Sammamish Emergency Manager's 4/21 Report to Council on COVID-19
This report was provided live to Sammamish City Council on at their Regular Meeting on April 21, 2020.
Andrew Stevens, CEM – Emergency Manager - Eastside Fire & Rescue
Good evening Mayor, Council members, and City Manager. Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to provide a brief situational update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and response. As of earlier today, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus globally was over 2.5 million. At over 820,000 cases, the U.S. makes up roughly 1/3rd of that total. Cases in Washington are still on the increase with 12,282 cases statewide and 5,360 in King County alone. In Sammamish, there have been 59 positive cases and three fatalities, however Sammamish’s per capita case rate of 91.6 cases per 100,000 is the lowest in King County outside of Hunts Point, with a population 437, and Skykomish, with a population of 222.
The low rate of transmission and contraction of the virus in Sammamish is a testament of our population's willingness to comply with all public health recommendation and non-pharmaceutical interventions, most importantly, social distancing. Our community has been able to demonstrate considerable resiliency throughout the past seven weeks, but it is not time to relax or become complacent in those efforts.
Public health experts are recommending that the non-pharmaceutical orders currently in place remain in effect until either 1) a vaccine or preventative treatment is made widely available, or 2) the following conditions are met:
- Healthcare professionals have all required and necessary PPE to safely treat patients
- There is a sustained reduction of new COVID-19 cases for at least two weeks
- Disease can be controlled through monitored isolation and quarantine
- Widespread testing and the ability to obtain rapid results exists
- Robust contact tracing is available
- And jurisdictions have ability to protect their most vulnerable populations
Understanding that these conditions may not be present or available for many months, all levels of government are working to develop mitigating strategies to reduce the medical, economic, social, and civil disruptions resulting from prolonged non-pharmaceutical interventions. An example of these mitigations would be the distribution of financial assistance, economic support to small businesses, support for the mental wellness of impacted individuals, and much more.
The City of Sammamish has and continues to lean forward in support of the efforts to mitigate the impacts of not just the virus, but also the continual strain of these necessary interventions. The City is not only focusing our support locally, but also supporting and assisting in the coordination of vital services across the county.
City staff are in constant contact with community-based organizations and non-profits who are working tirelessly to support those who are impacted, connecting them to resources and also identifying ways to connect them to funding and regional grant opportunities. The City is also partnering with communities across the county to develop a GIS restaurant map, which will highlight essential businesses that are still open and able to serve or deliver food to our populations. Recently, I was also requested to support King County’s COVID-19 response by leading a team focused on the continuity of staffing in regional food banks and distribution hubs.
As new ways to assist those impacted by this pandemic continue to be developed and refined, the City is committed to supporting and sharing this information to our residents through the constant provision of communication on numerous platforms and in numerous languages. Our objective is to ensure that residents are well informed on how to protect themselves from this virus, but also aware of the numerous resources available to aid them through these difficult times.
There may be frustrations with the continuation of these mitigation strategies and there may be those that claim that they are overreactions or an overstepping of government. To those individuals, may I remind them, that even with strict mitigation measures in place, roughly 45,000 Americans have already died from Coronavirus. Throughout the past two months, there were many days when the daily death totals from COVID-19 were far greater than the total losses this nation experienced during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The importance of continuing these mitigations until they can safely be rolled back cannot be understated. While difficult, this community can rally together to ensure that we all make it through this response. We can support one another, we can support our businesses when they eventually reopen, we can support the non-profits providing assistance and the food banks providing meals, and we can our part to protect the front-line workers putting their lives at risk everyday by simply staying home.