Today’s update includes information on our upcoming free document shredding and mask distribution event in Federal Way, the free flu vaccine, health insurance enrollment and COVID-19 testing event at Integrity Life Church, a new COVID-19 exposure notification tool, other resources, and more.
How did Medina get its name?
(Answer is at the bottom).
Free Document Shredding and Mask Distribution in Federal Way
I am hosting a free document shredding and mask distribution event in Federal Way on Saturday, December 12th, from 8:00 AM to noon. In keeping with public safety guidelines, the drop-off will be done through a drive-through, and staff members will be wearing masks and gloves. Please bring as many documents as you would like to shred and share this event with your neighbors, co-workers, and friends as this will be a good opportunity to clean out your files at the end of the year. I will also be distributing face masks for free.
Federal Way Commons Mall
1701 South 320th St., Federal Way, WA 98003
Parking lot between Chase Bank and Applebee’s
With Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell at the Shredding and Mask Distribution event in Federal Way last summer.
Flu Vaccine, COVID-19 Testing and Health Insurance Enrollments
On Saturday, December 12th, Public Health – Seattle and King County will be hosting free health insurance enrollment, flu shots for underinsured and uninsured, ORCA Lift transit fare registration, and COVID-19 testing at Integrity Life Church (37603 28th Ave South, Federal Way, WA 98003) from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Check the upcoming free flu vaccination drive-through clinics and health insurance enrollment events for adults.
New COVID-19 Exposure Notification Tool
Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced the launch of WA Notify, an anonymous exposure notification tool that was created to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The app will alert residents if they spent time near another WA Notify user who later tests positive for COVID-19. It uses privacy-preserving technology and works without collecting or revealing personal data or location. Read more about it here.
King County Eviction Prevention Rental Assistance Program
King County Department of Community and Human Services will stop receiving new Eviction Prevention Rental Assistance Program interest forms from tenants and landlords on Friday, December 4th at 5:00 PM, in order to process assistance for tenants and properties ahead of the December 30th, 2020 expenditure deadline. To view the performance of this program and the number of tenants and landlords it has served, please visit this website.
Keep it local King County campaign launches to support regional small businesses
King County kicked off a new social media campaign to encourage people to discover offerings from local restaurants, retailers, gyms and arts organizations as the region adapts to new public health instructions. Residents are encouraged to patronize local businesses through the Keep it local King County promotions:
The Executive’s Office will emphasize the importance of continuing or purchasing memberships in regional arts and cultural organizations.
Restaurants are open and ready to serve.
Even though in-door activities in gyms are currently not allowed, many offer on-line yoga and other services. In these stressful times, it is more important than ever to keep mentally healthy by being physically fit.
Thursday: Give thanks
For those who can work from home and maintain a steady income, remember to thank essential workers by leaving a little something extra as a tip, or a thank-you card.
Friday: Fun with family and friends
Even with heightened restrictions, there is plenty to do, such as farmers markets. It is also important to make sure residents know how to use video-communications apps.
Saturday: Shop safe
It is safe to patronize businesses in our neighborhoods and downtown, as long as we follow simple guidelines. Now is the time to show the love to local merchants.
Weekly King County Health Update: Top areas for COVID-19 exposure are households
According to the Washington Department of Health, COVID-19 transmission is currently widespread, and our state is at the highest risk since the beginning of the pandemic. During the past month, King County cases have increased five-fold and are threatening to strain our testing facility and hospital capacities. Public Health – Seattle and King County reports that recent cases are no longer confined to hotspots and consequently, it is reasonable to assume that “exposure can occur anywhere you are around other people, especially indoors.”
In the past 60 days, there has been a significant change in exposure to COVID-19. Most cases suggest that the sources of potential exposure to COVID-19 were at a variety of community/social activities and indoor gatherings with family and friends, in their workplaces and households.
Although this is sobering news, Public Health emphasizes that we can still positively impact our families, friends, and other community members through the decisions we make in the coming months. King County Health Officer Jeffrey Duchin recommends:
Follow the basics at all times:
• Wear a face covering when with others
• Socially distance 6 feet or more
• Limit contact with others outside your household
• Limit exposure time
• Avoid crowded indoor spaces
• Ventilate indoor spaces
• Practice good hand hygiene
Resources if someone in your household is infected:
• Information if you are exposed to COVID-19
• Quarantine/Isolation resources if your home is not a safe option
• How to care for a household member with COVID-19
• Learn more about how to protect yourself and others
Oregon and Washington have new COVID-19 restrictions
Pacific Northwest states are experiencing an increase in new cases of COVID-19, breaking records in the recent weeks for posting the highest daily counts of new confirmed cases. Oregon, Washington and California announced new restrictions and urged non-essential travel to not happen. The Western pact also encourages those who travel in and out of the state and country to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Highlighting the differences in the new restrictions, Northwest News Network Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins said Washington allows outdoor dining up to five people at the table while Oregon put a pause on both indoor and outdoor dining. Another key difference is that Oregon allows grocery and retail stores to operate with up to 75 percent capacity, while Washington only allows 25 percent capacity. Read more about this in the OPB article here.
Oregon decriminalized drug possession; now it has to offer treatment.
As Oregon voters have agreed to end almost all criminal penalties for drug possession in their state, state officials only have two months to set up a new recovery-focused system. Measure 110 mandates new recovery centers paid for by marijuana taxes and savings from less incarceration, while allowing a maximum fine of $100 for possession of drugs including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines along with a mandatory health assessment. However, people experienced in dealing with drug addiction warn that Oregon is not prepared to offer treatment to anyone caught in possession of illegal drugs, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. Read more about this in the WSJ article here.
King County Case Update
Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 732 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 45,138. In addition, Public Health reported 9 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 868.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Blessed with an ideal location on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, Medina developed in the 1870s as a tiny community of berry farms and orchards. Its first permanent settler was Thomas Dabney who later built the first ferry dock in Medina, calling it Dabney’s Landing.
As the community around the landing began to grow, the residents wanted to give it a distinct name. According to HistoryLink, Dabney wanted to name it Flordeline, but other settlers, especially three women – Flora Belote, Ruby Burke and Eliza Geicker – disagreed. They presented their favorite names, but chose Belote’s suggestion – Medina (Medeena), a city on the Arabian Peninsula that is one of the holy cities of Islam.
Dabney disagreed with the name and decided to build a large sign that said Flordeline, however, when he returned from work, he found the sign replaced by a Medina sign. He took the sign down and put his Flordeline sign back up. The feud went on for days with Dabney replacing the Medina sign every time he returned from work, until he finally got tired and left the Medina sign up.