Today’s update includes information on King County Elections Services and Options to return ballots for the Primary Election, Public Health – Seattle & King County’s updates on testing and contact tracing, Link Light Rail’s temporary service suspension this weekend, and more.
What was Galloping Gertie?
(Answer is at the bottom).
King County Elections Reminds Voters of Available Options to Return Ballots
With only five days left before the Primary Election on August 4th, King County Elections has only received about 242,000 ballots (18% of ballots returned). King County Elections has a variety of services and options in place, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic:
• Drop your ballot in the mail or return it to any of the ballot drop boxes across the county, which are open 24 hours a day and will close on Election Day, August 4th at 8:00 p.m.
• Not yet registered? Registration online or by mail is allowed up until eight days before Election Day. If it’s within eight days of Election Day, you do have to come in-person to a Vote Center to get registered. Vote Center locations will be offering both curbside and walk-up service to ensure that Elections staff and voters stay safe.
• Curbside Service – King County Elections is open right now in Renton, with curbside service beginning tomorrow, July 31st. They will also be open on Saturday, August 1st, Monday and Tuesday, August 3rd and 4th, at Century Link Field.
• Ballot Replacement - Voters who lost or did not receive a ballot can pre-order their replacement ballot online or call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) to pre-register ahead of time to reduce your wait time. When you drive or walk-up, you’ll be greeted by curbside staff who will direct you where to park or wait, run inside to do whatever transaction is required, and come out with your ballot. Masks are required.
• Online Replacement – Voters may access their ballot and print off a replacement at home with the online ballot marking program and completely avoid coming in-person. Voters will still need to return the ballot either by mail or at one of the ballot drop box locations.
Public Health – Seattle & King County: Testing and Contact Tracing Updates
Due to the recent surge in people getting tested as well as the national shortage of reagents and supplies needed for laboratory testing, Public Health – Seattle & King County is seeing longer wait times to get tests and delays in receiving results.
Public Health – Seattle & King County is working to address disparities in access to testing for those at higher risk and for those who are socially disadvantaged. Additionally, Public Health – Seattle & King County is also working to expand testing in underserved areas through new, high-volume open access testing sites, with the goals of opening two of these sites by the first week of September, and increasing testing from approximately 30,000/week to over 60,000/week.
The graphs reflect the dramatic increase in testing and positive cases in the last few weeks.
Public Health – Seattle & King County is rapidly expanding their contact tracing workforce which now manages 40% of the overall cases in King County, while Washington State Department of Health completes the rest.
Currently, the average person goes 3 days from symptoms onset to testing, and most people do not go into isolation at time of symptom onset. As a result, most people are likely infectious for approximately 5 days before they go into isolation, a period that includes their time of peak infectivity. It is imperative to accelerate this process as contact tracing has the potential to identify people early in the sequence and ensure that their contacts get tested and isolated as soon as possible.
The chart shows the number of days it takes before a person infected with COVID-19 experiences symptoms, gets tested, is contacted by contact tracers and begins isolation.
Link Light Rail Service Temporary Suspension on Sunday Morning
Link light rail service will be temporarily suspended on Sunday, August 2nd, from 5:45 AM to 8:00 AM to allow for system upgrades. Sound Transit will provide free shuttle buses that will run every 30 minutes during the service interruption. Check the shuttle bus schedule here.
Delta Airlines Bans Certain Masks from their Flights
Delta requires customers and employees to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering, over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with guidelines from the CDC. Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight as this type of mask is intended for industrial uses to avoid inhaling material particles and does not prevent the spread of virus particles. Read more about the article here and Delta’s travel guidelines here. Please contact your airline of choice to check the current travel guidelines they have in place.
King County Case Update
As of yesterday, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 150 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 14,879. In addition, Public Health reported 0 new death, keeping the total in the county at 644.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Presently known as Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Galloping Gertie was the first suspension bridge to link Tacoma and Kitsap Peninsula. Its construction began in 1938 and workers observed how the deck moved vertically in windy conditions, hence giving it the nickname Galloping Gertie.
The bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1940 and collapsed four months later on November 7, 1940 as the deck oscillated in an alternating twisting motion that eventually tore the deck apart despite several damping measures. The only victim of the unfortunate disaster was Tubby, a cocker spaniel dog.
Using the bridge’s original tower pedestals and cable anchorages, a new Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built and opened in 1950.