Tag Archives: COVID

Dear the Beauster: Why Can’t Our Commander-in-Chief Take COVID Seriously?

by Beau Hebert


Dear The Beauster,

My 7-year old daughter asked me why Donald Trump ignored warnings about the Coronavirus until it was too late. No matter how I try, I cannot think of a suitable answer. Can you help me?

Sincerely,

Tongue-Tied Columbia City Mom

Continue reading Dear the Beauster: Why Can’t Our Commander-in-Chief Take COVID Seriously?

King County Metro to Resume Collecting Fares Without Enforcement on October 1

by Jack Russillo


After suspending fares in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, King County Metro will resume collecting fares on Thursday, October 1.

All county transit services — including buses, Access paratransit, Vanpool, and Via to Transit — will be requiring full fares. Fare collection is already taking place on Sound Transit Express buses and Link light rail. Like all Metro employees, Metro requires all riders to wear a face covering, as does Sound Transit. Per state public health guidelines, all trips should be for essential reasons only.

Metro has also suspended fare enforcement at least through the end of 2020. Fare enforcement officers will still be a presence around transit stops, but they will be providing a broader range of customer services, like answering transit or safety questions. 

Continue reading King County Metro to Resume Collecting Fares Without Enforcement on October 1

Governor Inslee Rolls Out New Statewide Airline Travel Protocol, Responds to Trump on Voting by Mail

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


Citing what he called dangerous inaction by the federal government, Governor Jay Inslee announced new mandatory mask and safety policies for airline employees and travelers on Thursday.

Continue reading Governor Inslee Rolls Out New Statewide Airline Travel Protocol, Responds to Trump on Voting by Mail

Mayor Announces New Testing Site at Chief Sealth High School, Says Site Strategically Positioned for Hardest-Hit Communities

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

Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers to Go Live in Autumn, Inslee Says

by Carolyn Bick


Though his office unveiled a $40 million fund for undocumented workers earlier this week, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on Aug. 13 that the one-time payment fund won’t be available for undocumented workers until the autumn. He also said that the state has made available another $3 million in CARES Act funding for certain food production workers who have to quarantine themselves, due to infection from the novel coronavirus.

Continue reading Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers to Go Live in Autumn, Inslee Says

Inslee Issues Mandate That All Businesses Require Mask Use Among Patrons, But Stops Short of Active Enforcement

by Carolyn Bick

A mask-clad Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a July 2 press conference that beginning on July 7, businesses will be legally required to enforce mask use among their patrons. He also said that all counties’ applications to move forward into a new Safe Start phase will be paused for two weeks starting immediately.

The announcements come as the number of novel coronavirus cases statewide continue to rise. In an earlier press conference, Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin revealed that cases in King County have more than doubled in the last two weeks, going from 40 per day to more than 100 per day, and that almost half these cases are in the City of Seattle alone. Most of the increase is among younger people. Duchin said that one-third of these recent increases are among young adults 20-29 years old, and more than half of all new cases are in people 29-39 years old.

Inslee called the surge across the state a “troubling spike,” and pointed to graphs that showed the number of cases in several counties are almost at or have surpassed the number of cases in April, when the virus was at its peak in the state. He also showed a graph that indicates the rate of transmission is once again increasing, and is at just above one in Western Washington and around 1.5 in Eastern Washington. This means in both parts of the state that one person is infecting more than one other person.

Continue reading Inslee Issues Mandate That All Businesses Require Mask Use Among Patrons, But Stops Short of Active Enforcement

“We’ve Had Lots of Reports of People Not Wearing Face Masks”: On the Eve of King County’s Move Into Phase Two, Coronavirus Cases On the Rise

by Carolyn Bick


King County has moved into Phase Two of Washington State’s Safe Start reopening plan, even as the number of novel coronavirus cases have increased.

In a briefing on June 19, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin of Public Health — Seattle & King County shared that the evening before the briefing, the office had learned that cases had increased 47 percent. He said the department learned of this after Duchin had approved the county’s application to move into Phase Two. 

Continue reading “We’ve Had Lots of Reports of People Not Wearing Face Masks”: On the Eve of King County’s Move Into Phase Two, Coronavirus Cases On the Rise

Inslee Prepared to Move Counties Back to Earlier Safe Start Phases, Mandate Mask Use

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee did not rule out moving counties back to earlier phases of the state’s Safe Start plan and the possibility of instituting a mask-wearing mandate, if novel coronavirus cases across the state continue to rise.

Continue reading Inslee Prepared to Move Counties Back to Earlier Safe Start Phases, Mandate Mask Use

“It’s Labyrinthine”: Workers Filing for Unemployment Benefits Face Dropped Calls, Confusing Online Systems, and Hours-Long Wait Times

by Carolyn Bick


According to NaSushon Taylor’s unemployment claim, which as of mid-June was still listed as “[a]djudication in progress,” Washington State owes her more than $5,000 in unemployment.

She hasn’t seen a dime of that money.

For the first three months since she was furloughed from her dishwashing job at Cook Weaver in Capitol Hill nearly four months ago, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Taylor called Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) every day to try to get the thousands of dollars in unemployment the state owes her.

Taylor has been fighting hard for it. When she was still calling ESD every day, it wasn’t unusual for her to call hundreds of times in one day. One day, she called ESD 541 times. Another, she called 511 times. Each time, ESD’s system disconnected her call.

Taylor isn’t alone. Robin, a registered nurse and tutor who preferred that the Emerald not print her last name or place of employment, was furloughed from one of her two part-time jobs at a local clinic in mid-March. She faced a different situation — ESD had told her that she owes the state $1,700 for allegedly inaccurately entering one of her employer’s names. But the end result was the same as Taylor’s: she dealt with endless holds and hundreds of dropped calls, while the bills continued to mount. And according to ESD, hangups, dropped calls, difficulties using the system, and general confusion aren’t an uncommon problem for the almost 1.17 million people who have filed for unemployment since March 7.

Continue reading “It’s Labyrinthine”: Workers Filing for Unemployment Benefits Face Dropped Calls, Confusing Online Systems, and Hours-Long Wait Times