News from and about King County… from COVID-19 updates to community news affecting our daily lives.
Today’s e-news includes information about a recent meeting with Thomas Jefferson High School’s baseball and bowling coach, the latest state revenue forecast, the Governor’s announcements, our upcoming virtual town hall, King County Metro’s Transit Operator Appreciation Day, a bridge closure, health updates, and more.
A sports personality from ESPN’s SportsCenter attended Thomas Jefferson High School. Who is he?
(Answer is at the bottom).
Meeting with Coach Townsend at Thomas Jefferson High School
People may argue whether sports teaches or shows character, but I know that school sports and activities play an important role in developing our future leaders. What our student athletes gain from participating in these programs goes far beyond just wins and losses. Coach Joseph Townsend, who coaches the boy’s baseball and girl’s bowling teams at Thomas Jefferson High School, is someone who mentors and leads by example. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Coach Townsend to discuss the upcoming opportunities for our local student athletes to get back to competition.
With baseball and bowling Coach Townsend at Thomas Jefferson High School
Washington's 2021-23 projected revenue increases by $1.9 billion
The Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released the latest state revenue forecast for the 2021-2023 budget cycle, which highlights a $1.9 billion increase in state revenue in addition to the $1.340 billion forecast in the 2019-21 biennium and $1.899 billion in the 2023-25 biennium. This is a big turnaround from the $9 billion shortfall forecast last spring when the economy shut down. Changes that contributed to this much improved forecast include: two federal stimulus bills passed, faster than expected vaccine distribution, stronger than expected retail sales, and strong residential real estate transactions.
Gov. Inslee extends eviction moratorium to June 30
Today, Governor Jay Inslee announced that the statewide eviction moratorium will be extended through June 30th, with $504 million in state and federal funds set aside for assistance. Read more in the King 5 article here.
State moves to Phase 3 of the reopening plan on March 22
On Monday, March 22nd, all counties in the state are moving to Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan, moving away from a regional system to a county-based system, meaning county progress will now be assessed individually. The state will evaluate counties every three weeks instead of two, with the first assessment planned for April 12th. Read more here.
Washington moves to Phase 1B tier 2 of vaccine distribution plan
Yesterday, the state moved to Phase 1B2 of its vaccine distribution plan, extending COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people 16 years and older who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and to high-risk critical workers in certain industries who work in an enclosed space around other people and cannot maintain physical distance. Additionally, beginning March 31st, the state will move to Phase 1B Tier 3 and 4 of the vaccine distribution plan. Visit the state’s website for more information.
Comorbidities refer to the simultaneous presence of two or more medical conditions in a patient. Visit the CDC’s website for a list of medical conditions that increase risk for severe illness from the COVID-19 virus.
Save the Date: March 29th Virtual Town Hall
On Monday, March 29th I will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM on Zoom. The meeting will bring together Peter Rogoff, the CEO of Sound Transit, and Terry White, the new General Manager of King County Metro, to discuss the evolving modes of transportation and to answer your questions.
If you are interested in attending this virtual event, please email my Chief of Staff, Tyler Pichette, at email@example.com for the Zoom information. Alternatively, you can follow along on Facebook live at www.facebook.com/petevonreichbauer.
Metro and KEXP recognize transit operators on Transit Operator Appreciation Day
Today is Transit Operator Appreciation Day, and King County Metro, in partnership with KEXP 90.3 FM, encourages the public to thank, recognize and celebrate the essential work Metro bus, rail, streetcar, Access and Water Taxi operators do and for being there for anyone needing public transit.
KEXP is asking transit workers and listeners to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive instructions on how they may record audio that could be part of this special day. Tune in at 90.3 FM or KEXP.org and follow along @KEXP on Twitter and Instagram to hear requests and stories by and for transit workers.
Read more in the Metro Matters blogpost here.
Patton Bridge Full Closure: March 18 through March 21
The Patton Bridge on SE Green Valley Road over the Green River will completely close to all vehicles, bicycles, and foot traffic beginning today, March 18th at 6:00 AM through Sunday, March 21st at 5:00 PM. During the closure, crews will pour new concrete supports under the bridge deck. Closing the bridge to all traffic helps prevent vibration on the bridge and allows the concrete to cure properly. Visit the Patton Bridge Repairs Project website for more information.
Weekly King County Health Update: New recommendations for lung cancer screenings aimed at saving more lives
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has changed its guidelines for lung cancer screenings, recommending yearly CT scans for adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Smoking history is measured by “pack-years” that the National Cancer Institute calculates by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked each day by the number of years a person has smoked. In other words, 20 pack-years could include smoking a pack a day for 20 years or smoking half-a-pack a day for 40 years.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Washington state and 90% of all cases are linked to smoking. By lowering the age and reducing the smoking history to qualify for an annual CT scan, medical experts anticipate that the mortality rate from lung cancer can be reduced by 20 to 25 percent. Early detection before the cancer has spread outside of the lungs is crucial since these cases have a better treatment and survival outcome (the current 5-year survival rate is only 20.5%). The expanded guidelines are expected to strongly impact the health outcomes of women and African Americans who develop lung cancer at an earlier age and with less tobacco exposure.
King County COVID Vaccination Update
As of today, there were 522,069 first dose and 285,573 second dose vaccines administered among King County residents, bringing the total of all administered doses to 807,642. For more information, visit the King County COVID Vaccination Dashboard here.
Phase Finder: To assess your eligibility to receive COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Washington Department of Health Phase Finder web form. To find COVID-19 vaccine appointments, visit Vaccine Locator.
For eligible South King County residents: Public Health – Seattle and King County has high-volume vaccinations sites in Auburn and Kent. Register here.
Register by phone: Call King County Public Health Call Center at 206-477-3977 or Washington COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.
For veterans: Call 1-800-698-2411 and press 8 for COVID information or visit www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine.
For more information, visit Getting vaccinated in King County.
King County Case Update
Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 285 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 84,859. In addition, Public Health reported 0 new deaths, keeping the total in the county at 1,444.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Kenny Mayne is a Federal Way native who attended Thomas Jefferson High School and earned an honorable mention as junior college All-American quarterback at Wenatchee Valley College. He later graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in broadcasting while playing as a backup quarterback for two years before signing as free agent with the Seattle Seahawks.
His television career began as a reporter for KLVX-TV in Las Vegas, and later for KSTW-TV in Seattle as a weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter. In 1994, ESPN hired Mayne after he sent a note with a check on the box that read “We’ll hire you when there’s an ESPN5.” Kenny has appeared in different sports and dance shows and commercials, and published a book entitled, An Incomplete and Inaccurate History of Sport.
Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.