Tag Archives: Public Health – Seattle & King County

Public Health Officials Warn of Serious New Wave of COVID-19 Cases

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Roughly one year after COVID-19 was identified for the first time in Washington State, health officials are warning of an overwhelming new wave of infection due to the arrival of potential variant strains, while areas in South King County remain hard-hit by the virus in general.

After highlighting a recent two-week reduction in COVID-19 cases in King County, in a press briefing on Friday, Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer at Public Health — Seattle King County, gave a stark address, urging the public to prepare for the arrival of highly contagious variant strains that have already emerged in other states and areas in the world.

“We are used to living with real volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest and right now we’re also living in the shadow of a COVID-19 volcano,” Duchin said. “We need to expect the coronavirus equivalent of a Mount Saint Helens-like eruption at some time in the next few months.” 

Continue reading Public Health Officials Warn of Serious New Wave of COVID-19 Cases

A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

by Ashley Archibald


In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.

“Azhane Mitchell.”

“Charles Lingenfelter.”

“Christopher Mann.”

In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.

Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

Seattle Set to Vaccinate Older, Vulnerable Adults in Supportive Housing in Next Round of Mobile Vaccination Effort

by Carolyn Bick


Seattle’s older adults living in supportive housing will be the next in line for vaccinations against the novel coronavirus offered by the City’s mobile vaccine clinics, the Office of the Mayor announced in a press release on Jan. 22. This newest mobile vaccination effort began on Jan. 21 and includes older adults who had formerly experienced homelessness and who now receive wraparound case management services, as well as older, low-income adults living in affordable housing.

Continue reading Seattle Set to Vaccinate Older, Vulnerable Adults in Supportive Housing in Next Round of Mobile Vaccination Effort

Inslee: Increased Vaccinations, Eligibility Umbrella, Plus Creation of Private-Public Vaccine Partnership

by Carolyn Bick


Washingtonians aged 65 and older and, additionally, those aged 50 and older who live in “multigenerational households” are now eligible to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus under Phase 1B — Tier 1 effective immediately, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a press conference on Jan. 18 (“multigenerational household,” per the schedule update, was not immediately defined). He also announced a slew of other vaccination schedule changes, including statewide mass vaccinations that will begin as soon as next week and the creation of a private-public partnership, in order to ramp up to administering 45,000 vaccines per day as quickly as possible.

Inslee said that allowing people aged 65 and older as well as those 50 and older — specifically those 50 and older who are living in what was referred to during the press conference as “multigenerational households” — to get the vaccine sooner than originally planned is meant to reflect a more equitable distribution of vaccines. That said, all persons wishing to learn their vaccination eligibility should go to the State’s online vaccine eligibility assessor, called Phase Finder, and fill out the questionnaire. (Note: As of this publication, the website seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties.)

Inslee also said that once roughly half of people eligible to get the vaccine under Phase 1B — Tier 1 have gotten vaccinated, the State’s vaccine providers will be allowed to offer vaccines to people deemed eligible in Phase 1B’s Tiers 2, 3, and 4, in order to increase efficiency.

Continue reading Inslee: Increased Vaccinations, Eligibility Umbrella, Plus Creation of Private-Public Vaccine Partnership

BREAKING: King County Jail System to Begin COVID Surveillance Testing on Incarcerated Adults

by Carolyn Bick


The King County Jail system will begin surveillance testing of its incarcerated adult population starting as soon as tomorrow, Jan. 13, according to an internal Jan. 12 email shared with the Emerald

Continue reading BREAKING: King County Jail System to Begin COVID Surveillance Testing on Incarcerated Adults

King County Commits $7 Million to Increased Vaccination Efforts, Won’t Change Jail COVID Protocols

by Carolyn Bick


King County will be committing $7 million to ramp up vaccination efforts to prevent against COVID-19, with two high-volume vaccination sites slated for South King County in the near future, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced in a public health briefing on Jan. 8.

Continue reading King County Commits $7 Million to Increased Vaccination Efforts, Won’t Change Jail COVID Protocols

What We Know About How Unhoused People Can Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

by Chetanya Robinson 


Medical workers, staff, and residents at long-term care facilities are starting to receive their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as King County and the State roll out the first phase of their vaccination plan. Next in line is a group that includes residents and staff at shelters, as well as school staff, essential workers, people in jail, emergency responders, and more.

Public Health — Seattle & King County is considering multiple ways to get the vaccine to everyone, whether or not they are homeless, and plans could change at any time, said Jody Rauch, who works as the clinical quality lead for the agency’s Healthcare for the Homeless Network (HCHN).

There’s not a lot of detailed, specific guidance from the CDC or the State Department of Health on what the next phases of vaccination will look like, Rauch said — including, for example, in what phase all unhoused people will be vaccinated.

Continue reading What We Know About How Unhoused People Can Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

BREAKING: Four New COVID Cases Detected at King County Jail

by Carolyn Bick


Four new cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the King County Jail in downtown Seattle, according to an internal email shared with the Emerald on Jan. 4.

Continue reading BREAKING: Four New COVID Cases Detected at King County Jail

Even With Incoming Vaccine, PHSKC Warns Against Relaxing Masking, Social Distancing Practices

by Carolyn Bick


Though a vaccine is on the way, the COVID-19 situation throughout the state, including in King County — particularly in South King County — appears as though it is going to get much worse, before it gets better.

In a press conference on Dec. 11, Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin laid out the increasingly bad situation the County is facing. Over the past seven days, he said, the County has seen an average of 650 new cases of COVID-19 per day. The number of COVID-19-related deaths per day have ceased to gradually rise, and instead are rapidly rising, currently standing at seven deaths per day. This is up from two deaths per day in September. 

Continue reading Even With Incoming Vaccine, PHSKC Warns Against Relaxing Masking, Social Distancing Practices

New Test Site to Open in Highline, As Cases in South King County Skyrocket

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