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Local restaurant serves hot meals to 'health care heroes'

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Herbfarm employees package hot meals for delivery to area healthcare workers. Photo courtesy of The Herbfarm Restaurant

 

The Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville is stepping up in a big way to show its appreciation to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis by delivering free hot three-course meals to area hospitals.

“Clearly these health care heroes are on the front line of this pandemic — we just can't do enough for them right now,” said Carrie Van Dyck, co-owner of The Herbfarm Restaurant.

The restaurant began delivering the locally sourced nutritious meals on March 15. To date, they have provided over 2,000 meals to Evergreen, Overlake, Virginia Mason, Swedish, Kaiser Permanente, UW Medicine and other local hospitals. 

“We are adding new hospitals next week,” Van Dyck said. “We hope to continue this effort as long as needed.”

Van Dyck said the restaurants' mission has a three-fold approach.

“We want to provide a bright spot in the day of COVID-19 frontline workers in hospitals and nursing homes, save the local food chain which will be in desperate need after this is all over, and bring back some of our long-term tight-knit staff we had to lay off and get them unemployment line.

“Of course, in order to support this, we need to raise funds. Maybe it’s really a four-fold approach because we are providing people a way to bring joy to others in a very difficult time in this world,” Van Dyck said.

When this colossal undertaking got underway, a goal to raise $99,000 to fund the effort was set. Van Dyck and company are well on their way to achieving that mark as 902 donors have contributed $90,000 in just over two weeks.

“Not only are these heroes thrilled with a dinner from The Herbfarm, they always comment on how much the community support means to them,” Van Dyck said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for those wanting to help fund the effort to provide the meals for the local frontline workers.

Visit The Herbfarm Restaurant Facebook Page for updates.

Woodinville women make face masks for area hospitals

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Ancillary health care workers wear some of the 400 hand-made masks that were delivered on March 23. Photo courtesy of EvergreenHealth

 

A local fabric supplier and a group of Woodinville women have joined together to produce face masks for individuals performing ancillary services in pharmacy, radiology and other departments in area hospitals.

Their efforts are aimed to help alleviate the shortage of N-95 medical masks needed in the emergency rooms and intensive care units created by the COVID-19 virus

“I quickly realized this urgent need in our community to provide masks and other PPE for our area hospitals,” said Susan Webster, owner of the Gathering Fabric Quilt Shop. “I was inspired to do this after hearing of a challenge by Providence Hospital in Everett to produce one-hundred million masks.”

The challenge was near and dear to her heart as Webster is a former registered nurse, with a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Colorado School of Nursing. 

On March 15, she reached out to some of her long-time quilting customers to see if they were up to the task as well.

“We have a large community of quilters and home seamstresses — I have a huge email distribution list and I put the word out on as well as our social media platforms,” Webster said. “They have the time and energy to do this and many said they want to do this.”

Jan Erickson was one of the many who answered the call.

“My home is for sale and I am staying with a friend who has a sewing machine and I convinced her to join me in making masks for Susan's delivery system,” Erickson said. “It is a great cause and we felt like we were doing a very small part to help others.”

Erickson began making the masks part-time on Friday, March 20. It initially took her about 20 minutes to sew one, but she has cut that time in half now and has produced upward of 150 masks to date.

Maxine Edwards, a former nurse who retired from Evergreen Hospital having spent the majority of her time in Critical Care, joined in the effort as well.

“I started making masks this week (March 23-27) after Susan sent out an email that they were needed,” Edwards said. “Since I am sheltering in place, I have time to make masks and try to help the medical workers who are struggling to get supplies.”

Webster said the masks are made of high-quality tightly woven cotton and a non-woven interface with an extra layer of filtration and elastic straps to hold them in place. She said she has materials to make isolation robes, gowns, scrub and hats too.

As of this writing, the group had produced more than 700 masks. Several hundred were delivered to Evergreen Health Care on March 23.

Staff at Evergreen were very appreciative of the groups’ efforts.

“As one of the nurses at Evergreen, I want to thank you and everyone working on this effort from the bottom of my heart. It is so incredibly touching to have so many people coming together to work towards protecting all the healthcare professionals on the front lines. You guys are all so amazing. It brings tears to my eyes.” — Joan Beade

“I just received word that you have donated an astounding 400 hand-made masks to EvergreenHealth. This is such a generous gesture with each mask demonstrating the love that each of you has for your community. We are so grateful!  These masks will be put to good use in the pharmacy sterile compounding area, thereby allowing the surgical masks to be reserved for direct patient care. You and your team are heroes. Thank you!” — Elisa Vila, pharmacy director

Webster said she’s been in touch with administrators at Overtake, Virginia Mason and Swedish Hospital too. The masks have also been distributed to Fairwinds Brittany Park Retirement Community, Haggen Food and Pharmacy, and can be dropped off at local clinics and veterinaries if requested.

Webster is telling those making the masks to be sure and wash the fabric in hot water and dry on a hot cycle as well. The group is practicing the social-distancing rule in place by putting the masks in zip-locked baggies and dropping them in a collection box outside of Gathering Fabric Quilt Shop.

The March 23 “Stay home, stay healthy” order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee that requires all non-essential businesses to be closed for two weeks has shut down the retail traffic at Gathering Fabric Quilt Shop, but Webster said she feels it’s vital for mask production to continue.

“I have listened to and read the order from our governor. I respect his action at this time so our shop will be closed to non-essential shopping,” Webster said. “But I have appealed to his office through Senator Manka Dringha to allow us to remain open for the express purpose and sole goal of distribution of materials and supplies to manufacture and dispense personal protective equipment (PPE) for our area hospitals.”

Global pandemic puts a damper on 2020 Census

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau’s once-a-decade headcount have been suspended for two additional weeks to protect the health of citizens and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The postponement is anticipated to last until April 15, further extending the process of counting college students, people experiencing homelessness and households yet to respond to the census. The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States, regardless of age, race or citizenship status.

“Completing your census form is a great thing to do while we are all social distancing, and you can respond online, by phone or by mail,” said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert.

The U.S. has counted its population every decade since 1790. The 2020 Census is the first to offer options for internet and phone responses, in addition to the mail and in-person alternatives. 

The questionnaire asks about all the people living or sleeping in the household as of April 1, 2020. These surveys will also help to accurately measure the impact of the coronavirus, according to a news release from the bureau.

“We’re adapting or delaying some of our operations to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public, and make sure we get the same population counted another way,” the release said.

Households first began receiving official census information in the mail in the middle of March. Census takers are expected to visit households who have not yet responded in late May, although the future dates are unpredictable.

The census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. 

Based on 2010 census data, Washington state’s population grew 14.1% from 2000. With that growth, the state earned an additional seat in Congress. Survey results also determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives and redraw state legislative districts.

Northshore School District spans 60 square miles across three cities and two counties, according to a news release from the school district. The census results will show where communities need new schools, fire departments, clinics, roads, and more services for families, older adults and children.

The census is valuable to local businesses as they make decisions, such as where to open new stores, restaurants, factories and offices. In past years, business owners have used results to gather data on the communities they serve, including population trends and growth projections.

Results will also evaluate how billions of dollars in federal funding will flow into states and communities each year, as well as more than 100 programs across the country.

Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund launches Shout Out to Take Out program

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Danny Ludwig, chef and owner of the Cut Shop, hands take-out orders to Woodinville Firefighter Benevolent Fund President Dustin Wuebel. Photo courtesy of Woodinville Fire & Rescue

 

The recent mandated order by Gov. Jay Inslee to shut down all nonessential businesses state-wide and limit restaurants to providing only take out or delivery services have had a devastating economic impact on local area establishments as many have had no choice but to lay off workers as they try to stay afloat during the current COVID-19 crisis.

On Sunday, March 22, members of the Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund (WFBF) decided the best way to help alleviate some of the hardship was a direct infusion of cash flow into the community. And with that in mind, the WFBF purchased roughly $5,000 in gift certificates from various locally-owned restaurants, breweries and cafes and initiate its Shout Out to Take Out program. 

“It’s devastating to see the look of worry of on a small business owner’s face,” said President of the Woodinville Benevolent Fund, Dustin Wuebel. “We wanted to step up and help these businesses to ensure their doors stay open.”

Gift cards valued at $20 each were purchased from 14 small businesses. The WFBF then donated the cards back to the businesses to give to customers who purchase $40 or more in food and gift cards. The gift cards were made available to the first 15 customers at each business. 

“We saw this approach as simple — invest in the small businesses and, in turn, help our neighbors with a discounted meal and possibly keep their jobs,” said WFBF board member Greg Garat.

 The 14 establishments that received the much-needed shot in the arm are the Pizza Coop, Hacienda Guadalajara, Tipsy Cow, The Cut Shop, Ezell’s Famous Chicken, Black Raven Brewery, Heritage Restaurant, Village Wines, Vivi Pizzeria, Italianssimo, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Twisted Cuban Café & Bar, Chef Ann Marie Eatery and the Gyro Express Woodinville.

“Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund cares about the local small business owners and their hardworking employees. If we want their doors to be open tomorrow, we need to be there for them today. Thank you for your continued support and generosity as we work through these challenging times together,” reads a WFBF flyer.

The Woodinville Firefighters Benevolent Fund is supported through payroll deductions from Woodinville Fire & Rescue employees and donations from the public. Visit www.wffbf.org for more information about the fund and where to donate.

Woodinville Fire & Rescue (WFR) serves an area of approximately 30 square miles. This area is covered by three WFR Fire Stations. WFR employs 57 uniformed career firefighters and 10 civilian administrative personnel. 

Isolation and quarantine facility open in Everett

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

EVERETT — Snohomish County officials have opened the doors on a COVID-19 isolation and quarantine site at the Angel of the Winds Arena in downtown Everett. 

The facility, according to a March 28 press release, provides a site for temporary isolation and quarantine for people who may not be able to recover in their own home or who are among the county’s unsheltered population. 

“Such individuals who have COVID-19 would remain in isolation there until they are no longer contagious — approximately one-two-weeks,” said Snohomish County Communications Director Kent Patton. “Those who were exposed but not ill would be quarantined until having passed through the 14-day incubation period. 

The primary mission of the facility is to reduce transmission to the public, Patton said.

“The site will be a secure facility. Residents there will be directed to stay until released under orders issued by the Snohomish Health District,” Patton said. “A typical stay would extend from just a few days up to two weeks, depending on the circumstances." 

According to the release, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will oversee round the clock security, seven days a week with six commissioned law enforcement officers monitoring the building’s perimeter coupled with an additional four-to-seven security guards  depending on daily census. The security firm guarding the facility is the same entity normally employed at the arena.

“Isolating those who are considered infectious and quarantining those who have been exposed and may become infectious will reduce transmission, which is essential to avoid overwhelming our medical system and ultimately limiting care for everyone,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, former Snohomish County Health Officer and one of the medical officers who will oversee medical aspects of the operation of the facility. 

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, recognizing it takes a joint effort to try and minimize exposure to the virus, praised all for doing their part.

 “We must come together as a community to ensure we are controlling the spread of COVID-19,” Somers said. “Similar facilities may be necessary across the county and we appreciate the city of Everett’s willingness to do their part to help control the spread of this pandemic.”

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