Confused About Wearing Masks Indoors? Public Health Has Answers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or socially distancing, and meanwhile all counties in Washington state are in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery with a full reopening expected June 30.

But what does that all mean exactly, especially for business owners who want to keep their employees and their customers safe?

Indoor Mask Directive Guidance for Businesses

If you have questions, Public Health — Seattle & King County has answers.

Check out this Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses, to help you decide how to implement indoor mask guidelines.

Because there is no easy way to check vaccination status at this time, King County’s Local Health Officer Directive strongly urges businesses to continue implementing mask mandates for all employees and customers in indoor settings.

For companies that choose to allow fully vaccinated employees and customers to remove their masks, the directive suggests:

  1. Verify the vaccination status of everyone.
  2. Create a system of process to monitor that unvaccinated people continue to wear a mask.
  3. People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times.

For more details, please download the Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee also offers industry-specific information on the website COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers, including an overview of COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Requirements based on requirements from the Department of Labor and Industries.

A Vaccine and a Burger: BHT Partnership Teams Up with Dick’s Drive-In

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Business Health Trust continue to host 20+ community vaccination clinics throughout the region.

This weekend’s clinic will provide 300-600 or more Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses. Those who get vaccinated can get a Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants cheeseburger to go.

Students, faculty and staff can schedule appointments through Safeway’s website or simply walk-up from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 17 and 18 at Madrona Hall on the north end of the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.

This clinic site is important because the UW recently announced students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by fall. Just like the national trends, COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in Washington state are now overwhelmingly young and middle-aged adults.

“Vaccine distribution is essential to recovery of our regional economy,” said Rachel Smith, President & CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Our businesses are working hand-in-hand every day to respond to the biggest challenges in this pandemic. This moment in history calls for leadership, partnership and results – and we will continue to take action to drive outcomes that move us forward.”

The UW will provide the space, while Business Health Trust, the Chamber and Safeway will provide staffing and operational support to run the community vaccination center.

“We’re excited and grateful to see so many in our community choose to get vaccinated!” said Jasmine Donovan, President of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants. “What better way to celebrate than to enjoy a free cheeseburger with your vaccine? We’re really looking forward to the day when UW students are back on campus and back to normal.”

This partnership has facilitated 20+ clinics so far and will rotate back through previous clinic locations to offer the needed second doses where Moderna or Pfizer vaccines have been administered. Clinics are being held across the region in Bellevue, White Center, Everett, Tacoma, Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Tukwila and now the University of Washington. The group is in the planning stages of even more clinics in Bellevue, Tukwila, Des Moines, the UW, and Renton.

“Our partnership is being thoughtful and strategic about where we bring vaccines, so we can reach those in our communities who are experiencing barriers to securing appointments,” said Business Health Trust’s Executive Director, Sarai Childs. “Our higher COVID-19 case and hospitalization trends for our young adult population is troubling, but more than that, it is a call to action. We will be right on students’ doorsteps with a vaccine, a cheeseburger and the hope that we will beat this virus together.”

Signups for the UW vaccine clinic are open now at kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/UW.

“Ensuring our students get vaccinated as soon as possible is so important for their health and our return to in-person instruction this fall,” said Sally J. Clark, Director, Regional & Community Relations. “Dick’s burgers have been part of the food pyramid for UW students for generations, so it’s great to have this partnership with the Chamber, Safeway and Dick’s.”

Woman meditating next to smart phone.

Guided Micro-Sessions, Webinars and More in Mental Health Awareness Month

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result.

Business Health Trust, your source for employee benefits, partners with Wellspring EAP to provide a robust employee assistance program that supports BHT members through one-on-one meetings with a counselor and an extensive online platform, featuring stress-reduction webinars and videos, legal and financial resources and more.

This month, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Wellspring is offering a series of guided restorative sessions focused on self-care as well as a webinar on Understanding and Caring for Anxiety at noon May 26, 2021:

There has been so much going on in our collective system that has caused our bodies and brains to be on alert. Though our anxiety can often not feel great, it can also serve as a useful guide. In this hour-long webinar, you will learn how to listen to your anxiety from a somatic lens and how to make choices that honor your nervous system when you feel anxious. You’ll leave with more understanding around how the systems we live in impact our nervous systems, why anxiety can be useful, and somatic tools to help settle and listen to anxiety.

Live Guided Restorative Micro-Sessions

Click on the title to attend these 10- to 15-minute guided restorative micro-sessions:

Doctor giving a senior woman a vaccination

Partnership Breaks Down Vaccine Barriers in Bothell

Partnership brings 1,000 more COVID-19 vaccination appointments to King and Snohomish counties on April 28-29

BOTHELL – The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, T-Mobile, QFC and Business Health Trust will host a community vaccination clinic in Bothell as the group aims to provide 17,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses throughout the region by mid-May.

The Bothell clinic will provide more than 1,000 vaccine appointments from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28 and 29 at the T-Mobile offices at 22209 30th Drive S.E. Organizers are working with more than 20 community partners serving populations who have faced historic and ongoing exclusion, as well as seniors, to support equitable access to these appointments.

“T-Mobile is all in to support community vaccination efforts alongside the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce,” said Darcey Estes, VP of Real Estate and Facilities at T-Mobile. “Through these community vaccination clinics, we are glad to be doing our part to bring us all one step closer to finally emerging from this pandemic.”

The clinic, which is expected to deliver 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine per day, will be co-run by the partner businesses. While all residents ages 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is only approved for ages 18 and older.

“Vaccine distribution is essential to recovery of our regional economy,” said Rachel Smith, President & CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Our businesses are working hand-in-hand every day to respond to the biggest challenges in this pandemic. This moment in history calls for leadership, partnership and results – and we will continue to take action to drive outcomes that move us forward.”

T-Mobile will provide the space, while Business Health Trust, the Chamber and QFC will provide staffing and operational support to run the new community vaccination center.

“QFC is guided by our values and our promise to Feed the Human Spirit. We work to help people live healthier lives, and vaccinations are an integral part of that,” said Chris Albi, president of QFC. “QFC, Fred Meyer and Kroger Health will be donating all professional services at vaccination sites, these services include scheduling, administering and observing the vaccinations.”

This will be the final first-dose clinic in this series for several weeks because the partnership will rotate back through previous clinic locations to offer the needed second doses. Clinics are being held across the region in Bellevue, White Center, Everett, Tacoma, Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Georgetown, Capitol Hill and Tukwila.

“As vaccine eligibility has opened up more widely, it has become more challenging to secure a vaccine appointment,” said Sarai Childs, Executive Director of Business Health Trust. “We have targeted ZIP codes where barriers to vaccines are more likely to exist with the goal of ensuring that everyone in our communities who wants to be vaccinated can obtain an appointment.”

The clinics fill up fast. Signups for the Bothell vaccine clinic are available at qfc.com/covidvaccine. Search “Bothell,” then select “Bothell T-Mobile.” The clinic will not be able to accommodate walk-ups.

Volunteers are still needed. Come help your community and get vaccinated yourself. Sign up here.

Supporting this effort:

  • T-Mobile
  • QFC
  • Business Health Trust
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Advanced Professionals Insurance & Benefit Solutions
  • Bothell Chamber of Commerce
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • The Boeing Company
  • Woodinville Chamber of Commerce

5,500 and Counting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Through Business Health Trust Partnership

Business Health Trust is taking its core value to be a resource to employers throughout the Puget Sound region with COVID-19 vaccine clinics that so far have immunized 5,500 people and counting.

The clinics are being offered through a unique partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations, including Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Each event needs about 50 to 60 volunteers to keep patients safely flowing through the pop-up vaccine clinics, and Business Health Trust members are among volunteers who have been willing to step up and help.

We first wrote about the clinics in the post Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population, which highlighted a clinic in the White Center neighborhood where the diverse population has seen one of the highest rates of COVID-19 incidence in King County.

Since then clinics have taken place in Bellevue, Tacoma and Everett, with more likely as eligibility for the vaccine expands to all Washingtonians 16 and older as of April 15, 2021.

If you would like to be notified about future COVID-19 vaccine clinics as a patient or to volunteer, or if your company is interested in partnering, please fill out this survey.

How to Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine with Kaiser Permanente

Are you eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or about to become eligible and wondering where to start?

As of April 15, 2021, all Washingtonians age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and Business Health Trust partner Kaiser Permanente is offering tips to help both members and non-members register for the vaccine at one of their facilities.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente, it’s easy to sign up for your vaccine online at kp.org/wa. Once you’ve logged in, click on “COVID-19” and complete the “COVID-19 vaccination” e-visit to confirm your eligibility, then you can schedule an appointment for your first shot.

For members who do not have internet access or for non-members, you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-352-3610.

For more information, download the flyer Getting Vaccinated with Kaiser Permanente.

U.S. Senate Votes to Extend PPP Program to May 31

On March 25, 2021, Congress extended the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Second Draw deadline until May 31, giving eligible businesses and non-profits extra time to submit applications and work with lenders to secure this critical aid.

The U.S. Senate voted 92-7 in favor of the extension, giving small businesses and non-profits two more months to secure a forgivable PPP loan once the bill has been signed by President Biden.

This important update from the Washington Economic Development Association notes that WA employers have secured 54,471 loans, totaling over $4.6 billion in 2021 alone.

For more information, SmallBizHelpWA.com offers valuable information and links to help small businesses find funding, get help and find a lender, among other resources as Washington state continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Tips for Teaching Kids Good Oral Hygiene

From Business Health Trust dental provider Delta Dental of Washington.

Teaching a kid good oral hygiene is probably the last battle you want to take on at the end of a long day, especially when just getting them to bed can be a struggle. However, brushing and flossing is an extremely important part of children’s oral and overall health.

Start good habits at an early age and clean your baby’s teeth by wiping them with a soft cloth or brushing with a small soft toothbrush and water. This gets them used to establishing a tooth brushing routine. When children are around 18 months of age, they can be introduced to daily brushing by using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and encouraged to spit, but not rinse. By age 2, or when teeth start touching, kids should be introduced to flossing. Tip: Some parents find flossing sticks much easier to start with than traditional floss.

Here are three more tips for teaching a child good brushing and flossing habits:

Tip #1: Use Visuals

Flossing and brushing doesn’t automatically make sense to kids. To demonstrate the importance of flossing and good oral health, have your child watch as you dig your teeth into some chocolate. Next, brush and floss your teeth to demonstrate how well both activities remove leftover food particles. Once they’re thoroughly intrigued, break out a toothbrush with their favorite TV character on it or a dental flosser pick (little kids find these easier to handle) and try it out on their teeth.

Tip #2: Give Rewards

As a parent, you know how well positive reinforcement works on kids. They love when something fun waits for them at the end of a task. Why not use this same idea for your children’s oral health? Create a chart and give your child a gold star each day they brush or floss. At the end of the week, reward them with a fun activity or a small toy (not candy). They’ll consider it a fun game, but you’ll know that, secretly, they’re building solid habits and learning how to take care of their smile.

Tip #3: Create Activities

Activities are a great oral health motivator for kids of all ages! All you need is play dough, a large Duplo block, and some yarn. The block represents the teeth, the play dough represents food and gunk caught between teeth, and the yarn is the floss. Use the yarn just like dental floss to show your kids how easily it removes food from teeth. This is a great visual, and kids love jamming the dough in the blocks. Plus, not only do you teach your child how to floss, but you’ve found a way to occupy her for a solid ten minutes — win, win.

If you need help finding a pediatric or family dentist visit our find a dentist tool and use the drop-down tool to select the type of dentist you’re looking for.

Sign up for MySmile to access your dental benefits, get reminders, find your ID card and access the cost estimator for treatment planning.

COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership with Business Help Trust Continues March 10-11

After vaccinating 986 qualified members of the White Center community March 4-5, a partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations is bringing its COVID-19 vaccine clinic to Bellevue March 10-11.

Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, along with QFC have announced that their ongoing partnership to bring more vaccine appointments to eligible individuals will continue this week at the T-Mobile offices in Bellevue.

“This week’s clinic is a great example of our business community working together on the urgent task of vaccination,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber. “QFC’s donation of professional services at vaccination sites and scheduling support along with T-Mobile hosting the clinic site will make it possible for 900 people in King County to get their first dose of the vaccine this week.”

This partnership — which you can read more about in our post Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population — is working together to distribute a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by mobilizing the business community like T-Mobile to provide space and volunteers to support the effort.

“Bringing the business community together to proactively support these efforts is key to helping us reopen safely,” said Sarai Childs, executive director for Business Health Trust. “As we continue to work to support more vaccine clinics, we are dedicated to helping bridge barriers such as language that arise. This clinic will have pharmacists and or other volunteers that speak Vietnamese, Khmer, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Tamil, Ukranian, and sign language.”

The clinic is reserved for eligible individuals, including:

  • Anyone 65 and older
  • All people 50 and older in multi-generational households where two or more generations reside (such as an elder and grandchild)
  • High-risk health care workers in health care settings
  • High-risk first-responders
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • All other workers at risk in health care settings

Read more about the partnership in the article How an Army of Volunteers Helped Vaccinate Nearly 1,000 People in Two Days from The Stranger.

Health care worker withdrawing COVID-19 vaccine.

Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population

Business Health Trust is among partners that are focusing on bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to diverse communities.

Throughout March, a partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations — including Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce — is offering the vaccine to eligible recipients at pop-up clinics in White Center and Factoria.

“The partners truly came together in an impactful way to vaccinate hundreds of eligible people in the White Center community,” Sarai Childs, Executive Director of Business Health Trust, said about the first clinic in White Center on March 4, 2021. “We are committed to doing our part to bring businesses together to help get people vaccinated in a way that brings equity and access to all.

“We are so grateful for the dedicated teams at QFC, Fred Meyer, Comcast, White Center CDA and Evergreen High School who have been working hard to make this a reality.”

Quality Food Centers (QFC) and Fred Meyer announced March 4 that they had received a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and hoped to inoculate to 900 qualified patients at Evergreen High School in White Center March 4-5.

“QFC is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives, and it has never been more important as we help to vaccinate the public,” said QFC President Chris Albi. “That is why QFC, Fred Meyer and Kroger Health will be donating all professional services at vaccination sites.”

The location was chosen to serve the eligible population in the diverse White Center neighborhood, which has had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 incidence in King County and where fewer than half of residents age 65 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Working with the White Center Community Development Association (CDA), this vaccination site will offer materials and translation in five languages: Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer and English.

QFC and Fred Meyer thanked the Seattle Chamber for partnering to locate a facility and provide logistical support.

“Today’s clinic is an exciting example of how we can work together to expand vaccine access in an inclusive way and get our whole community on the road to recovery,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber. “We want to provide a model for future pop-ups in the region: businesses proactively thinking about the resources they can offer, organizations rooted in our communities bringing their expertise, and conveners like the Chamber bringing people together with the urgency this moment demands.”

The White Center clinic is reserved for residents in White Center and the immediately surrounding areas who are considered eligible including:

  • Anyone 65 and older
  • All people 50 and older in multi-generational households where two or more generations reside (such as an elder and grandchild)
  • High-risk health care workers in health care settings
  • High-risk first-responders
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • All other workers at risk in health care settings

More information is available on the White Center CDA Facebook page.