Emergency Manager's Report to City Council on COVID-19 (Aug 11, 2020)

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

Good evening Mayor, Council members, and City Manager.

Thank you again for allowing me with the opportunity to provide a brief situational update on COVID-19

Three weeks ago, when I provided my last update to Council, COVID-19 numbers across the state, county, and in Sammamish were all on the rise. The number of positive cases across the county was meeting or exceeding previous records set in late March, before the statewide shut-down. Sammamish was also setting records for positive daily case counts during this time, hitting 10 new cases in a single day on July 20th, where the prior record was 7 cases on March 27th.

Since then, we have begun to see numbers stabilize, but they are still not back to where they were during the complete statewide lockdown. From July 27th to August 10th there were 32 new positive cases in Sammamish, at a rate of 50.0 per 100,000 residents. Today, Sammamish is registering 196 positive cases, an increase of 5 new cases since yesterday, and roughly 10% of our population has been tested.

King County had established key indicators of COVID-19 activity, assessing trends in both virus spread, testing capability, and healthcare system readiness to determine overall risk. Currently, the county is not meeting the target goals for ½ of those indicators. Most notably, to meet the goal set for the total number of cases for the last 14 days per 100,000 residents, the county would be under 25 per 100k. King County is currently sitting at 91 and as I mentioned above Sammamish is sitting at 50.

Given these increases, not just in WA but across the nation, where now over five million people have contracted the disease and over 165,000 people have died, it is extremely important for everyone to do their part in slowing this virus. We are seeing more and more cases of small family gatherings ending in transmission across households. We are seeing more and more cases of young, asymptomatic people infecting older more vulnerable family members, colleagues, or friends. I still see parents turning a blind eye or willfully participating in ignoring playground or park facility closures. What example is that demonstrating? At this point in this pandemic, when over 1,000 US citizens are dying each day, I am not sure what else it will take for the majority of individuals to take this crisis seriously and abide by all the public health recommendations.

Sammamish is continuing to promote and assist our residents in doing just that. Following the success of last month’s cloth face mask distribution event where roughly 10,500 masks were provided free to residents, we have distributed another 11,000 masks, this time partnering with LWSD, ISD, and Eastside Friends of Seniors. These masks were distributed to Sammamish families through free lunch programs, through school registration packets, and home care packages delivered to our most vulnerable residents. On top of that, the City has rolled out its small business grant program, providing over $250,000 to businesses affected by COVID-19. This application period closes on August 20th and more information can be found on the City’s website.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the residents and businesses in Sammamish who are doing their part to stop this outbreak. The majority of people I see when out in town are complying with public health recommendations. They are wearing masks, socially distancing from others, and practicing strong environmental hygiene. I understand the reality of COVID fatigue but continuing to stay the course is so very important to eventually winning this fight.

Thank you.

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