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
by Jack Russillo
From time immemorial, people living around the Duwamish River — where today’s city of Seattle has spread out from — have been heavily linked with the sea.
In September 2021, a new public Maritime High School will open its doors to give Seattle-area youth an opportunity to focus their education on the sea and other marine topics. On Monday, Jan. 11, the opening of Maritime High School was announced at a virtual press conference by partnering organizations Highline Public Schools, the Port of Seattle, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, and the Northwest Maritime Center.
Continue reading New Public Maritime High School to Open in September, Applications are Open for Prospective Students
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
by Ari Robin McKenna
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”
Continue reading Study Indicates Stark Need for a South King County Paradigm Shift on Multilingual Education
by Jack Russillo
Nearly $1 million in grants from the Port of Seattle will be dispersed to ten organizations to help lead equitable economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 in South King County.
The move comes after the Port of Seattle Commissioners approved a recommendation at their meeting on December 15. The funds will be dispersed by the end of January.
Continue reading Ten Non-Profits Receive Grants From Port of Seattle’s South King County Fund to Improve COVID-19 Economic Recovery
by Andrew Engelson
In an online press briefing on Friday, Nov. 20, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle and King County (PHSKC) reported that cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations across the county have spiked in the past two weeks. In response, the County’s top health official made an urgent plea to residents to strictly limit social gatherings in advance of Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
Continue reading COVID-19 Cases Surging in King County, With South End Continuing to Be Hardest Hit
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
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Thursday, the King County Council shelved a proposal by North Seattle Councilmember Rod Dembowski that would have kept 47,000 hours of bus service inside Dembowski’s district after the Northgate light rail station opens next year. The proposal came in the form of a budget proviso, or restriction on spending, that would have withheld $5.4 million in funding for King County Metro unless the bus service went to North King County.
The hours will become available because King County Metro is shutting down its Route 41 bus line, which duplicates the light rail route. Instead of being redistributed throughout North Seattle to feed commuters to the new light rail line, as Dembowski proposed, those hours are likely to go to South King County, where King County Metro’s preliminary report on equity shows the need is greatest.
Continue reading King County Council Rejects Redundant Bus Line Funding in North End, Citing Equity Needs
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.
Continue reading As COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket in South King County, PHSKC Plans to Unveil New Financial Relief Program
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.
Continue reading Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?