Sammamish Emergency Manager's 5/5 Report to Council on COVID-19

Report to Sammamish City Council on COVID-19

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

Good evening Mayor, Councilmembers, and City Manager. Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to provide an update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and City of Sammamish’s response and recovery operations.

As of today, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus globally was over 3.6 million, an increase of over one million since my last briefing. The US has reported roughly 1.2 million cases of COVID-19, resulting in over 70,000 fatalities. The number of cases in the U.S. is greater than the number of the next four highest countries combined. To put that into further perspective, more than a month has passed since the U.S. has had a day where fewer than 1000 individuals died from coronavirus.

Washington State is reporting 15,594 positive cases of COVID-19 and King County is reporting 6,621. The City of Sammamish is shown to have 65 positive cases of coronavirus and three fatalities. Sammamish still has one of the lowest per capita rates of infection in the county, and due to the robust mitigation measures the City enacted early in this event, we can proudly say that we have been able to maintain the continuity of nearly all government functions without a single instance of employee contraction of COVID-19.

Across the nation, state, and even locally, people are growing restless with the measures required to combat this virus. So please allow me to remind everyone that this outbreak is far from over. While some states that have issued public health orders, such as Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, are seeing a slight decline in case volume, 25 states are still seeing daily increases in positive cases. The total case count across the nation is still expanding, growing each day by 2-4%. In many areas, where social distancing restrictions have been lifted entirely, we are seeing a resurgence of the virus. Rural counties who did not even have a single reported case until mid-April are now experiencing explosive community transmission and are now hot spots for several new cases.

Last week, the Governor extended the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through the end of May. He also outlined a phased process for reopening aspects of the community, such as outdoor recreation and some businesses. The process outlined in the Governor’s Safe Start plan assesses our community’s resiliency against the virus through analyzing the readiness of our health care systems, testing availability, ability to conduct widespread contract tracing, and the level of risk to vulnerable populations. The Governor also stated that there would be a period of at least three weeks in between the phases of reopening to allow for time to assess their success.

While we are beginning to see these measures already take effect, through the reopening of some outdoor recreation like state parks, fishing, and golf, I urge Sammamish residents to approach this transition slowly. Please do not look for the exceptions for what is allowed and rush out to meet them. This virus is still very much present in or community and county and these activities are not worth yours or anyone else’s health and safety. The City has always taken a proactive stance to ensure the protection of its residents and employees. For example, in last week’s public address, the Mayor outlined why some restrictions to City parks use and access would still be enforced, even as State Parks reopened.

Understanding that the threat of COVID-19 will last for many more months and that the recovery will last much longer, we have been focusing on steps to facilitate that recovery process. We are in constant communication with State and County partners concerning funding to support costs associated with the COVID-19 response, as well as the long-term recovery of our community. Understanding the various funding streams that the City may access, what costs are eligible for reimbursement, and ensuring all those expenses are properly documented throughout the duration of this incident is one of our top priorities. Other measures being taken include the continued support of businesses within the City, through tools like the Puget Sound Small Business Map, and the efforts you all are taking this evening to support community organizations active in supporting those impacted by the outbreak.

I want to thank everyone for their continued support and compliance with all public health recommendations. It truly is making a critical difference to so many.

Thank you.

Categories: emergency management, stay home stay healthy
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