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King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer
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News from and about King County… from COVID-19 updates to community news affecting our daily lives.

Dear Friends:

Today’s update includes information on the new COVID vaccination site in Auburn, a new variant COVID-19 strain detected in King County, the King County PSTAA Subcommittee member recruitment, upcoming road closure, health updates and more.

Washington Trivia

How did Lake Forest Park get its name?

(Answer is at the bottom).

Auburn COVID Vaccination Site

Yesterday, we kicked off the new vaccination site in Auburn. Congratulations to Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and King County Executive Dow Constantine on bringing together federal, state and local governments to open this needed site at the General Services Administration Complex in Auburn. The decision to locate this site in Auburn is data driven. We are in Auburn because when it comes to COVID-19, South King County is the belly of the beast. If we want to conquer this virus we must start here. This site will help us reach the end zone in our fight to defeat this virus. You can view my remarks at this link.

Both vaccine supply and appointments are limited, and residents may experience delays due to anticipated high demand. While Phase 1A and 1B groups are eligible for the vaccine, the Kent and Auburn sites will focus on vaccinating highest-risk South King County residents ages 75 and older, individuals who are unable to live independently and their caregivers. Older adults in South King County are at particularly high risk, as rates of COVID-19 in many parts of South King County have been nearly twice as high compared to the county average. Appointment availability will expand to individuals age 65-74 as vaccine supply increases.

Registration is currently open to residents of South King County who are:

• Age 75 and older OR
• A family caregiver or home care worker taking care of someone age 50 or older who cannot live independently. The caregiver or home care worker does not need to be 50 or older OR
• Specific groups of people age 50 and older, particularly those who are:
Unable to live independently and receiving care from a caregiver, relative, in-home caregiver or someone who works outside the home.
Living with AND caring for kin (examples include caring for a grandchild, niece or nephew. This does not include parents living with their child.).

Call Washington state’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press # for help with registration by phone.

Additional Location: Kent Accesso ShoWare Center
625 W. James St. Kent, WA 98032
Park, walk, or arrive by transit and enter building. Wheelchair accessible.

New Variant COVID-19 strain detected in King County

On January 29th, UW Medicine notified Public Health – Seattle and King County that the B117 strain of COVID-19 has been identified in a test sample originating in King County. This follows other instances of the B117 strain surfacing in neighboring Snohomish and Pierce Counties. Read more in the Public Health Insider blogpost.

More COVID vaccines will soon be going to pharmacies nationwide

Beginning next week, the federal government will start distributing 1 million doses per week to about 6,500 pharmacies as part of its plan to ramp up vaccinations amid the appearance of more transmissible virus strains. The pharmacy program will be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and includes major outlets such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and Costco, as well as supermarket pharmacies. Read more in the KING 5 article here.

King County PSTAA Subcommittee Recruitment

King County is seeking members for the PSTAA Subcommittee to provide guidance to the King County Council and the Executive on the educational needs of King County youth. Applications are due on February 15th. Read more here.

Weekly King County Health Update and COVID-19 News: Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine Facts and How to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine Facts

Washington state continues to roll out its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with over 500,000 residents already vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) or Moderna vaccines. As the state strives to immunize the roughly 1.7 million people in the next phase, keeping up with accurate and up-to-date information about the vaccines is important. The two vaccines share similarities but also differ in keyways.

Efficacy (the ability to produce immunity): Following the second dose, both vaccines have similar efficacies – Pfizer (95%) and Moderna (94.1%).

Mechanism: Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines with different structures. WA Department of Health explains that mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein.” The spike protein is what you see on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your immune system sees that the protein does not belong there, and your body will start to build an immune response and make antibodies. The vaccine does not change your DNA. For a visual explanation of how the vaccine works in your body, watch this video.

Age: The following age groups are currently authorized to receive vaccination: Pfizer (16 years of age and older) and Moderna (18 years of age and older). Children and adolescents outside of these authorized age groups should not receive the COVID-19 vaccination at this time.

Storage: Pfizer’s vaccine is stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius and can be put in the refrigerator for up to five days before it expires. Moderna's vaccine is stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius (similar temperature to a home freezer) and can be kept in a refrigerator for 30 days before it expires.

Dosage and Timing: Although both vaccines consist of two doses administered intramuscularly, the dosages and timing of each vary - Pfizer (30 µg, 0.3 ml each): 3 weeks (21 days) apart and Moderna (100 µg, 0.5 ml): 4 weeks (28 days) apart.

Safety: Public Health – Seattle and King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin acknowledges that “these vaccines were developed much faster than usual, so it’s understandable that people would wonder about safety” but emphasizes that in the making of these vaccines, there were no safety steps skipped in the clinical trials or evaluation of data for safety. The data for these vaccines was evaluated with scientific rigor and independent review to ensure it met FDA’s standards for safety, effectiveness and quality. Additionally, Dr. Larry Corey, former Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, ran the network of clinical trials for the vaccines.

Boosters for variant strains: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WA Department of Health (DOH), and Public Health – Seattle and King County are closely monitoring variant COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Washington state. Pfizer and Moderna have announced that they are working on booster vaccines that will be effective against these variants should we need them.

How To Get An Appointment for the COVID-19 Vaccine?

As our state is refining its distribution plan, it is important to note that information regarding the vaccine and finding an appointment can evolve day to day. King County and other Washington state residents can find updated and detailed information on these topics here. If you have any questions about your eligibility or whether you should be vaccinated, contact your primary care provider for their advice. King County and other Washington residents should follow these vaccine appointment guidelines:

Confirm eligibility by using Phase Finder, an online tool designed by the WA DOH.

1. Go to the Phase Finder tool at findyourphaseWA.org.
2. Accurately answer all of the questions - all information is private.
3. If currently eligible, your confirmation email will include a link to vaccine locations.
4. Sign up online for an appointment – some locations may allow phone appointments.
5. Follow the directions regarding the documents you need to take with you to your appointment (your Eligibility Confirmation email, type of identification, etc.)
6. If not eligible, you have the option to leave your phone number or email address and you will be notified once you are eligible.

Other options:

Call your doctor’s office or health care provider to see if they have appointments.
Call Washington state's COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127 if you cannot use the online Phase Finder tool and have no one to assist you. Available Monday-Friday, 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Saturday, Sunday, and observed state holidays 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. NOTE: If someone can assist you, the online Phase Finder may save time. If you are unable to reach the Assistance Hotline, please call the alternate number at 1-888-856-5816.

Road Closure for Federal Way Link construction

Crews working on the Federal Way Link Extension will be closing the intersection at 30th Avenue South and Kent/Des Moines Road starting February 5th through February 22nd for tree removal. Construction will take place from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The intersection will remain closed overnight and on weekends.

Drivers headed north on 30th Avenue South will be detoured around the closure by heading south on 30th Avenue South, west on South 240th Street, then north on SR 99 to Kent/Des Moines Road. This work is weather dependent. All project construction work is done under stringent COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

FlyHealthy@SEA updates

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reminds travelers of new protocols for arriving international travelers, and mandatory COVID-19 masking requirement at airports and other transportation facilities from the federal government.

New COVID-19 Protocols for International Travel

A negative COVID-19 test is required for all international passengers coming into the U.S. with written documentation of a laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) provided to the airline. This is combined with the CDC recommendation to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for seven days post-travel.

A presidential proclamation expands travel restrictions for South Africa, Brazil, Britain and 27 European countries. The proclamation applies to noncitizens attempting to come to the U.S. from any of those countries for 14-days prior to travel.

All travelers headed to the Netherlands must show a negative rapid test within four hours of departure. This is in addition to the already mandatory negative PCR test, which must be taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Pre-flight testing is available for those flying to Amsterdam from SEA through Discovery Health MD at the South Satellite SkyClub Lounge near Gate S10 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or four hours before departure to the Netherlands.

Mandatory Masking Requirement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (with Transportation Security Administration enforcement) requires individuals to wear a mask at airport screening. Those not wearing a mask may be denied entry to the airport, boarding, or continued transport. The order is currently in effect through May 11, 2021.

Dining and Retail are open at 25% capacity (Phase 2).

Terminal Physical Distancing. There is more physical distancing progress in the terminal with almost 5,000 signs and floor decals as reminders and close to 300 plastic protective barriers installed that buffer interactions between passengers and airport workers.

King County Case Update

Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 169 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 77,186. In addition, Public Health reported 6 new deaths, keeping the total in the county to 1,270.

Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember

Washington trivia answer:

Located along the northern tip of Lake Washington, Lake Forest Park was once a winter village site for the Snohomish Tribe and was founded in early 1900s by Ole Hanson as one of the Seattle area’s first planned communities.

The earliest name for Lake Forest Park was Lyons. The landing at Lyons was the end of a “skid row”, named after the freshly cut logs that were skidded downhill into the lake. But Ole Hanson’s 1912 Promotional Brochure described the place in these exact words, “This beautiful new district is christened Lake Forest Park, an apt name for its wide expanse of lake, of primeval trees, and almost tropical fauna.”

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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