Tag Archives: Public Health – Seattle & King County

State Detects First Case of New Coronavirus Variant With Higher Vaccine Resistance

by Carolyn Bick


The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that it, along with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the UW Medicine Virology Lab — have detected yet another novel coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) variant in the state, in addition to the already-present B.1.1.7 variant. The new variant was detected in King County, the DOH said in a press release. At the same time, the DOH also announced on Tuesday that it has confirmed an additional 19 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the state.

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National Alliance for Filipino Concerns Hosts Virtual Town Hall for Local Health Care Workers

by Ronnie Estoque


On Monday, Feb. 15, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Kabataan Alliance, and the Filipino Health Board led a virtual town hall via Zoom to discuss ways in which the community in Seattle can rally together in support of health care workers that are on the front lines of the pandemic. The event was a part of nationwide virtual town halls organized by NAFCON to discuss the Filipino American Agenda, which is a comprehensive list of demands that will be presented to the Biden administration this spring.

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State Officials Push School Reopening Plan, Drawing on Data From Studies of Predominantly White Student Groups in Handful of U.S. Studies

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State has expanded the number of days school districts may offer in-person learning, but teachers will not be moved into earlier phases of vaccination, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on Feb. 16. Inslee did not immediately provide details on the number of days included in the increase. The State’s rationale for encouraging in-person learning without ensuring that all teachers are vaccinated is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not included vaccinating teachers in its base-level guidance that can help to determine whether in-person learning is safe. The State will allow parents to keep their children on remote learning plans, if they so choose.

In his announcement, Inslee pointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated publication regarding operational strategy for schools to open for in-person learning. He said that the CDC’s guidance “broadly aligns” with the State’s suggestions and that the CDC has “also made very clear that mass vaccination of our teachers is not a prerequisite to going back to school.”

In its guidance, the CDC also says that “[t]he following public health efforts provide additional layers of COVID-19 prevention in schools” and lists “[t]esting to identify individuals with a SARS-CoV-2 infection to limit transmission and outbreaks” and “[v]accination for teachers, staff, and in communities as soon as supply allows.” 

Continue reading State Officials Push School Reopening Plan, Drawing on Data From Studies of Predominantly White Student Groups in Handful of U.S. Studies

King County Public Health Officer Notes ‘Mixed Message’ on Reopening, Spread of New Coronavirus Variant

by Andrew Engelson


In an online press conference Friday, Jan. 29, Jeff Duchin, MD, the health officer for Public Health —  Seattle & King County said that while COVID-19 cases have declined in King County for the past three weeks, the current level of transmission still represents a “serious health threat.” Duchin said he expects that the more contagious and potentially more lethal B 1.1.7. variant, already discovered in Snohomish County, will be “likely be found in King County any day now.” Reacting to Gov. Inslee’s announcement this week that King County will be allowed to return to Phase 2 of Washington’s Road to Recovery Plan, Duchin acknowledged, “The mixed messaging is very challenging. We’re currently in a decline. And people are feeling good. But I need to remind everyone that we’re still at a high level even though we’ve come down.”

Continue reading King County Public Health Officer Notes ‘Mixed Message’ on Reopening, Spread of New Coronavirus Variant

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.” 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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