Alerts

PREPARE NOW FOR WILDFIRE SMOKE, UNHEALTHY AIR QUALITY

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Vancouver, Wash. – With the warming weather and dry conditions, wildfire season is likely on its way and has already begun elsewhere in the state. Clark County Public Health is urging residents to take steps now to prepare for smoky days with unhealthy air quality.

Breathing smoke from wildfires isn’t healthy for anyone, but some people are more likely to have health problems when the air quality isn’t good. Those at risk for problems include children, adults older than 65, people with heart and lung diseases, people with respiratory infections and colds, anyone who has had a stroke, pregnant women and individuals who smoke.

The best way to protect your health when the air is smoky is to limit time outdoors and reduce physical activity. This is especially important for people at risk for health problems when air quality isn’t good.

Here are some steps to take now, before air quality worsens from wildfire smoke:

  • Know where to find information about local air quality. The Washington State Department of Ecology’s Air Quality Monitoring website has a map of air quality statewide. The map uses color-coded categories to report when air quality is good, moderate or unhealthy. The Southwest Clean Air Agency has current air quality information for Clark, Cowlitz and Lewis counties and may issue advisories when poor air quality is forecast.
  • If you or a family member has heart or lung disease, talk to your doctor about precautions to take when air quality is unhealthy. Make sure you have the necessary medications, and ask your doctor how to manage symptoms and when to seek medical care.
  • Develop a relocation plan in case you need to leave the area when air quality is hazardous.
  • Consider purchasing a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Make sure your vehicle has a HEPA-equivalent air filter.
  • Know how to turn the air conditioner in your home and vehicle to recirculate to avoid bringing smoky outdoor air inside.
  • Create a plan for alternatives to outdoor family activities. If the air quality is unhealthy, you may need to exercise indoors, find alternatives to outdoor summer camps or change vacation arrangements.
  • Consider purchasing a respirator mask labeled N95 or N100 and learn how to properly wear it. People who must be outside for extended periods of time in smoky air may benefit from wearing one of these masks, if worn correctly. If the mask does not fit properly, it will provide little or no protection and may offer a false sense of security. These masks are not recommended for children or people with beards. People with lung disease, heart disease or who are chronically ill should consult a health care provider before using a mask.

When air is smoky, here are some additional steps to take to protect yourself and your family:

  • Limit time outdoors and avoid vigorous physical activity.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Turn the air conditioner in your home and vehicle to recirculate to avoid bringing smoky outdoor air inside.
  • Don’t pollute your indoor air. Avoid burning candles, using aerosol products, frying food and smoking.
  • Do not vacuum unless using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Vacuuming stirs up dust and smoke particles.
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter.

Additional information:

WSU Vancouver is OPEN

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WSU Vancouver is OPEN

It is rare that WSU Vancouver modifies operations for ANY weather conditions. Any closure or late opening announcements will be posted to major news and media outlets AND listed on the WSU Vancouver website home page and this web page.

If plowing and/or de-icing is in progress when you arrive on campus, certain parking lots and pathways may be closed. In that case, please park in open, plowed parking lots—regardless of parking permit type—and use pathways that are plowed and de-iced.

It is your responsibility to decide if you can safely commute to WSU Vancouver in the event of inclement weather while WSU Vancouver remains open for operations. Review FAQ: Inclement Weather for clarification on using leave during crummy weather.

Faculty members, if you cancel your class while WSU Vancouver remains open for operation, it is your responsibility to notify students of the cancellation.

The WSU Vancouver weather policy, along with instructional information and a list of closure notification websites can be found on the Emergency Closure webpage.

WSU Vancouver Closed today

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WSU Vancouver is closed today, Saturday 2/9/19 due to snow and ice. Review FAQ: Inclement Weather for clarification on using leave during crummy weather. The WSU Vancouver weather policy, along with instructional information and a list of closure notification websites can be found on the Emergency Closure webpage.

WSU Vancouver is OPEN

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WSU Vancouver is OPEN and operating on a normal schedule.

C-Tran Route 19 is on Snow Route as of 6:00 a.m.

It is rare that WSU Vancouver modifies operations for ANY weather conditions. Any closure or late opening announcements will be posted to major news and media outlets AND listed on the WSU Vancouver website home page and this web page.

If plowing and/or de-icing is in progress when you arrive on campus, certain parking lots and pathways may be closed. In that case, please park in open, plowed parking lots—regardless of parking permit type—and use pathways that are plowed and de-iced.

It is your responsibility to decide if you can safely commute to WSU Vancouver in the event of inclement weather while WSU Vancouver remains open for operations. Review FAQ: Inclement Weather for clarification on using leave during crummy weather.

Faculty members, if you cancel your class while WSU Vancouver remains open for operation, it is your responsibility to notify students of the cancellation.

The WSU Vancouver weather policy, along with instructional information and a list of closure notification websites can be found on the suspended operations and procedures page.

Clark County Measles Information

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CLARK COUNTY MEASLES OUTBREAK UPDATE: ONE NEW CONFIRMED, TWO SUSPECT CASES

News Release from Clark Co. WA Communications
Posted on FlashAlert: March 18th, 2019 10:38 AM

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health is continuing its measles outbreak investigation. Since Jan. 1, Public Health has identified 73 confirmed cases and is currently investigating two suspect cases. There are no new locations where people may have been exposed to measles.

Here are the details of the 73 confirmed cases:

  • Age
    • 1 to 10 years: 53 cases
    • 11 to 18 years: 15 cases
    • 19 to 29 years: one case
    • 30 to 39 years: four cases
  • Immunization status
    • Unimmunized: 63 cases
    • Unverified: seven cases
    • 1 MMR vaccine: three cases
  • Hospitalization: one case (none currently)

Public Health will continue to provide updates as cases are confirmed or additional exposure sites are identified. The measles investigation webpage will continue to be updated.

Additional resources

For information about additional exposure sites in Oregon, linked to the confirmed case in Multnomah County, visit the Oregon Health Authority measles webpage. For information about other measles cases in Washington, visit the Washington State Department of Health measles webpage.

Anyone with questions about their measles immunity or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider. Clark County Public Health does not provide immunizations or testing for immunity.

If you are unsure of your family's immunization status, you can view, download and print your family's immunization information online at MyIR or request a copy of your immunization record from the Washington State Department of Health.

For a complete list of exposure sites, visit the Public Health measles investigation webpage.

Recommendations

Here are recommendations from the Clark County Department of Public Health:

  • Locate your vaccination records – specifically for MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
    • This may include documentation of blood titer tests (proving immunity)
    • If you are unsure of your vaccination status, contact your health provider
  • Stay home if you are sick; pay attention to fevers
    • Symptoms of measles are:
      • Runny nose
      • Coughing
      • Conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes)
      • Fever
      • Rash
    • Most of these symptoms may begin before the rash, and you are contagious as soon as any of these symptoms begin
  • If you believe you may have measles symptoms, or develop symptoms:
    • Stay home
    • Avoid public spaces if possible
    • Call your doctor (do not sit in waiting rooms)
  • If you are not currently vaccinated, consider getting vaccinated quickly. A single dose of the vaccine has been shown to be 93 percent effective at preventing measles; two doses is 97 percent effective.
    • MMR vaccines are available to currently registered students (for a fee) at the WSU Vancouver Wellness center by appointment.
  • If you have questions about vaccine efficacy or your own personal health risks, please contact your health care provider for advice.

Next steps

If WSU Vancouver is notified of a confirmed case of measles at a college location, further communication will be shared via this VanCoug Alerts page. Depending on advice from Clark County Public Health, the college may also send alerts via our notification systems.

Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should call their primary care provider or their local county health department:

  • Clark County Public Health, 360-397-8021
  • Skamania County Public Health, 509-427-3850
  • Klickitat County Public Health, 509-773-4565
  • Multnomah County Public Health, 503-988-3406
  • Washington County Public Health, 503-846-3594
  • Clackamas County Public Health, 503-655-8411 

More Information

WSU Employee Benefits Summary – Measles Outbreak

Benefit-eligible employees who take advantage of either Kaiser Permanente Northwest or the Uniform Medical Plan have the following coverage:

  • Kaiser Northwest - Immunizations are provided under Preventive Care Services, and are covered at no cost. Contact Kaiser to inquire if the Titer testing is covered. Call 1-800-813-2000.
  • Uniform - Immunizations are provided under Preventive Care Services, which are covered at no cost. the Titer Test, if needed, is not covered as a preventative care service, but is covered as a medical expense, subject to deductible and co-pay. Call 1-888-849-3681.

If you don’t have benefits coverage or a healthcare provider, direct questions or concerns to the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or the health department at 360-397-8021. 

Remember you can find information updated regularly on the WSU Vancouver VanCoug Alerts webpage. Another good source of information is the Clark County Public Health website. Additional information is available at the Washington State Department of Health website.

If you have another health plan, you need to check with your insurance provider directly to find out what your plan will cover. 

WSU benefits information, including links to the plans Certificates of Coverage, is available at hrs.wsu.edu/medical-insurance/