News from and about King County… from COVID-19 updates to community news affecting our daily lives.
Today’s news includes an update on the Governor’s announcement on COVID-19 testing in participating schools, Washington Department of Health’s announcement moving all regions in the state to Phase 2 of the reopening plan, King County Veterans Program Seattle office’s relocation to Northgate, health updates, and more.
A three-time Winter Olympics medalist who grew up in Federal Way – who is he?
(Answer is at the bottom).
Governor Inslee discusses COVID-19 testing in schools and in-person learning
Today, Governor Jay Inslee announced that about 50 more schools volunteered to participate in a COVID-19 testing program as districts work on bringing more students back to in-person classes. This month, the new schools will join thirteen school districts that have participated in a testing pilot program in December. Read more in the King 5 article here.
All regions in Washington now in Phase 2 of reopening plan
Following Governor Inslee’s announcement last week on which regions are moving to Phase 2, as well as the correction of a data reporting error in the South Central region, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that all eight regions in the state have advanced to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan. DOH reassesses the metrics for all eight regions every two weeks and will announce any phase adjustments on Thursdays. The next announcement will be on February 25, 2021 for implementation and possible phase movement on March 1, 2021. Read more in the King 5 article here.
King County Veterans Program Seattle office relocates to Northgate
The King County Veterans Program (KCVP) Seattle office will be relocating from Belltown to Northgate. KCVP Seattle staff will be providing services in the Belltown office until Friday, February 19th, and virtually from February 22nd until the transition to the new Northgate office is complete. No changes are being made to services at KCVP Tukwila. Learn more about the King County Veterans Program here.
KCVP Seattle staff can be reached during normal business hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (closed 12-1 pm) at 206-477-8282.
KCVP Tukwila is open for in person services and can be reached during normal business hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (closed 12-1 pm) at 206-477-7022.
You think the U.S. has vaccine issues? 130 countries haven't even started vaccinating
As the United States aims to expedite COVID-19 vaccine distribution despite the ongoing challenges of limited vaccine supplies, more than a hundred countries have struggled to administer a single dose to about 2.5 billion people worldwide. Most of these countries are in dire need of vaccines, but with only a few pharmaceutical manufacturers who have successfully developed vaccines, doses are still incredibly scarce. Low resources have also played a factor in choosing a vaccine, with countries settling on vaccines with lower rates of effectiveness. Read more in the NPR article here.
COVID-19 News: CDC Tips for Making Our Masks More Protective
The CDC has issued updated information on masks that outline important ways we can further protect ourselves and others from the virus that causes COVID-19.
Your Guide to Masks
Choose a mask that:
• Has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
• Completely covers your nose and mouth even when talking
• Fits snugly against the sides of your face and has no gaps
• Has a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
Avoid a mask that:
• Is made of unbreathable fabric or material like vinyl
• Has exhalation valves or vents which allows virus particles to escape
• Is intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators
• You constantly have to re-adjust
Improve How Your Mask Protects You:
• Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or cloth mask to prevent air from leaking from the edges of the mask
• Add layers of material by using a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or by wearing one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. The cloth mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face. Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
• Do not wear more than one KN95 mask or combine two disposable masks because they are not meant to fit snugly, and this will not improve the fit.
• Watch this video on how to knot the ear loops of a 3-ply mask
Mask Habits and Care
• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask
• Do not touch your mask when wearing it
• When taking off your mask, handle it only by its loops or string
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes and wash your hands immediately
Weekly COVID-19 News: How the COVID-19 virus can affect your senses of smell and taste
From the early days of the pandemic, many COVID-19 patients have reported unusual symptoms – loss of smell (anosmia) and some loss of taste (dysgeusia) – but medical specialists explain that this is unusual and have now considered anosmia and dysgeusia as early indicators specific to COVID-19 infection. Many people regain their senses of smell and taste in a short time but unfortunately, a growing number of people are experiencing impacts to the nervous system.
A recent paper attempts to explain that SARS-CoV-2 particularly targets olfactory cells (our smell cells) which are concentrated in the nose, often leading to anosmia in COVID-19 patients. Researchers believe that, in some people, the virus travels to the olfactory bulb in the brain and then may spread to other neighboring areas, such as the hippocampus, causing short-term memory impairment or “accelerated cognitive decline over time.”
Another study by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) focused on why some people are experiencing long-term debilitating headaches, fatigue, and “brain fog.” They did not find any evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain tissue but did see multiple areas of small blood vessel leakage, inflammation, and damage. Researchers suspect that this damage, especially in areas that control functions such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, may explain the wide range of brain-related symptoms that
people suffer from for a long time, but more studies are being conducted to understand how SARS-CoV-2 affects the nervous system and to aid in finding effective treatments.
King County COVID Vaccination Update
As of today, there were 275,000 first dose and 107,584 second dose vaccines administered among King County residents, bringing the total of all administered doses to 382,584. For more information, visit the King County COVID Vaccination Dashboard here.
Phase Finder: To assess your eligibility to receive COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the Washington Department of Health Phase Finder web form.
Register by phone: For assistance on registering by phone, call Washington state’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press # for help with registration by phone.
Other Vaccine Locations: Visit Washington Department of Health’s website for other vaccine locations in the state. If you have any questions, contact COVID.Vaccine@doh.wa.gov.
King County Case Update
Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 14 new cases*, bringing the total in King County to 80,317. In addition, Public Health reported 0 new deaths, keeping the total in the county at 1,321.
* Over the weekend, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) reported that the case counts for Saturday 2/13 and Sunday 2/14 may have included up to 700 duplicates. The low number of new cases since yesterday on today's dashboard may reflect ongoing efforts by WA DOH to remove duplicates.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
John Robert “JR” Celski is an American short track speed skater and three-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. He has a total of five combined Short Track World and Junior World Records throughout his career. He was the first person to skate under the 40 second barrier in the 500m event with a record of 39.937 seconds, which he held for five years. He was also part of the team that broke and currently holds the World Record in the 5000m relay.
JR was born in Monterey, California to West Point graduate Bob Celski and to Federal Way MVP Sue Sabado Celski, who both went to Federal Way High School. JR was raised in Federal Way, where he attended Todd Beamer High School. Aside from his speed skating career, JR appeared on “The Biggest Loser” TV show where he demonstrated how to use a slide board and was also featured on the NBC show, “How to Raise an Olympian”. We are also very proud that JR was an intern in our District 7 office.
Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.