Below are updates for individuals across King County as well as resources and links that I found to be useful. Case numbers and deaths are still rising in King County, but collectively people are working hard across the state to stay home and stay healthy.
As I mentioned Friday, paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, usually in a humorous way. In fact, Sir Winston Churchill loved them. Moving forward, I intend to include some of these figures of speech in my updates, so we can all keep our minds sharp, and hopefully find some humor as well!
“You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.”
Property Tax Deadline Extended to June 1st
Due to the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, King County has extended their first-half 2020 property tax deadline to June 1st. This executive order only applies to individual, residential and commercial taxpayers who pay property taxes themselves, rather than through their mortgage lender. Banks and other financial institutions that pay property taxes on behalf of their lending customers will still need to meet the original April 30th deadline.
The extension applies to both real property taxes (buildings and structures) and personal property taxes (equipment used in business). For those who can do so, King County is encouraging taxpayers to pay by the regular April 30th deadline or as soon thereafter as possible. The county will not add interest charges to the tax bill for individual taxpayers who pay the first half amount of their 2020 property taxes by June 1st.
Update: Some weekday bus trips restored to better promote social distancing
To better support the health of passengers and drivers and to promote social distancing, Metro is restoring some weekday bus trips on specific routes based on ridership. You can find out more here. If your route was cut on March 23, here are some alternate routes to consider.
New Order and Directive from Department of Public Health
The COVID-19 outbreak is ongoing in King County, with new cases and deaths reported each day. To re-emphasize the need for all King County residents to prevent new cases, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County signed an order and directive on March 28.
The order makes it mandatory for people with a positive COVID-19 test to follow isolation protocols at home or at a recovery facility; the directive requires everyone with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing) who has a test pending to stay quarantined.
To protect the public, if an individual with active COVID-19 is not voluntarily remaining isolated, or if an individual who has COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing) with a test pending is not remaining self-quarantined, they may be subject to enforcement actions, which could include legal actions for involuntary detention. The order is posted on the Public Health COVID-19 website.
King County Hospitals Face Mounting Pressure from COVID-19
The Northwest Healthcare Response Network (NWHRN) tracks information on hospital capacity in our region. They are reporting that hospitals in King County are maintaining available hospital capacity but also seeing significant impacts on hospital operations as the number of COVID-19 cases increases.
The unprecedented steps our hospitals have taken are helping ensure hospital and ICU bed and ventilator capacity remain available in the region at this time. Hospitals have responded to the increase in patients with COVID-19 and COVID-like illnesses by using surge strategies, such as postponing elective and non-emergency procedures, bringing in additional staff, and increasing the number of hospital beds.
Hospitals are finding ways to conserve limited supplies of protective equipment, to protect and care for front line health care teams, to use space efficiently, and to support each other by sharing resources across the region. On Saturday, officials welcomed 300 Army soldiers deployed here to open the 148-bed field hospital in the CenturyLink Field Event Center. The facility will only be for non-COVID patients.
Caring For Sick Loved Ones
Many of us are worried about, or trying to take care of, loved ones who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
The WA State Department of Health has released guidance for taking care of someone who is at high risk or is already sick with respiratory illness, as well as guidance for practical strategies to reduce your risk of getting sick while caring for someone even if you don’t have access to standard personal protective equipment. You can read more in DOH's daily blog post.
UW Medicine: Always One Step Ahead of the Curve
UW Medicine has the state by state breakdown on cases at this site, including projections for the next few months ahead. The projections analyze data and trends to predict total cases, deaths, and resource capacity in the weeks and months ahead.
Real Time Global COVID-19 Data: Check This Out
In addition to the local data, you can check out www.ncov2019.live/data, which tracks the total number of COVID-19 cases by country, including confirmed cases, daily changes, confirmed deaths, and recoveries. The website is designed and managed by a 17-year-old high school student from King County named Avi Schiffmann.
Please note, the website pulls data from public health websites around the world every minute, but not every country reports the data uniformly.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember