Coronavirus update from Councilmember Kohl-Welles

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Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, District 4

Coronavirus update


Dear friends and neighbors,

Earlier today it was announced the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington State has reached 70. This includes 51 cases in King County. Eleven of these individuals have tragically lost their lives.

I want to share with you that earlier today, Governor Jay Inslee announced the state has plans to cover the costs of COVID-19 tests for residents without health insurance. Additionally, State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an order to Washington health insurers to cover required COVID-19 testing and provider visits without copays or deductibles. That order is in effect through May 4th. You can find out more information here.

While no new recommendations have been issued today, this remains a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and previously announced recommendations and measures from the Seattle King County Department of Public Health can help prevent the spread of the disease.

As of yesterday, health officials are recommending, but not requiring, the following steps:

  • People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:
    • People 60 and older
    • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
    • People who have weakened immune systems
    • People who are pregnant
  • Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness.
  • If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.
  • Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time unless there has been a confirmed case in the school. Public Health – Seattle & King County also respects an individual school’s decisions about closures or postponement of activities as each school knows the needs of their community best.
  • All people should not go out when they are sick.
  • Avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.

In addition to the aforementioned new recommendations, public health officials are continuing to stress the same key messages:

  • If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact our novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977.
  • The call center will be open daily from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM PT.
  • For general concerns and questions about COVID-19, please call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127.

When to seek medical evaluation and advice:

  • If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

There are other ways members of the public can help:

  • Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. Stay home when sick.
  • Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.

Please take a moment to subscribe to Public Health’s email alerts. You can also visit their blog at Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.