Sammamish Emergency Manager's July 7 Report to Council on COVID-19

about 1 month ago

This is the full text of the report read to City Council at their July 7, 2020 meeting:

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

Good evening once again Mayor, Councilmembers, and City Manager.

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

The global count of coronavirus cases falls just short of 12 million confirmed positive cases, with the U.S. accounting for one quarter of that number. To make matters worse, over the past few weeks, the majority of U.S. states have seen sharp increases in positive cases of COVID-19, with many states, including Washington, breaking records for daily new case totals.

We are seeing in real time the repercussions of disregarding the threat posed by this virus. States are now rolling back reopening plans and implementing new mandates and public health orders in the hope to urge compliance with COVID-19 mitigations. Yet, cases and hospitalizations continue to increase. Across the nation, hospitals and ICUs are once again strained or filled beyond capacity, and yet the simplest of tools proven to greatly slow the spread of COVID-19, a face mask, has been turned into a political argument rather than a widely embraced, invaluable resource in the fight against this pandemic.

Nearly every day, something new is discovered by scientists and medical professionals relating to this illness. How COVID-19 can create long-term morbidity issues, how it spreads far easier than what was previously thought, or how it may result in acute medical issues for months after first becoming infected. Yet so many individuals are entirely dismissive, or worse, blatantly throwing caution to the wind. I read an article the other day about a medically vulnerable child who died from COVID-19 after her parents took her to a party with roughly 100 people. There was no social distancing or masks being worn at this event. What is so troubling is that the terrible outcome was 100% preventable. Most individuals, let alone parents, would be shocked by what happened, yet nearly every day I am witness to similar instances of unnecessary opportunities for exposure. It may be a parent lifting the caution tape on closed a playground so their kids can play with others, individuals disregarding barricades on closed docks where it is impossible to socially distance from others, or folks inviting all their friends over for a dinner party. But I said this before, we are not going to be able to enforce or regulate our way out of this crisis. It starts with personal accountability and ends when we are all working together to find common solutions. It means putting everyone’s welfare above our own personal inconveniences or wants.

Having said that though, Sammamish continues to be a leader in fighting COVID-19. Since this outbreak began, our residents have overwhelmingly shown their support of, and compliance with, all non-pharmaceutical interventions. We continue to have one of the lowest per capita rates of confirmed cases and fatalities in the state. I also see widespread compliance with the State’s face covering mandate. In fact, last Wednesday, the City organized a free cloth mask distribution event. In just five hours, over 10,500 masks were provided to over 1,350 households. This event would have been impossible without the efforts of the Sammamish ACERT volunteers, our Parks and recreation staff and volunteers, and Sammamish PD officers and explorers. Behind the scenes, the event was also greatly assisted by the City’s amazing Comms team and Public Works personnel.

The unbelievable turnout for this event highlights the resiliency of this community. Other jurisdictions across the county have held similar events with only a fraction of the attendees that Sammamish saw. So, a heartfelt thank you to all the residents who showed up and who will wear those masks while in public.

With that, I will open it up to any questions you may have.

Categories: emergency management, safe start
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