Emergency Manager's Report to City Council on COVID-19 (March 16, 2021)

Andrew Stevens, CEM - Emergency Manager, Eastside Fire & Rescue

Good evening Mayor, Council members, and City Manager.

I would like to focus my report this evening on the COVID-19 vaccine, its availability, and our continued efforts to provide greater access to vaccine for residents of Eastside communities.

Right now, our only available metric for populations who have had access to the COVID-19 vaccine is through the statistical dashboards provided by King County Public Health, which can be broken down by zip codes. As of earlier today here is what those dashboards were telling us.

  • Among residents living in 98074 – 117.6% of those aged 75 and more have received at least one dose, 108% of those aged 65 and over have received one or more doses, and 26.8% of those aged 16+ have received one or more doses.
  • Among residents living in 98075 – 108.9% of those aged 75 and more have received at least one dose, 93.6% of those aged 65 and over have received one or more doses, and 28.4% of those aged 16+ have received one or more doses.
  • Among residents living in 98029, which includes Klahanie but also a large portion of Issaquah – 91.1% of those aged 75 and more have received at least one dose, 89.3% of those aged 65 and over have received one or more doses, and 26.8% of those aged 16+ have received one or more doses.

As you can tell, there may be discrepancies in the statistics that are being reported, represented by those overages, or our current population is simply greater than the baseline numbers that the County is using. What I can say is that if you are 65 and over and have yet to access a vaccine please let Eastside Fire and Rescue know. Our mobile vaccination teams are still serving populations within our service area and while who we can directly schedule and deploy vaccine to is limited to only those populations the County approves, sometimes we are left with additional doses and we can put you on a stand-by list. If residents meet that criteria and would like to be placed on this list, please email COVID@esf-r.org.

Regarding the establishment of a mass vaccination site here on the Eastside, I am happy to report that the site is fully constructed and ready to go over at Lake Sammamish State Park. Unfortunately, King County is still unwilling to provide a dedicated allocation of vaccines citing both vaccine availability and a focus on more vulnerable populations in other regions of the County.

While I understand the limitations of the vaccine supply chain, our hope is that having a drive-through site capable of providing 500+ vaccines each day already built, funded, and staffed independent of County resources will encourage King County Public Health to provide vaccine as soon as more becomes available. With additional tiers of vaccine-eligible persons opening tomorrow, we are very aware that our residents who become eligible to receive a vaccine will most likely struggle greatly in their ability to access one or find that appointments are already booked out for weeks to come.

With the State entering Phase 3 next week, we are also very aware of the fact that with restrictions lessening around restaurants, sporting events, and outdoor and indoor gatherings, there will be more and more chances for exposure both for those participating in these activities, but also the frontline workers at these venues, who, even if they are eligible to receive a vaccine as of tomorrow, will most likely be unable to for quite some time.

Therefore, we are going to continue to pressure King County Public Health for a dedicated allocation of vaccines at the Lake Sammamish drive-through site so that all eligible Eastside residents have the same opportunity and access as residents of Seattle or southern King County. I believe it will take the continued advocacy of city leadership, elected officials, as well as our own residents to ensure that an Eastside mass vaccination site is supported. Hopefully, through those efforts, we will see the Lake Sammamish site operational and providing vaccines to our residents in the very near future.

With that, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.

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