Employee News - April 7, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



Guidance on cloth face masks 

On Friday, additional guidance on cloth face masks was provided by federal and local public health authorities, and King County quickly moved to identify a supplier and put in an order for cloth masks for front line, non-medical workers.

The cloth face masks recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. The county is continuing efforts to identify suppliers and obtain medical masks for healthcare workers and medical first responders. Read more. 


Emergency child care for first responders and essential workers 

Employees who are essential workers under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Health” order can now access free emergency child care through a King County program to help parents who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.  

First responders and essential workers are defined by the Governor Inslee's March 23 Proclamation and include front-line essential medical professionals and support staff, first responders, corrections officers, transit workers, and others. 

  • If you are an essential worker who lives or works in King County outside the City of Seattle and you are interested in accessing the free emergency child care slots, please call the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114 and complete an intake with Family Center staff.  After intake, a resources specialist will work to match you with an eligible child care provider that meets your family needs. The County and its partners are working quickly, and hope to have child care available by mid-April. 
  • For those essential workers who work or live in Seattle, the City of Seattle is rolling out an Emergency Child Care program to support first responders and essential workers. If you are an essential worker living or working in the City of Seattle, please visit this website to fill out an interest form. 

Reminder: Help needed to support COVID-19 efforts 

As a King County employee, you can directly help our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by volunteering to step into a temporary assignment through the Emergency Deployment Program (EDP). 

The EDP has been created to urgently fill emergency-related roles within the county, and we have roles that need to be filled this week, including Emergency Site Worker II and Emergency Site Worker IV. If you have capacity, please consider stepping up for one of these temporary work redeployments to assist in our COVID-19 response. 

Employee safety and well-being is a priority, and employees will be provided training and support to help them succeed in these temporary redeployments. Read more. 


Update for April 6, 2020: Public Health – Seattle & King County reminds residents that keeping apart from others is key to preventing new outbreaks of COVID-19, and also announces 164 new cases 

Public Health—Seattle & King County urges everyone, even people who are young and healthy, to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, Public Health reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the official case count in King County to 3,331. Fourteen new deaths were reported, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths in King County to 222. 

Story: Staying apart prevents new outbreaks of COVID-19 illness 

Public Health – Seattle & King County urges everyone, even people who are young and healthy, to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you must go out, stay at least six feet apart from others. Staying home and avoiding all non-essential contact with others is the best way to stay healthy, keep others healthy, and prevent the new coronavirus from suddenly spreading rapidly and overwhelming King County’s healthcare system. Read more. 


New FSA rules in response to COVID-19 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, contains important provisions that affect Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).  

In addition, under existing rules, certain changes in your situation—called “qualifying life events”—may allow you to increase or decrease contributions or enroll or disenroll from your FSAs. For example, if your spouse loses a job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or any other reason, and can no longer participate in their employer’s FSA plan, you can enroll in King County’s Health Care and Day Care FSAs or increase your contributions using the FSA Change Form. Read more. 

Doing our part to flatten the curve 

Downtown Seattle is home to more than 330,000 jobs and 88,000 residents. The heart of the region, the economic engine, is now quiet. While downtown Seattle is at a near-standstill, we're flattening the curve and doing what we can to battle COVID-19. The heart still beats strong and we'll be ready for the comeback. Watch the video.



Reminder: New one-stop employee COVID-19 webpage now available  

As we continue our efforts to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in King County, we have put together several resources for King County employees during this outbreak. Our new one-stop webpage, www.kingcounty.gov/employees-coronavirus has health information, telecommuting resources, benefits updates, frequently asked questions, and more. This webpage can help to answer questions for King County employees about how their work is impacted by the coronavirus. 


Healthy eating during the coronavirus response 

Now that you have stocked up on groceries, you may be wondering how to best use all the rice and beans you bought and what recipes will boost your immune system. Balanced You has got you covered. 

There’s no better support for your immune system than sleeping well, exercising, managing your stress, washing your hands, and eating a healthy diet. Evidence for specific foods that boost immune responses is mixed, but sticking to a balanced diet filled with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables will help you get the necessary vitamins C and D, and Zinc. Read more. 


Emotional phases during the coronavirus pandemic, and what you can do 

The coronavirus outbreak has radically changed our sense of security and daily routines. Everyone will experience this situational trauma uniquely based on past experience and current context, but there is a predictable arc in the human response to crisis we can use to afford ourselves grace and build resilience. 

The following information on the emotional phases you may experience during this pandemic is based on research by the NeuroLeadership Institute. Following the review of emotional phases, you will find an overview of additional resources. Remember, what you are feeling right now is normal. Be gentle with yourself and nurture your emotional health as we move through this together. Read more. 


COVID-19 update: Further Metro and Sound Transit service reductions begin Monday, April 6, to support essential travel and transit workforce 

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt across our community, King County Metro will further reduce bus service on Monday, April 6, to focus operations on a core 115 Metro and Sound Transit routes, and reduced water taxi and Link light rail service. 

The revised Reduced Schedule identifies routes that will operate with fewer trips and hours. This updated schedule will maintain vital lifelines for access to critical supplies, services, and worksites across the region. 

Overall, Metro will operate with approximately 37% fewer buses, 30% fewer transit operators, and 19% fewer service trips than typical weekday service. Water taxi and Link light rail service reductions also will be made. Read more. 

Giving during COVID-19 

Here at the program, we believe in the strong power of philanthropy and know that our nonprofit organizations are on the front lines of this work. This is a long haul issue and we need our nonprofit organizations to make it through to the other side. 

Philanthropy is a huge act of community and builds resilience. It is also a powerful tool in our toolbox in combating this pandemic. Read more. 

Featured Job: Behavioral Health Support Staff for COVID I/Q Facilities - Social Services Specialist 

Salary$25.01 - $31.70 Hourly 

LocationVarious Locations throughout King County, WA 

Job TypeTerm Limited Temporary, PartTime, Std Wkly Hrs Vary 

DepartmentDCHS - Community & Human Services 

Job Number2020AC11581 

DivisionBehavioral Health and Recovery 

Closing7/31/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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