by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Thursday, leaders at the local and national level gathered at the Rainier Beach COVID-19 vaccination site where they urged Seattle residents to get vaccinated and addressed the city’s evolution since becoming one of the first outbreaks of the virus in the U.S.
“A lot of people lost loved ones, a lot of people lost jobs, a lot of people lost hope, [this] felt like a long dark tunnel and today we are here in the light,” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said at the briefing. “For months now we’ve been saying you’ve got to sign up for appointments, you have to wait your turn, you have to wait for your age group. That is not the case anymore.”
Continue reading Leaders Celebrate COVID-19 Response, Push Vaccine Access in South King County
by Ashley Archibald
Health officials called on Washingtonians to remain vigilant against the coronavirus during an online press conference Wednesday, April 21, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases in most counties and age groups as new, more transmissible variants take hold in Washington state.
People between ages 10 and 59 have seen the sharpest jump in cases, said Dr. Umair Shah, secretary of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The state has now reported more than 361,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,400 deaths.
“We are close to turning the corner in the state of Washington, but we are seeing the beginning of a fourth wave. That means people need to hang on longer,” Shah said.
Continue reading As COVID-19 Variants Spread in State, Seattle Adds Walk-Up Vaccines for Ages 60+
by Ben Adlin
Editors’ Note: This article will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. New sections will be dated for your convenience.
Beginning Thursday, April 15, everyone in Washington 16 years or older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Chances are that’s you. So now that you qualify for a shot, how do you actually get one?
The good news: There are plenty of places around South Seattle and South King County that offer the vaccines. Vaccination is also free of charge, no matter where you get it or whether or not you have insurance.
The not-so-good news: Finding a shot — at least for now — might take some time. Millions of people across the state have become eligible in recent weeks, and waitlists are getting long. The region is also forecast to see a near-term shortage in vaccines as manufacturers scramble to ramp up production.
Continue reading How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in South Seattle and South King County
by Chamidae Ford
On March 15, Shukri Olow and Chris Franco hosted Beyond the Numbers: A Look at COVID-19’s Impact on the Latinx Community. The two-hour-long event featured several guest speakers who unpacked not just the statistics but a variety of factors, including access to health care, location, and age on the effects of COVID-19 on the Latino community. The event also featured live interpretation in Spanish by Maricela Rodriguez.
Continue reading King County Council Candidates Host Forum on COVID-19 and the Latino Community
by Roy Fisher
Question: How do I cope with an increased degree of irritability these days with people still working remotely and how that manifests in online interactions with work colleagues?
Continue reading Ask a Therapist: How to Cope With Irritability From WFH and How It Manifests With Coworkers
by Sally James
The State of Washington released a report on Feb. 10 showing that white people are getting a higher proportion of the limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines than other races and ethnicities in the state.
For Trang Tu, a community activist who cares for her elderly mother — who has dementia and needs 24-hour care — getting a vaccine presented numerous hurdles. Tu eventually got a last-minute tip from a mass vaccination site in Snohomish county, a long drive from her home south of Rainier Beach, and her mother is now vaccinated. “It’s not just limited supply of vaccines itself,” Tu said. “Access is not equal. It favors people who have time, an internet connection, transportation, and a certain language.”
Tu’s mother was able to overcome systemic barriers because, Tu says, “I have some privilege: I have a computer, I have a car, I can do advocacy.” Many other BIPOC people aren’t as fortunate.
Continue reading Community Health Centers Work to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Inequity
by Paulina López and Troy D. Abel
Recently, legislative debates turned from carbon pricing to the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL) uplifting environmental justice (EJ). This is important legislation, but what we really need are bold solutions and different laws addressing a persistent form of unjust and ongoing pollution. Air toxic exposure disparities and their impacts on communities like the Duwamish Valley are still being ignored by politicians and industry. This inattention continues even as new research suggests that higher air pollution may increase COVID-19 vulnerability and deaths.
Many environmentalists in our region not only overlook decades of toxic air pollution injustice, some even gloss over the problem. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Seattle office announced that industrial toxic releases declined in the Northwest. Pollution dropped 12% in 2019 for 752 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. They further asserted “that U.S. companies that use and manage chemicals and metals continue to make progress in preventing pollution.”
But we knew that regional averages likely obscured trends in our heavily polluted Duwamish River Valley neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park — often first documented by our community. EPA analysts lumped air, water, and land pollution together. When viewed separately, air and water pollution went up in the Northwest. Surface-water discharges increased by 1.17 million pounds and air pollution by 610 thousand pounds between 2018 and 2019.
Continue reading OPINION: Clean Air Everywhere, for Everyone in Washington
by Ari Robin McKenna
A few weeks ago, many members of the tight-knit staff of Campbell Hill Elementary School convened online. They felt that their community didn’t have enough information to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to send their kids back into school buildings as part of Renton School District’s (RSD) phased return to hybrid learning beginning March 3. Decisions about when and how to return to classroom instruction are especially charged in the Skyway neighborhood, where Campbell Hill is located. It is both historically underinvested in and also has higher rates of COVID-19 infections than more affluent areas of King County. The potential of another COVID-19 spike and the resulting community death toll weigh heavily on the district’s decision to return, as do concerns about upended classes and the “learning drift” of breaking away from the virtual educational experience some teachers have worked so hard to provide.
Continue reading After Learning Details, Families Turn Away From In-Person Learning at Skyway School
by Roy Fisher
When I first thought about getting vaccinated, it wasn’t about whether I would or not, it was about when. I did not want to be part of the initial rollout, figuring some kinks would need to be worked out. I likened it to getting the newest cell phone when they’re released. The first edition consistently seems to have something not quite right but then they get it figured out over subsequent releases. I thought the vaccine would follow a similar course. Let’s get the first year under our belts and see what kind of outcomes there are. No way did I think there would be an effective vaccine available in 2020.
Continue reading OPINION: I Got Vaccinated to Support My Community
by Ben Adlin
A statewide partnership of public officials and private groups on Monday, Feb. 15, announced plans to put $30 million toward a new equity initiative intended to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among Black, Brown, Indigeneous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and other groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“The goal on this initiative is to raise $15 million to match government dollars around vaccine outreach and education,” said Lilliane Ballesteros, executive director of the Latino Community Fund of Washington. “Now is the time to mobilize our collective resources quickly to those in need.”
Continue reading Statewide Pandemic Relief Fund Sets $30M Goal for Vaccine Equity