curated by Emerald Staff
by Sally James
As State officials predicted, three cases of the omicron variant were confirmed Dec. 4 in three different counties in Washington. Experts did not reveal details about the travel history of the patients. There was one patient each in Thurston, Pierce, and King counties.
Elsewhere in the nation, patients have been diagnosed with omicron who had no travel history, and infectious disease doctors predict that the new variant is likely already in many communities.
“We knew this day was inevitable, but the good news is we have more tools at our disposal to fight the virus than at any previous point in the pandemic, and we must continue to protect ourselves and our communities,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.Continue reading Omicron Variant Discovered in King, and Two Other Counties
by Ari Robin McKenna
With public school students back learning in-person for the second week during a delta variant surge, parents and guardians await crucial, timely information from their school or district in the event there are COVID-19 cases at their child’s school. Such information helps parents and guardians keep their kids safe and take precautions that impact collective safety. In South Seattle and southwest King County — where the majority of People of Color in the county live and where higher COVID-19 case rates have persisted throughout the pandemic — clear, transparent, effective communication becomes even more crucial. In these historically under-resourced communities, plenty of doubts remain about current communication during this delta stage of the pandemic.
When Seattle Public Schools (SPS) refreshed their COVID-19 dashboard on Monday evening for last school week, they reported 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases within their 104 schools and other educational sites. Ten of those cases were in the northwest and northeast districts, and 24 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the southwest and southeast districts. This is despite the total number of students actually being 2,984 higher in the north. Though this week-one data set is minuscule, it accedes to the norms of the bigger picture: Seattle-wide, parents and guardians anxiously sent their kids to school on the first day, and perhaps predictably, more than twice as many from the South End have gotten sick.
To put the disparate current infection rates in perspective, a glance at the current King County “Daily COVID-19 outbreak summary dashboard” geography stub on Sept. 8 shows all of the highest reporting areas to be in the southwest corner of the county map. Central Federal Way, SeaTac/Tukwila, and South Auburn have the county’s highest COVID-19 positive case rates per 100,000 residents at 11,224.4, 11,328.6, and 12,843.1 respectively. Meanwhile, by contrast, whiter north Seattle neighborhoods have some of the county’s lowest rates, such as Ballard, Fremont/Green Lake, and northeast Seattle, which are at 2,996.1, 2,958.3, and 3,693.8 respectively.Continue reading Communication Key as South Seattle Schools Reporting Disproportionate COVID-19 Cases
by Andrew Engelson
With the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 causing a rise in case counts and hospitalizations in both King County and Washington State among those who have not been vaccinated, local health authorities have revised masking guidelines.
On Monday, July 26, health officials from eight Puget Sound counties issued a joint statement recommending that all residents in those counties (including King, Pierce, and Snohomish) should wear masks in indoor public spaces.
“We recommend all residents wear facial coverings when in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of those around you is unknown,” the statement reads. “This step will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many parts of the state, and decrease the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.”Continue reading As Cases of Delta Variant Rise in King County and State, Mask Guidelines Revised