News from the Skagit County Democrats
Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for February 21, 2022
Happy Presidents Day!
1. REMINDER – 10th Legislative District Representative Dave Paul will participate in a Bipartisan Virtual Town Hall, Monday, Feb 21, 6:30pm, online
Click Here to register. You will also be able to watch the livestream on Dave’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RepDavePaul/.
3. NEW – The 39th Legislative District Democrats General Meeting is Sunday, Feb 27, 10:30am via Zoom
“We will be voting on whether or not to hold a reorg on March 26th the same day as the LD caucuses.” Zoom information: Join Zoom Meeting – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88942914866, Meeting ID: 889 4291 4866.
4. Skagit County Democrats has a new website!
Please check us out at https://skagitdemocrats.org. We have put a lot of work into this but these things are never perfect when first published. We still have some content corrections/additions to make and we are aware of these. Please help us out with final debugging by letting us know of any errors or broken links you may find by sending an email to email@example.com.
5. Call for Volunteers
“We can start to defend democracy this year by working on our local level. Volunteer to work in the office and pitch in to support our elected officials and those who are planning to run. You can work at your comfort level, whether it is writing post cards or thank you cards, or making phone calls, or answering phone calls. We welcome your thoughts and ideas for the future of our county. Current Office Hours are two-hour slots, at 10am, noon, and 2pm on Mondays through Thursdays, and we have openings. As we approach the primary and then election in November, we plan to have the office open on Fridays as well. Can you help? This is a great way to get active in our county!” If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. NEW – Chair’s Corner
This week the Chair wishes to share an excellent Letter to the Editor of the Skagit Valley Herald penned by Ken Winkes this past week.
“Though winter is almost over, there are still snowflakes everywhere.
Only a few years ago, “snowflakes” was a term the political Right used to demean those it deemed too delicate to deal with books or speakers that might make them uncomfortable.
The Right railed about “cancel culture” and mocked the “trigger warnings” some schools placed on readings that contained subjects or language that might be upsetting.
The Right had a point. Because some things in life are necessarily disturbing, healthy maturation requires development of a mental toughness that avoidance and denial do nothing to foster.
Turns out, though, the mental toughness promoted by the Right was only a sham. In multiple states, Republicans are now proposing laws that would question or ban in schools any readings or discussions of subject matter that might cause some students or their parents’ discomfort.
According to the AP article in Sunday’s paper, these laws “arose over last year’s debate over the teaching of race, diversity and sexuality.” The same article points to Parents Bill of Rights laws that would allow parents to object to any school materials they do not like and even to sue schools over them.
When cancel culture removes “Huckleberry Finn” from the classroom because some find Twain’s portrayal of the escaped slave Jim offensive, one might question the decision, but when all curriculum choices are subject to second-guessing by anyone, regardless of their expertise, we have without question lost our way.
Since we know history, literature, economics, and even settled science are open to controversy, the only way to avoid all dissension would be to eliminate most school subjects entirely.
That’s, of course, absurd. Equally so is the certainty that with every snowflake parent invited to fall on our schools, our winter of educational, social and political discontent will never end.
Ken Winkes, Conway”
7. NEW – Links of the Week
The Links of the Week provide in-depth pieces and resources the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.
- Welfare Is No Substitute for a Child Tax Credit
- Is universal preschool worth it? Head Start offers encouraging long-term results
- 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report
- Smishing is spreading – How to spot it
- The Seven Habits of COVID-Resilient Nations
1. NEW – Stuff the Bus Food Drive, Saturday, Feb 26, 11:00am – 1:00pm, 201 Cascade Mall Drive, Burlington
Join Helping Hands and Skagit Transit at the Cascade Mall for a Stuff the Bus Food Drive! – in honor of Ryan Welch’s Legacy. Helping Hands will be accepting ALL non-perishable food donations as well as non-food items such as:
- Laundry soap
- Shampoo & other hair products
- Bar soap & body wash
- Cleaning supplies
- Disposable shavers
- Toilet paper
- Menstrual pads
If you would like to contribute a financial donation, please visit here.
2. NEW – Skagit County, Anacortes accepting comments on Shoreline Master Programs
Click Here for more information.
- Click Here for the Skagit County Shoreline Master Program Update.
- Click Here for the Anacortes Shoreline Master Program Update.
3. Mardi Gras in Concrete, Saturday, Feb 26, Parade at 3:00pm, Downtown Concrete
“This is the only Mardi Gras event in Western Washington that’s not just for grown-ups, doesn’t encourage alcohol, and doesn’t require a cover charge. Everyone is welcome to be in the parade or just watch from the side. The only rule is to keep it fun and family-friendly.”
4. February is National Black History Month – This year’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness”
Here are some sites you can visit
Western Washington University
Celebrate Black History Month
5. UPDATED – COVID-19 Information
Current Skagit County Information – The following is taken from the Skagit County COVID-19 Update of Feb 16
Local COVID-19 Case, Hospital & Vaccine Data
To help folks better understand our local data and to highlight key indicators that best represent our current risk status, we are changing the way that we provide our data updates each week. Below are our key indicators to track Skagit County’s current level of risk:
If you are actively monitoring our data using the state’s Data Dashboard, you might be wondering why the data we’re putting out doesn’t seem to be matching up with what you’re seeing on your screen. For background information and some answers to questions you might have, visit our Q&A page.
Vaccine Updates: 6 months – 4 years
On Friday, the FDA announced that it would be postponing the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting originally scheduled for Feb. 15 to discuss COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 4 years of age. This delay will allow more time for the Committee to evaluate additional data submitted by Pfizer. For more information, click here.
Vaccine at the Public Health Office
COVID-19 prime, pediatric, and booster vaccinations are available at the Public Health office in downtown Mount Vernon at 700 S 2nd Street. To make an appointment, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine or call (360) 416-1500. Walk-ins are also available, though appointments are preferred. Available appointments include:
For a full list of vaccination providers available in Skagit County, go to Vaccine Locator or call the Hotline at 1-800-525-0127.
Antigen Testing at the Fairgrounds
Antigen testing is available at the Fairgrounds on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12pm to 4pm. The site will be closed on Monday, February 21st in observance of President’s Day, and will be open instead on Wednesday, February 23rd from 12pm to 4pm.
Testing is free and available to anyone 5 years and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Skagit County. Individuals must be symptomatic or have had recent exposure to COVID-19 to qualify for service at the site.
NOTE: Demand for testing has leveled off recently and folks should no longer expect long wait times at the Fairgrounds. Typical wait times range from 15-45 minutes depending on what time you arrive.
For information about our site or for a full list of testing providers in Skagit County: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusTESTsites.htm.
At-home COVID-19 Testing
Free at-home test kits can now be ordered online through the following sites:
Please note that only one order can be placed per household for both the state and federal programs.
If testing at home and you receive a positive test result, please call the state’s COVID-19 Hotline as soon as possible at 1–800–525–0127 or the Skagit County Public Health office at (360) 416-1500.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, are symptomatic, or have been recently exposed, please refer to the CDC’s Isolation and Quarantine Guidance found here: https://bit.ly/3JQLIwF.
Statewide Mask Mandate
Last week, the Governor announced that the statewide outdoor mask mandate for large events will be lifted on Friday, February 18th. The Governor will host a press conference tomorrow (2/17/22) during which he will discuss a potential end date for the statewide indoor mask mandate. The time for this press conference has not yet been announced. All press conferences can be watched live by going to https://tvw.org/.
The current indoor mask mandate requires that all people 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when in an any indoor public places in Washington State, including restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices.
Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate Lifting on March 21
This afternoon, [February 17, 2022] Governor Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Monday, March 21, 2022. This mandate, which includes indoor locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and public-facing offices, has been in effect since August 23, 2021. Beginning on March 21, the mandate will also be lifted for K-12 schools and childcare locations throughout the state.
As a reminder, the statewide outdoor mask mandate is scheduled to end tomorrow, Friday, February 18. The state will stop requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to large events beginning on Tuesday, March 1.
K-12 schools will still be required to report COVID cases and work with local Public Health Departments to monitor disease activity. Routine testing, isolation, and quarantine protocols will also remain in place per the CDC’s guidance. Current “requirements” regarding distance, ventilation, and sanitation in schools will be downgraded to “recommendations”, with new guidance expected from the state by March 7.
The lifting of the indoor mask mandate will not include certain indoor settings considered to be at high-risk for disease spread. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities. Additionally, the federal mask mandate is still in effect and requires masking on all forms of public transportation, including buses, trains, and airplanes, and in transportation hubs.
Following the lifting of the mandate, Washingtonians can continue to wear a mask if they so choose. This goes for businesses, as well, who will retain the right to choose stricter masking requirements if desired.
There may be certain settings where wearing a mask makes sense, like when caring for someone who is high-risk, if you are sick, if you’re in a location where social distancing isn’t possible, or if you are not fully vaccinated. Those who are at greater risk because of factors such as their age or underlying health condition are encouraged to continue to take extra precautions.
For additional information on Governor Inslee’s announcement, please visit wwww.governor.wa.gov or call the State COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127. For general questions related to COVID-19, you may contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500.
1. The League of Women Voters of Washington has a group – ACT via Zoom (Action Coffee Time) – focused on topics currently being debated in Washington State Legislative session
Mondays, 10:00am – 11:00am (with optional 11-11:15 social time). Attend as your interest in a topic and schedule allows. Each session will be recorded for viewing anytime. The continuing Zoom connection link is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82841749719?pwd=K3cweWNUbkg0bkM0ZzRML2U1TXVBdz09 – Meeting ID: 828 4174 9719. Passcode: 619917.
This week’s session – Redistricting Update: Alison McCaffree, LWV Issue Chair
Next week’s session – Gun Violence Prevention: Tremayne Edwards, Alliance for Gun Responsibility