Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

OKANOGAN COUNTY – Recently, Governor Jay Inslee has mandated experimental gene therapy shots, that are claimed to provide protection against COVID-19, for executive branch state workers, on-site contractors and volunteers, as well as public and private health care and long-term care workers. He later similarly mandated such shots for K-12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities. The requirement also includes public, private and charter schools, as well as most childcare and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households. Covered persons must accept the shots by early October, or provide a suitable religious or medical exemption, or face termination of their employment. There is no testing option, according to the governor.

Governor Inslee has said that he did not expect to see a large exodus of workers under his medical mandates, but it is now becoming obvious that there are many people in such positions who are not willing to accept such medical therapies being forced upon them, and will leave their current jobs and look for alternative work. Some 60,000 state employees are affected by the governor’s mandates, as well as an estimated 400,000 private sector employees. We don’t know at this time how many people are willing to walk away and where they are, and it seems neither does the governor, but indications are that it is between 20 and 40 percent of employees in most areas. This promises a lot of disruption, delays and overall lower quality services for many of the covered industries and services, including public safety. Local economies are also likely to be disrupted and damaged, with follow-on effects. The final impact on many local services that people take for granted seems like it could potentially be quite severe come October.

As an example, WADOT workers are organizing – with workers in other state agencies – to resist the governor’s mandates. They've sent a letter to their leadership, and the state legislature. The letter is quite clear about where the fault lies, “...the Governor’s mandate is directly to blame for this potential catastrophe on the horizon.”

Click to view full WADOT letter (PDF)

 

An excerpt from the WADOT letter:

 

The citizenry deserves to know how many WSDOT and FRMC their elected leader is willing to sacrifice. Furthermore, the citizenry deserves to know exactly how anticipated loss in professional staff will be rapidly mitigated via replacement with equally competent individuals.

Therefore, I urgently request that the Governor disclose the following to the public:

1) How many WSDOT and FRMC staff is he willing to fire in implementing his vaccine mandate? In other words, how many hard‐working professionals are expendable, by his reckoning?

2) How, and when, is he going to replace the talent lost as a direct consequence of his mandate?

How long will it take? What is the direct and indirect effects to the citizenry and economy of the state resulting from their loss?

This is a reasonable request. The People deserve to know. Thanks to the Governor’s calculatedly‐short timeline, this information must be disclosed immediately.

 

Later, the letter provides a suggestion for a course of action:

“A special session of the legislature must be held as soon as possible to discuss the storm that is brewing and to reverse the Governor’s emergency powers, thereby heading off the potential for catastrophe – before it is too late.”

 

The WADOT letter also highlights a number of problems with the state’s religious exemption, which the governor reportedly only reluctantly allowed “if we have to”. Former Attorney General Rob McKenna said, “I would not be surprised if this very limited [religious] exemption which they’re trying to impose is challenged in court and overturned. I don’t know why he’s put through this test for the religious exemption that I don’t see any support for in the law, but apparently he wants to make the religious exemption as hard to use as possible.”

A number of protest rallys against the governor’s mandates are scheduled. One major event is tomorrow, Saturday the 28th of August, in the state capital from 2-4 p.m. featuring state workers. Another is local, in Omak at the Civic League Park, also this Saturday, from 1pm to 5:30pm, featuring nurses and other local healthcare providers.

It seems that the only way out of this looming debacle, is the governor being forced by the potential disintegration of state government, healthcare and educational services into walking back his strict mandates, or the slim chance of the state legislature growing a non-vestigal spine and taking away Inslee’s emergency powers. Or, perhaps there will now be more interest in another citizen's initiative to limit the governor's powers - one that will be successful this time.

 

This article will be kept updated into next year to track the negative effects of the governor’s medical mandates in and around Okanogan county.
(Article info updated Sept 20th, 2021)

New information from the state Office of Financial Management indicates some very early numbers. It seems that the state is almost guaranteed to lose about 7% of its total employees if it proceeds on the governor's current course, which will hit some agencies disproportionately hard. Further, such a number is likely only the floor of what could be lost when the actual deadline comes through.

 

  • Healthcare – many experienced nurses are protesting these mandates and do not intend to accept any forced shots. Estimates are usually in the neighborhood of 30% refusal, but rural hospitals may be hit significantly harder. Hospital care will be crippled because of this, and available beds will be reduced due to lack of qualified staff. As we go into the winter flu season, the governor's presumably unintended or unforeseen reduction in ready beds due to lack of staff will be disastrous. Many hospitals have already been dealing with severe staff shortages, and the governor’s mandate appears it will quickly turn those into very critical staff shortages. Burning out and exhausting existing workers due to over reliance on them, may also turn into a cascading failure in healthcare services.

  • Dental – A significant number of dental support staff seem to be willing to reject the governor’s mandate, slowing and delaying dental services. Appointments for treatment are likely to be difficult to get, and scheduled out further than usual.

  • Long term care homes – It appears that this is an area where usual operations stand to be significantly disrupted because of the governor’s mandate, with some estimates putting the long term care workers willing to walk off the job as high as 50%. This means that available beds will be limited, and the vulnerable people residing in such homes will receive a much lower quality of care.

  • Dept of Transportation (DOT) – Services such as sanding, snowplowing, and deicing of state highways and roads this winter seems to be in question due to this mandate. It seems that about a third of workers are against the mandate, though some regional areas may be much higher. At minimum, delays and reduced service seem like it will be the norm for an unknown period of time. Public safety on the highways of the state will certainly take a significant hit because of the governor's mandate. As of 09/06/21, less than 27% of WSDOT workers were verified as vaccinated, as compared to over 60% for a number of other state agencies.

  • Schools – Teachers and support staff are organizing to resist the governor’s mandates, but it is not known what percentage of teachers are willing to refuse the mandate. Private and religious schools are likely to be more significantly impacted. Volunteers are also included in the mandate, and this seems like it would have the effect of reducing the additional assistance and expertise that volunteers provide to education. A number of school districts have already seen a significant shift of students to homeschooling, which has the effect of greatly reducing district budgets due to lower enrollment.

  • Child care – Because child care services have long been difficult and fairly expensive to get, any hurdle to making childcare more available or cheaper is not likely to be welcomed by those parents who need it. Unfortunately, the governor’s mandate is very wide reaching, covering all kinds of early learning and child care programs serving groups of children from multiple households, including preschools and youth programs such as YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs. It is unknown what percent of these workers will refuse the mandate, but it will undoubtedly reduce available services and make it harder to staff them.

  • Firefighters – Other areas around the state are very concerned with losing significant numbers (30% or more) of their experienced firefighters due to this mandate, because they are also EMTs or paramedics providing healthcare. This impact for Okanogan county should be less – at this time – because our local volunteer firefighters do not usually provide healthcare services and therefore are not covered by the current mandates. This status could change in the future though, should the governor so decide.

  • Midwives and birth centers – This affected area seems to be less visible, and the impacts are unknown at this time, but the likely result is making it much more difficult for pregnant women to find qualified pre-natal care and birth assistance outside of a hospital.

  • State Patrol – Workers in this state dept are organizing, but it is unknown at this time what their approximate number is. It's not unreasonable to assume that public safety will likely be affected. As of 09/06/21, less than half - 47% - of WSP workers were vaccinated. According to a spokesperson, even without further reductions, the Washington State Patrol was already short 85 full-time positions as of Aug. 1.

  • Law enforcement – Currently local law enforcement is not covered by the mandate, because they provide only incidental medical functions. However, the state says that local law enforcement will likely be included in future mandates.

  • County Jail staff – They are only included in the mandate if they are a licensed healthcare provider or work in the medical treatment area. Otherwise, any jail staff whose primary duties do not include healthcare are excluded. However the state says that future mandates are likely to include additional jail personnel beyond health care staff.

  • Dept of Corrections – These staff are completely covered by the mandate, and there are a significant percentage who intend to refuse it. Significantly reduced staffing will potentially require prisoner reductions, likely by release into the community. Many such reductions have already happened over the past 18 months. As of 09/06/21, many DOC facilities have only about 30% of workers verified vaccinated - a much lower rate than a number of other state agencies. A DOC union spokesman said “We anticipate the Department of Corrections will face severe staffing shortages that will make operations of the prisons beyond the October 18 deadline extremely challenging.”

  • Ambulance services – It is unknown what percentage of EMTs and Paramedics and related staff are unwilling to accept mandated shots. Emergency medical services may be affected. 

  • State Ferries – Staffing shortages have already hit the state ferry system, for months, leading to travel delays and disruptions. As of mid-September, only about one-third of ferry workers had been vaccinated. Workers are organizing, and many say they will walk over the mandate.

Should the governor go further and push his medical mandates onto city, county, and PUD employees, the consequences are likely to be even more severe.

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Court's Avatar
Court replied the topic: #141 5 months 2 weeks ago
It can normally be difficult to uncover the personal consequences of wide-ranging policies such as the "vaccine" mandates, but in this case it appears to have likely caused a death:

Seattle boy, 13, watches dad die of heart attack while waiting 20 MINUTES for help to arrive after firefighters refused to enter apartment without police in city short of cops because of woke mayor's vaccine mandate and defund police