by Andrew Engelson
Nearly one year after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and the nation, public health officials and King County Executive Dow Constantine say they are cautiously optimistic about the spread of the virus. Effective prevention measures combined with slow but steadily increasing vaccinations have the potential to “put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin in an online press briefing on Friday. But concerns remain, including the discovery of two new SARS-CoV-2 strains in the county, and pressure among those tiring of restrictions to let up on prevention strategies such as masking and limits on gatherings.In addition, inequitable access to vaccines remains a concern.
Continue reading One Year After First COVID-19 Outbreak, County Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic
by the Staff of Dearborn Park International School
In response to the recent unilateral announcement by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) that they intend to reopen pre-K/kindergarten/first grade for in-person instruction beginning in March, the staff of Dearborn Park International Elementary School came together for a series of conversations to share our thoughts and concerns about this proposal. The conversations involved the majority of the staff — dozens of staff members over multiple days and included classroom teachers from every grade as well as specialists, instructional assistants, secretaries, and other staff.
We were especially concerned that SPS has not been clear in their communications to families and staff. The decision to reopen schools is not yet official and will have to be negotiated with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) first — there currently is no actual plan in place that would meet the needs of the impacted schools.
Continue reading South End Public School Staff to District: Don’t Reopen Without Vaccines
by Carolyn Bick
Though roughly 62,000 first doses of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 will be available starting next week, it will only be available for highest risk healthcare workers, Department of Health officials said in a press briefing on Dec. 9. And even though health officials expect the state to get a total of 400,000 combined doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine — if Moderna’s vaccine gets emergency authorization approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration — this number only represents the first dose of the vaccine, which requires two doses to be effective.
The state projects that the first round of doses will be administered by mid-January, Department of Health (DOH) Acting Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts said. She said that this includes highest risk healthcare workers and first responders, as well as long-term care facility residents and staff. She said that these first doses will be matched with the same number of second doses for these same people.
Continue reading State Expects First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine By Next Week, But Most Washingtonians Won’t Get Vaccine Until Mid-2021
by Carolyn Bick
As the state braces for the potential infection fallout of those who chose to gather for Thanksgiving, Gov. Jay Inslee in a Nov. 30 press conference encouraged Washingtonians to download or activate a new app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. He also shared that the first shipments of a vaccine will be available by mid-December, with more on the way.
Continue reading State Officials Encourage Use of New COVID App, Share Good Vaccine News
by Carolyn Bick
A new, free walk-up COVID-19 testing site will open in South King County’s Highline College, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced in a press release on Nov. 19.
Continue reading New Test Site to Open in Highline, As Cases in South King County Skyrocket
by Paul Kiefer
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
As the Seattle City Council wrapped up their 2021 budget deliberations, representatives from King County Equity Now’s (KCEN) Black Brilliance research project held a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce an ambitious slate of potential City investments and social programming aimed at replacing police and improving community safety in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
The Black Brilliance Project, which KCEN announced in September, encompasses the preliminary research for next year’s proposed public safety-oriented participatory budgeting process. The project will be funded through a $3 million grant to The Freedom Project, which will subcontract with KCEN; the City has not yet finalized and published the contract.
Continue reading Black Brilliance Project Outlines Ambitious Public Safety Agenda That Includes $1B Land Acquisition Fund
by Elizabeth Turnbull
While COVID-19 cases have increased in King County since the beginning of the month overall, South King County, one of the most diverse parts of the Seattle area, has recorded disproportionate numbers of cases.
Whereas 3.2% of all tests in King County come back positive for the novel coronavirus, simply looking at the map of positive tests in the county on King County’s Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary webpage (you must choose the “Geography tab” in the dashboard to view the map) will show you that these numbers increase the more you travel south. For example, overall positivity rates in Auburn stand at 8.4% and of individuals tested at the Auburn testing site at 2701 C Sreet Southwest, 12.8% of tests have come back positive since Sept. 1, according to a Seattle Times article.
Continue reading Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?
by Carolyn Bick
Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) will be opening two new, free, drive-up novel coronavirus testing sites in Auburn and Renton, Public Health Director Patty Hayes announced at a briefing on Aug. 31. The new sites will bring the county’s overall testing capacity up by about 1,500 tests per day, Hayes said.
Continue reading Two New, Free COVID-19 Testing Sites to Open in Auburn and Renton
by Carolyn Bick
The City of Seattle will be standing up a new free novel coronavirus testing site at the Chief Sealth High School (CSHS) Athletic Complex in Southwest Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced at a press conference on Aug. 20. The new site will open on Aug. 28 and will bring the city’s testing capacity to 4,000 tests per day.
Standing in front of the newly opened testing site in the parking lot of Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) in Southeast Seattle, Durkan, District 2 City Councilmember Tammy Morales, and Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins outlined the city’s plan for the new site. Like the RBHS testing site, the CSHS testing site will be a walk-up. It will accept anyone who comes to get a test regardless of whether they have insurance and does not require a person to be a United States citizen to get tested. Though registration is encouraged, it is not required. The new site will be open from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Continue reading Mayor Announces New Testing Site at Chief Sealth High School, Says Site Strategically Positioned for Hardest-Hit Communities
by Amina Ibrahim
This week, Somali Health Board (SHB) is hosting their eighth-annual health fair. This year’s health fair will continue through next week expanding from the usual one-day event in past years.
Starting on August 12, the health fair will provide walk-up COVID-19 testing sites in three South Seattle neighborhoods: New Holly, Highpoint, and Yesler. SHB is partnering with Seattle Housing Authority, Neighborhood House, and Neighborcare Health, which is providing the COVID-19 testing.
Continue reading Somali Health Board Hosts Eighth-Annual Health Fair