Making a difference, from the halls of Olympia to the streets of Seattle #

We have had a busy few weeks, pushing Washington state for stronger PPE guide­lines and access to PPE data, speaking out against the public health crisis of racism and ensuring our members have the protec­tions they need now and in the future.

ADVOCACY WINS


Washington State Adopts Stronger PPE Guide­lines
Thanks to the advocacy of WSNA and our allies, on June 8 Washington state adopted the CDC’s PPE Guide­lines – a stronger standard than the former PPE conser­va­tion guidance issued by the State Depart­ment of Health.

The biggest differ­ence between these two guide­lines concerns N‑95 respi­ra­tors. Reprocessing/​decontamination of N‑95 respi­ra­tors and storing and reusing N‑95s for multiple patient encoun­ters now falls in the red” (Crisis Capacity) category. This means that hospi­tals employing these uses must readjust perfor­mance of non-urgent surgeries and proce­dures.

Gloria Brigham, WSNA’s Director of Nursing Practice, put together this update summa­rizing key provi­sions associ­ated with use of N‑95 respi­ra­tors and facemasks. (This is a Power­Point with audio and is best viewed in slideshow” mode.)

You are our eyes and ears. If your facility is using reprocessed N‑95s or directing you to reuse N‑95s by doffing and placing in a bag for storage, please let your Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive know so we can hold hospi­tals account­able!

Find contact info for your facility at https://​www​.wsna​.org/​u​n​i​o​n​/​l​ocal-units.

Access to the WA HEALTH Database
Each day, Washington hospi­tals are required to report PPE levels to the state. Earlier this week, WSNA was granted access to this database which will allow us to monitor PPE levels at our repre­sented facil­i­ties – helping us better advocate for you to have the PPE you need. An initial review of this database shows that some facil­i­ties have PPE stock­piles that should allow them to return to conven­tional use of some types of PPE.

Reporting of Health Care Workers Testing Positive
WSNA has been pushing for public reporting of the number of health care workers testing positive for COVID-19. The Governor’s Office this week committed to including this in the next update of the WA HEALTH database, and this infor­ma­tion will be publicly reported soon.

Vulner­able Worker Protec­tions Extended
This week, Governor Inslee extended his procla­ma­tion that protects vulner­able workers during COVID-19. Under this procla­ma­tion, workers at high risk have a series of rights and protec­tions, including:

  • The choice of an alter­na­tive work assign­ment, including telework, alter­na­tive or remote work locations if feasible, and social distancing measures.
  • The ability to use any accrued leave or unemploy­ment benefits if an alter­na­tive work assign­ment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insur­ance benefits while high risk employees are off the job.
  • Employers are prohib­ited from perma­nently replacing high-risk employees.

High-risk individ­uals are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Preven­tion (CDC) and specif­i­cally include:

  • 65 years of age or older; and
  • People of all ages with under­lying medical condi­tions, partic­u­larly if not well controlled.

The exten­sion lasts until August 1, 2020.



STANDING UP AGAINST RACISM

On June 6, WSNA staff and members joined thousands of health care colleagues from across the state in downtown Seattle to march against racism and police brutality. Our shared message: Racism is a public health emergency.”

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As our WSNA Presi­dent, Lynnette Vehrs, and the chair of our Cabinet on Economic & General Welfare, Julia Barcott, stated:

We as a country are facing a double crisis. We are fighting to slow the spread of the coron­avirus and to get nurses and other health care workers what we need to safely care for our patients. We are also facing the crisis of systemic racism manifested in the killing of George Floyd and many other black and brown people at the hands of the police. Racism is a public health emergency as much as the coron­avirus pandemic is, but it can’t be solved by devel­oping a vaccine, insti­tuting widespread testing or social distancing.

This is why as nurses, as a profes­sional associ­a­tion and as a labor union, WSNA is supporting the efforts led by black organi­za­tions to protest systemic racism and bring justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis and too many other black people who have died at the hands of law enforce­ment officers.” Read the full state­ment.
OTHER HELPFUL INFOR­MA­TION
Hotels for Nurses

Seattle Execu­tive Pacific Hotel

    In Seattle, the hotel provided by the City of Seattle for nurses and first respon­ders is still avail­able until June 21, 2020. This hotel can accom­mo­date healthy people, as well as those who need to quaran­tine or isolate due to COVID-19. 

    To reserve a single occupancy room at Hotel Execu­tive Pacific (Seattle)

    • Please call WSNA at 206 – 575‑7979, ext. 6004.
    • We will ask you a few questions about your stay needs.
    • We will coordi­nate with the hotel to make your reservation.

    Hotel 116, Bellevue

    In Bellevue, the hotel provided by the King County Executive’s Office for nurses and health care workers is still avail­able until June 30, 2020. This hotel can only accom­mo­date healthy people.

    To reserve a single occupancy room at Hotel 116 (Bellevue)

    • Please call WSNA at 206 – 575‑7979, ext. 6004.
    • We will need your last name and the last four digits of the ID number on your hospital badge.
    • We will work with the hotel to validate your stay.
    • You will then be able to call the hotel to reserve a room.



    Reopening of K‑12 Schools
    On Thursday, OSPI released its approach to reopening of Washington K‑12 schools. Here is a link to the Reopening Washington Schools Guide.

    Child­care
    If you need child­care this summer or for the fall, please contact Child Care Resources at 1 – 800-446‑1114 or www​.child​care​.org. This organi­za­tion can connect you with avail­able child­care slots in your area.