Welcome to new Councilmember Sarah Perry, avoiding counterfeit masks, Omicron and school updates, what to do after a positive COVID test, getting boosted, our accomplishments in 2021, my new year’s resolutions...

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Banner image showing King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

January 3, 2022

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope your holidays celebrations were good and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I’m back from the Council’s winter recess ready to go. However, as we know, 2021 was a rough year, no doubt about it. COVID variants, wildfires, a heat dome, record-setting frigid temperatures, floods. However, I have to say, I am actually hopeful about 2022.

Obviously, my biggest hope is that 2022 will bring an end to this pandemic. And there is reason for hope, as data show that the Omicron variant appears to be less virulent than earlier variants of the virus. While the number of positive cases is skyrocketing here in King County, the numbers for hospitalizations and deaths are, thankfully, not increasing at the same rate. 

However, this variant spreads extraordinarily quickly and easily, including from completely asymptomatic people. Which means that those with compromised immune systems or other underlying health issues are still at risk for contracting the virus and potentially experiencing more serious complications. Good, well-fitting masks are especially important right now, preferably N95, KN95 or KF94. See below for details on how to avoid buying counterfeit masks and how to improve the effectiveness of your masks.

I also encourage you to read this article from Stat News: Beyond case counts: What Omicron is teaching us. The author makes the important point that, while most of the Omicron cases do appear to be milder, Omicron nonetheless causes an extremely large number of positive cases and that “Systems — all sorts of systems — struggle to cope when large numbers of employees fall ill at the same time.”

Beginning today, in addition to the chart of positive cases, I’ll be including the charts for hospitalizations and deaths, in order to provide a more accurate picture of the impacts of COVID and the Omicron variant in particular.

Also, see below for a look back at our accomplishments in 2021. There will be no Council or committee meetings this week; meetings will resume next week.

As always, I would like to hear from you. You can call me at 206-477-1004 or you can reach me by email at jeanne.kohl-welles@kingcounty.gov.   

All the best and I hope you are staying safe.