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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 e-news includes information on the expansion of COVID vaccine eligibility to all adults beginning April 15th, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine protections, King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, a Link light rail closure, health updates, and more.

Washington Trivia

A Catholic priest from Belgium who settled in the Puget Sound area and built schools, hospitals and orphanages across the state of Washington. Who was he?

(Answer is at the bottom).

All Washingtonians 16 and up will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15

Yesterday, March 31st, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all Washingtonians 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15th. This moves up the eligibility timeline by a few weeks from the previous target date of May 1st. Among the reasons for the expansion of eligibility is the recent uptick in COVID cases in the state. It is hoped that opening eligibility will help reduce the number of cases. Read more here.

Millions of other Washingtonians became eligible yesterday as the state entered Phase 1B Tiers 3 and 4, which includes the following:

• Anyone 60 and older
• People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions
• People, staff, and volunteers in certain congregate living settings (correctional facilities, group homes for people with disabilities, settings where people experiencing homelessness live or access services)
• High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings (restaurants, food services, construction, and manufacturing)

Co-morbidities 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.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine protections last at least 6 months and are effective for younger teens and against a variant

Today, Pfizer and BioNtech announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is 91% effective for up to at least six months after receiving the second dose. The study, which had 800 participants, also found that the vaccine was 100% effective against the B1.351 variant that was first discovered in South Africa. This news comes a day after Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in children as young as 12. Read more in the KING 5 article here.

King County will expand and relaunch the rental assistance program this April

King County will expand and relaunch the Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program (EPRAP) program this April 2021. The website is currently being updated and will soon reflect the new information. If you would like to receive information on the program, please submit an interest form. For questions, please call 206-263-3481 or email DCHSRentalAssistance@kingcounty.gov.

Link light rail to close this weekend between SODO and UW stations

Link light rail stations from SODO to UW will close tomorrow, April 2nd, at 10 PM through Monday, April 5th, at 4 AM. This will be the first of five consecutive weekends Link will be closed to connect the overhead catenary power and train signal systems for East Link to the existing line.

During this time, Link light rail will run from Angle Lake Station to SODO Station. Link Shuttle buses will run every 10-15 minutes and make surface stops at the closed stations between SODO and UW stations. Fares will be required for Link but will not be required for the Link Shuttle buses. Read more here.

Weekly King County Health Update: UV protection and your health

Even on a cloudy spring day in King County, you may be surprised to learn that ultraviolet (UV) rays can still adversely affect your health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the UV Index indicates the risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. Certain areas of the world have markedly higher UV Index levels, but the depletion of the protective ozone layer in our atmosphere makes overexposure a problem for many of us.

UV rays are invisible forms of ionizing radiation and are one of three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA rays deeply penetrate the skin leading to wrinkles and other types of long-term damage associated with aging and some skin cancers. UVB rays damage the DNA in skin cells leading to sunburns; sunburns increase the risk for skin cancers. The sun’s UVC rays usually do not reach us, but people can be exposed through man-made items such as UV sanitizing bulbs, sun lamps, and sunbeds.

UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, during spring and summer months, in areas closer to the equator, and in higher elevations. There are many things we can do to protect ourselves from UVA and UVB rays when we are outside. Some examples are:

• Check the UV Index before planning your outdoor activities. To check levels in your area, visit EPA’s website or download the EPA UV Index app.
• Stay out of the sun during the hours of 10 am – 4 pm
• Wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs, has incorporated UV protection, hats that completely shade your entire head, face, and neck, sunglasses with UV protective lenses, and sunscreen applied amply and often per instructions

King County COVID Vaccination Update

As of yesterday, there were 691,572 residents who received at least one vaccine dose and 397,816 fully vaccinated residents in King County, bringing the total of all administered doses to 1,071,586. For more information, visit the King County COVID Vaccination Dashboard here.

Vaccine Locator: 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 302 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 88,369. In addition, Public Health reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 1,466.

Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember

Washington trivia answer:

Rev. Peter Francis Hylebos, the inspiration behind the name given to Hylebos Creek and West Hylebos Wetlands Park, was born in Belgium in 1848. He left for North America in 1870 and was assigned to different dioceses in the Northwest, later taking charge of the mission headquartered at Steilacoom, which covered as far as the present Federal Way area.

The congregation of Father Hylebos grew rapidly and he became a well-known and respected man of peace and service, as well as one of the local patriarchs with civic influence. He opened a home for orphans, established schools and hospitals, and helped in securing a friendly settlement of differences between the U.S. government and the Catholic bishops in charge of Indian schools across the nation.

Father Hylebos felt the need for more Indian schools and worked on getting the funding for the construction of St. George’s Indian School at the northern border of the Puyallup Reservation, above the Pierce County-King County boundary of what is now Highway 99. This location is the same area as the present Gethsemane Cemetery. Along this area is a creek with the original Indian name haxtl’, derived from an Indian fishing village shaxtl’abc located on the present Hylebos Waterway. This creek was later called Koch Creek, but a surveyor who was mapping work around St. George’s Indian School indicated the name Hylebos Creek on his maps.

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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