Coalition is meant to strengthen health care amid disasters

January 8, 2013

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 8, 2013

The harrowing patient evacuations during Hurricane Sandy last year demonstrated the challenges hospitals face in disasters.

In the Puget Sound region, hospitals, public health agencies, and other health care providers in King and Pierce counties joined forces as the Northwest Healthcare Response Network to prepare for calamities. The coalition launched in January after a merger between the King County Healthcare Coalition and the Pierce County Coalition for Healthcare in Emergencies.

Northwest Healthcare Response Network formed to help coordinate the efforts and resources of hospitals, long-term care, pediatric and other providers in planning, training, and responding to emergencies.

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King County retailers busted for selling tobacco to minors

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Throughout 2012, authorities busted King County retailers for selling tobacco to teenagers 92 times.

The illegal sales rate topped 8 percent, a drop from the 12 percent rate last year, but up from the 6 percent average between 2006-10. Statewide, tobacco sales to minors reached a 10-year high at 16 percent.

“Underage access to tobacco fuels addiction and early death for King County’s children,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement.

In Washington, selling tobacco to a minor is prohibited by law, with a $100 fine and tobacco education for the retailer and a $50 fine for the clerk making the sale. Repeat offenders within two years receive fines up to $1,500 and may have tobacco sales licenses revoked.

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Macky’s Dim Sum is shut down again for health violations

December 18, 2012

King County health officials shut down Issaquah restaurant Macky’s Dim Sum for health violations again Dec. 10 after a health-related shutdown in October.

Public Health – Seattle & King County cited the restaurant for similar reasons in both instances, including food stored at unsafe temperatures.

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Maywood Middle School whooping cough case reported

December 11, 2012

Maywood Middle School reported a case of pertussis, or whooping cough, Dec. 10.

Whooping cough is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms similar to the common cold (runny nose or scratchy throat) or simply a dry cough. The cough usually becomes worse over one to two weeks. Fever is minimal or absent. Most recover without any complications, but for infants, whooping cough can be life-threatening.

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Macky’s Dim Sum is shut down again for health violations

December 11, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. Dec. 11, 2012

Public Health – Seattle & King County closed Issaquah restaurant Macky’s Dim Sum for health violations again Monday after a similar shutdown in October.

Health officials cited the restaurant for keeping potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures, improper cooling of potentially hazardous food, inadequate facilities to control temperatures for potentially hazardous food, and failure to correct repeated violations.

The agency shut down the restaurant at 3:40 p.m. Monday, and the eatery remains closed.

Public Health – Seattle & King inspectors often issue warnings to restaurant owners before a closure is ordered.

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King County tuberculosis rates reach 30-year low

December 4, 2012

The tuberculosis rate in King County has reached a 30-year low due to local efforts to fight the disease, public health officials announced Oct. 25.

The county still faces a higher risk for cases in the United States, due to the county’s status as a global crossroads.

The latest TB report from Public Health – Seattle & King County details the findings, as well as information about the agency’s efforts to fight the disease.

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Local health agency urges flu vaccinations as season starts

November 20, 2012

Public Health – Seattle & King County is asking residents to receive flu vaccinations as flu season starts in Washington.

Influenza can cause significant lost time from work and school, plus the expense of visits to the doctor. The flu can also lead to hospitalization and even death in some cases. Though flu season peaks in the winter, it can start as early as October.

Health experts recommend everyone 6 months old and older get the flu vaccine, especially people at high risk for severe influenza.

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Tuberculosis infection rate reaches 30-year low in King County

October 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 27, 2012

Tuberculosis rates in King County have reached a 30-year low due to local efforts to fight the disease, public health officials announced Thursday.

Still, King County faces a higher risk for cases in the United States, due to the county’s status as a global crossroads.

The latest TB report from Public Health – Seattle & King County details the findings, as well as information about the agency’s efforts to fight the disease.

“TB control is an essential investment in the health of our communities,” Dr. David Fleming, director health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “We can’t afford to let down our guard — especially now that drug-resistant TB is on the rise worldwide.”

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Local health officials urge vaccinations as flu season starts

October 26, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 26, 2012

Public Health – Seattle & King County is asking residents to receive flu vaccinations as flu season starts in Washington.

Influenza can cause significant lost time from work and school, plus the expense of visits to the doctor. The flu can also lead to hospitalization and even death in some cases. Though flu season peaks in the winter, it can start as early as October.

“Flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement.

Health experts recommend for everybody 6 months old and older to get the flu vaccine, especially people at high risk for severe influenza.

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King County heart attack survival rate sets record

October 23, 2012

The heart attack survival rate in King County reached a record 52 percent last year — much higher than the heart attack survival rate in other areas, officials announced recently.

The information arrived in the annual report on the Emergency Medical Services/Medic One system. In most areas, the heart attack survival rate is about 10 percent.

Countywide, rescuers responded to 164,690 calls to 911 last year, including 45,220 for advanced life support — the most serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The average medic unit response time improved slightly to 7.5 minutes.

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