COVID-19 Update: Latest developments and resources

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Councilman Dunn Banner

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

To help us all adjust to our temporary “new normal,” I have compiled a list of updates and resources announced this week to help us all make it through the coming weeks.

In his press conference just a few minutes ago, Governor Inslee delivered a strong appeal to all of us: please stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out. At the time, this is simply a request—not a legal restriction. However, Inslee made it clear that if people don’t follow this guidance, stricter enforcement may soon follow.

He also announced new legal protections for at-risk employees—those over the age of 65 or with underlying conditions—to take leave from their job if they need to self-isolate, and return to it after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. 

Please see below for other updates. As always—stay safe and take care of each other.


Dunn signature

Reagan Dunn
Vice Chair
Metropolitan King County Council

Public Health Update

Public Health has reported the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/19/20:

793 confirmed cases (up 100 from yesterday)

67 confirmed deaths (up 7 from yesterday, 35 associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland)

Seattle Children’s Needs Donated Masks

Seattle Children’s Hospital needs more protective masks for its providers, patients and caregivers. If you have any style of basic isolation masks, please consider donating them.

They can accept curbside drop-off of unopened boxes or bags of masks between 9am-3pm M-F at the Seattle Children’s Guild Association Office, located at:

Seattle Children’s Administrative Building
6901 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Call 206-987-7000 when you arrive and they will come out to your vehicle. (Please do not drop off supplies at the hospital.)

Special Grocery Shopping Hours for the Elderly and At-Risk

Many grocery stores across King County—including Safeway, Whole Foods, Target, and Uwajimaya—have announced special times of day where only elderly and at-risk people can shop. My staff has compiled a partial list of participating stores and hours on our website. People who take advantage of these options should exercise care to maintain social distancing and good health habits even while shopping in a more controlled environment.

New State Coronavirus Website

The state that has launched a website with comprehensive information on coronavirus. You can find links to official information from a wide range of trusted sources, including government and community services. Visit the site here.

Free Internet Access and Hotspots

We just learned that free Comcast Xfinity WiFi hotspots across King County will be available to anyone who needs them. A map of free hotspot locations and info on how to connect is here. There are thousands of these hotspot locations across King County.

Comcast is also offering 60 days of free internet access for low-income families. For more information, visit their website.

Metro Reducing Service, Offering Free Rides

Beginning tomorrow, Saturday, March 21st. Riders will not be required to pay fares when riding King County Metro services, including buses, water taxi and Access paratransit, until further notice.

Riders are also directed to board and exit at the rear doors of buses, reserving front-door access for riders who require use of the boarding ramp.

In response to reduced ridership, King County Metro is temporarily reducing their bus hours starting Monday, March 23rd. You can find more information on this at the Metro Matters blog.

Financial Resources

Our staff continue to keep updated information on financial resources available to help during this crisis on the King County Council website, including options to download each page as a PDF if you would like to share it with others or keep it handy.

Tax Deadline Moved to July 15th

President Donald Trump on Friday directed the U.S. Treasury to move the filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. Individual and business taxpayers will have the additional time to file and make payments without any penalties or fees.

Unemployment Waiting Period Waived

The the state is waiving the one-week waiting period for out-of-work employees to collect unemployment benefits, retroactive to March 8. If you need to apply for unemployment benefits, visit the ESD website.

Help for Small Businesses

To help businesses impacted by the crisis, Gov. Inslee said that up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state will also be able to waive penalties and late fees for certain late business tax payments, and a number of tax fees will be waived for both business owners and residents. For a list of state resources available for small businesses, visit the State of Washington website.

A Look into the Kent Quarantine Facility

Thanks to a donation of food and supplies from Amazon, King County's Kent quarantine facility will now begin serving community members who can't isolate at home. Go here to watch a video our staff produced to share a look inside the facility