News for the Week of March 8

News highlights for the week of March 8.

Latest Numbers. In Mercer Island, there have been 482 positive cases reported as of March 12. DOH reported a total of 327,672 confirmed cases as of March 10. There have been 5,107 COVID-19 deaths in Washington. For the latest city and county data, click here.

Seattle Mass Vaccination Site Opens this Weekend. Preparations for a mass vaccination site at Lumen Field (formerly Century Link Field) are just about buttoned up with plans to open on Saturday, March 13. The site will be open to the entire region and officials anticipate that once vaccine supplies increase, the site could administer 20,000 vaccinations daily (current levels hold vaccinations at 5,000 doses over 2-3 days). Appointments will be open to all eligible WA adults and can be scheduled online. Click here for the Patch News article.

Statewide Move into Phase 3 on March 22. Effective March 22, the entire state will enter Phase 3, a new third phase of the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery, allowing up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. Phase 3 includes a return for in-person spectators for professional and high school sports. Additionally, the state will be transitioning from a regional approach back to a county-by-county evaluation process. Click here for more info.

State Prepares to Move to Phase 1B2 on March 17. On March 11, the state announced that will advance to Phase 1B-Tier2 (1B2) on March 17, earlier than anticipated. Phase 1B2 includes essential workers in the following groups: (1) First responders, law enforcement, and firefighters, (2) Grocery store workers, (3) Workers in agriculture and food processing, (4) Public transit employees, and (5) Corrections employees at jails and detention centers. Phase 1B2 also includes anyone 16 and older who is either pregnant or has a disability that puts them at higher risk. Click here to learn more.

Governor Orders All Public Schools to Provide Some In-Person Learning. Effective next week, an Emergency Proclamation requires schools to offer some in-person learning at least 2 days/week, under hybrid models. By April 5 for K-6th grade and April 19 for K-12 30% of weekly teaching hours must be in-person. Existing safety protocols (masks, cohorts, ventilation, etc) will continue.

WA State and CDC guidance on safe behaviors post-vaccine. If someone has been fully vaccinated, they can: (1) Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask, and (2) Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when they're in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Read the full news release here.

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.

Information for Businesses

Small Business virtual webinars support Washington's business comeback efforts. The monthly SBRR COVID-19 Impact Webinar, a free one-hour webinar, supports Washington's business comeback efforts. It provides an overview of resources, updates, emergency rule changes, and other impacts affecting small businesses to create a new successful path forward. Register for upcoming webinars in English or Spanish.

New "How to create a more COVID-safe workplace" poster available in multiple languages. Check the in-language directory to find this poster available in most languages.

Vaccine News

You’ve Been Vaccinated or Have an Appointment, Now What? Make sure to sign up for V-Safe the smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. Click here for more info or to register for V-Safe.

More than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Washington. DOH announced that health care providers have given more than two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine since rollout began in mid-December. This milestone follows several major achievements in the past week, including reaching the state’s goal of giving 45,000 doses of vaccine per day and approaching 100,000 doses of vaccine administered at four state-led mass vaccination sites in just six weeks. Read the full news release here.

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

King County COVID Vaccine Delivery Progress Report updated. Vaccine supply continues to be the key constraint. For the week of March 1, the latest estimate is that 45,490 doses were allocated to providers in King County, including 39,730 first doses. This is a decrease in number of doses over the previous week, and both demand and provider capacity remain much greater than the number of doses allocated to our county. Read the report.

Last Call…

No nursing home visits yet in Washington state, but a new plan is coming. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services says it is working on changes to the state's reopening plan for long-term care facilities following federal guidance issued Wednesday that nursing homes should resume visits for all residents. Click here to read the Seattle Times article (possible paywall restrictions).

Another strain of the coronavirus is in our community. Viruses mutate all the time, and numerous strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that cause COVID-19 have been identified around the world. When mutations change the virus in ways that matter to human health, it's called a variant of concern (VOC). Three VOCs present in the United States have been singled out as worrisome, and now all three have turned up in our community. Click here for the full article.

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