Today’s update includes information on the arrival of vaccines in King County, our successful shredding and mask distribution event, the new King County Metro Dashboard, general election highlights, health and road closure updates, and more.
How did Fall City get its name?
(Answer is at the bottom).
Vaccines Arrive in King County - Here’s What Happens Next
Yesterday the first vaccines arrived in King County, a major step in the fight to stop coronavirus. The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data shows the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting 7 days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until 1 to 2 weeks after they receive the second dose. The clinical trials revealed no major unanticipated adverse events.
The state’s plan calls for the first doses to be administered to high-risk health workers, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities. This means around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine during this initial phase. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will provide more guidance on who will be vaccinated in later phases. If everything goes to plan, majority of Washingtonians will be vaccinated by mid-summer.
Free Document Shredding and Mask Distribution in Federal Way
Our shredding and mask distribution event in Federal Way last Saturday was a success. We received boxes of documents for shredding and distributed nearly a thousand masks to our local community members who drove-through the Federal Way Commons Mall.
With Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell and local community members at the Shredding and Mask Distribution event in Federal Way on Saturday, December 12th.
King County Metro debuts its Rider Dashboard
King County Metro has unveiled a new dashboard, “The Dash”, which displays data on ridership, mask use and other metrics systemwide and on a route-by-route level. The dashboard only covers Metro bus routes, and provides customers, communities, and partners with up-to-date answers to frequently asked questions about transit. You can learn more here.
King County Elections Update
King County Elections (KCE) provided an update on general election highlights, recounts, legislative priorities and the upcoming February election.
Election Highlights. KCE saw an 87 percent record turnout this Presidential Election with 74 percent of the ballots coming from drop boxes, 25 percent sent by mail, and 1 percent by email or fax.
Requested Recounts. In addition to the ~100,000 ballots KCE had to hand recount for the Legislative District 5 Senator race, they also had two requested hand recounts. The first was for the Rose precinct – 466 ballots – for the races of President, Governor, Attorney General, and Congressional District No. 1. There were no changes in any vote totals and the Canvassing Board certified the recount results on December 8th. The second requested recount is for five precincts in the 9th Congressional Race with a total of 2,944 ballots, which will be certified tomorrow.
Certification of Mandated Recount. Tomorrow, December 16th at 9:00 AM, KCE will certify the mandated recount in the 5th Legislative District, with no change to the winner of the race. The certification will be on live stream on their Facebook page.
Legislative Priorities. KCE Director Julie Wise has shared her legislative priorities in the coming year, which include the expansion of voting rights, elimination of non-binding advisory votes, pilot signature alternatives, increase participation in primaries, and make ballot language more accessible.
February Election. With no requests from jurisdictions for a Special Election in February, KCE will not have a February Special Election in King County.
Lane closures on South 272nd Street in Kent
Crews working on the Federal Way Link Extension will be closing the right lane of eastbound South 272nd Street between I-5 exit 147 and 26th Avenue South from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on December 14th - 18th and December 21st - 22nd. Crews will be excavating, installing fencing and moving in construction equipment. These are single lane closures, so no detours will be in place. Commuters who normally travel this area in Kent should expect increased travel times. All project construction work is done under stringent COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
Inslee issues COVID-19 public transportation safety guidance
Gov. Jay Inslee issued COVID-19 public transportation safety guidance, which outlines safety requirements for those who receive direct funding from the state or federal government to deliver public transportation services.
Read the full guidance here.
Weekly King County Health Update: Cold Weather Health Precautions
Ranked among the most physically active in the U.S., many Washingtonians are expected to spend more time outdoors in the coming months due to COVID-19 related restrictions on indoor activities. As we head into a season that meteorologists predict will be colder and wetter, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of hypothermia or frostbite when exercising and recreating outdoors in the winter.
Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature of 95°F or lower) is life-threatening. Usually associated with prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures, it can also occur at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person loses body heat from wind, rain, sweat, snow, or submersion in cold water.
• Victims are often people who stay outdoors for long periods, and drink alcohol in excess or use illicit drugs.
• Older adults and babies are especially vulnerable outdoors and indoors (babies sleeping in cold rooms and older adults without proper food, clothing, or heating).
• Symptoms in adults include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, drowsiness, and slurred speech. Babies will have bright red, cold skin and very low energy.
• If a person has any of the symptoms and/or has a temperature of 95°F or lower, seek medical attention immediately. Hypothermia is a medical emergency.
• For more information on hypothermia and frostbite, see the CDC page.
Frostbite (injury from freezing) is a life-threatening condition that occurs in extremely cold temperatures in people with poor circulation or who are not adequately dressed.
• Symptoms include numbness, white or greyish-yellow colored skin, and waxy or firm feeling skin. Victims may not know they have frostbite because of numbness.
• Areas most affected are the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes.
• Seek medical attention immediately and check for hypothermia symptoms.
Here's how you can cut down your own Christmas tree in Washington
Receiving about 8,000 permit applications for Christmas this year, the U.S. Forest Service shared that cutting down your own Christmas tree has grown in popularity this year compared to past years where they only saw between 6,000 to 6,500 applications. In the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, there are several areas to choose from for the best tree, however, a permit is required in order to do so. Aside from their strict regulations, the Forest Service reminds everyone to prepare for winter conditions to avoid being stranded in the mountains. You can read more in this King 5 article here.
King County Case Update
Yesterday, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 632 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 54,649. In addition, Public Health reported 0 new deaths, keeping the total in the county at 935.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Originally known as “The Landing” due to its location in the lower valley where the Snoqualmie river was no longer passable, the establishment of a post office brought a new name to the Landing community – Fall City. While the new name was likely a result of its location near Snoqualmie Falls, according to HistoryLink, it is unknown who selected the name or why it was not called Falls City instead.
Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.