NCWLIFE Evening News January 12th, 2022

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Grant Olson. Before we get to what’s making news, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window.
And now, A few of the stories we’re following for you tonight, High demand and a limited number of testing supplies has caused the Chelan-Douglas Health District to alter the protocol for COVID testing at the Town Toyota Center. Three semis jackknifed at about the same time on icy Interstate 90 this morning about 10 miles west of Ellensburg leading to the closure of eastbound lanes for about two hours and Governor Jay Inslee addressed a remote Legislature yesterday for his state of the state address, opening this year’s lawmaking session.
But first, our top story tonight. . .
The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Chelan and Douglas counties soared to a record-breaking high in the health district’s latest report Tuesday. The Chelan-Douglas Health District reported that the rate of new infections is at 1,589 per 100,000 population over the past two weeks. That’s up from 784.4 new cases per 100,000 residents reported just last week. As recently as Dec. 20, the rate was 214.7 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks, an indicator the omicron variant of the virus is spreading rapidly through the two counties. The previous record high for the two counties was Aug. 30 at 1,074.5 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks. The only time the rate had topped 1,000 prior to that was in December 2020. Confluence Health reported today that 20 people are hospitalized locally with COVID-19, three being cared for in Central Washington Hospital’s intensive care unit. In the past week, the number of fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 at the hospital has exceeded the number of people not fully vaccinated. Prior to omicron, unvaccinated had accounted for the vast majority of local hospitalizations. Thirteen of the 20 current patients at the hospital are fully vaccinated. All three people on ventilators in the ICU are listed as not fully vaccinated. Hospital officials have said that is not an indicator vaccines are not working, but many of the fully vaccinated patients with COVID-19 came to the hospital for other issues, then tested positive for the virus. Of the hospitalized, six are from Chelan County; six from Douglas County; three from Grant County; two from Okanogan County; and one each from Adams, Ferry and Stevens counties.
TTC Testing -High demand and a limited number of testing supplies has caused the Chelan-Douglas Health District to alter the protocol for COVID testing at the Town Toyota Center. Those wishing to get tested now must be symptomatic for COVID and pre-registration is required by visiting cdch.wa.gov or by calling 509-903-3900. Testing hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:30 to 4:30. A triage center has opened at the Saddlerock EPC Church at the corner of Miller and Crawford for those who are experiencing COVID symptoms such as fever, weakness and difficulty breathing. The goal of the triage center is to free up space for non-COVID health emergencies at Central Washington Hospital. Kent Sisson incident commander of the COVID division of the Chelan-Douglas Health District talked today about why overwhelming demand led to the changes at the testing site. . .
Jackknifed Semis -Three semis jackknifed at about the same time on icy Interstate 90 this morning about 10 miles west of Ellensburg leading to the closure of eastbound lanes for about two hours. The Washington State Patrol said there were no injuries. The roadway was particularly treacherous on a stretch of I-90 near Elk Heights and just before 6 a.m. the three semi drivers lost control, jackknifed and blocked all lanes. It took until almost 8 a.m. before the scene was cleared.
State of the State -Governor Jay Inslee addressed a remote Legislature yesterday for his state of the state address, opening this year’s lawmaking session. The Governor called on legislators to address a range of issues challenging the state, from COVID-19 to climate change to Washington’s continuing crisis of homelessness. . .
TEASE -Coming up next, Lake Chelan School District’s educational programs and operations levy is expiring this year, and the district hopes voters will approve its replacement. The city of Wenatchee could spend about $185,000 this week to buy three pieces of former mining land around Saddle Rock. Among the concerns transportation workers have had to deal with while preparing to reopen Stevens Pass: Wildlife, and, After being snowed in the first weekend of its new Winter Karneval, Leavenworth is going ahead with a wide range of festival activities this weekend, including a fireworks show Sunday. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .
Lake Chelan Levy -Lake Chelan School District’s educational programs and operations levy is expiring this year, and the district hopes voters will approve its replacement. The $3.6 million dollar levy pays for school programs that aren’t fully funded by the state, like school resource officers, counseling and mental health services, library program and athletics. Residents will be asked to reinstate the levy when they fill out their ballots in the election set for February 8th. The two-year property tax starts at $1.07 per thousand dollars of property valuation in 2022, and decreases to 98 cents per thousand in 2023.
Old Mine Lands -The city of Wenatchee could spend about $185,000 this week to buy three pieces of former mining land around Saddle Rock. The 122-acre purchase would have to be approved Thursday by the city council. One of the parcels includes part of the existing Saddle Rock trail; another contains the northwest face of the Rooster Comb formation. The purchase is part of the ongoing remediation of old mining work around Saddle Rock. Once the land is acquired, the city plans to get $44,000 back in an agreement to sell two of the new parcels to the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.
Steves Pass Wildlife -Among the concerns transportation workers have had to deal with while preparing to reopen Stevens Pass: Wildlife. Deer living along Highway 2 near Tumwater Canyon are tired and weak from surviving through last week’s winter storm, and the packed snow makes it impossible for them to climb out of the canyon and away from traffic. DOT officials say they’ve been moving herds along with pickup truck to keep them clear of reopening work, but the deer will be vulnerable once traffic resumes. Motorists are urged to keep a sharp eye out, and be patient with animals that can’t quickly move out of the way.
Leavenworth Karneval -After being snowed in the first weekend of its new Winter Karneval, Leavenworth is going ahead with a wide range of festival activities this weekend, including a fireworks show Sunday. The first-ever Winter Karneval was to have been every weekend this month but after a January 6th snowstorm dumped about 3 feet of snow on the community the priority became clearing snow and ensuring the safety of community members. In addition, all mountain passes were closed last weekend. With Snoqualmie and Blewett passes back open and Stevens Pass expected to open today, the Karneval will go on with events such as ice carving Saturday and Sunday, backcountry skiing, ice climbing, sleighrides and more. The annual fireworks show will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at Front Street Park.
TEASE -You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, tonight’s feature story and your complete local weather forecast. That and much more still to come on the NCWLIFE Evening News, stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .
WSD Staffing -In tonight’s feature story, quarantine times for Washington students to return to school after a COVID-19 diagnosis have now been shortened, from 10 days to five. The Wenatchee School District says that may help keep more kids in classrooms and keep classrooms open … but staff and teachers are also vulnerable, and local schools are feeling the effect. Superintendent Paul Gordon reported on pandemic impacts to the Wenatchee School Board last night. . .

TEASE – And that is a look at your local weather forecast, coming up next, tonight’s sports report with Dan Kuntz and more as the NCWLIFE Evening News continues right after this.

NCWLIFE Channel Sports

Thanks Dan.
Stuck on Tracks -Finally tonight, Burlington Northern had to halt train traffic west of Wenatchee yesterday afternoon after a vehicle got stuck on the tracks at a crossing near Monitor. The stuck pickup was reported to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office just after 3 p.m. and responding deputies initially thought a tow truck would be needed to get it off the tracks. But shortly before 3:30 a sheriff’s office vehicle was used to pull the pickup clear. Train traffic resumed soon after.
Now let’s check in with Dan Kuntz for a look at what’s coming up tomorrow morning on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley, Dan. . .
And that’s going to do it for our newscast tonight. For more on these stories and other news from around North Central Washington, you can find us on Facebook or our website at ncwlife.com. And, remember, if you see news happening we’d like to hear from you. You can send us an email at news@ncwlife.com, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). I’m Grant Olson, thanks for joining us and have a great night.