Tag Archives: Public Health – Seattle & King County

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.

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Gov. Inslee Institutes New Restrictions to Curb COVID Spread, Announces $50 Million Fund for Struggling Businesses

by Carolyn Bick


Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a series of new restrictions for the state of Washington, in light of rapidly escalating numbers of new COVID-19 cases. These restrictions will last for a minimum of four weeks. He also announced the state has found an extra $50 million to support struggling state businesses.

In a virtual press conference on the morning of Nov. 15, Inslee said that these new restrictions will begin to take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 16, and last until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 14, after which point the state will reassess the situation. When the Emerald followed up after the press conference with Inslee’s office to ask whether there will be any penalties imposed on individuals who do not follow these new restrictions, the office said that the question of enforcement is a job for local law enforcement.

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State Reaches Record One-Day High of COVID-19 Cases

by Carolyn Bick


The state has now reached its all-time COVID-19 case one-day high, standing at 2,147 new cases of the disease today alone, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported in a press release late in the day on Nov. 13.

“Just two weeks ago, we announced 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since mid-summer. And, each day this week we have reported over 1,000 new cases per day. This rapid escalation is extremely alarming,” the press release reads.

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“We Should Probably All Stop Socializing For the Next Several Weeks”: Health Officials Deliver Grim COVID Data, Warnings

by Carolyn Bick


The basic precautionary measures that public health experts have been asking Washingtonians to take throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic are now “the only thing[s] standing between us and disaster,” Tacoma-Pierce County’s Dir. of Public Health Dr. Anthony Chen said in an urgent COVID-19 press briefing on Nov. 10. It’s because people haven’t been taking them that the state is now poised to suffer a sharp — potentially exponential — increase in deaths and hospitalizations.

“I know there are lots of tensions. Everyone’s tired. But this is not the time for argument,” Chen said. We’ve got to … put politics aside, put personalities aside. We’ve got to work on this together.”

Chen and a slew of other public health officials spoke during the briefing, each of them sharing grim statistics. At the core of their concern is the real potential for the state’s healthcare system to become overwhelmed, which would likely force the state to institute more aggressive approaches to slowing down the spread of the disease. These approaches appear to include another lockdown.

Continue reading “We Should Probably All Stop Socializing For the Next Several Weeks”: Health Officials Deliver Grim COVID Data, Warnings

As COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket in South King County, PHSKC Plans to Unveil New Financial Relief Program

by Carolyn Bick


In an effort to better support people who either are or may be infected with the novel coronavirus who would not be able to quarantine themselves at home without risking financial hardship, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be rolling out a financial support program for people infected with the novel coronavirus.

The program has not yet been formally announced, but Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin briefly talked about it in a press conference on Nov. 6, as he was answering the Emerald’s question about the driving factors behind the rapid and concerning rise in COVID-19 cases in South King County, and how — aside from encouraging behavior modification — PHSKC plans to try to combat this rise.

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Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?

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.

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City Touts Free Vaccination Sites for Uninsured in South Seattle, but Limited Dates Available

by Carolyn Bick


Though officials say this year’s expanded flu vaccination clinic offerings are specifically meant to serve uninsured and underinsured communities of color and people experiencing homelessness, many of whom live in South Seattle, most of the clinics available in South Seattle appear to have relatively few open clinic slots.

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COVID Contact Tracers Navigate Cultural and Emotional Nuance

by Sally James


When Ben Meana calls, people have all sorts of reactions. They might hang up. They might worry. Or they might be glad to learn more about protecting their family and community from COVID-19. 

Meana is a contact tracer for Public Health — Seattle and King County. Every morning, whether he’s working from his home or his office at Harborview Medical Center, he starts calling people who have tested positive for COVID-19. These people have recently taken a virus test, some at the drive-up or walk-up testing stations established across Seattle, Renton, Auburn, and Shoreline. Meana has plenty of experience doing this job — before the pandemic, he performed contact tracing for sexually transmitted diseases.

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New COVID-19 Testing Site to Open at Rainier Beach High School

by Carolyn Bick


South Seattle will see a third free, walk-up novel coronavirus testing site at Rainier Beach High School, starting on Friday, Aug. 7.

Joined by Public Health – Seattle & King County Director Patty Hayes and Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins in a press conference on July 31, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the new testing site will replace the one that opened in April at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp. 

The test will be free, neither citizenship nor insurance is required. While pre-registration also isn’t required, it is encouraged. The site will be open from 9:30 am. – 5 :30 p.m., and will be accessible for those with disabilities.

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As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State has reached a new milestone in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, there have been 50,000 people who have tested positive for the virus, since the start of the pandemic.

This is not a good number.

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