News for the Week of May 3

News highlights for the week of May 3.

Latest Numbers. In Mercer Island, there have been 579 positive cases reported as of May 6. DOH reported a total of 380,109 confirmed cases as of May 5. There have been 5,553 COVID-19 deaths in Washington. As of May 3, more than 5,642,156 doses of vaccine have been given across the state. For the latest city and county data, click here.

Growing List of Local Universities Requiring Students to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. On May 3, the University of Washington joined Pacific Lutheran University and Washington State University in requiring students to be vaccinated before starting school in the fall. Other universities are in the process of deciding about requiring the COVID-19 vaccine. Check specific universities for more information.

Spectator event and religious organization guidance adds vaccinated sections to increase capacity. Gov. Jay Inslee approved an update to guidance documents for spectator events and religious and faith-based organizations that allows facilities to increase capacity by adding sections for vaccinated attendees. Read the full news release here.

Getting vaccinated just got easier (at last!). Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments are open across King County. Kent and Auburn sites now offer walk-in vaccination and additional hours. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit kingcounty.gov/vaccine.

Need a Lift to Your Appointment? The Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center has partnered with Lyft, Uber, United Way Worldwide, Washington 211 and Sea Mar Community Health Centers to provide access to free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments for people with transportation challenges. Beginning May 10, people who face transportation barriers and need a ride to get a vaccine can call the state COVID-19 information hotline at 833-VAX-HELP or in King County call the Coordinated Vaccine Transportation Helpline at 425-943-6706 to find the ride that best fits your needs.

May 7 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 61st week of the City’s response to the pandemic. Available here.

Information for Businesses

Three ways you can improve your building’s indoor air quality. Public Health—Seattle & King County recommends that business owners and building operators implement strategies to improve indoor air quality. Along with wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and limiting the number of people who are indoors together, this is an important way to decrease people’s risk for COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund. SBA has announced emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19. SBA will begin accepting applications via the application portal(External link) on Monday, May 3 at 9 a.m. PDT. The application portal will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. Click here to learn more.

Vaccine News

Vaccine allocation strategy moving to provider need-based approach. DOH is adjusting the way COVID-19 vaccines are allocated in an effort to quickly and equitably reach more people statewide and get vaccine where it’s needed most. Read the full news release here.

King County COVID-19 Vaccine Data At-a-Glance. Page updated daily here. As of May 6, for the Mercer Island zip code, 84.5% or 16,840 people have started vaccinations and 61.1% or 11,906 people have completed the series.

Need vaccine support? The DOH has a new support line. Call 1-833-VAX-HELP for assistance.

Why Now is the Right Time for Your COVID-19 Vaccine. King County Public Health – The COVID-19 vaccine is available for everyone over 16 who lives or works in Washington. But now that you’re eligible, should you rush to get one? We chatted with Danielle Koenig, Health Promotion Supervisor and immunization education expert for The Washington State Department of Health, to learn why you should get the vaccine as soon as possible. Click here to learn more.

Resources

King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program. Landlords with 5 units behind on rent can now sign up to receive rent assistance for eviction prevention. For tenants needing rental assistance, King County is scheduled to make applications for tenants starting on May 17th. See the EPRAP homepage for details at https://kingcounty.gov/eprap

Coping with COVID-19: Vaccine Envy. Waiting can be difficult. Waiting can include feelings of frustration, jealousy, and resentment towards those who already got the vaccine. This can add extra pain to what has already been a difficult year. But the good news is that there are things we can do to cope while we wait for our shot. Learn more here.

Updated Spanish-language guidance from DOH. Child Care, Youth Development, and Day Camps During COVID-19 is available in Spanish and reflects all guidance updates for these areas as of April 14.

COVID-19 Reporting

Vaccine Data: State now publishing county vaccination data by race and ethnicity to improve local equity efforts. If data is your thing, does the state have exciting news for you! The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 data dashboard now includes county-level data on the race and ethnicity of people who have been vaccinated. The newly available data will help counties, local partners and the public understand where there are inequities in order to address them more intentionally. The county-level data were first released in a report on April 23 and include a race and ethnicity breakdown for people with at least one dose of vaccine and people who are fully vaccinated.

Last Call…

Choosing Safer Activities. If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Outdoor visits and activities are safer than indoor activities, and fully vaccinated people can participate in some indoor events with little risk. Fully vaccinated people can attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, as well as eat at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households. Read more here.

And one more.

Check out the DOH’s new www.LifeAfterVaccine.org site!

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