News for the Week of November 2

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News and highlights for the week of November 2.

MInext: A New Campaign to Support Local Businesses. This week, a coalition of local organizations helped launch MInext, a new marketing campaign to support the Mercer Island business community. Learn how you can help support local business here.

November 2 City Manager’s Report. Click here to watch City Manager Jessi Bon’s video update where she provides the latest information on City services.

November 6 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 36th week of the City’s response to the pandemic.

Top Headlines

How to Take Care of Ourselves During Stressful Times. It is a challenging time for everyone right now and it’s hard to find stability in our lives. While many things are beyond our control, there are many things that we can control. When we are anxious and fearful, working some of these things into our lives can be empowering and comforting. Click here for tips to help take care of ourselves and family.

Scammers pose as Department of Health officials in fraudulent schemes targeting medical providers. Warning to health care professionals with Washington licenses: Beware of scammers falsely claiming to represent the Washington State Department of Health – and don’t send money to anyone without being certain of the recipient’s identity. Read the full news release here.

State reports more than 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since summer. On October 30, Washington state reported 1,047 new COVID cases in a single day. Today’s number is a new daily high since mid-July. In light of a potential fall surge, the Department of Health recently encouraged Washingtonians to flatten the curve once again.

"Close contact" redefined. Matching Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee's redefined wording on 'close contact', King County has updated close contact. "If you have been in close contact for a combined total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period with someone who has COVID-19, it's important to get tested right away, even if you don't have symptoms." Click here for more.

Resource: Health insurance feels more important than ever, and Public Health Navigators can help. King County’s health insurance Navigators are once again offering personal help with the enrollment process through Washington Healthplanfinder — with special adaptations to protect against COVID-19. Follow this link for information about virtual/online enrollment events, drive-through enrollment events, video-kiosks and more.

Information for Businesses

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness applications still being accepted. There has been some confusion about whether applications for PPP loan forgiveness were due Oct. 31, but the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has reassured applicants there is no defined deadline. Business owners can still apply and use the simplified application which significantly reduces the time and paperwork needed for PPP loan forgiveness. Read the SBA’s “6 Things About PPP Loan Forgiveness You Should Know” for more info.

New Phase 2 & 3 Restaurant Guidance Video. King County's Safe Start for Taverns and Restaurants (SSTAR) program provides education and materials to help restaurants implement state and public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also increases the accountability of food service establishments to abide by the health and safety standards that support a safe reopening. Watch the video here.

Five key COVID-19 safety requirements for all Washington employers. Emergency law requires five key workplace safety practices for all employers. Employees must practice social distancing and mask up. Employees must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. A plan must be written and in place to address worker illness, and more.

Vaccine News

New COVID-19 vaccine preparedness page from King County. Multiple vaccines are under development and several are in large scale clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure they are both safe and effective. While we wait for vaccines to be approved, King County is working with the DOH on plans, procedures, and systems for eventual vaccine distribution. Click here to visit the new vaccine preparedness page.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the Washington State Department of Health. The DOH continues to make progress with their COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. Click here for the latest information.

School News

New report explores role of diagnostic testing in school reopening. The Department of Health released a new report by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) that quantifies how various diagnostic screening scenarios could help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with reopening schools. The report affirms that while there are still risks associated with returning to full in-person instruction, the risks could be significantly reduced through school-based countermeasures, hybrid scheduling, and a phased-in approach that brings back K-5 grades first. Read the full news release here.

Media briefing. The DOH and the Institute of Disease Modeling held a media briefing today to discuss the new IDM report. Watch the recording here.

Inslee announces technology investment for Washington students and staff. On October 30, he announced the allocation of $24 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to purchase approximately 64,000 computing devices for students across the state. These devices will enable students to receive their education in the new COVID-19 remote learning environment. Click here for more.


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