News for the Week of March 22

News highlights for the week of March 22.

Latest Numbers. In Mercer Island, there have been 490 positive cases reported as of March 19. DOH reported a total of 334,841 confirmed cases as of March 22. There have been 5,186 COVID-19 deaths in Washington. For the latest city and county data, click here.

New Household Assistance Request Program. Do you and your family need financial support to successfully isolate or quarantine? Anyone living in King County who tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive a one-time household bill payment of up to $1,500 to help pay their current rent, mortgage, utility, water, phone and internet bills. Click here for more.

Inslee rescinds state travel advisory to align with CDC travel advisory guidance. The Governor has rescinded his November 2020 Travel Advisory and is advising Washingtonians and visitors to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. Read the full news release here.

King County Executive proposes $600 million American Rescue Plan budget. This week, King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted a $600 million spending plan to the King County Council, funded in part by the American Rescue Plan. The plan includes $253 million for Public Health Response/Vaccinations & COVID operations (ex. $116 million for stepped-up vaccination program), $199 million for Community Supports-rental assistance, childcare, behavioral health (ex. $100 million for rental assistance and $62.5 million emergency homeless response), $92 million towards Economic Recovery (ex. $25.6 million for BIPOC business and economic resiliency fund), and $40 million for the King County Jobs Program. Click here to read the full press release.

Statewide data show some signs of increasing activity. The latest report from the WA DOH shows trends which are cause for concern. The report found: (1) transmission may be increasing, (2) daily case counts have flattened at a relatively high level of around 654 new cases per day as of mid-March, (3) number of hospital beds occupied by confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients began increasing in mid-March after steady declines since January, and (4) the percentage of people with active COVID-19 infections) has plateaued since early February, following declines in January. Click here for details from the full report.

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 April 2. Click here to catch up on the latest information and reports.

Vaccine News

Vaccination cards: What’s a COVID-19 vaccination card and why should I keep it? When you get a vaccination, you should receive a vaccination record card. This card is not only proof that you got your shot, but it can also help you keep track of your vaccine information. This information is important to ensure you get the correct second dose — at the right time. You might want to keep it in your wallet so that it is always with you. Learn more about what to do (or not to do) with your vaccine card here.

Fully Vaccinated. According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated: (1) two-weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or (2) two-weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. If it has been less than two-weeks since your 1-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, health officials remind you that you are not fully protected. Learn more about what the health officials recommend before and after being fully vaccinated.

Current progress of COVID-19 vaccination in King County. As of March 24, 31% of King County residents ages 16+ have started the vaccine series (received their first dose) and 16.5% of King County residents ages 16+ are now fully vaccinated. Click here for details.

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

Resources

Coping with COVID-19: Suicide Prevention. Most of us have experienced feeling burnt out, exhausted, and overwhelmed as we navigate the challenges of COVID-19. The risk of suicide, depression, hopelessness, and substance use is typically highest during the disillusionment phase of a disaster, and it’s what we’re seeing right now. Contrary to common belief, the greatest risk of suicide is during the spring, not winter. It’s important we learn how to talk about suicide and suicide prevention when people in our lives may be struggling. Click here for more.

DOH updates guidance documents regarding masking, quarantining, and recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. These updates are in line with recent CDC announcements and include information on Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery plan where appropriate.

The DOH Resources and Recommendations page contains a full list of COVID-19 public health guidance documents. Send questions to COVIDExternalAffairs@doh.wa.gov.

School News

Schools May Immediately Implement New CDC Distancing Guidelines. On March 25, the state announced that schools may immediately begin implementing the CDC's new 3-feet distancing guidelines for students. Watch the press conference here and learn more about the CDC's new guidelines here.

Last Call…

The Latest on Masks: Layered and Snug. King County Public Health – We are no longer strangers to wearing masks in Washington. They’ve been a daily part of our lives for most of the past year. Even though vaccination rates are improving in Washington, we still need to be careful. There are new COVID-19 variants showing up now that remind us we cannot drop our guard yet. In light of this, and with new guidance from the CDC, we thought we should take a moment to talk about masks again. Follow this link to continue reading King County Public Health’s article on masks.

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