library
Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1
Music used: Playdate - The Great North Sound Society, Natural - Endless Love

 

Covid-19 for International students from Asia at Pierce College

Description: These days, Coronavirus is spreading out all over the world. Pierce College has a lot of international students from Asia. Today, I am going to interview them about Covid-19 of their home countries.

 

Videographer: Jesus Contreras

Editor: Haein (Joy) Kim

 

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library

Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1

 Music used: Marigold by Quincas Moreira: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1

 

Closures and Available Services Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Kotone Ochiai / Staff Photographer

On Mar. 12, Washington State governor Jay Inslee announced the closures of all private and public K-12 schools from Mar. 17 to Apr. 24. This would later extend to colleges and universities the following weekend, as the state continues monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus.

Inslee later announced on Mar. 15 that bars, restaurants, gyms, clubs, and other gathering areas with 50 or more people would be temporarily shut down statewide. As reported by the Seattle Times, Washington leaders wish to avoid any unnecessary interactions over the next two weeks.

Coffee shops, food courts, barber shops, hair salons, youth sports, theaters and bowling alleys will also close come Monday, Mar. 16. “Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and hardware stores will remain open,” the Seattle Times states.

All Pierce College campuses will be restricting social interactions and in-person courses come Tuesday, Mar. 17, and will be moving to a predominantly online instructional environment until Apr. 24.

The campuses themselves will remain open however, as Spring quarter classes will still be available. “Labs, clinics and other on-campus activities can continue if social distancing is imposed, which is defined by the Governor as keeping people at least six feet apart,” the email states.

In a previous email released by Pierce College on Mar. 13, it states that Campus Safety, IT, Facilities, Finances, Center for Global Scholars, and Payroll will remain on campus during these closures. Financial Aid will also continue to be fully available.

Pierce College has made the following updates to what will and will not be available on all campuses:

  • Concerts that were to be streamed are now fully cancelled.
  • Our Barnes and Noble Bookstore is open and enforcing social distancing protocol. They are also providing free shipping for online sales and for returning books at the end of the quarter.
  • Food services will be closed Mar. 17 to Apr. 24. Food is available in the Bookstore and vending machines.
  • The Nourish Food Truck will continue to be available on its regular schedule.
  • The Library and other campus resources will take measures to enforce social distancing.
  • The Northwest Athletic Conference has suspended all spring sports competition until April 13.
  • Human Resource interviews for new employees will be moved to online interviews.​

Any changes to this list will be implemented as soon as it’s available to the Pioneer, as we continue to keep students informed.

Washington State death tolls continue to rise amidst Coronavirus panic

Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / Courtesy Photo
An intensive care unit treating coronavirus patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, the virus’s epicenter.

On Mar. 8, between 102 – 136 Coronavirus cases have been made in King County, with death tolls being between 16 – 19 and rising. Of the 136 cases reported, 86 of those affected were of the ages of 50 and older. Authorities request that citizens 60 and older, as well as pregnant women, avoid populated places and remain home for their own safety. 

Kiro7 stated, “Sixteen of those who died in King County were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks.”

Although there were no confirmed cases in King and Pierce County schools, some have taken safety measures to prevent the spread of germs. Clover Park Technical College took safety measures and have closed down their campus for a deep clean.

Due to being closer to the outbreak, The University of Washington in Seattle cancelled classes until the end of winter quarter. This is to try and prevent those from getting the virus.

“Friday morning, the University of Washington said though its campuses would remain open, classes would no longer be meeting in person starting Monday, Mar. 9 through the end of winter quarter on Mar. 20,” Kiro7 said. “The university’s president said that remote learning will be utilized when possible, but also notified staff that in some cases, they may need to submit grades based on work.”

While Pierce College Fort Steilacoom hasn’t taken those measures, Choi Halladay, vice president of administrations, announced in an email that Pierce is closely monitoring the Coronavirus. “Currently, leadership is working closely with public health officials to keep up to date regarding the virus and potential impacts to the college, and we are developing additional plans to mitigate those impacts,” Halladay stated.

Faculty has existing plans for emergency management specific for responding to a pandemic outbreak. Pierce is providing fact sheets in all languages from the Washington State Department of health for the Coronavirus online on their websites.

The amount of cases coming in for testing has made it harder to detect those with the virus; this makes it important to be aware and take all measures to protect oneself from getting sick. 

Public Health for Seattle & King County states, “If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Isolate yourself and wear a mask before leaving the house. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.”

Updated March 13th, 2020 at 2:04pm

As of Mar. 12, Washington State governor Jay Inslee has ordered all private and public K-12 schools to close from Mar. 17 to April 24.

As reported by the Seattle Times, Chris Reykdal, state school’s chief states, “Our [school] systems need to be prepared for a potentially longer closure in the near term, and [without a vaccine] we have to be prepared that this is back in the fall or still with us in the fall.”

In response, Pierce College emailed early morning on Mar. 13 that all campuses will be moving to teaching classes online. 

“As Pierce College moves to limit face-to-face instruction starting Tuesday, Mar. 17, we also need to reduce the number of staff on campus to implement social distancing guidelines, while still providing services to students and opportunities for employees to work,” the email states.

Campus Safety, IT, Facilities, Finances, Center for Global Scholars, and Payroll will remain on campus during these closures. However, students and professors are not required to be on campus during this time.

More updates will be available as the weeks pass.

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