Dear Friends and Neighbors of the 46th Legislative District,
My thoughts go out to all of you as you work to keep your families healthy and to deal with the economic uncertainty that this pandemic is creating individually and collectively. I am confident, however, that we will get through this together and come out stronger on the other side
As we fight this coronavirus outbreak in Washington state, I know that many of you are searching for the newest, most accurate information about our current situation. Last week, I shared the state's coronavirus website, which continues to be the best source for comprehensive information.
Today, I'm encouraging you to sign up for regular updates from the state's Joint Information Center. To sign up, click here and follow these directions:
- Enter your email and hit "submit."
- On the new page, you'll find a section labeled "subscription topics." Hit the + sign next to "emergency preparedness and response." Check the box next to "2019 Novel Coronavirus." Hit submit, and you're done.
Today's email from the Joint Information Center is below:
Biweekly phone briefing: The JIC held our first biweekly phone briefing for media this afternoon. Retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono provided an overview of her role and priorities as Governor Inslee’s new Washington state director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management. Keep an eye out for a media advisory for our next briefing, which will take place Thursday afternoon.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): We continue to receive PPE from our federal Strategic National Stockpile, donations and commercial supply chain purchases. However, due to the global demand we still are not able to receive enough PPE to meet 100% of the needs of our local and state partners. We are working diligently with our statewide distribution process partners and utilizing the best medical data available to make informed decision on where to distribute this PPE.
This week our distribution includes:
- Tribal requests: Utilizing 10% of the warehouse inventory, we provided supplies to 100% of the tribes requesting supplies. We met the majority of the requests, which served the next 7-10 days for the tribes. We did substitute and adjust requests based on inventory to meet need.
- County allocation: Based on the counties which had active confirmed cases, we allocated 80% of the supplies according to what was requested. We did substitute items to fill as much of their requests as possible. This allowed us to reach ten of our impacted counties with PPE.
- State agencies: Reviewing requests of state agencies, we filled the remaining 10% of inventory based on best available option. Substituting was required.
The Department of Enterprise Services has posted photos and videos of PPE distribution.
Hospital beds: State officials have been seeking out additional resources to bolster hospital capacity. We are expecting federal officials to deliver several mobile hospitals during the next couple weeks. At this time, we expect to receive two 150-bed hospitals and six 40-bed hospitals from the Department of Defense. State officials cannot confirm exact locations but it is anticipated that the facilities will be located in Pierce County, Snohomish and Seattle/King County. The facilities are equipped with supplies and arrive with personnel to staff them and will provide care for non COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the state has purchased 1000 beds that are ready to be positioned within Washington’s state hospital system, including 250 beds in Yakima. It’s important to note that hospitals still have adequate capacity to treat patients.
Stay Home, Stay Healthy: We continue to get questions about what's open and closed under the Governor's new order.
State agency updates:
- Health Care Authority has taken several steps to support expanded use of telehealth, including: providing services through telephone interaction; online digital interaction through a patient portal; and video-based evaluation and management health services.
- Department of Commerce and Employment Security Department leaders are partnering on economic resilience and recovery efforts during the outbreak.
- Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a second emergency order directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers.
- Parks and Recreation Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlifeannounced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks, wildlife areas and water access areas for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, March 25.
- Department of Agriculture will close all offices statewide to the public, effective Wednesday, March 25.
- Employment Security Department announced the job search requirement to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits is now optional.
Department of Health continues to post new resources and information, including
- Daily Medium blog: Coronavirus Is Not Fair
- Daily case counts and test numbers (delayed publication today due to technical issues)
- Updated guidance on temporary worker housing and transient accommodations (hotels, motels, B&Bs, etc.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email or phone. While my staff and I are practicing social distancing and working from home, we are monitoring calls that come into our Olympia office line: 360-786-7690.
Please keep yourselves, your families and your neighbors safe and healthy.