Changes to COVID rules in Phase 3; eligibility for people with disabilities and their caregivers; King county cases rising

Saturday, March 27, 2021

King County moved to Phase 3 of reopening this week
 

As we reopen we face new more contagious COVID-19 variants, and must stay as vigilant as ever to keep businesses operating and COVID activity from increasing. 

In addition to wearing well-fitted masks and social distancing, Public Health—Seattle / King County encourages businesses and facilities operating indoors to prioritize ventilation and air flow, plus outdoor, takeout and curbside offerings. 

To assist with reopening, here are resources for workplaces, community and faith-based organizations, schools and childcare.

Individuals with disabilities are eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1b-2 if their disability alone puts them at higher risk for severe illness, or if they have a disability coupled with another underlying condition identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

If people are unsure if their disability puts them at greater risk, they should have a conversation with their health care provider. 

It’s also important to remember that caregivers are still eligible for a vaccine. Anyone who supports the daily, functional, and health needs of someone who is at high risk of COVID-19 illness due to advanced age, long-term physical condition, co-morbidities, or developmental or intellectual disability is considered a health care worker and is therefore eligible. 

They can be licensed, unlicensed, paid, unpaid, formal or informal. The person for whom they are providing care can be an adult or child. Visit FindYourPhaseWA.org to confirm vaccine eligibility and make an appointment. 

Those in King County who need help making a vaccine appointment by phone can call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 any day between 8:00am – 7:00pm (interpretation available).

King County cases are increasing- we need to prevent spread even as we are optimistic about safer times ahead

King county Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin
Photo courtesy King county
In his weekly briefing, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin shared that storm clouds are on the horizon when it comes to the threat of COVID in King County. 

After a drop and then a plateau following the peak of cases at the end of the year, King County is now back on an upward trend with a 13% increase in cases in the last two weeks.

The good news is that cases among older adults are decreasing and there are no new outbreaks in long-term care settings – wins that come from priority vaccination in these groups. 

However, while older adults are most at risk, COVID is still a threat for younger folks. New research found up to 1/3 of patients can have long-term effects from illness.

The new variants are part of the threat of the current case increase. King County and Washington State labs have increased sequencing of tests to detect variants and are sequencing at a higher rate than many other states. 

An increasing number of variants are detected each week. The B.1.1.7 variant, first found in UK, remains the most common. It is more contagious and has recently been shown to cause more severe illness. 

Dr. Duchin pointed out that at this point, “As much as we would like it to be... this pandemic is not over. The risk is not gone. The virus is still with us and more harmful variants are increasing.”



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