CDC drops quarantine, distancing recommendations for COVID

The nation’s top public health agency is relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines and dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.

Court sides with Oregon governor over early prison releases

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that Gov. Kate Brown was within her authority to grant clemency during the coronavirus pandemic to nearly 1,000 people convicted of crimes. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the governor’s use of her powers to shorten prison sentences drew condemnation from Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny and Lane County District Attorney Patricia Perlow. The attorneys and family members of crime victims sued the governor and other state officials to stop the clemency actions. The majority of the people receiving clemency were either medically at risk during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic or had helped with wildfire fighting efforts during the historic Labor Day fires in 2020.

Monkeypox Q&A: Here's what you should know

How much should people worry about contracting monkeypox? How does it spread? Should everyone get the vaccine? Who is most at risk? Here's a Q&A.

In race for monkeypox vaccines, experts see repeat of COVID

Public health officials warn that moves by rich countries to buy large quantities of monkeypox vaccine could leave millions of people in Africa unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease. Scientists say that, unlike the campaigns to stop COVID-19, mass vaccinations won’t be necessary to curb monkeypox outbreaks. They think targeted vaccinations, along with other measures, could be enough to shut down the multiple outbreaks. Monkeypox is much harder to spread than coronavirus. But experts warn that if the disease spills over into general populations, the need for vaccines could intensify. Brazil and Spain have just reported monkeypox deaths, the first in their nations.

CDC recommends 6 Washington counties should wear masks again

People in six Washington counties should begin wearing masks indoors in public and on public transportation again, according to recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   The latest information from the CDC shows that Lewis County, Pacific County, Thurston County, Grays Harbor County, Garfield County and Spokane County have COVID-19 community levels rated “high.” That means they have 200 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, or more than 20 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people within a seven-day period.  KOIN-TV reported the counties range from Pacific County’s 418 cases per 100,000 people to Spokane County’s 207 cases per 100,000 people. The levels were calculated on June 23.

FDA advisers recommend updating COVID booster shots for fall

Government advisers are recommending that some U.S. adults get a modified COVID-19 booster shot this fall — one that better matches more recent virus variants. If the FDA agrees, it will have to decide on the exact recipe change.

Legislature moves to expand nursing education in Washington

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated a health care staffing shortage in Washington, so the state Legislature this year provided more than $38 million to expand nursing programs statewide. Some schools, like Eastern Washington University, got funding to create a new four-year program. But Washington State University, didn’t receive any to bolster their current programs. Legislators and university officials say that’s  because of what funding each school requested this year. The Spokesman-Review reported that other schools that received nursing funds include Western Washington University, the University of Washington and technical and community colleges.