With the staggering increase in COVID cases in King County caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant, Anne-Lise and I have been reading the news each day as we planned for our first NCC meeting of this year on January 13th.
While the NCC’s COVID safety measures have served us well so far, recent news in the Seattle Times, reports on King County’s COVID-19 data dashboards, and recommendations from Seattle & King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin, have caused Anne-Lise and I to become concerned about the health and safety of our Members. All reports indicate, that vaccination alone may not be enough to protect our Members, guests, and staff from contracting (or spreading) the Omicron variant.
Anne-Lise and I have decided, with the Board’s support, that we will cancel the January 13th meeting. Those of you who have pre-paid for the dinner can have your payment applied to next month’s dinner or you can request a refund.
We are all disappointed that we cannot gather in-person this month to begin celebrating NCC’s 90th anniversary year. However, we anticipate (and hope) that the current surge will be short-lived and we look forward to seeing you when it is safe for us to meet. We will keep in touch as learn more.
For those who would like to read more about the current COVID surge, I have included links and quotes below.
Thank you for being a Member of NCC and for your understanding and support!
Erik G. Pihl Anne-Lise Berger
NCC President NCC Vice President
I found these two quotes quite compelling as we weighed this decision.
“Duchin’s message Friday was clear — along with getting vaccinated and boosted, residents should do their best to limit indoor activities and avoid crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. He also encouraged people to use high-quality, well-fitted respirators and masks.”
“With omicron, even vaccinated and boosted people tend to become infected and spread the infection to others, so we can’t rely on vaccination alone when transmission levels are this high,” he said. “We need to use the same multiple layers of protection we’ve used in the past.”
My take away, the variant is so contagious and vaccination (even with the booster) is not enough to protect our Members from contracting or spreading the virus. On top of the article and Duchin’s advice, I personally know at least four people who have recently contracted COVID, even though they were fully vaccinated, boosted, and are very careful in their COVID safety practice. These multiple factors have given us pause and have informed our decision about the January meeting.
The good news is that the Omicron variant is moving so rapidly, that many experts opine it will soon peak and decline quickly. Stepping back from the January meeting does not mean we will go back to no meetings for the rest of this year, or even return to virtual meetings. We all hope the current conditions will be short lived.