I hope your week is going well and you are continuing to stay vigilant as we blunt the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Today’s update includes a reminder about the Auburn Food Bank’s Food Drive, information on King County’s emergency child care program for essential workers, encouraging data on the effects of social distancing, and much more.
Reminder: Auburn Food Bank Drive by Food Drive Tomorrow
Tomorrow, Saturday, April 18th from Noon – 3:00 p.m. the Auburn Food Bank will be hosting a Drive by Food Drive at the Auburn Outlet Collection (near Burlington and Bed & Bath). The Food Bank is encouraging community members to come by, pop open their trunk and have volunteers collect their items. They will also be accepting cash, credit and checks.
(Photos taken prior to social distancing) with Auburn Food Bank Executive Director Debbie Christian and workers
King County has created an emergency child care plan for essential workers who live or work in King County outside the City of Seattle. (The City of Seattle has their own program to support essential workers who work within the city). The King County program will provide up to 300 slots with enhanced reimbursements and other one-time costs for child care providers. Eligible families can sign up now to start placing children into care in the coming days. You can learn more here. This PDF is also helpful.
King County Metro Announces Further Service Reductions
Starting tomorrow, April 18th, King County Metro will be implementing additional service reductions to both weekday and weekend routes. Transit ridership has decreased substantially as riders limit their trips to only essential travel, per Governor Inslee’s order. You can learn more about the service reductions here.
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Launches Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program
PSE is offering bill assistance for customers impacted by COVID-19 by making funds available to customers through its Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program (CACAP). This includes customers who recently became unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work. The funds are now available, and you can learn more here.
White House Announces “Opening Up America Again” Guidelines
Yesterday, the White House released its plan for reopening America after the crisis abates. The three step plan details criteria that needs to be met and the steps that should be taken by states to follow. You can read more about the plan here.
(Photo taken prior to social distancing) Vice President Pence has taken charge and worked with Governors across the country to blunt the spread of COVID-19.
Social Distancing is Working, Data Suggests Need to Continue
Newly published findings suggest the spread of COVID-19 slowing, and health officials stress that continuing social distancing guidelines is the most-effective way to continue this positive trend and avoid a resurgence of the illness.
Modeling from the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, released in a study on Tuesday suggests that the average infected person may be likely to infect just one or fewer additional persons with COVID-19, down from an average of 2.7 persons in late February. Public Health — Seattle & King County encourages the public to sustain what's working to continue to suppress transmissions as much as possible.
If the current trend can be sustained, the next steps would be to transition from social distancing measures, in a gradual, step-wise manner, with each step followed by at least two weeks of observation to see how rapidly the illness is spreading.
Dr. Duchin said a number of key requirements would have to be taken before that can happen, including:
• Widely available access to testing for COVID-19.
• A healthcare system that remains prepared for any surge in new cases.
• Enough personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and others in the community who need to care for patients.
• Adequate capacity for county and state health officials to conduct rapid and widespread case investigations, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine, to prevent widespread transmission.
Health officials warn that without these measures in place, any relaxing of social distancing guidelines would likely lead to a major rebound of the epidemic, perhaps larger than the initial peak.
Governor Inslee Extends Eviction Moratorium
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Inslee announced an extension of the eviction moratorium to June 4th. The moratorium, initially put in place last month, also includes orders to prevent late fees associated with non-payments and prevents residential or commercial rent increases. You can read more here.
“Road to Recovery” Series Launches on TVW
State leaders have launched a new Q&A series with TVW called “Road to Recovery” to talk about how businesses and workers can navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first episode, host Mike McClanahan and Employment Security Dept. Commissioner Suzi LeVine discuss the steps people must take to receive financial help due to the COVID-19 situation.
Sound Transit Service Reductions
Sound Transit announced that they will be reducing Link and ST express routes beginning Monday, April 20th. This is due to a significant decrease in ridership since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. A revised schedule can be found here.
Reminder: Use the Washington COVID-19 Help Line
Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help.
You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.
UW Medicine Data Institute to Update Projections Today
According to a KIRO 7 report, UW Medicine’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation will release an updated COVID-19 forecast today. UW Medicine’s models have been used by policy makers across the country to evaluate the ongoing COVID-19 response. You can view the projections here.
King County Case Update
As of yesterday, Seattle – King County Public Health was reporting 112 new cases in the County, bringing the total to 4,809 as well as 8 new deaths, bringing the total to 320 in King County.
“Knowledge, is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
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. I am including some of these figures of speech in my updates, so we can all keep our minds sharp, and hopefully find some humor as well.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Social Distance. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember