Officials respond to covid questions
May 27, 2021
Wahkiakum County commissioners hosted an energetic discussion of pandemic response issues when they met Tuesday.
Two men and a woman who were unidentified questioned county officials about covid-response issues after hearing Wahkiakum County Health & Human Services Director Chris Bischoff make a short report about new covid-19 illnesses in the county.
"We’re having a little spike," Bischoff said.
The county had 118 cases a week ago; as of Tuesday, there were 11 new cases for a total of 129. Some were individuals, Bischoff said, and there were a couple families with several cases.
The three visitors had many questions:
1. Are there medicine alternatives to the vaccines?
"Yes," Bischoff responded, but they're not scientifically based, he added.
2. Are the vaccines experimental?
The vaccines have been tested and are extremely safe, Bischoff said.
3. Is the state still under a state of emergency, given the easing of mask requirements?
4. Yes, Bischoff responded; the situation may change.
Commissioner Lee Tischer commented that under the state of emergency, the federal government is paying for vaccinations and testing; otherwise, the county would pay expenses.
Commission Chair Gene Strong added that he would like to see the state of emergency gone, "But we have 10 new cases in a week, we need to see that controlled."
5. Are county officials lobbying state officials?
Yes, Strong said; he personally participates in weekly meetings with state and officials from other counties.
6. The masking and social distancing impacts on children are frustrating for them and parents, the visitors commented. There is inadequate mental health care for impacted children. One man said he refuses to wear a mask and has been denied access to children's activities such as watching a daughter play basketball.
A second man said viruses are so small that they readily pass through masks, and so requirements to wear them "don't make sense."
Bischoff responded that he had similar thoughts at the beginning of the pandemic, but practice has shown them to be effective.
"You're living through science," he said. "They're not 100 percent effective, but there is a significant reduction when they're used.
"That's science, and that's what I follow."
7. Does the county receive compensation for administering vaccinations?