COVID-19 Information

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The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.

The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.

  • Updated Message from Public Health Regarding Return to In-Person Learning

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    Note: This message is in response to Public Health—Seattle & King County hearing many comments from the community as K-12 schools look toward providing broader in-person services.

    By Jeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer for Public Health—Seattle & King County

    Originally published January 20, 2021 in Public Health Insider

    We at Public Health are grateful to have heard from so many voices — from families, students, teachers, school staff, and administrators — about their experiences, concerns, and desires related to K-12 learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feelings of fear and uncertainty in response to planning for expanded in-person instruction during the pandemic are very real for many people, and understandable given the unfamiliar and evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Responding to the release of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) revised Tools to Prepare for Provision of In-Person Learning in December 2020, Public Health acknowledged in a statement that resuming and maintaining in-person learning may pose risks to children and staff (including teachers, school administrators, and other staff in the school environment), and to their families and household members. And consistent with guidance from DOH and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thoroughly and consistently following COVID-19 health and safety measures will sustain the greatest possible level of risk reduction.

    At this time, Washington state guidance for in-person learning has not changed in response to the recent licensure of COVID-19 vaccines for persons aged 16-64 years or in response to the recent emergence of more transmissible variants of COVID-19.

    • When available, COVID-19 vaccination can help lower risk to school staff in addition to, but not as a replacement for, effective implementation of the COVID-19 safety guidelines required by the Governor. Currently, vaccine supplies are limited nationally and in Washington State. Vaccine prioritization guidance (and any changes thereto) for school staff will be made by the Washington State DOH. King County will facilitate local implementation of that guidance.
    • The newly recognized COVID-19 variant strain spreads more easily than previous strains but is not thought to cause more severe illness. Currently recommended prevention measures are the same for the variant as for previous strains, although adherence to the measures must be higher to have the same impact on preventing transmission.

    The risks of COVID-19 from in-person learning must be weighed against the benefits and the harms from not having in-person attendance to students’ emotional, social, academic, and physical wellbeing. For this reason, CDC recommends that K–12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely. It is also crucial to provide families and students the option of remote instruction for those who are the most vulnerable to the risk of COVID-19 transmission and its associated impacts.

    Public Health recognizes that school boards and leadership are ultimately responsible for establishing appropriate education services. We remain available to consult and help inform decision making.

  • Governor Issues New International Travel Quarantine for Travelers from UK and South Africa

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    On December 21, Governor Inslee issued a Proclamation regarding travel to Washington State from countries experiencing a new variant of COVID-19, currently including the United Kingdom and South Africa.

    Effective immediately, travelers from the affected countries are legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state, but will not be detained at this time. More details are expected in the coming days.

    Only the federal government can prohibit international flights into Washington State, but other neighboring states may also issue their own similar quarantines. Many other countries in Europe and elsewhere have already suspended incoming flights from the U.K.

    In the U.K., the new strain is being observed to spread far faster and is now the most common variant in London. It is still unclear if that is due to higher infectivity, or if it will be any more deadly than current strains. This new variant has not yet been observed via genomic testing in the United States.

    In the meantime, health experts recommend that all people continue the same protective practices: use a mask, socially distance, limit travel, and avoid in-person holiday gatherings (especially indoors).

    The Governor noted that there is some better news to share: Congress should vote today (December 21) to pass a new Coronavirus relief bill, and the second vaccine has reached Washington. He also reiterated that the state is still not seeing a post-Thanksgiving spike in cases, but we must all do the same thing again for the next phase of the holiday season in order to prevent a spike in early January.

  • Social Distancing Guidelines

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  • Testing Locations in King County

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    Expanded testing now available in King County.

    Updated October 13: To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, health officials recommend that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 be tested right away.

    Public Health strongly urges anyone who has even mild COVID-19 symptoms to call their healthcare provider as soon as they start to feel sick to ask about COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 symptoms are cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

    When to Seek Emergency Medical Care

    If you or a family member is showing any of these signs - (1) Trouble breathing, (2) Persistent pain or pressure in the chest, (3) New confusion, (4) Inability to wake or stay awake, and/or (5) Bluish lips or face - seek emergency medical care immediately. Call 9-1-1 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Make sure to notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

    It is important not to wait to be tested.

    If you have COVID-19, you are contagious. A COVID-19 test will let you know if you are infected so you can protect your family, friends and community by keeping yourself away from others. Staying away from others when you have COVID-19 is crucial to slow the spread of the virus in our community. You should also call your healthcare provider and ask for a test if you live with or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you may be contagious and should stay away from others.

    Where to go.

    There are several low or no-cost testing sites that are open to anyone who cannot access COVID-19 testing through their regular healthcare provider. King County updates their list of free testing each Wednesday. Bookmark this link to their map of testing sites to see the most up-to-date list of sites. Call ahead to confirm hours & availability. King County has also added a specific webpage for high volume drive-through and walk-up sites aimed at increasing access to testing across our community.

    If you are still having difficulty accessing a COVID-19 test, call the King County COVID-19 call center, which is open seven days a week 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., at 206-477-3977.

    Traveling outside of King County? The State has added a testing site locator map. Click here for the statewide map.

    Wondering what you should do once you or a family member has been tested?

    King County Public Health has put together a great infographic that tells you exactly what to do! Check it out:

    Information provided by / published in PHSKC's Public Health Insider.

  • News for the Week of November 30

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    News and highlights for the week of November 30.

    MIYFS Parent Support Series Continues. YFS is again partnering with PTA Parent Edge to offer two free online mental health presentations on December 8 and 9. For more info visit

    Video Update from the City Manager. Click here to watch City Manager Jessi Bon’s December 1 update on the latest COVID-19 information and update on City services.

    December 4 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 39th week of the City’s response to the pandemic.

    Top Headlines

    Washington state and King County adopting CDC’s new quarantine guidelines. On December 3, the DOH announced that it is adopting the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to reduce quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19. Although both the Washington State Department of Health and CDC currently recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, there are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine. Click here to learn more.

    WA Notify: New COVID Exposure Notification App. On Monday, Governor Inslee announced that Washington residents have a new way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. WA Notify(External link) is a completely private app for smartphones that can inform people if they have been exposed to COVID-19 by another app user who later tests positive. Click here for more on how the app works.

    Inslee updates restrictions for religious and faith based organizations. Gov. Jay Inslee updated restrictions for religious and faith based organizations. The update clarifies that religious and faith-based organizations can hold outdoor services with up to 200 individuals, regardless of location, so long as physical distancing is followed and face coverings are worn. This modification expands where outdoor services can be held. Read the full guidance document here.

    Information for Businesses

    Applications open for new round of state Working Washington business grants. Small businesses struggling to survive the impact of COVID-19 can apply now for up to $20,000 in a new round of $50 million in state Working Washington grants. Priority is focused on businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019 and those most impacted by the recent public health measures, as well as businesses in sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music and event venues. Information and applications for this third round of Working Washington Business Grants are available through an online portal on the Washington State Department of Commerce website at Commerce encourages businesses to apply by Dec. 11. Read the full news release here.

    Vaccine News

    COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with its COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. The State is hopeful they will have a vaccine to begin administering by mid-December. The federal government has given an estimate of 62,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for our initial allocation. They have also shared that the State should receive an estimated total of around 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December. Regular weekly shipments should begin in January. Click here to continue reading.

    This Week in Operation Warp Speed. The US Department of Defense issued an update on the initiatives, actions, and accomplishments across Operation Warp Speed. Click here to learn more about vaccine and therapeutics development, manufacturing, distribution, and more.

    COVID-19 vaccine fact page (available in 17 languages). While we wait for vaccines to be approved, Public Health – Seattle & King County is working with the Washington State Department of Health on plans, procedures, and systems for eventual vaccine distribution. Click here for the fact pages.


    Join Becky Reitzes from Public Health – Seattle & King County in Zoom conversation. The conversation will be on the Zoom platform where Becky will discuss the basics of the virus and how to stay safe during the holidays. Please register by 12pm on Dec. 8 to receive a Zoom invite. Click here for more.

    Seattle-Area Emergency Food Resources Map. There are resources across King County to provide emergency food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find food banks, meals to go, and student meals through the Seattle-Area Emergency Food Resources Map.

    Jobs with King County Available. The jobs website gets updated weekly with new available positions. If you don't see a role that meets your interest and qualifications, bookmark the site and check back at a future date to see what's available.

    Coping with COVID: Developing resilience. Information about mental health and self-care has been popping up everywhere as we collectively cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buzzwords keep showing up to describe what people are going through right now: “burnout,” “compassion fatigue,” and “resilience.” Understanding these experiences can help us care for ourselves in the months ahead, read more here.

    Ways to Help

    Support Local Families! The YFS Winter Holiday Gift program supports local families experiencing economic insecurity by helping provide gifts or a special holiday meal. The need this year is greater than ever. We’re getting close to our goal to help the 50 Mercer Island families, including 90 children under the age of 18, who are supported by the program. $9,416.58 of the $13,000 goal has been received. Please help us close this gap by visiting to donate online or checks can be made out to the MIYFS Foundation and be deposited (in an envelope) in the secure white lockbox in the City Hall parking lot.

  • Protective Measures

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    These are steps you can take proactively to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus:

    • If sick (fever/cough) STAY HOME.
    • Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.

    • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer often throughout the day.

    • Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.

    • Disinfect high-touch areas throughout the day. Don’t forget phones, light switches, door handles, and keyboards.

    • Forgo the handshake for a wave or “elbow bump”.

    • Eat healthy, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.

    To prepare for a pandemic at home you should consider:

    • Having plans to care for family members when schools, daycares, or senior centers are closed. It is encouraged to have a plan and a backup plan.

    • Having enough non-perishable food at home so trips to the grocery store can be limited or avoided for at least 3 – 4 weeks.

    • Cleaning your living area more often, including wiping down small electronics, door handles, and other items commonly touched by many people.

  • News for the Week of December 14

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    News highlights for the week of December 14.

    Vaccines Arrive; Watch Fred Hutch Webinar on Vaccine Safety and Development. On December 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Washington and first doses will be administered starting this week. Click here for more.

    First Doses of Vaccine Arrive in King County. It’s a remarkable milestone that the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are on the ground in our community. Public Health – Seattle & King County is one of several healthcare providers receiving limited quantities of COVID-19 vaccine this week. Hospital systems in King County will receive approximately 17,000 doses of vaccine in this first distribution, with Public Health scheduled to receive 3,900 doses. Read more at Public Heath Insider.

    Updated vaccine allocation numbers. The Department of Health was contacted by Operation Warp Speed yesterday evening and told that Washington’s Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine allocation will be 44,850 doses rather than the 74,100 doses the state expected to receive. The state was not given an explanation as to why the allocation was reduced, and do not currently have allocation numbers beyond next week. The state still expects to receive the remaining Pfizer-BioNTech doses we ordered for this first week (62,400 total doses). Read the full news release here.

    More doses of vaccine on the way as statewide vaccination effort continues. On Wednesday, the DOH announced that it anticipates receiving tens of thousands more doses of COVID-19 vaccine later this week. 31,200 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have already arrived in Washington, and the state will be getting 29,250 additional doses later this week. These doses will be delivered to a total of 39 sites covering 29 counties. Additionally, 1950 total doses will go to three tribes or Urban Indian Health Programs this week. Read more here.

    COVID-19 safety behaviors remain necessary, even as vaccinations begin. As the first COVID-19 vaccinations begin this week, the State DOH is reminding people that it is very important to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Click here for more from the DOH.

    Winter Holidays. The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the safest way to celebrate holidays is to stay home and celebrate with the people who live with you. Although the pandemic has been stressful and isolating, getting together with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. This holiday season, consider how your plans can be modified to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep your friends, families, and communities healthy. Click here for more information and fun ideas!

    Information for Businesses

    Free safety supplies available for bars and restaurants. The January 2021 schedule of locations where bar and restaurant owners can pick up free COVID-19 safety supplies is now available and includes facemasks, gloves, thermometer, hand sanitizer, disinfecting solutions, posters and educational materials. Click here for more information.

    Why you should be cautious when you're taking a break at work. There's no respite from the fight against COVID-19 – not even in the workplace breakroom. In fact, the place workers go to relax on the job can be a high-risk location for transmission of the coronavirus. Read how one King County business has tackled the COVID-19 era breakroom.

    School News

    Inslee announces updated school guidance for in-person instruction. On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced an update in the metrics used to inform local school district decisions for in-person learning. They also announced $3 million from set aside funds to be distributed to implement health and safety protocols. The update to the school health and safety toolkit comes after recent data showed limited COVID-19 transmission in school environments when state health and safety protocols are implemented. Click here for more information on the Governor’s announcement.

    State releases updated guidance around in-person learning. The DOH released updated metrics to help local leaders and school officials make decisions about in-person learning and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the school environment. Changes to the metrics include revisions to the COVID-19 incidence rates to consider when making decisions about who to prioritize for in-person learning. We’ve also included further clarification that local leaders should consider test positivity and trends in cases and hospitalizations to inform decisions about in-person learning, in addition to what they’re already considering. Click here for the metrics.


    Coping with COVID: Healthy communication. During the December holidays in the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many opportunities for tough conversations with family and friends. We may have differing opinions on how to celebrate the holidays while keeping ourselves and our families safe, and it can be hard to share those opinions when you want to keep the peace. Click here to learn about what’s happening with our emotions and behaviors, and skills for having challenging conversations during stressful times. Catch up on the full Coping with COVID series here.

    COVID-19 Reporting

    Antigen positive test results now included in DOH dashboards. Starting Wednesday, the DOH began including antigen-positive COVID-19 cases in the COVID-19 Data Dashboard and the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Dashboard. Antigen-positive testing data had previously been included in a separate weekly report. With this inclusion, the DOH notes that reporting antigen-positive test results will provide a more accurate picture of community transmission and help guide efforts to respond to COVID-19. Click here to learn more about the updated reporting for antigen-positive testing.

    Last Call…

    December 18 Situation Report. Click this link for highlights and information from the 41st week of the City’s response to the pandemic. This will be the final Situation Report for the year. We will resume updates in January.

    Due to the Christmas holiday, there will be no news highlights next week. Look for the next news highlights on December 31.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Celebrating the Holidays

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    The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you.

    According to federal, state, and local heath officials, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. This holiday season, consider how your plans can be modified to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep your friends, families, and communities healthy.*

    Here are some fun tips to keep you, your family, and friends safe and healthy this holiday season:

    Consider other activities to celebrate New Year’s, such as:

    • Have virtual celebrations with loved ones.
    • Plan a New Year’s party for the people who live with you.
    • Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight.
    • Watch a livestreamed firework display, concert, First Night event, or other New Year’s programming from your home.

    Host a virtual celebration with friends and family

    • Schedule a time to eat a meal together virtually and have people show their main dish, vegetable, or dessert.
    • Host a virtual “ugly” holiday sweater contest.
    • A family is shown indoors, holding presents, with a laptop in front of them. They are talking to other individuals who are shown on the laptop screen.

    Gather virtually for a gift exchange or activity

    • Schedule a time to meet virtually to open gifts together.
    • Build gingerbread houses, decorate cookies, or make holiday crafts and decorations.
    • People walking in snow in front of housing and social distancing

    Decorate for the season

    • Decorate or create a winter holiday scene. (Bonus! Take family photos at home in front of your decorations/scene).
    • Make holiday crafts, cards, or cookies to send or deliver to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.

    Enjoy fellow Islander's decorations

    • The Mercer Island Preschool Association has created a great new map of holiday lights & decorations! Buy one today online, make your cocoa-to-go, and then start your driving tour.
    • For more details:

    Enjoy the winter weather

    The mountains have seen recent snow and are calling!

    • Go sledding / skiing / snowboarding / snowshoeing. (Make sure to check resort COVID-19 changes before heading out, reservations may be required: Summit at Snoqualmie; Mt. Baker; Crystal Mountain)
    • Have a family snowman or snow angel contest.
    • Build a snow fort or other snow structure.

    Throw a virtual dance party

    • For winter holidays that traditionally include music and dance, set aside time with loved ones to meet online to share music and dance.
    • Collaborate with friends and family on a holiday playlist.

    *Here in Washington we are under a travel advisory for interstate and international travel, and in-home gatherings with people outside the household are prohibited unless participants quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering or quarantine for the seven (7) days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. Read more about Governor's tightened restrictions here.

  • Vaccines Arrive; Watch Fred Hutch Webinar on Vaccine Safety and Development

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    People in Phase 1a will begin to receive vaccinations this week.

    On December 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Washington and first doses will be administered starting this week, thanks to Operation Warp Speed.

    Emergency Use Authorization and Multi-State Workgroup Approval

    On December 12, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in people aged 16 and older. On December 13, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, of which Washington is a member, also announced approval of the vaccine.

    Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

    The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, given 21 days apart.

    Clinical trial data show the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting 7 days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until 1 to 2 weeks after they receive the second dose. The clinical trials revealed no major unanticipated adverse events.

    “The data we are seeing from Pfizer and Moderna are clear, transparent and demonstrated safe and effective,” said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed Chief Science Advisor

    Gen. Gus Perna, Operation Warp Speed Chief Operating Officer added, “Don't allow one headline to determine what you're going to do. There is so much available information. I encourage everybody, as individuals, to inform themselves and then make the decision that is best for you and your family.”

    Washington Phase 1A

    The state expects to receive 62,400 doses of vaccine this week. The first distribution will go to 17 sites across 13 counties. The federal government has estimated a total distribution of 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December with regular weekly shipments beginning in January.

    The first doses of vaccine will go to people in Phase 1a. This phase includes high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and patients and staff of long-term care facilities. The state estimates around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1a. Read more details about phase 1a here.

    The state will share more about who will be vaccinated in later phases from guidance made by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. You can view the interim plan on their coronavirus vaccine webpage,

    Vaccine Development and Safety

    With how quickly vaccine makers developed COVID-19 vaccines, many have wondered how vaccines are developed and the safety protocols required when developing vaccines. There are several resources to help answer those questions.

    Vaccine Development and Safety Webinar with Fred Hutch Experts

    The State DOH, in partnership with The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Latino Center for Health, will host two online panel discussions to answer frequently asked questions about vaccines in the era of COVID-19.

    The webinars will feature trusted medical experts from around Washington state, such as virologist Dr. Larry Corey, M.D., who has been integral to Fred Hutch’s COVID-19 vaccine research and Phase III trials, along with physicians who administer vaccines every day. The webinars, one presented in English and one in Spanish, will take place at the following times:

    December 15, 5:00 p.m. Making Sense of Vaccines During COVID-19. Register here

    • Panelists: Dr. Larry Corey, Dr. Ben Danielson, Dr. Gretchen LaSalle, Moderator: Louis Shackelford

    December 17, 6:30 p.m. Vacunas contra el COVID: Verdades, mitos y preguntas with the Latino Center for Health. Register here.

    • Panelists: Leo Morales, MD, PhD, Matías Valenzuela, PhD, Julian Perez, MD, Santiago Neme, MD, MPH, Moderator: Pablo Gaviria

    If you are unable to attend, a link to a recording of the webinar will be emailed to those who registered.

    CDC: 8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program

    Now that there is an authorized and recommended vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in the United States, here are 8 things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines.

    What is an EUA?

    The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An EUA is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of vaccines and other medical countermeasures during public health emergencies. Under an EUA, the FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met.

    The FDA will evaluate EUA requests and determine whether the relevant statutory criteria are met, taking into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the vaccine that is available to FDA. Click here to watch a video about EUAs.

    COVID-19 Vaccine Rigorously Tested

    Clinical trials evaluated investigational COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants to generate the scientific data and other information needed by FDA to determine safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to the rigorous standards set forth by the FDA. Click here to read more.


    The CDC has also developed v-safe, a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. This additional layer of safety monitoring helps increase the CDC’s ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

  • News for the Week of December 7

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    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!

    Vaccine News

    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.

    School News

    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.

    COVID-19 Reporting

    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.

    Last Call…

    December 11 Situation Report. For highlights and information from the 40th week of the City’s response to the pandemic, click here.

    Video Update from the City Manager. City Manager Jessi Bon gave her final video update for 2020 on December 1. Follow this link to get caught up on the video updates for the year.

Page last updated: 21 January 2022, 11:21