Emergency Manager's Report to City Council on COVID-19 (March 2, 2021)
Andrew Stevens, CEM - Emergency Manager - Eastside Fire & Rescue
Good evening Mayor, Councilmembers, and City Manager.
Since my last update to Council, the United States surpassed a grim milestone in its fight against COVID-19, half a million deaths. The sheer magnitude of that number and the loss of life it represents is almost incomprehensible. Today, the U.S. is registering over 516,000 deaths, roughly a fifth of the global death total of 2.5 million. The US has had 27.8 million positive cases with daily case counts still averaging close to 70k new confirmed cases each day. This is a considerable decrease from the numbers experienced through the winter surge, but a strong reminder that high levels of community spread still exists in most pockets of the county.
Locally, King County has registered 82,363 positive cases and 1,399 deaths. A survey of the most populated counties in the U.S. showed that King County had the second-lowest COVID case count, with only Oahu County having fewer. Sammamish is registering 1050 cases and 13 fatalities.
Even with three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines available, vaccine access and shortages continue to be a serious shortfall in the response efforts. Vaccine began being administered back in December, but as of today only 18.5% of King County residents have received one dose, and 10.7% have received both doses. King County has established vaccination sites in both Auburn and Kent, however, you must be a resident of South King County to schedule an appointment there. Seattle has recently announced that several sites will be available. The first two sites currently open are at Rainier Beach and West Seattle, are not open to the public for open registration, and are currently only administering 1000 doses a week. Later in the month, Seattle is hoping to stand up a larger mass vaccination site located at Lumen Field, which initially will be delivering 5,000 doses each week, with the expectation that these numbers will increase as vaccines become more available.
Eastside Fire and Rescue has been continuing our mobile vaccination team program, targeting adult family homes, nursing homes, and low-income senior living housing. We have been working with human services personnel to identify and assist in scheduling the mobile teams, but we are currently restricted to serving only the populations identified and approved by King County Public Health. Our teams have also been assisting the Snoqualmie Tribe and are conducting mass vaccination support to weekly clinics inoculating tribal members.
As you are aware, we have also been pursuing standing up a mass vaccination site here on the Eastside. We recently secured an agreement with WA State Parks to host the drive-through vaccination site at Lake Sammamish State Park. Later this week we will begin building out the location with the hope that King County Public Health will begin to dedicate an allocation of the vaccine as it becomes available. Discussions with the county lead us to believe that we will be provided vaccine for the location in early April. That being said, the site will be established and ready to operate if vaccine doses are secured earlier. Once operational, the site will be able to support 500 to 1000 vaccines each day.
The County’s current strategy is to focus vaccine operations in geographic locations where COVID-19 infection rates were highest and greater numbers of vulnerable populations reside. The data for vaccines administered is provided by King County Public Health. However, King County Public Health’s data dashboards do not break down vaccine dose information by individual jurisdictions, and Sammamish is grouped together into the larger East King County data set. As of today, the percentage of East King County residents over the age of 75 who have received one dose is 76.2%, the percentage for eligible individuals over 65 equals 67.1%. The proportion of all residents aged 16 and over who have been inoculated in East King County is only 16.9% though, the fourth lowest number out of the 10 regions King County Public Health is tracking. Today, Governor Inslee announced that that PreK-12 educators, school staff, and licensed childcare providers are now eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1B1. While this is great news to those individuals, opening up additional categories of eligible recipients will most certainly add to the struggle of accessing vaccines for those who were able to receive a vaccination but could not secure an appointment.
For residents seeking information on vaccine availability, state or local COVID-19 updates, or links to resources that may be able to provide additional assistance, I urge them all to visit the City’s Connect Sammamish COVID-19 portal. There you will find links to vaccine information and the WA Vaccine Location Map. Also, for those residents having trouble navigating the online system, King County has established a COVID Assistance Call Center which is open 8 am to 7 pm. That number is 206-477-3977.
Lastly, I wanted to provide an update on COVID-19 expenses. To date, the City has spent roughly $2.15 million of the $2.9 million that was reimbursed to the City by the CARES Act, leaving roughly $750,000. That includes roughly $189K on internal COVID-19 expenses, $215K on expenses necessary to ensure continuity of government, $1,211,000 in two rounds of small business and non-profit grants, and $525K to support human service organizations assisting those impacted.
With that, I would be happy to address any questions you may have. Thank you.