News for the Week of February 15

News highlights for the week of February 15.

Latest Numbers. In Mercer Island, there have been 468 positive cases reported as of February 18. DOH reported a total of 314,655 confirmed cases as of February 17. There have been 4,803 COVID-19 deaths in WA. For the latest city and county data, click here.

Seattle Times: How some frustrated COVID-19 vaccine hunters are trying to fix a broken system. From The Seattle Times - The WA COVID Vaccine Finder, or covidwa.com, is a privately developed, one-stop site for vaccine appointments and is the project of a team of “guerrilla techies” from Microsoft and the UW. The team set up a system of robots that troll the 330 vaccine websites to search for available appointments. Click here to read the article (may be paywall restricted).

AARP-WA COVID-19 Town Hall Discussion. Public Health - Seattle & King County Director, Patty Hayes participated in AARP of Washington's Town Hall yesterday to share information and answer questions about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in King County. Watch the recording here https://fb.watch/3Jg4507FgL

COVID Resource Website. State DOH has partnered with Fred Hutch to launch a COVID resource website. Get on-click answers to common questions like “When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?” and “What are vaccine side effects?” on https://preventcovidwa.org/. The site has short videos addressing common questions about about vaccines and masks for download as well.

Washington state experts to host webinar on COVID-19 vaccine phases. State DOH hosted a webinar February 18 discussing the phasing and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in our state. A recording of the webinar, “Understanding WA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Phases,” will be available shortly and shared on the Let’s Talk coronavirus page.

Managing COVID-19 at Home. Public Health has created an infographic on managing COVID-19 at home. It has tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when someone in a household is sick. This infographic was designed for large households whose members cannot isolate or quarantine away from their home. Click here for the infographic.

Situation Reports. The City has moved to monthly Situation Reports (SitReps), available the first Friday of the month. The next SitRep will be available the afternoon of March 5. Click here to catch up on the latest information and reports.

Information for Businesses

Updated guidance for farmers markets, food pantries, grocery stores, restaurants, and other food establishments. This guidance is now combined into one document for all Food Workers and Establishments (PDF). The individual links on DOH’s Resources and Recommendations page for farmers markets, food pantries, grocery stores, and restaurants will soon be redirected to the Food Workers and Establishments document. For additional requirements in this sector, please also see the governor’s COVID-19 reopening guidance for businesses and workers site for Restaurants, Taverns, Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries; and a new FAQ on Outdoor and Open-Air Structures. Updated guidance has also been posted by DOH for Transient Accommodations (Hotels, Motels, B&Bs, etc.) (PDF) to include information outlined in the governor’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan.

Reopening guidance for religious and faith-based organizations updated. Under the accordion menu item for "Reopening guidance for religious and faith-based organizations", updated information about hosting in-person services has been posted stating: that virtual services remain the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in our communities. If hosting in-person services, Public Health—Seattle & King County recommends: Wearing a snug-fitting mask with at least 2 layers; We recommend everyone to wear a mask, including soloists; Hosting outdoor services if possible; Limiting the number of people; and Improving ventilation and airflow when indoors

Vaccine News

Vaccine shipments delayed due to severe winter weather across the U.S. In King County, this delay will impact most vaccination appointments scheduled for Friday, February 19, and likely into the weekend. Vaccine providers will reach out to reschedule appointments. If your second dose appointment is cancelled, make sure to reschedule with the same provider as your first dose appointment. See full details at www.kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine distribution update from the Washington State Department of Health. As of Feb. 15, more than 1,201,120 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is nearly 83% of the 1,453,425 doses that have been delivered to our providers and long-term care programs. Washington is currently averaging 26,204 vaccine doses given each day. This information can be found on the DOH data dashboard under the vaccines tab, which is updated three times per week.

King County COVID-19 Vaccine Data At-a-Glance. Page updated daily here.

School News

DOH expands school testing initiative to encourage more in-person learning. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Health Commons Project, is expanding its COVID-19 testing service for school and adding voluntary testing options to its toolkit for school districts. This is part of the ongoing effort to expand in-person learning to more Washington students. Read the full news release here.

Resources

Improve how your mask protects you. Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. Masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all masks provide the same protection. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. Learn more here.

Last Call…

Executive Constantine's sixth COVID-19 emergency budget to fund $45 million in rental assistance and support community organizations. King County Executive Dow Constantine today sent the sixth COVID-19 supplemental budget to the King County Council. The $91 million budget includes $45 million in additional rental assistance, $5 million to support community organizations, and funding for COVID-19 vaccination sites. Click here for more information.

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