COVID-19 Information

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King County is in Healthy Washington Recovery Phase 3

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.


Still not finding what you're looking for? Use the search bar! There is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!


King County is in Healthy Washington Recovery Phase 3

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.


Still not finding what you're looking for? Use the search bar! There is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!

  • The New Variant COVID-19 Strain is Here

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    25 Jan 2021
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    The new strain has arrived in Washington, here’s what you need to know.

    It is worrisome, but not surprising, to learn that the new COVID-19 variant strain that has been reported in many U.S. states has now been detected in Washington state.

    Washington State Department of Health and Snohomish Health District announced that UW Medicine Virology Lab detected two cases of the COVID-19 variant, known as B117, in specimens collected from two Snohomish County residents.

    The strain spreads more easily than others and quickly became the dominant strain circulating in the United Kingdom, where it was first identified. The CDC recently predicted the B117 strain will be the predominant strain in the US by March.

    As we confront this more contagious strain of COVID-19, here’s the important thing to understand: The variant strain spreads in the same ways as other COVID-19 strains, it’s just better at it. That means we need to get better at our countermeasures: masks, physical distance, good ventilation and staying home when possible.

    “We should expect the variant strains to become widespread here, and that will make the outbreak harder for us to control. But we have the advantage of early warning to help us prepare,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

    Steps we can take

    The appearance of the B117 variant in Washington reminds us that it’s important to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 – in our homes, workplaces, social lives, and wherever we gather – and to push cases down as low as possible BEFORE the B117 strain can spread widely and gain an advantage. This means we need to meet this new challenge by going all in on the steps that we know work, starting now.

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself away from others and get tested. Stay in isolation while waiting for your test results and until your healthcare provider or a Public Health investigator lets you know when to end your isolation (usually 10 days after symptom onset if you are improving and have not had a fever in at least 24 hours). The person with COVID-19 and others in the home should wear masks until all ill people are out of isolation.

    If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, get tested even if you don’t have symptoms and be diligent about quarantining and staying away from others, including wearing a mask in your home around other people.

    Minimize your contacts and activities with people outside your household, wear a well-fitted face mask around anyone you don’t live with and stay six feet or more apart, wash your hands often, avoid crowded indoor spaces and remember that a well-ventilated area is safer. These are our most effective tools in the fight against COVID-19, including this new, more infectious B117 strain.

    Lastly, when you are eligible, get vaccinated to protect yourself. Vaccination is ultimately our best defense, but at this time, it can’t be our only defense. New, more contagious strains of COVID-19 are concerning, but we’ve had a year to get to know this virus and how to prevent its spread. We can beat this variant strain, but it will require serious and renewed effort from all of us for a few months. And we need to start right now doing all we can to stop the spread, before the variant spreads too widely and gains momentum that could make our situation even tougher to manage.

    More information from Washington State Department of Health’s blog on identification of the new variant.

    Originally posted 1/23/2021 in Public Heath Insider

  • State to Text Every Person Who Tests Positive

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    15 Jan 2021
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    The State is now texting a verification code to every person in Washington state who tests positive for COVID-19.

    People who test positive for COVID-19 will still receive notification from their health care provider or testing facility – that won’t change. But everyone who tests positive will now also receive a text. That text includes a link to activate a verification code within WA Notify, and anonymously alert users they may have been exposed.

    People who test positive can expect to receive a text from DOH within 24 hours after they get the result. Anyone who receives a text and isn’t using WA Notify can simply disregard it.

    Learn more:

    • Visit WANotify.org to see how easy it is to add WA Notify to your smartphone.
    • Information about WA Notify is available in multiple languages: WANotify.org/languages.
    • View a video that describes how WA Notify works.

    The goal is to help WA Notify exposure notification users alert fellow users faster if they’ve been exposed. This began on January 11.

    Questions can be directed to the State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline, 1-800-525-0127.

  • Healthy Washington COVID Recovery Plan

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    06 Jan 2021
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    In a news conference on January 5, Governor Inslee announced an updated COVID recovery plan that takes effect on January 11.

    The new two-phased Healthy Washington plan aims to ease some restrictions while also maintaining crucial hospital capacity and paving the way for economic recovery. Eventually, businesses like restaurants and fitness facilities will be allowed to reopen at service levels comparable to those seen before the current pause, which was first implemented on November 16, 2020.

    The new Healthy Washington plan breaks the state up into 8 healthcare regions: King, Pierce, and Snohomish County are grouped together. All regions will begin in Phase 1. In general, most sectors of the economy will not reopen significantly until a region advances to Phase 2 (except for some limited entertainment and fitness scenarios).

    During Phase 1 of the new Healthy Washington Recovery Plan, indoor gatherings and indoor dining remain prohibited; outdoor dining with a maximum of six and limit of two households per table is permitted with an 11:00pm close. In addition, retail, personal services, and professional services — where remote work is not possible — and worship services are limited to 25% capacity.

    A region’s phase will be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) in response to four measured requirements, to be calculated weekly, on Fridays. To advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet all four of the following metrics:

    • A 10% decreasing trend in case rates per 100,000 individuals
    • A 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospital admission rates
    • Hospital ICU occupancy (COVID and non-COVID-19 cases) of less than 90%
    • COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 10%

    Worsening metrics may result in reverting from Phase 2 back to Phase 1. Learn more, and view details, on the Governor’s blog page.

  • New Quarantine Guidelines

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    04 Dec 2020
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    The CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days but there are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine.

    As we all know, public health officials, including the CDC recommend, a quarantine period of 14 days. However, based on local circumstances and resources, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives.

    • Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
      • With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%.
    • Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring (when diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available).
      • The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
      • With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%.

    In both cases, additional criteria (e.g., continued symptom monitoring and masking through Day 14) must be met and are outlined in the full text.

    Washington and King County are both following the new CDC guidelines.

    For more information visit the CDC's quarantine information page.

  • WA Notify: New COVID Exposure Notification App

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    30 Nov 2020

    New smartphone app can help you know if you've been exposed to COVID-19.

    On Monday, Governor Inslee announced that Washington residents have a new way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. WA Notify 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. Here's how the app works:


    The app uses a Bluetooth signal to determine when app users are in proximity, and exchanges a random, anonymous code for use in future notifications.

    What it can't do? Share data on your activity with anyone. It doesn’t collect data and doesn’t need to know who you are or where you go to work to function effectively.

    The app has been thoroughly reviewed by an independent privacy oversight committee which included security and civil liberties experts and community leaders. The free app can be enabled from the settings of Apple iPhones or downloaded for other phone brands. It is designed to work in tandem with the traditional contact tracing by phone call that is already underway statewide and has been launched with 29 languages built in.

    Similar technology has been deployed in Virginia, New York, and Colorado, as well as in other countries such as Ireland, Canada, and Germany.

    Visit WANotify.org today to learn more and read FAQ.

  • How COVID Vaccines Are Made

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    19 Nov 2020

    Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? The Washington State Dept. of Health put together this video to help answer them. Check it out!


  • Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19

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    05 Oct 2020
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    As we head into cold and flu season, it is important to understand the symptoms of COVID-19 and when to seek medical help.

    The CDC reminds us to keep an eye on our flu-like symptoms that could be COVID-19. If you or a family member is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

    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.


    As a reminder, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    This list does not include all possible symptoms. Contact your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

    Learn more about caring for yourself or others:

    For more information or to use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker, click here.

  • Updated High-Risk List

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    08 Jul 2020
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    The CDC updated the high-risk list, and it’s not just older adults.

    The latest scientific studies reviewed by the CDC show that people with the following conditions, or suffer from the following, are also more at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, regardless of their age:

    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic lung disease
    • People who have had organ transplants
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Asthma
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Dementia
    • Liver disease
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • A weakened immune system

    The latest evidence also suggests that obesity is another high risk factor, and that pregnant women and smokers might be at increased risk. For the full list and more information, visit the CDC website.

    If you are in a group that the CDC has identified as high-risk or needing extra precautions, avoid contact outside the home as much as possible. Everyone should continue to:

    • Wear face coverings.
    • Stay at least six feet away from other people.
    • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
    • Avoid large group activities - Phase 2 only allows for gatherings of less than 5 people from outside your household.
    • When gathering, do so outside - ventilation helps.
  • Statewide Face Mask Requirements

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    24 Jun 2020
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    It's official - face coverings are now required in most public places in Washington and businesses must refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.

    Updated July 14: On June 23, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced an order mandating the use of cloth face coverings in most public areas. The order took effect June 26. Shortly after, Governor Inslee announced a statewide order for businesses to refuse service to patrons who are not wearing face coverings. The order went into effect Tuesday, July 7.

    Individuals are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces like stores, offices, and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when individuals can't stay 6 feet apart.

    Face covering may be removed when seated at a restaurant or when recreating alone. Individuals do not need to wear a cloth face covering in their home when they are only with people in their household, alone in their car, or outdoors and people are far apart.

    Exemptions. People with certain disabilities or health conditions, are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 5 (though it's encouraged to have children ages 3-5 wear a covering if possible) are not required to wear face coverings.

    Enforcement. Customers who are concerned that a business is not adequately enforcing the face mask order or other Safe Start requirements can submit an anonymous complaint. Violations can be enforced by Labor & Industries as a safety and health violation by the employer that could carry a penalty of nearly $10,000 or more. Individuals not following the DOH order on face coverings may be subject to a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $100 and/or up to 90 days in county jail per RCW 43.70.130(7), RCW 70.05.120(4), and WAC 246-100-070(3). Click here for more information.

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    Still need a face covering? Please contact the City's COVID-19 Hotline, 206-275-7626 or coronavirus@mercergov.org. The City also hosts regular distribution events in City parks and Town Center. If you need a face covering now, check out this very simple, 45-second video on how to make a covering out of a t-shirt or check out other DIY, no-sew face covering options.

    Wear it right! We're still seeing people who are not quite wearing face coverings correctly. Make sure you are following best practices. And don't forget to wash your face coverings regularly!

    It really does help! The CDC just released a report highlighting the effectiveness of face coverings against COVID-19 transmission. Click here to read their report.

    More. Click through these links to learn more about Face Coverings and Children and the Science of Masks.

  • UPDATED COVID-19 Symptoms

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    22 Mar 2021
    This article has been archived.
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    The CDC just added new symptoms to its list of known symptoms.

    Researchers are continuing to learn more about COVID-19. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19:


    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Contact your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms.