News for the Week of December 28

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News highlights for the week of December 28.

Gov. Inslee announces extension of statewide restrictions through January 11. Gov. Jay Inslee today announced an extension of the "Stay Safe–Stay Healthy" proclamation, along with the statewide restrictions imposed. The extension of the statewide restrictions will now expire on January 11, 2021.

Inslee issues proclamations on travel restrictions and updates to existing religious guidance. Monday Gov. Jay Inslee issued a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone returning to Washington state after visiting the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries where a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 501Y.V, has been circulating. Health experts believe this new variant may be more transmissible than other variants. The order applies to anyone who has been present in these countries within the prior 14 days. An individual is permitted to leave quarantine to perform certain essential activities (for example, seek medical treatment), provided that they avoid public transportation and ride-share services, wear a facial covering, separate themselves from other people to the greatest extent reasonably possible, and follow other appropriate social distancing measures. All individuals who are impacted by this order are strongly encouraged to be tested within seven days of returning to Washington. The full proclamation is available here.

Inslee announces authorization of Moderna vaccine by Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. On December 20, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The announcement came after the FDA and CDC granted their initial authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Information for Businesses

PPP Update. As part of the Federal stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program has reopened, focusing on businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have seen declines of at least 25% in revenue during 2020.

Vaccine News

Statement from the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) updated Washington’s 1A vaccine allocation guidance yesterday. We have worked closely with Gov. Inslee and his team and Dr. Umair A. Shah, the Secretary of Health, to review and update COVID-19 vaccine related matters in Washington.

Some communities in Washington state have already completed or are very near to completing vaccination of their high-risk workers in health care settings as outlined in current DOH guidance. We will be adding a second tier to 1A that allows for the vaccination of all other workers in health care settings once high-risk workers are vaccinated.

We acknowledge that while some communities are still working through 1A, others will be able to move to this second tier of 1A more quickly. Across Washington, it is important that health care systems actively reach out to and provide access to COVID-19 vaccination for the community-based health care workforce outside their systems and in their community. This includes other health care providers, school nurses, and behavioral health providers, in order to complete this phase and ensure we have a protected healthcare system.

We are still working to finalize prioritization for 1B/1C and expect to release this guidance shortly after the new year, so that communities can begin planning outreach and vaccination of these groups next. Read the full press release here.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution update from the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts. Last week, providers across the state began administering initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk health workers, and now, more than 30,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered. We are thrilled with this progress in such a short time. This week, we allocated 44,850 Pfizer doses and 127,900 Moderna doses. That includes: 153,925 doses distributed to more than 220 sites in 37 counties; and 18,825 doses distributed to support long-term care facilities as well as 14 Tribes and Urban Indian Health Programs. Read more about the vaccine here.

Video: Dr. Jeff Duchin on COVID-19 Trends & Vaccine Distribution. As the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived King County this week, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin answered questions and shared the latest information on rollout and distribution of vaccines in this video. For more on COVID-19 data trends, visit our data dashboards. For more on COVID-19 vaccine planning in King County click here.

School News

Public Health – Seattle & King County supports local efforts to open classrooms for younger learners. Emerging research and data from multiple sources show that schools can successfully limit the transmission of COVID-19 when they follow strong health and safety protocols. Click here to read more.

Resources

Coping with COVID: Grief and loss. When natural disasters happen, it is normal for people to experience loss and grief. Many of us have felt some form of loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, like the loss of a loved one, change in health, job loss, or even just the loss of our “normal” life. Any grief and loss we might be feeling is layered on top of all the other stress of a pandemic. Follow this link to learn about how most people experience grief and loss, and provide strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic.

Inslee announces eviction moratorium extension. Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday announced he will extend the eviction moratorium to March 31, 2021. The current moratorium was set to expire on December 31. A statement from the governor can be read here, additional details will come next week.

Federal and State Resources. On December 27, the second federal pandemic relief bill was signed into law, which includes enhanced unemployment benefits and direct cash payments. Governor Inslee also made $54 million available to cover a week of lost benefits for unemployed Washingtonians. After that, eligible individuals will receive an additional $300 per week for 10 weeks in 2021. Pro-rated stimulus checks will soon be sent to individuals making up to $99,000/year, and eligible families will receive an additional $600 per child. The federal package provides $25 billion in rent assistance for those who lost income during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Reporting

King County Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary. As of December 30, King County reports that there have been a total of 369 positive cases in Mercer Island; 9,514 people have been tested. For more details, see the King County daily summary dashboard.

COVID-19 Long-term Care Report. As of December 22, a total of 12,501 COVID-19 cases (6% of total cases) and 1,627 deaths (52% of total deaths) have been identified as associated with a long-term care (LTC) facility (i.e., nursing home, assisted living facility or adult family home). These cases include residents as well as employees and visitors. Not all of these cases were exposed at a LTC facility. Many cases visited multiple places during their exposure period, and some individuals may have visited a LTC facility after disease onset. Read the full report here.

Last Call…

2020 Situation Reports. December 18 was the final SitRep for 2020. If you are looking to catch up on the highlights of the City’s response to the pandemic, click here. The next update will be issued January 8.

Have a safe New Years Eve! Cheers to 2021!

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