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  • Sammamish Emergency Manager's 4/21 Report to Council on COVID-19

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    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.

    Thank you.

  • Summer Event Cancellations

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    At Tuesday evening’s City Council Special Meeting, an important determination was made regarding all City-sponsored events through the summer. In order to protect the community and mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, the City Council voted to cancel all City of Sammamish events through the end of August, as well as the 2020 Farmers Market. This was not a decision that was made lightly, and the City has the deepest regret that the community will not be able to come together to celebrate in-person during this challenging time. However, the safety of our residents is of the utmost importance. The unknown trajectory of the pandemic and the impossibility of maintaining safe social distancing at these popular events weighed heavily in the decision. We recognize the importance of our summer events in bringing the community together to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at our Parks, and we look forward to a time when we can all celebrate Sammamish together!

    The following summer events have been canceled:

    Farmers Market – May 6, 2020 – September 16, 2020 (Wednesdays)

    Rig-A-Palooza – May 16, 2020

    Scooter Competition – June 24, 2020

    Fourth on the Plateau – July 4, 2020

    KidsFirst! Performances – July 7, 2020 – August 11, 2020 (Tuesdays)

    Concerts in the Park – July 9, 2020 – August 20, 2020 (Thursdays)

    Outdoor Movie on the Plaza – July 10, 2020 & August 14, 2020

    Shakespeare in the Park – July 18, 2020 & July 25, 2020

    Sammamish P.O.P. – Party on the Plateau – August 7, 2020 – August 8, 2020

    Any events approved through Special Use Permit – May 2020 – August 2020

    For more information on Parks programming, please contact Chris Jordan, Recreation Manager, at cjordan@sammamish.us.

  • Sammamish Emergency Manager's 4/7 Report to City Council on COVID-19

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    This report was provided live to our City Council at their regular meeting on April 7, 2020.

    Report to Sammamish City Council on COVID-19

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

    Good evening, Mayor and Council members. Two weeks ago, the global number of confirmed Coronavirus cases was just over 400,000. Today, that number has risen by over one million. At just under 390,000, the United States leads the world in positive cases, a number nearly three times larger than the next highest county. As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in King County is 3,462, however recent studies have shown that Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has begun to slow the spread of the virus in the State. Looking at the metrics across King County, it appears Sammamish residents have been doing their part in fighting this outbreak. Out of 39 cities in King County, only 3 have fewer number of cases per 100,000 residents. While this number may not be entirely accurate, it is still a notable accomplishment. [Resource: King County COVID-19 Data Dashboard.]

    However, this outbreak is far from over. While we should all be encouraged by some of the statistics coming out of WA State and King County, this fight will continue for many more months and we may very well see multiple spikes in cases. This is not a virus than can be contained locally, as evident by the global numbers, but must be fought with a concentrated, unified effort. While Washington has been limiting gatherings for over a month and issued a Stay at Home order more than two weeks ago, there are still nine states with no such mitigation measures in place. I urge all Sammamish residents not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency, as everyone needs to remain vigilant in this effort.

    Understanding the massive economic, psychological, and emotional toll this response is having on our community, the city has been progressively leaning forward to assess and identify ways in which we may be able to support the various non-profit, human-services, and faith-based organizations, which are all essential to the long-term recovery of our community. The City has distributed a survey to all these community stakeholders to gather information on their current capabilities, their needs, and their ability to scale up services to greater number of residents if needed. Furthermore, the City’s Human Services Coordinator is in constant contact with these organizations, is providing weekly situational reports to the EOC, and participating in semi-weekly meetings with colleagues from other Eastside Cities. The City is also continually updating the Connect Sammamish COVID-19 resource hub with new information on programs established in the County, which may support residents in need of assistance.

    On the economic front, the city is continuing to promote and share small business resources, such as the low-interest loans available through the Small Business Administration, resources from the WA Employment Security Department, and unemployment resources for individuals. We are also looking at ways which we can support local businesses, such as collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce to aid small businesses throughout the city.

    City government is continuing to function with only a slight reduction in organizational capability. Due to the early implementation of robust COVID-19 mitigations and social distancing policies, and ingenuity of City staff, we can proudly say that the City has been able to ensure the continuity of all mission essential functions without a single instance of workplace contraction of COVID-19.

    Lastly, in times of stress, and what may seem like an unending cycle of bad news, it is important to share stories of hope and resiliency. Sammamish residents have continually stepped up in support of one another throughout this crisis. Whether working on the front lines in a hospital, sewing or 3D printing masks and respirators, or picking up groceries for a vulnerable neighbor, the community is standing together. Therefore, I am asking residents to share these stories of community resiliency on our Connect.Sammamish COVID-19 web page. We do not want the hardships we are facing to define this moment, but instead, how our community has come together to support each other when it was most needed.

    Thank you.