News from and about King County… from COVID-19 updates to community news affecting our daily lives.
Today’s e-news includes information on the new phase of the state’s reopening plan, updates from Public Health, resumption of long-term care visitations, COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for Sea-Tac Airport employees, a bridge closure, health updates, and more.
A British-American journalist attended Federal Way High School. Who is she?
(Answer is at the bottom).
As we close out Women’s History Month, I want to salute my friend, 99-year-old Lois North, who served as a state legislator from 1969 to 1979, and as a King County Councilmember from 1980 to 1991. She continues to serve her values and neighbors as an advocate today!
With Lois North at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the King County Council in 2019.
Washington moves to Phase 3 of the reopening plan
Yesterday, March 22nd, all counties in the state moved to Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan. Moving away from a regional system to a county-based system means county progress will now be assessed individually. The state will evaluate counties on Mondays every three weeks with any possible changes taking effect Friday. The first evaluation is scheduled for April 12th. Read more here.
Public Health – Seattle and King County Updates
In a briefing at the King County Council meeting this afternoon, Public Health – Seattle King County Director Patty Hayes shared the changing trend on new COVID-19 cases in King County over the past weeks, as well as information on vaccine distribution.
Though Public Health had seen a decrease in new cases through February 17th, it is starting to see an increase in cases over the past seven days, with an average of 175 new cases daily – a 23% increase compared to the previous week. Additionally, new data shows that there is about a 61% higher hazard associated with the UK variant, which is not only more transmissible, but may also cause more severe illness. Currently, there are 94 cases of this variant in King County, so Public Health emphasized continuing to follow the precautions established by the CDC in order to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid non-essential travel.
According to Director Hayes, King County providers are receiving about 50,000 COVID-19 doses per week, and though vaccine eligibility is being expanded to more groups, there is no real increase in doses coming into the county.
Governor Inslee announces long-term care visitations may resume
Last week, Gov. Inslee announced that visitations at long-term care and nursing home facilities may resume in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outdoor visitation remains the safest preferred option, but indoor visitation will be permitted for visitors or residents who are fully vaccinated. Read more here.
Sea-Tac International Airport opens COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for badged airport employees
Sea-Tac International Airport opened a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for badged airport employees who work with a high volume of co-workers or the general public over extended periods of time (greater than three hours). This clinic is not open to the public or those who can work remotely or in an office where social distancing can be practiced. Employers will contact employees once they are eligible to make an appointment at the airport’s vaccine clinic. Read more here.
Patton Bridge Full Closure: March 25 through March 27
The Patton Bridge on SE Green Valley Road over the Green River will completely close to all vehicles, bicycles, and foot traffic from 6:00 AM, Thursday, March 25th through 6:00 PM, Saturday, March 27th. 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 COVID-19 News: What fully vaccinated people can do
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting sick and the CDC says fully vaccinated people can resume the following activities:
• Gather unmasked with other fully vaccinated people
• Gather unmasked indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together), unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness
• If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. An exception - fully vaccinated people living in group settings should quarantine for 14 days and get tested, even if asymptomatic.
While most fully vaccinated people are protected from severe COVID-19 illness, we currently do not know - how long protection lasts, if they can still transmit the virus, or their amount of protection from variants. To protect everyone’s health, fully vaccinated people should:
• Continue wearing a mask and other prevention measures when in public, when gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, or when visiting or living with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
• Avoid medium or large-sized gatherings
• Delay domestic and international travel
• Watch for COVID-19 symptoms and if present, get tested and quarantine.
King County COVID Vaccination Update
As of yesterday, there were 574,294 first dose and 306,172 second dose vaccines administered among King County residents, bringing the total of all administered doses to 880,466. 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
Yesterday, Seattle – King County Public Health reported a combined 346 new cases and 0 new deaths for Sunday and Monday, bringing the total cases in King County to 85,629 and keeping the total number of deaths at 1,452.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Heather Rose Brooke is a British-American journalist who was a graduate of Federal Way High School. She was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Seattle, where her mother worked for Boeing.
Heather attended the University of Washington and graduated with a double major degree in journalism and political science. She wrote for The Daily, the student newspaper, and interned with The Spokesman-Review in Olympia, covering the state legislature, and later worked there after graduation. She then became a crime reporter for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, reporting on murder cases and uncovering flaws in South Carolina’s forensic crime lab.
Heather eventually moved to the United Kingdom, worked for the BBC and became a Professor of Journalism at the City University London.
Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.