COVID-19 Community Resources

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This page is dedicated to the many resources available to the Mercer Island Community.


This page is dedicated to the many resources available to the Mercer Island Community.

  • Back To School Tips (in images)

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    King County has recommendations for keeping kids safe as they head back to school.

  • New King County Rent Assistance Program

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    King County has launched a new Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program which helps pay rent for eligible residents.

    Thousands of individuals and families across King County are at risk for eviction and homelessness. Across the region, many are struggling to stay afloat financially after months of lost wages, unemployment, poor health or other changes experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have been forced to choose between food, medicine, or utilities, and many are falling behind on rent.

    King County is gearing up to help with a new Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) for 2021, which will pay past, current, and future rent for eligible enrollees.

    Phase One, which launched in late April, is for landlords with five or more units behind in rent. Phase Two, which is targeted at tenants and smaller landlords, began enrolling on May 17. Follow this link for more information: https://rent-help.kingcounty.gov/.

  • Need Help Getting to Your Vaccine Appointment? Resources are Available!

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    Free and discounted rides are available for people who need assistance getting to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

    Updated May 24

    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.

    Between May 24 - July 4, Uber and Lyft are offering FREE rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites.

    Safety is priority. As part of Lyft’s Health Safety Program and Uber’s Door-to-Door Safety Standard, riders and drivers are required to wear face coverings even when vaccinated, leave the front seat empty, and keep windows rolled down whenever possible.

    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 and a hotline specialist will assist in coordinating the rides.

    In March, VACCS launched its free vaccine transportation initiative in partnership with Sound Transit and Pierce Transit, which provide complimentary rides to anyone with a vaccine appointment.

    Anyone in the state experiencing a transportation barrier preventing them from getting a vaccine is considered eligible for this offer while ride credits remain available from our generous partners.

    Click here for the press release.

  • Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

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    A new FCC program offers eligible families help paying their broadband bill.

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying households. Watch this video to learn more.

    Consumers can begin applying for and enrolling in the Program on May 12, 2021.

    Eligible households can receive:

    • Up to a $50/month discount on broadband service and associated equipment rentals;
    • Up to a $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands;
    • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).

    Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.

    The program will end when (a) the fund runs out of money, or (b) six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

    For more information about the program and to sign up, visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/

  • COVID-19 Experts Available for Your Group via King County Speakers' Bureau

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    Is your community group looking for a presentation on COVID-19?

    King County Public Health offers free customized presentations!

    Their professional speakers offer presentations with the latest information, resources, and guidance on COVID-19 to communities in King County. They are also able to provide presentations in various languages including Arabic, English, Spanish, and more.

    The Speakers' Bureau can provide fully accessible webinars, including live captioning, ASL interpreters, materials available in advance, and translation of materials into Braille. Presentation topics include:

    • Latest COVID-19 information and guidance
    • COVID-19 vaccine information, access, and hesitancy
    • Safely re-open your business
    • Isolation and quarantine
    • Information and resources for immigrant and refugee communities
    • Clean and sanitize your business, nonprofit, or place of worship
    • Safely serve and distribute food
    • Talk about COVID-19 with students, children, and youth people
    • And many more

    Click here (www.kingcounty.gov/covid/speakers-bureau) for more information or to schedule a speaker today!

  • Coping with COVID

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    "Coping with COVID" is a series put together by public health officials to help individuals and families manage the stress associated with the pandemic.

    Updated May 2021

    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.

    Coping with COVID: Mindfulness and Self-Care. In this episode of DOH's behavioral health podcast on coping with COVID-19, Kira Mauseth, Ph.D., and Doug Dicharry, M.D., discuss how we can practice mindfulness and self-care to reduce stress and anxiety. Listen to the episode here.

    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.

    Coping with COVID: Grief and loss. When natural disasters happen, it is normal for people to experience loss and grief. Many of us have felt some form of loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, like the loss of a loved one, change in health, job loss, or even just the loss of our “normal” life. Any grief and loss we might be feeling is layered on top of all the other stress of a pandemic. Follow this link to learn about how most people experience grief and loss, and provide strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Coping with COVID: Regulating emotions during a pandemic. We’re about eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s a lot going on around us. We’re balancing a lot — work, school, family, and the upcoming holidays — during a time of great uncertainty. If you find yourself reacting more negatively to things you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. Feeling angry or frustrated is a normal response during a pandemic, but there are things you can do to manage those emotions. Learn more about the causes of strong emotional reactions and what we can do to feel more in control during stressful times here.

    Coping with COVID: It’s not just you. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone. As we move into fall, we face even more challenges: changing weather, schoolwork, holidays and gatherings, and strong political opinions. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? It’s not just you. The things you’re feeling and experiencing are normal during a disaster, and there are things you can do to cope. To help you navigate this unprecedented time, we are bringing you a podcast series of conversations with experts on many of the topics we’re facing daily. Click here for more.

  • Resources for the Week of March 15

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    Mercer Island Mobile Vaccine Teams. Last week, the Mercer Island Fire Department EMT’s started administering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Island residents. MIFD Mobile Vaccine Teams are assisting mobility-challenged residents or those who have experienced difficulties in securing appointments. Emergency Management staff have reached out to local long-term care facilities and adult family homes, but if you or a loved one (a resident over the age of 65) needs assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment, YFS Geriatric Specialist, Marjorie Carlson may be able to help. She can be reached at (206) 275-7752 or marjorie.carlson@mercerisland.gov.

    Need a ride to get the vaccine? The vaccine is an important part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re eligible in Phase 1B- Tier 1, you should get yours now! And if you have Apple Health (or Medicaid), you might even be able to get a ride there. Transportation barriers shouldn’t keep you from getting protected from COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

    King County Household Assistance Request program updated. 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 $1500 to help pay their current rent, mortgage, utility, water, phone and internet bills. See updates to eligibility to the program and how it works by clicking here.

    Inslee announces extension of eviction moratorium. Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the statewide eviction moratorium will be extended through June 30. Read the full news release here.

  • Isolation and Quarantine Calculator

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    Knowing how long to isolate and quarantine for can be confusing but thankfully there's help!

    If you test positive for COVID-19, do you know how long to isolate yourself to keep others safe from infection? What if you learn you are a close contact of someone who tested positive — do you know how long to quarantine? What date can you point to on your calendar that will signal the end of your isolation or quarantine?

    The Washington state Department of Health recently created an Isolation and Quarantine Calculator tool to take the guess work out of it. Visit www.doh.wa.gov/CovidCalculator and follow the instructions based on your particular situation.

  • YFS Parent Support Sessions

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    YFS staff understand that parents are facing their own set of challenges coping with remote learning, isolation, family stress, financial insecurity, grief/loss and more.

    To support Island parents, YFS school counselors will begin virtual drop-in, no charge weekly parent support meetings at each of the four elementary schools and one for parents of middle or high school parents.

    Parents can share challenges, learn about resources, and hear coping strategies.

    Look for an announcement from your school counselor(s) with dates and instructions for accessing these meetings on Zoom.

    Questions can be directed to your YFS School Counselor or Derek Franklin, MIYFS Clinical Programs Manager derek.franklin@mercerisland.gov.

  • CARES Act Grant Reinstates YFS Positions

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    Seven school-based Counselors and the Emergency Assistance Coordinator positions restored for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

    At its January 6 Regular Meeting, the City Council voted to accept a $243,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund, supported by the CARES Act. The result of significant efforts on the part of many City staff, this grant will allow the City’s Youth and Family Services Department (YFS) to restore seven school-based Counselors and one Emergency Assistance Coordinator to full-time for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

    The City’s COVID-19 pandemic response caused unprecedented budget shortfalls early in 2020, resulting in staff layoffs and furloughs in the Youth and Family Services Department (YFS), including a 20% reduction in hours for all eight of these positions.

    Full time school-based counselors will be especially critical for overcoming pandemic-related trauma, loss, and ongoing mental health concerns, all of which may serve as barriers to upcoming school reentry. Similarly, the pandemic’s financial impacts will multiply the longer that restrictions exist, and a full time Emergency Assistance Coordinator will be crucial for families struggling to regain economic stability.

    Read the full Council Agenda Bill here.