Today’s update includes information on mental health resources, new guidance for religious services, a new county dashboard on key indicators, and more.
Stay Home, Stay Healthy Update
Governor Inslee announced that the state’s shelter in place order will expire on Sunday at midnight. Starting June 1st, counties will have the ability to apply to the Secretary of Health to move to subsequent phases. The process will be based on a review of the individual county’s ability to respond to the virus in addition to the level of activity of the virus. You can read more here.
King County Safe Start Update
Today, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a modified approach for King County that includes the partial re-opening of some business and activities. Because the County has not met all of the metrics to move to Phase 2, this modified approach will be in place until King County is ready to apply to move to Phase 2 with the State Department of Health, hopefully in two weeks. You can read more, including the full list of partial re-openings the County will apply for on June 1st here.
Mental Health Resources for King County Residents
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Many Americans are suffering from some sort of depression right now as we grapple with the COVID-19 crisis. It’s important to know that you are not alone, and that there are resources available. You can check out Public Health Insider for tips and resources to help maintain mental health during this trying time.
New State Guidance for Religious Groups
Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced that religious groups and organizations can resume some activities, including in-person services, weddings and funerals, with restrictions based on which phase the organization is in.
In counties in phase 1 of Washington’s reopening steps, which includes King County, organizations can now hold outdoor religious services on their property or adjacent property with up to 100 people, provided they wear face coverings, adhere to the six-foot social distancing guidelines and follow other steps to protect against potential exposure or spreading of COVID-19. For counties in phase 2, religious organizations can hold indoor services with 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, also with face coverings and social distancing. These new guidelines include all worship services, study classes, ceremonies, holiday celebrations, weddings and funerals. Inslee also asked that churches collect voluntary attendee information and keep it for two weeks to aid with contact tracing in case someone later tests positive for the virus.
In all cases, organizations must follow social distancing with a full six feet between pews and between people standing and sitting, which should be identified by markings. Everyone must wear face coverings, organizations must clean and sanitize public areas frequently, educate employees about the virus and how to prevent its spread, and provide personal protective equipment to staff as needed.
Office of Equity and Social Justice Grants Available
On May 5th, the King County Council approved a second emergency supplemental budget which included $1 million for the Office of Equity and Social Justice to expand funding for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. You can read more about the grants and apply here. The application portal closes at 5:00 p.m. on June 9th.
New King County Dashboard on Key Indicators
Seattle – King County Public Health has published a new data dashboard that provides a snapshot of key indicators related to COVID-19 disease activity, testing capacity, and health care system status. The data will be useful to help guide decisions about whether restrictions and precautions are adequate, or whether they need to be strengthened or carefully relaxed. The data in the dashboard is encouraging, and will help residents track the target metrics as we get closer to moving forward. You can view the dashboard here.
AWB Website to Help Washington Get Back to Business
The Association of Washington Business announced a new website aimed at helping Washington businesses safely welcome back employees and customers.
The website, located at www.reboundandrecovery.org, features an online portal to connect Washington businesses with “made in Washington” manufactures of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols with employees and customers. The site is free to use and available to all Washington businesses.
Sound Transit Financial Update
Yesterday at a Sound Transit meeting, some information was shared regarding the economic impact of COVID-19 in our region, as well as the impacts to Sound Transit as they begin to grapple with a potential realignment for future projects. I wanted to share the information below with you.
Visit Seattle Travel Industry Impact
Visit Seattle recently shared a brief document that highlights some of the staggering impacts of COVID-19 to our region’s travel industry. You can read more about the impacts and see the data in the report at this PDF.
Half of Newly Diagnosed COVID Cases in Patients Under 40
According to a new study discussed in this Seattle Times article, half of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington are in people under 40. Younger people need to take this virus seriously, because they can still become very ill if they contract COVID-19, and can also spread the disease in our communities if they don’t practice social distancing.
King County Case Update
As of today, Seattle – King County Public Health was reporting 29 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 8,006. In addition, Public Health reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total in the County to 554.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember