Employee News - September 15, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



flu vaccine

Why flu vaccine is more important during COVID-19 

Although we can’t predict exactly what will happen this fall and winter, flu will likely arrive while COVID-19 is still circulating, and that makes it even more important to get a flu vaccination. We asked Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, to explain why. 

Why is it particularly important to get a flu vaccine this season? 

Jeff Duchin: The prospect of our annual flu outbreak compounding COVID-19 during this fall and winter’s “respiratory virus” season is worrisome. Hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices are likely to be busy caring for COVID-19 patients and other health needs. Getting a flu vaccine will help keep you and your loved ones out of those medical settings.  Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu by about half, and importantly also reduces the risk for severe illness and hospitalization for those who do get the flu. That will both reduce your risk for becoming ill and for needing medical attention. It also helps ensure hospitals and medical resources are available for COVID-19 patients and others who need them. Read more. 

Mental Health resources for Black and Brown employees 

The combined impact of police violence, a pandemic disproportionately affecting People of Color, and centuries of systemic racism place undue stress on Black and Brown communities. Balanced You stands with Black Lives Matter and recognizes the resiliency and strength that lies within the Black and Brown communities. Balanced You also recognizes that, because you and your community are sacred, caring for your well-being is an act of resistance. 

In the event that you are seeking additional support, we have partnered with the King County Black/African Affinity Group and Dr. Gloria Ngezaho, Workforce Equity Manager with the Department of Human Resources, to develop a video that highlights emotional well-being resources available to you through King County. If you have any questions, please contact BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov. 



onsite flu

Getting a flu shot is essential and so are you: Worksite flu shot clinic options for onsite employees  

Each year, King County’s Balanced You provides onsite flu shots for employees. Providing programs to support your health and well-being is one way we’re Investing in YOU.

Visit this Balanced You blog post to learn how we’re modifying the flu shot clinic program to serve those most impacted during the pandemic. 


Reduce your risk for flu, find vaccines near you: Flu shot options for telecommuting employees  

Every fall, King County’s Balanced You team encourages employees to get their flu shot and this fall, flu shots are more important than ever. To encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommuting employees are being asked to get their flu shots from their healthcare providers or pharmacists, instead of coming into the workplace. Visit this Balanced You blogpost for information telecommuting employees need to know about flu shots this fall, including how to access them near you. 


Guidance for employees working in smoky conditions 

The past week has been difficult with wildfires threatening our state and plumes of smoke from wildfires in Oregon and California rendering Washington’s air unhealthy. Wildfire smoke in our region will continue today, and will likely begin to dissipate toward the end of the week . Because wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, fast heartbeat, headaches, and asthma attacks.

With our current unhealthy air conditions, it’s recommended that you limit your time outdoors; however, some people need to be outdoors for their work or other responsibilities. If you are concerned about doing field work in these conditions, please consider the below tips and guidance from Balanced You. Read more.


Schools preparing for a measured return to in-person learning 

King County’s K-12 schools are back in session. For most students, the 2020-2021 school year is starting remotely and Zoom is the new classroom. Even though the majority of the county’s school districts are teaching students remotely, they are also hard at work behind the scenes to be ready to provide in-person learning once COVID-19 transmission rates are lower.  At Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC), we are supporting schools and communities across the county as they prepare for in-school learning. Two crucial ways we are providing support are by updating key metrics on the spread of COVID-19 and developing a school COVID-19 response toolkit. Read more.  

King County Celebrates Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15, 2020 

National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. This month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the long, important presence and contributions of Hispanic and Latino and Latina (Latinx) Americans. 

You are invited to participate in the many events hosted throughout the month by the King County Latinx Affinity Group (KCLx), Sound Transit Latinx in Transportation (LiT), and the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Latinx Caucus. The first event is a Kickoff for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month: A Celebration by KCLx hosted on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. For more information about this event and others, click here. 

Congress first passed a resolution to nationally celebrate Hispanic heritage as a weeklong event on Sept. 17, 1968. Nearly 20 years later, on Aug. 17, 1988, the celebrations were officially stretched to a full month. The celebration starts in the middle of the month, as opposed to the end, because Sept. 15 marks the independence days of five Latin America countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize follow shortly after, on the 16, 18 and 21, respectively. 

For more information contact Margarita Aguado at MAguado@kingcounty.gov. 


September marks National Recovery Month: How to support friends and family in recovery 

September marks National Recovery Month, a time to acknowledge the gains made by those in recovery who have faced challenges from mental health or substance use disorders. Many of us have faced these challenges ourselves or know a close friend or family member who has. This year poses even more challenges, from COVID-19 to wildfire smoke, that can make us feel even more isolated. 

For Public Health – Seattle & King County, it is a time to acknowledge the dedication of service providers and community members who make recovery possible for our King County community. Locally in King County, every year, more than 60,000 individuals begin their recovery path. That means 5,000 community members each month are connecting to services to help them on a journey to recovery and overcoming stigma associated with behavioral health issues. Read more.  

kc native american leadership council

Building Bridges Between Cultures, online training Sept. 18  

The King County Native American Leadership Council is sponsoring “Building Bridges Between Cultures.” This free learning opportunity is open to all King County employees and is limited to 300 participants. This workshop will assist participants to understand and acknowledge the unique history and experience of Indigenous Peoples and learn about allyship responsibilities. The training will be hosted by Ellany Kayce and Jonathan Betz-Zall of the Seattle based Nakani Native Program. “Nakani” is a Tlingit word for a person or an entity that serves as a go-between or connector for different people and cultures.  

  • Friday, Sept. 18 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Join the Zoom call here.  Please note the updated meeting link and password: Meeting ID: 947 5904 1117, password: NALC. On mobile: Dial 1-253-215-8782 then input the meeting ID number.  

For more information, contact Native American Leadership Council representative Pamela Stearns at Pamela.Stearns@kingcounty.gov. 

suicide prevention

A conversation on suicide awareness and prevention, September 22 

As we continue to navigate the pandemic and these unprecedented times, paying special attention to your mental health and the mental health of those you love is crucial. In honor of Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, King County employees are invited to join Balanced You for a virtual conversation featuring speakers from the Black / African community, LGBTQ community, Native American community, and others on Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 1-2:30 p.m. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preventing suicide and improving mental health. During this 90-minute panel discussion, attendees will learn strategies from experts representing different communities, including how to normalize conversations around mental health, how to identify early warning signs of suicidal ideation, and what resources are available to support the mental health of employees and their loved ones. Visit this Balanced You blog post for more information, including the registration link. 

Tech Tip: Are you on-board with PeopleSoft Simple Sign-on? 

Tired of remembering multiple passwords? Worn-out waiting for a PeopleSoft password reset from the Help Desk? The answer is simple: Get on-board with PeopleSoft Simple Sign-on! Once registered, login to PeopleSoft with the same username and password you use to access the King County network. Check out instructions to register here – it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! 


Pet of the Week: Addy 

Meet 2 ½ year-old, Labrador Retriever Addy!  She is a playful, loving puppy that truly can't give or get too much affection.  Her favorite inside activities include belly rubs and sleeping with a paw against you.  Her favorite backyard activities include endless ball throwing, mastering the Kong toy and running.  Addy is extremely smart and needs to be in a home that will provide stimulation and training.  She will do well with an active family or an owner who is on the move and plans to incorporate her into activities.  She is friendly with other dogs as she was raised with an older dog and she cherishes making human connections.  She won't just be your pet but a member of your family. 

Read more and view all available pets at www.kingcounty.gov/adoptapet. Have you or someone you know adopted a pet from RASKC? Let us know. We’d love to tell your story. 

Featured Job: SMS Implementation Manager (Project Program Manager III) 

Salary: $93,250.56 - $112,732.88 Annually 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Special Duty Assignment or Term Limited Temp (TLT) 

Department: MTD - Metro Transit 

Job Number: 2020MC12091 

Division: General Manager 

Closing: 9/20/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

KC Headlines

Cultivating Connections: Panel discussions: addressing inequities through King County’s COVID-19 recovery 

Contact us!

Interested in sharing a news story, or have a news tip? Click here to submit an item to Employee News. For questions or suggestions, please contact KCEmployees@kingcounty.gov.