Don’t let your guard down to COVID-19

It has now been more than a year since the first COVID-19 case in the United States was confirmed here in King County. However, infection rates remain high and we need to stay vigilant to protect ourselves and one another from contracting it. For those employees continuing to report to worksites, it is important to avoid congregating unnecessarily, including in offices, garages, and other facilities, and to continue to properly wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Now is not the time to let your guard down about measures to reduce the risks… Read More

COVID-19 vaccine update

A message from King County Executive Dow Constantine King County is working hard to rapidly vaccinate the 1.8 million adults who live in our region, starting with those at highest risk, with a goal of reaching 70%, or 1.26 million people, by the end of summer. Under the state guidelines, the following populations are eligible for vaccination: Phase 1a Tier 1: Long-term care facility residents and staff Tier 2: All other workers at risk in health care settings, including home care and home health Phase 1b Tier 1: All people 65 years… Read More

COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program now available

A new temporary program will provide $500 to $5,000 tax-free to those in the Regular Employee Benefits Group to reimburse them for child care provided during the 2020/2021 school year. The COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program was created by King County management and unions in the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC) in response to the overwhelming impacts of COVID-19 on working parents. It is funded with $9M from the Protected Fund Reserve of the JLMIC. Who can participate? If you are enrolled in the Regular Employee Benefits Plan, you can be… Read More

Update on rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

Dear fellow King County employee, Last week I announced $7 million to create high-volume community vaccination sites and mobile teams so that as many people as possible in our community can receive COVID-19 vaccinations as quickly as possible. My strategy is closely aligned with Washington State Department of Health (DOH) guidance for vaccine allocation, prioritization, and distribution. DOH has released a priority plan for vaccinating people in the next tiers, starting with Tier B1 potentially later this month. It has also released a chart showing estimated timelines for vaccine distribution, which contains… Read More

New survey shows how COVID-19 is impacting basic needs, mental health, and social supports in King County 

Crossposted from Public Health Insider   The coronavirus pandemic has brought dramatic changes to our lives – beyond the illness and death directly caused by the virus. Rising unemployment, increased needs for food assistance, and remote schooling are all economic and social impacts of COVID-19 that go beyond the daily counts of new cases or deaths.   The overall results are concerning. 1 in 4 respondents said that COVID-19 impacted their ability to pay for essentials like rent/mortgage, utilities or groceries. About 1 in 6 of survey respondents said that sometimes, their food didn’t last and they… Read More

What we know (and a few things we don’t) about COVID-19 vaccines: a conversation with Dr. Jeff Duchin  

Crossposted from Public Health Insider  Two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and the first shipments have arrived in King County.    In this interview, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Seattle & King County Public Health, answers common questions such as… Who is getting the first shots? How effective are the new vaccines? What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work? What kind of common side effects do the vaccines have? What about the severe allergic reactions that the news has reported in a handful of people? Read more. 

Metro health ambassadors promote masks, community spirit

Some former Metro employees are helping people safely get where they are going in a different way.  “I usually drive a Metro bus, but today I’m giving out masks to try and make sure everyone is masking up and being safe,” Jena, a Metro bus operator and Health Ambassador, said.   After King County Metro Transit was forced to lay off some part-time employees due to COVID-19, the agency came up with an innovative solution: they allowed drivers facing layoff to opt into the Department of Community and Human Services’ (DCHS) Health Ambassadors… Read More

Executive Constantine thanks employees and applauds their 2020 accomplishments

King County Executive Dow Constantine has released a video message to thank employees for their tremendous efforts and achievements in 2020. “I am grateful for your flexibility, creativity, and hard work which enabled us to pivot quickly and respond to the needs of our community,” Executive Constantine said in the video message. “We have a way to go in this journey to normalcy – and things may get worse before they get better – but they will get better.” In addition to reflecting on the achievements of employees in 2020 –  including… Read More

Video: Dr. Jeff Duchin on COVID-19 trends and vaccine distribution

Crossposted from Public Health Insider  As the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived King County this week, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin answered questions and shared the latest information on rollout and distribution of vaccines.  For more on COVID-19 data trends, visit our data dashboards: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data.aspx  For more on COVID-19 vaccine planning in King County: www.kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine  Watch the video

New COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program

Dear King County employee, We are excited to announce that, in response to the overwhelming impacts of COVID-19 on working parents, including the closure of many in-person schools and child care providers, labor and management have agreed upon a COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program to help those in the Regular Employees Benefits Plan with child care expenses incurred during the 2020-2021 school year. This groundbreaking agreement, first proposed by a King County Coalition of Unions, will cover approximately 10,400 union and non-represented employees who receive the Regular Employees Benefits Plan through the Joint… Read More