News for the Week of December 7
News highlights for the week of December 7.
Update on COVID-19 reporting backlog. WA DOH has caught up with processing most of the backlog in positive COVID-19 test results created by temporary system slowdowns last week. The Department also resumed reporting negative test results after a temporary pause. Note, not all negative test results between November 21 and December 7 have been processed. Read more here.
Testing and Traveling During the Holiday Season. The holiday season has arrived as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our communities. Two major ways to help protect our communities is by limiting our travel and testing for the coronavirus. King County is sharing some of the questions they’ve been fielding about testing and traveling to help with your decisions to have a safer holiday season. Click here for more info.
Plan ahead for holiday scheduling at COVID-19 test locations. Due to the upcoming holidays, some sites will have limited dates and times.
Expansion of testing into the Eastside of King County. A new site at Bellevue College will open on Tuesday, expanding efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in east King County and along the I-90 corridor. This will be the first free, high-capacity COVID-19 test site on the Eastside. Click here for more.
Unemployment Benefits Update: Job search requirements to remain suspended through January 19, 2021. The governor, with support from the Legislature, has announced that job search requirements will remain suspended through Jan. 19, 2021. This means the soonest claimants will be required to actively seek work is the week of January 24. You can continue to answer “no” to the job search question on your weekly claim until the suspension is lifted. More information is available here.
Governor Extends Restrictions Through January 4. In mid-November the Governor implemented a series of restrictions to try to curb the spread of COVID-19. On December 8 he extended those restrictions through January 4. Click here for more information.
Additional $50 million Available for Small Businesses. On December 8, Gov. Jay Inslee announced additional economic supports of $50 million for workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total for Round 3 Working Washington Small Business Grants to $100 million. The additional money, doubles the number of Washington small businesses that will receive aid. Apply by December 11!
COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the State Department of Health. If everything goes as planned, the WA DOH expects to have the vaccine delivered early next week. The federal government has estimated that WA will receive 62,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for initial allocations next week, assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the emergency use authorization. That state expects additional allocations for a total of about 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December. That’s about 20,000 more than originally thought. For the rest of the state’s update, click here.
Making sense of vaccines during COVID-19. Join the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and the State DOH in a live conversation that will go beyond the headlines to give you the vaccine answers you need, straight from the experts. Learn more or register for this event here.
December 9 Community Webinar Presentation Video Available. On December 9, MISD Superintendent Colosky, Board Members, and staff updated the community via a virtual webinar. Watch the video or view the presentation slides here.
Care Connect Washington – A new way to get COVID-19 relief. On December 9, the DOH announced a new service to help people who have to isolate or quarantine at home after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed. Care Connect Washington will provide critical resources to people who need support when they’re staying home. Care coordinators will connect people to community-based services such as medication delivery, health care, help applying for unemployment, local housing agencies, food banks, childcare providers and more. Click here for information about the program.
Coping with COVID: Exhausted families. Right now, many of us are feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from the ongoing stress of living through a pandemic. Both kids and adults can experience exhaustion, where they may feel depleted, like they are running on empty, using up all their physical and emotional energy without a chance to recharge. Learn about about how exhaustion affects both children and adults, and strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic here.
New free test site in Enumclaw. Starting Thursday, December 10, communities in southeast King County will have a new option for COVID-19 testing at a free testing site in Enumclaw. The testing site is open to anyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. For all available testing sites, click here.
State Ready to Help with Unemployment Assistance. On December 8, Governor Inslee announced that the state will help provide Washington residents with unemployment assistance if Congress does not extend CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funding at the end of the year.
Department of Health improves how it reports COVID-19 deaths. To provide more accurate daily reports, the State DOH is changing how it reports COVID-19 deaths. Rather than a preliminary cause of death, the agency will only use the official registered cause of death on the DOH dashboard, providing more precise reporting. The State’s normal process for releasing final death data is complex, involves multiple data systems, and can take up to 18 months from start to finish. Deaths due to factors other than COVID-19 can be hard to definitively rule out. Reporting changes will result in an adjustment of death totals, including a removal of some deaths from figures made public. Read the full release here.
December 11 Situation Report. For highlights and information from the 40th week of the City’s response to the pandemic, click here.