All posts by Media Release

47 New Cases of COVID-19 in Mason County on Monday, Outbreak at WCC

On the Monday that followed the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend (November 30, 2020), Mason County Public Health reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 in the County. Monday’s report covers five days: November 26 to November 30. The number of active cases in Mason County is now 117 with five people hospitalized (three in Mason County; two outside Mason County.) Mason County’s rate of new cases per 100,000 during the prior two weeks is now 220 – this is based on a population of 64,980 and 143 cases in the last 14 days.

Health officials also acknowledged an outbreak at Washington Corrections Center on Monday. The Department of Corrections says there are 87 confirmed cases at the prison in Shelton – 18 of those are reportedly staff members.

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Inslee Announces COVID-19 Exposure Notification Tool

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Gov. Jay Inslee, along with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Monday announced the launch of WA Notify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. By adding WA Notify to their smartphones, Washington residents will be alerted if they spent time near another WA Notify user who later tests positive for COVID-19.

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Round 3 Business Grant Applications Open Next Week

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced an additional $70 million for business grants. $50 million of that is for a new round of Working Washington business grants. The remainder will go toward funding all qualified businesses that applied in earlier rounds of our resiliency grant program. Applications for those grants will open early next week. (NOTE: Businesses who applied for the resiliency grant program will not need to take any action).

The application portal and additional information will be posted at

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Nine COVID-19 Cases in Mason County Wednesday

Mason County Public Health reported nine additional cases of COVID-19 in the County on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. The number of active cases is now 77 with four people hospitalized. Mason County’s rate of new cases per 100,000 during the prior two weeks is now 211 – based on 137 cases in the last 14 days and population of 64,980. The goal is to get that rate to less than 25 per 100,000.

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Initial & Continued Unemployment Claims Increased 11/15 to 11/21

During the week of November 15 – 21, there were 30,274 initial regular unemployment claims (up 79.8 percent from the prior week) and 464,884 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 7.1 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 263 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation initial claims increased over the week.
  • Continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits increased 3.5 percent over the week.
  • The increase in initial claims over the week was seen across the nation. Initial claims figures include both new and restarted claims by previous customers.
  • In Washington:
    • Increases occurred predominately in the Accommodation and Food Services sector (+6,937 initial claims).
    • Increases also occurred in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector (+986 initial claims) and Retail trade sector (+779 initial claims).
    • The largest increase by occupation occurred in food preparation and serving (+7,954 over the week). This is likely attributed to the COVID-19 public health restrictions recently put in place.     

In the week ending November 21, ESD paid out over $135.5 million for 282,837 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.5 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

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Name of Homicide Victim Released

The name of the victim in the murder discovered Monday has been released. The Mason County Coroner’s Office says the deceased individual has been positively identified as 27-year-old Derrick Wily, a resident of Mason County.

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PUD 3 Adopts 2021 Budget which Includes Rate Increase, COVID Impacts

On November 24, 2020, Mason PUD 3 Commissioners adopted a $81.5 million budget for 2021, which includes an increase in the daily system charge and the first local energy rate increase since 2016. The adopted budget takes a conservative approach based on the uncertain economic impacts of COVID-19, while also prioritizing the safety and reliability of the essential services the utility provides.

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PUD 1 Receives Recognition for Communications

Pictured left: PUD 1 newsletter contributors Katie Arnold, Kristin Masteller and Darin Hall.

Mason County PUD No. 1 was honored this fall with four awards for excellence in communications. The District received a first place honor from the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) in the Group A (less than 10,000 customers) wildcard category for their Dam Proud shirts, as well as a second place finish for the PUD newsletter “The Connector”, and a third place finish for the Community Solar II advertising campaign. NWPPA reported that they received a record setting 200 entries in 2020. The top three entries in each category are honored, broken out by utility size.

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COVID-19 Hospital Occupancy Soaring

COVID-19 hospital occupancy is rapidly increasing throughout Washington as the state continues to experience exponential growth in new cases. We are seeing alarming increases in the number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals as well as the number hospitalized in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds—critical capacity needed to treat severe COVID-19 cases as well as other patients with serious conditions.

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