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King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer
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Dear Friends:

Today’s update includes information on the food insecurity grant for the Auburn Food Bank, the state’s new COVID-19 reopening plan, the next phase of vaccine prioritization, and more.

Washington Trivia

How did Kenmore get its name?

(Answer is at the bottom).

Auburn Food Bank Food Insecurity Grant

Although the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have added to the challenges that the Auburn Food Bank is already facing, Executive Director Debbie Christian refuses to give up and carries on with courage and commitment to continue helping her neighbors.

King County has partnered with food banks across the region to fight food insecurity throughout the pandemic and I am pleased to present a $20,000 grant from King County to the Auburn Food Bank.

With Karen Thordarson-Hassen and Debbie Christian at the Auburn Food Bank, who is wearing a transparent face shield.

Governor announces plan to reopen restaurants, other businesses based on COVID-19 and hospitalization rates in regions

On Tuesday, January 5th, Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Health announced a two-phased plan which will allow regions to reopen upon meeting new metrics on hospitalization, case data and test positivity. Beginning on Monday, January 11th, the state will follow a regional recovery approach with every region beginning in Phase 1.

The regions are mostly based on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. Regional assessment will be conducted weekly with analysis done each Friday. Transitions will be automatic per the recommendation of the state DOH.

In order to move to Phase 2, a region must meet all four metrics:

• 10% decline in two-week COVID-19 case rate per 100K population
• 10% decline in two-week new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
• Less than 90% ICU occupancy rates (both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients)
• Less than 10% COVID-19 test positivity rate

To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least three metrics:

• Decreasing or flat trend in two-week COVID-19 case rate per 100K population
• Decreasing or flat trend in two-week new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
• Less than 90% ICU occupancy rates (both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients)
• Less than 10% COVID-19 test positivity rate

None of the regions yet meet the criteria to move to Phase 2, but the first phase will allow for the limited resumption of some activities like live entertainment with extremely tight capacity restrictions and some fitness programs. Read more here.

Washington releases next phase of vaccine prioritization

The Washington State Department of Health released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. State health secretary Dr. Umair Shah said the state has not yet approved vaccinating people in this tier, called 1B, but plans to later in January. Health providers and industry groups have been waiting for the guidance to begin preparations. It is important to note that the state is still in Phase 1A and is not moving into phase 1B right now. Read more about this in the state website or the Seattle Times article.

Amazon creates $2 billion fund for affordable housing in Washington state, Tennessee, Virginia

Amazon is creating a $2.1 billion fund to preserve and build over 20,000 affordable housing units for moderate- to low-income families in the three areas where it has the most employees - the Puget Sound region, Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee. One of the major investments will be $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the Bellevue area. The initial release of funds will allow the housing authority to complete acquisition financing on 470 recently acquired units on three properties - Pinewood Village (108 units), Hampton Greens (326 units), and the Illahee Apartments (36 units). Read more in this KOMO news article here.

King County Case Update

Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 855 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 66,486. In addition, Public Health reported 15 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 1,132.

Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember

Washington trivia answer:

Located on the northernmost shore of Lake Washington, Kenmore began as a mill town which flourished with the construction of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad. In 1902, John McMaster leased 12 acres of waterfront property from Watson Squire, the last territorial governor of Washington and son-in-law of one of the first investors in the area. McMaster and Squire worked together to have an easier riverboat transit and built roadways and bridges to increase accessibility. McMaster then named the area Kenmore, which was the name of his hometown Kenmore, Canada.

Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.

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Contact me: pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov
206-477-1007, 800-325-6165, TTY/TDD 206-296-1024
Website: www.kingcounty.gov/vonReichbauer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pete.vonreichbauer

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