by Jadenne Cabahug
Edna Cortez has worked as a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past 30 years — and she received a commemorative pin to mark the occasion. Cortez wears another pin these days during the pandemic: she places a button with a picture of her face on top of her scrub hat to help her young patients feel less afraid.
She usually keeps her face covered while working, like all nurses do during the pandemic. Cortez has to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. Not everyone has access to the same equipment, or the right kind.
Cortez is among the state’s essential workers — in health care and other professions — who have been put at higher risk from COVID-19 and other environmental health factors in 2020.
Continue reading Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats
by Erica C. Barnett
It wasn’t so long ago — just 2018 — that Seattle could be proud of its status as the only city in the nation where transit ridership was actually going up, and the number of people commuting to the center city by car was going down. COVID-19 didn’t just reverse this trend; it obliterated it. Ridership on King County Metro buses is down about 73%, while ridership on Sound Transit’s light rail line has shrunk an estimated 70%. In an attempt to protect drivers from riders who might be COVID-positive, both agencies eliminated fares, and Metro implemented back-door-only boarding, in March. Both agencies also cut service, which has led to overcrowding on popular routes, such as the Route 7, that serve essential workers getting to and from the center city.
Continue reading As Metro Considers Post-COVID-19 Future, Agency Leaders Resist Push for Crackdown on Homeless Riders
Two Swedish Hospital ICU nurses take us inside the visitor-less ICU, tell us how they’re attempting to cope, and let the community know how it can support them.
words by Ari Robin McKenna
portraits by Jovelle Tamayo
ICU nurses are part of a human network of dozens of essential hospital workers whose jobs in normal times interlock to catch people who fall seriously ill, and for weeks now each of these vital links has been strained by the additional weight of caring for patients in the throes of COVID-19. Their collective load-bearing is ongoing, and the weeks ahead will be marked by uncertainty and concerns for their own safety.
Continue reading Words of The Irreplaceable: Swedish Hospital ICU Nurses Speak