COVID cases up slightly


October 21, 2021

Gordon Weeks

On Monday, people gathered at the Shelton School District office building in downtown Shelton to again protest the district's accommodation policy for those receiving exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Mason County saw a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases last week, increasing six cases to 207.

There were five deaths in the last week, including three men, a 50-, 60- and 80-year old and two women, a 70- and 80-year old. The county death toll is 64.

The state cases are dropping but Mason County cases are holding, according to Mason County Area Command. Director of Community Services Dave Windom said he is scratching his head about why this is occurring.

"I'm wondering if we're a micropolitan community, meaning we service two metro areas in Kitsap and Thruston counties and the disease is being brought back here," Windom said. "Ours is not a typical epi-curve and is just not following that pattern. Seattle is following the same pattern as we are. Looking at data coming from Western Washington, there's probably a two-week lag and we generally follow about two weeks behind."

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Gov. Jay Inslee held a news conference last Thursday and announced a vaccine requirement for large events. Beginning Nov. 15, large events will be required to verify a proof of vaccination or a negative test within the last 72 hours for anyone 12 and older. This applies to indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees and outdoor events with more than 10,000 people.

The requirement applies to events such as conventions, concerts, sporting events, fairs and theme parks. It does not cover shopping malls, museums or grocery stores and religious services will be exempt.

"This is yet another step in an ongoing battle with this disease," Inslee said during the news conference. "We believe it is a very important one. It can help incentivize people to decide to get vaccinated and avoid the headache of having to get a test. We believe it will be yet another effective of the measures we have taken that have shown effect during this disease."

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Windom said he has looked at the new requirements from Inslee and does not believe that applies to any events in Mason County. If you are traveling to an event that fits the criteria outside of Mason County, you can obtain a negative test from Mason Health or the Hub and get results back within 24 to 48 hours. He also believes according to the mandate, you cannot use an at-home test as a negative test for entering events.

Windom said the county is preparing for pediatric vaccinations for children 5- to 11-years-old.

Inslee announced during the news conference that state workers are over 90% fully vaccinated as of Oct. 4.

"It is extremely gratifying because we now know there will not be a mass exodus of state employees," Inslee said. "We will be able to continue essential state services for the people of the state of Washington."

Inslee said the deadline to get vaccinated for state workers will not be extended and the deadline was Monday. There are still 1.6 million people in the state that are eligible that have yet to initiate vaccination.

"Do not listen to the baloney on the internet," Inslee said. "There is more baloney in the internet than any thousand delis in New York city. Listen to your doctor, listen to the science, they will tell you this is a safe vaccine."

The Washington State Patrol released numbers of commissioned staff with regard to the vaccine mandate, with 10 from District 8, which includes Mason County.

Mary M. Knight School District Superintendent released their vaccine mandate data. There were no employees dismissed and 100% of certified teachers and classified staff are fully vaccinated. Six employees were granted an exemption, and two of those were put on long-term medical leave from the district. The other exemptions do not have direct contact with students, contractors or athletic coaches.

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The Skokomish Tribe is hosting a vaccination clinic Saturday, Nov. 6, from Noon to 6 p.m. at the Skokomish Tribal Community Center. All three vaccines and the Pfizer booster shot will be available.

Author Bio

Matt Baide, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]


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