COVID-19 Information

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King County is currently in recovery Phase 2

The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and ways residents can help. Given the amount of information available, and specific needs of the community, we have created separate pages for businesses, community resources and assistance, and construction. Make sure to check out these pages for information specific to those topics.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.


City Updates


General Information


Resources and Available Assistance



Still not finding what you're looking for? Use the search bar! There is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!


King County is currently in recovery Phase 2

The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and ways residents can help. Given the amount of information available, and specific needs of the community, we have created separate pages for businesses, community resources and assistance, and construction. Make sure to check out these pages for information specific to those topics.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.


City Updates


General Information


Resources and Available Assistance



Still not finding what you're looking for? Use the search bar! There is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!


  • News for the Week of September 14

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    18 September, 2020
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    Here are the latest headlines, resources, and information for the week of September 14.

    Additional weekly $300 unemployment benefit payment to be paid to eligible claimants. The state's application for the Lost Wages Assistance program has been approved. ESD will start processing payments of $300 to eligible claimants for this new program on Monday, Sept. 21. Payments will be retroactive for all weeks for which the claimant was eligible, and for which funding is available from the federal government. Upon the processing date, eligible claimants will receive the funds as soon as their bank processes the payment. Refer to the Employment Security Department website for details.

    Schools Preparing for a Measured Return to In-Person Learning. King County’s K-12 schools are back in session. For most students, the 2020-2021 school year is starting remotely and Zoom is the new classroom. Even though the majority of the county’s school districts are teaching students remotely, they are also hard at work behind the scenes to be ready to provide in-person learning once COVID-19 transmission rates are lower. Click here for more information.

    King County’s COVID-19 Contact tracing efforts gain strength. The case investigators at Public Health—Seattle & King County are able to reach the vast majority of people who test positive for COVID-19 in King County. And most people are taking the important step of isolating themselves during their contagious period. Follow this link for the full article.

    A Conversation on Hope and Hopelessness. Adjusting to the changes COVID-19 has imposed has been very difficult for everyone. Some are navigating different layers of grief and loss. Many are feeling varying waves of hope and hopelessness. For those with mental health conditions, this time has been a continuation and possibly, an amplification of those thoughts and feelings. For more, click here.

    Department of Health releases initial case investigation and contact tracing performance metrics. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) today published new data related to COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing efforts in Washington state. These data will now be available for the public to view via PDF and updated weekly. Click here for more.

    COVID-19 activity declining in Washington state with the help of face coverings and distancing. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report, which reflects an overall decline in COVID-19 activity as of late August. The report also highlights encouraging signs that keeping our distance, limiting gathering size and wearing face coverings are working to slow the spread of the disease. Click here for more information.

    September 18 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 29th week of the City’s response to the pandemic.

  • News for the Week of September 7

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    Here are the latest headlines, resources, and information for the week of September 7.

    Alongside the ongoing transmission of COVID-19, common colds are on the rise in Seattle and King County. At the beginning of 2020, the Seattle Flu Study partnered with Public Health – Seattle & King County to launch a program to track and monitor COVID-19 mitigation efforts as well as other respiratory viruses. Click here for more information on the study.

    Temporary cancellation of COVID-19 testing sites for Friday, Sept. 11. Due to poor outdoor air quality from regional wildfires, the following outdoor COVID-19 testing sites have been canceled for Friday Sept. 11th: Valley Regional Fire Authority in Auburn, HealthPoint - Renton Drive-Through, and Downtown Seattle Public Health Center. All other testing locations remain open since testing is done indoors. Click here for testing sites.

    Wildfire smoke & COVID-19 are a bad mix. Not only do we need to continue to protect our communities against COVID-19, but now there are life-threatening fires throughout the state. Some of our neighbors have had to save their lives by leaving their homes, and hoping the fire spares their property. Many of us are struggling with the poor air quality from wildfire smoke. Follow this link for more on the effects of wildfire smoke on your health and COVID-19.

    Suicide prevention in focus for the month of September. Everyone has a role in suicide prevention. In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, Washingtonians are asked to #BeThe1To help prevent suicide. Vigilance is especially important this year due to the increased stress, anxiety and depression people may be experiencing with COVID-19. Normalizing conversation around mental health helps break stigma. Click here to learn more about how to be present, supportive and strong for those who may be going through a difficult time.

    Update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution & planning progress in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. Visit the DOH newsroom for the latest.

    What happens when you get a COVID-19 test? Maybe it’s happened to you: you wake up one morning with a new cough and a slight fever, and you’re not sure what to do. You’re worried it might be COVID, so what are your next steps? Getting tested is one of the best ways to protect your family, friends, and community, but if you’ve never been tested before, you might be a little nervous. Check out what really happens when you get a COVID test.


  • What Happens When You Get a COVID-19 Test?

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    You wake up one morning with a new cough and a slight fever, and you’re not sure what to do. You’re worried it might be COVID, so what are your next steps? Getting tested is one of the best ways to protect your family, friends, and community, but if you’ve never been tested before, you might be a little nervous. Check out what really happens when you get a COVID test:

    Now that you've been tested, what do you do?

  • Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19

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    Wildfire smoke can cause symptoms that range from the annoying — eye, nose, and throat irritation — to the dangerous — wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

    Wildfire smoke is especially harmful for children, pregnant women, and people who are over 65. And if you already have a heart or lung condition like asthma or COVID-19, breathing in wildfire smoke can make it worse.

    Take steps to keep smoke out and have better indoor air quality.

    • You can do this by improving filtration and creating a clean air room in your home. If you create a homemade box fan air filter, never leave it unattended. Left alone, it is a fire hazard.
    • When the air quality is poor, don’t add to indoor air pollution by burning candles or incense, or smoking inside.
    • Close windows and doors when it’s smoky outside but open windows and let in fresh air when there’s better air quality outside.
    • Wear your cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19, but don’t think it is protecting you from the smoke. It keeps droplets from spreading, but lets dangerous microscopic smoke particles right in.
    • Stay informed about wildfire smoke on the Washington Smoke Information blog and your local clean air agency’s website.

    For more information to protect your health visit DOH's Smoke from Fires web page.

    On Tuesday, September 8, the Mercer Island Fire Marshal's Office issued a burn ban and tips to help prevent or stop the spread of brush fires. Follow this link for more information: www.mercerisland.gov/burnban.
  • News for the Week of August 31

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    Here are the latest headlines, resources, and information for the week of August 31.

    Back to School Info & Resources. We recognize that the start to the 2020-2021 school year is a little different. Click here for information and resources from MISD, King County, the State and more.

    COVID is Brutal. A survivor’s tale from the Washington State Department of Health.

    New Study Shows Vaping Increases COVID Chances. As COVID-19 spikes among young adults, research shows vaping is associated with catching COVID. Click here to read the study and for resources.

    Supporting Recovery Throughout the Pandemic. National Recovery Month is celebrated in the U.S. each September to promote access to recovery. YFS provides community-wide substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion services via the Healthy Youth Initiative. Click here for more information.

    Extended! Summer Meals and Resources for Families in Need. On August 31, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend several flexibilities through as late as December 31, 2020. Click here for a list of several resources available to MI families.

    King County Metro is "Ready When You Are" with new safety innovations and route changes. Metro is installing automated safety partitions between passengers and the driver and will be equipping over 100 buses with on-board dispensers to provide masks on the busiest routes. Follow this link for more information.

    New analysis of COVID-19-associated deaths in King County. A new reportfrom Public Health—Seattle & King County provides information about the overall count of deaths associated with COVID-19 and the toll that the virus is taking on segments of our community.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    In case you missed it…

    The following headlines and information were posted throughout the month of August.

    King County dedicates $41 million to COVID-19 related rental assistance and eviction prevention. King County to provide over $41 millionfor eviction prevention and rental assistance that will help up to 10,000 households experiencing COVID-related economic challenges remain safe and stable in their homes.

    COVID-19 Behavioral Health Toolbox for Families. Help your family cope with emotional responses to COVID-19 by learning how to recognize the signs of pandemic stress and knowing what actions to take.

    New report shows COVID-19 cases hitting a plateau in some areas of Washington state

    Isolation and Quarantine Assistance Through King County

    FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem

    Waiting for your COVID-19 test result? Here’s what you can do.

    Why am I coughing? What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

    New Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

    Washington state changes negative test reporting for COVID-19


  • Back to School Info & Resources

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    It is time for back to school!

    We recognize that the start to the 2020-2021 school year is a little different, but we wish all of the students, parents, extended families, caregivers, MISD faculty, and staff all the best for the school year!

    For information about the 2020-2021 school year click here: mercerislandschools.org/fall2020 Continue below for Superintendent Colosky's August 31 and the MISD Board's September 7 messages to Mercer Island families.

    Did You Know? Even though school buildings are not physically open, school-based health centers will be open at 34 schools this fall. Click here for more information and locations.

    Looking for ideas on how to help your kids through this quarter? Check out Best Starts for Kids post on Learning Pods: Back to School During a Pandemic.

    On September 11, King County Public Health released this article entitled: Schools Preparing for a Measured Return to In-Person Learning. Click here to read the article.

    The Department of Health has also put out the post, A healthy start to the school year, to help with ideas on making this different start to the school year, a good one.

    Dear MISD families and community,

    Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!

    Five months ago, when I made the determination that it was necessary to enact an emergency closure of our schools, I continued to be hopeful that our students would come back to our buildings. I knew it would look different with all of the health and safety protocols that we would learn and institute as the science taught us more about how this virus behaves.

    Now as we start the year under the Red Learning phase, I remain optimistic that we will be returning to our classrooms for in-person teaching and learning sooner rather than later. When it is safe to do so, we will bring students back to the school buildings, especially our youngest learners and our learners who are most impacted.

    We will continue to review our plans every three weeks and work in collaboration with Public Health - Seattle and King County as well as referencing the Washington Dept. of Health Decision Tree for reopening that is applicable for all school districts in the state.

    As we analyze the health data, we also will be tracking staff availability, along with student engagement and learning in determining which individuals and small groups may return to in-person learning. Please know that we are listening to your suggestions and reading your emails.

    For students to be able to participate in the Orange Learning phase, the county-wide risk in the decision tree must be moderate or lower. As a reminder, our Orange phase means we will bring some students back for expanded in-person learning and participation. It is an essential element of reopening that we make every effort to keep students in cohorts as we transition to more in-person learning settings. It is also important when we do return to in-person learning, that we implement all the Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

    There continues to be broad evidence that supports our core value of supporting the whole child. Our first priority during this unprecedented time must be supporting our students’ social and emotional development in order for learning to progress. Although our classrooms will be starting virtually, we must still emphasize relationships as the means to support our students’ learning.

    As our District’s Values, Vision and Mission states “students are the priority,” we will continue to focus on how to personalize our students' learning by getting to know them individually in order to build a trusted relationship, even if it is virtual to begin the school year.

    This school year is going to be like none other, but we are all continuing to learn and grow together. We will greet new students, learn new skills, be frustrated with technology, and continue our work together as a caring community with a growth mindset - our kids need and deserve it.

    Please visit our Fall 2020 website at mercerislandschools.org/fall2020 for continuing updates, and please post your first day photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #MIFirstDay2020.

    Sincerely,
    Donna Colosky, Superintendent

    September 7, 2020 Message from the MISD Board:

    Dear Mercer Island Schools families and community,

    We hope this first week of the 2020-2021 school year has gone well. The continued COVID-19 pandemic has required us to start the school year in a remote learning environment, with limited exceptions for some of the most impacted students. Additionally, the District is facing a significant reduction in revenue for transportation for the 2020-21 school year due to decreasing availability of financial resources.

    The state has strict guidelines on transportation funding and how it can be allocated and spent, which is for primarily transporting students to and from school. While Governor Inslee has expanded the terms of transportation funding, that funding still applies only to specific job duties. Unless the state Legislature acts to change the funding model, the District does not anticipate receiving any transportation funding for the second half of the 2020-21 school year.

    The District, as directed by School Board policy, must balance our value of 'Students are the Priority' and maintaining a fiscally responsible budget, while ensuring that our employees receive the most generous compensation plan possible.

    At this time, the District is shifting positions in the transportation department that are regularly funded through the state to partial unpaid furlough/stand-by-status. While hours have been reduced, drivers still have some work transporting our more impacted children to and from appointments in school buildings. Affected staff members have been notified, and the School Board will consider the reductions at its September 10 meeting.

    This is not a decision that was made quickly or reactively. The Superintendent and School Board have been advocating for modifications in state funding since March in order to protect our transportation department. The District receives state funding for transportation based on student use for to/from school ridership. Being in a remote learning model has required us to make some incredibly difficult decisions regarding our transportation department staffing.

    Those furloughed will continue receiving District employer contributions to health insurance benefits throughout the school year as determined by the School Employees’ Benefit Board (SEBB). There will be assistance for these employees in applying for unemployment benefits. Human Resources is also working to assist them in being eligible as substitutes for positions in other departments for which they are qualified. We anticipate the furlough to continue during the remote instruction period.

    These are unprecedented times impacting every school district in the state. While that does not provide solace for our valued transportation staff members affected by these adjustments, please know that we continue to push the Governor and the Legislature for clear guidance and adjustments to the transportation funding model that will allow us to maintain staffing, provide services and pivot to in-person learning.

    Please encourage your students to continue to wear masks and maintain the six-foot social distancing so that we can all return to in-person learning as soon as possible.

    Mercer Island School District Board of Directors
    Deborah Lurie, President
    Maggie Tai Tucker, Vice President
    Tam Dinh, Director
    David D’Souza, Director
    Brian Giannini Upton, Director

  • New School and Long-Term Care Guidance

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    07 August, 2020
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    Governor Inslee announced new guidance for returning to school this fall as well as guidance for visiting long-term care facilities.

    Guidance for 2020-2021 School Year

    On August 5, Gov. Inslee announced new recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health for resuming in-person instruction in public and private K-12 education for the upcoming 2020–2021 school year. Inslee was joined by Chris Reykdal, state Superintendent of Public Instruction at a press conference.

    Similar to the state’s county-by-county phased approach to reopening, the plan allows local health departments and school districts decide if and how they will allow students back in the classroom.

    Counties have been grouped into three categories – High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Low Risk based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents over 2-week period.

    • For High Risk (more than 75 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) strongly recommend distance learning, and (b) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
    • For Moderate Risk (more than 25 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) recommend distance learning – middle/high school, (b) possible in-person learning options for elementary, and (c) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
    • For Low Risk (fewer than 25 new cases per 100k residents – just 5 counties), the state (a) encourage hybrid in-person and distance model for middle/high school, and (b) full-time in-person learning for elementary.

    Additional for the 2020-2021 school year includes that all in-person instruction should be able to implement state recommendation and health requirements that protect staff and students like physical distancing measures, hygiene and cleaning measures, daily screenings, etc.

    To help low income families, the state is providing $8.8M of CARES Act funding to purchase internet plans and other technology needs.

    For more information, click here.

    Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

    On August 6, Gov. Inslee announced guidance that allows long-term care facilities to offer visitation and other activities. Many long-term care facilities were forced to curtail social activities for residents and visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19.

    The plan goes into effect August 12, and even after it becomes effective, individual facilities must meet additional parameters before re-opening. The graduated restart plan for long-term care will give providers, residents and families direction for resuming normal activities, like visitation. The plan includes a number of public health metrics that must be met in order for facilities to move through the phases. It is modeled after the Safe Start plan.

    • Facilities in Phase 1 are can only allow window, remote, or outdoor visits (except compassionate care visits).
    • Facilities in Phase 2 are able to allow the same activities, with the addition of limited indoor visits for those residents unable to participate in virtual or outdoor visits.
    • Facilities in Phase 3 may include all activities allowed in Phase 2, but limited indoor visits are extended to all residents.
    • Normal visitation is not reinstated until Phase 4 of the long-term care plan. See the image below for more inormation.

    For more information about the guidance for long-term care facilities and visitors, click here.


  • Upcoming Mask Distribution Events

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    03 September, 2020
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    City Emergency Management Volunteers continue to distribute face coverings to the Mercer Island community. Here are details for upcoming distribution events.

    Upcoming Events

    Check back for more information.

    Past Events

    Volunteers have handed out more masks at City parks and in Town Center (pictures below). Volunteers have spent hundreds of hours helping out their fellow residents and have passed out over 10,000 masks - thank you, volunteers!











    King County also has mask distribution events. Click here for more information.

  • CORONA Survey

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    29 July, 2020
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    Washington State DOH officials are hoping to understand economic, social, and behavioral impacts and needs of residents across the state. Help them out by taking part in the CORONA Survey.

    The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) launched the CORONA survey to assess the behavioral, economic, social, and emotional impacts and the needs of communities across the state as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Survey results will inform immediate, long-term, and ongoing actions that DOH and local health jurisdictions can take to address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on Washingtonians.

    In order to appropriately and equitably inform recovery plans at the state and local levels, DOH is requesting residents from across Washington to go to www.wacoronasurvey.com to take part in the survey. (To take the survey by phone, call 855-530-5787—interpreters are available to assist.)

    The survey is voluntary and confidential.

    At the end of the survey, participants will be given the option to provide their name, phone number and/or email address. Each week of the survey, three participants will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift code as a thank you for their time and participation.

    If you have additional questions about the CORONA Survey, you can call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127.

  • Governor Announces More Changes in an Effort to Slow COVID-19

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    24 July, 2020
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    On Thursday, the Governor announced changes to the state's Safe Start approach including face coverings, restaurants, fitness centers, weddings and funerals, and entertainment.

    On July 23, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced changes to “Safe Start,” Washington’s phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.

    To combat the rising numbers, the governor and secretary are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.

    Restaurants
    Restaurant guidance will now require parties to be members of the same household in order to dine indoors. Outdoor dining and take-away remains available for small parties from different households.

    Table size for dine-in in Phase 3 will be reduced to five individuals and occupancy reduced from 75% to 50%.

    Restaurants must also close gaming and social areas, such as pool tables, dart boards and video games.

    Bars will be closed for indoor service, but can continue outdoor service. Alcohol service inside of restaurants must end by 10 p.m. These regulations take effect in one week, on July 30.

    Fitness centers
    The number of individuals allowed to use fitness centers and other physical health venues at a given time will also be reduced.

    In Phase 2, only five individuals — not including staff — will be allowed for indoor fitness services at a time. This includes gyms, fitness studios, and indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball courts, and tennis facilities. These are limited to small group instruction or private training.

    Fitness center occupancy in Phase 3 will be reduced to 25%. All group fitness classes are limited to no more than 10, not including the instructors. The changes are effective July 30.

    Entertainment regulations
    Indoor family entertainment and recreation centers — like mini golf, bowling alleys, and arcades — are prohibited from opening, as well as indoor card rooms. Indoor movie theater occupancy will be reduced from 50% to 25% in Phase 3.

    Weddings and funerals
    Under the new guidance, ceremonies will remain permitted, but receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies must adhere to current guidance; for all phases, maximum indoor occupancy is 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as social distancing can be observed.

    The changes will take effect in two weeks, on Aug. 6, providing a grace period for weddings and funerals previously scheduled to take place or readjust their plans.

    Face coverings
    In addition to those changes, Wiesman announced an expansion of his face coverings order that will go into effect Saturday, July 25.
    The expansion will require face coverings in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate setting such as nursing homes.

    Eviction moratorium extension
    Inslee also announced an extension of the state’s eviction moratorium to Oct. 15. Details on the extension will be released in the coming days.