March 13 COVID-19 Special Edition: Updates from the City, County and Nation

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this week in kirkland

March 13, 2020

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March 13 Update on City Operations and Kirkland First Responders

Fire station 21

The City continues to operate its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate our response to the presence of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community.

Update on First Responders

In the evening of Saturday, March 14, Fire Station 21 will go back into service after receiving a professional deep cleaning. Though none of the firefighters that were quarantined at Station 21 received a positive result for the COVID-19 virus, every surface of the 8,000 square foot building will be cleaned by specially trained crews. This cleaning is being done out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our firefighters.  After the cleaning on Saturday is completed, Station 21 will reopen and be fully staffed.

The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and responding to calls as normal.  City first responders have CDC recommended personal protection equipment and are following recommended protocols.

The City of Kirkland currently has twelve firefighters and zero police officers in quarantine.  Thirty firefighters have now been released after completing their recommended quarantine period. All first responders are in isolation or quarantine at home.

All of our first responders that are currently symptomatic are in the process of being tested. We’ve had twenty-three tests come back negative, and one positive test for COVID-19. For the tests results that have been negative, first responders will remain in quarantine for the entire 14-day period recommended by Public Health Seattle-King County. We have received questions regarding criteria for testing our firefighters. Testing criteria is established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In King County, testing is managed by Public Health Seattle-King County. At this time the CDC is recommending that clinicians use their judgement to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. More information on testing requirements is available on the CDC website.

While the City appreciates the outpouring of support and concern from the community for our first responders, the City cannot accept donations at this time.

Update on City Operations

Following current direction from Public Health—Seattle & King County, and our ongoing needs to have the capacity to staff our emergency operations center we have concluded that the City will be cancelling all City evening meetings except for City Council meetings until the end of March. This includes Commissions, Boards, and all Neighborhood Association meetings.

In response to guidance from Public Health Seattle-King County, the Council Chamber will not be open to the public during City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 17. The meeting will be live streamed on the City website at or can be watched on your television on Comcast Cable Channel 21 or Frontier Cable Channel 31. Members of the public will be able to provide comment in advance of the meeting by phone or email to  425-587-3090 or We will provide additional details about providing public comment on Monday, March 16. The agenda for the March 17 meeting is available on the city’s website at

“We’re doing everything we can to support public participation while protecting public health.” said Mayor Penny Sweet.  “We hope that people will take advantage of the ability to share comments through our ‘virtual’ options.”

The City of Kirkland Passport Office will be closed from Monday, March 9th through Friday, March 20th. 

The City has also cancelled all recreation programming and classes and closed community centers to the public through Tuesday, March 31.

Further, the City has closed athletic fields for organized sports through Tuesday, March 31, and has cancelled all organized events at our picnic pavilions, also through Tuesday, March 31. While the City encourages informal use of the parks, please be mindful of the recommended social distancing and proper handwashing and sanitation. 

The Kirkland Municipal Court is modifying their court schedule. Effective Monday, March 16 - March 27, 2020, the court will reschedule all hearings except for mandatory DV/DUI charges (which must be heard the next judicial day) and in-custody defendants. More court details are available at: More information and full list of recommendations are available from Public Health—Seattle & King County.

Update on Guidance from the State, County, and Federal Governments

President Trump declared a National Emergency and invoked the Stafford Act, which give access to expanded authorities for the executive branch and frees up federal funding for incident response.  

Under the order of the Governor, events that take place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties with more than 250 people are prohibited by the state. This order applies to gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational activities. These include but are not limited to: community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers and similar activities.

The decision to prohibit large-scale events was not taken lightly – and involved discussions with many leaders. This is a strategy to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of those infected, and help prevent serious illness. This strategy is referred to as flattening the curve, reducing the rate of spread to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.

In addition, the local health officer provided the direction that public events with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited, unless event organizers can take steps to minimize risk. Event organizers must ensure that:

  • Older and vulnerable individuals have been encouraged not to attend
  • Recommendations for social distancing and limiting close contact are met
  • Employees or volunteers leading an event are screened for symptoms each day
  • Proper hand washing, sanitation, and cleaning is readily available
  • Environmental cleaning guidelines are followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently)

For retail businesses — such as grocery stores, drug stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and other retail establishments— Public Health has issued a Guidance document that details how to comply with the new order.

Some key elements of the new guidance now encourage employees, onsite contractors and customers to:

  • Stop handshaking – use other non-contact methods of greeting
  • Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand-washing reminders by email
  • Promote “tap and pay” to limit handling of cash
  • Create new habits and reminders to avoid touching their faces and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning

Businesses are encouraged to avoid crowding through using booking to stagger customer flow, using online transactions, and following guidance to limit attendance at larger gatherings. Businesses are also encouraged to strengthen health screening for staff who handle food directly and ensure have staff practice strict hygiene.

More information is available on the Public Health Seattle-King County website.

Update from Lake Washington School District

Based on Governor Inslee’s announcement on March 12th, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) will now be closed through April 24th and will re-evaluate any further closures during that time.

For more information visit the Lake Washington School District website.

The City will continue to update its website with information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Update on COVID-19 from Public Health - Seattle & King County

Public Health provides updates on testing, guidance for childcares, emergency precautions at correctional facilities, and isolation and quarantine facilities.  There are 58 new cases that are being announced today, bringing the confirmed case count total in King County to 328. In addition, five new deaths are reported, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 32.


Demand for testing continues to outpace ability for the healthcare system to address the need. Tests for COVID-19 are ordered by health care providers. Someone with symptoms who is concerned can call their primary care provider, who will evaluate their symptoms. If the health care provider determines testing is warranted, they may collect a specimen and send it to a lab.

We are not aware of any capacity limitations for specimen processing at this time. However, there is a shortage of clinical sites where patients can get tested.

While many people want testing, not everyone who is sick needs testing, particularly if you have mild illness. If people aren’t severely ill, they should follow the guidance for self-care.  They should stay home, stay away from others, and self-isolate. They do not need to be tested if they have mild illness, as the test results will not change how their illness would be treated.  Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

Guidance for Childcares During School Closures

School closures have been ordered by the state. At this time, this order does not include childcare and early learning programs. Childcare and early learning serve an incredibly important function, and provides essential support for families of doctors, nurses and first responders, allowing them to continue providing critical medical and emergency services.

Childcare spaces are also typically smaller than schools which mean lower exposure and transmission risk. The evidence seems to show that the risk to young children is low, so we believe childcare and early learning programs pose less of a risk to children. Protecting vulnerable staff and students is a priority and we strongly recommend excluding staff and children who are in high risk and vulnerable categories.  

Guidelines for Gatherings of Youth While Schools Are Closed

Social interaction is still vitally important to the mental health of young people, and it is still possible for families to have safe gatherings among children and parents. Limit indoor groups to 10 or fewer children and outdoor groups to 50 or fewer. Monitor kids for a fever over 100.4 degrees, coughing, or shortness of breath, and select activities that minimize physical contact. Avoid crowded places, like parties, retail spaces, and movie theaters.

For more detailed information about school closures, childcare, and guidelines for gatherings of children, was well as other details about King County’s COVID-19 response, please visit

Emergency precautions at correctional facilities

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any of King County’s three correctional facilities, though given that this is now an epidemic, the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention is taking emergency precautions to ensure the health and safety all of inmates, visitors, and staff.

Here are a few of the emergency precautions:

  • The staff will transfer about 45 inmate-patients who are at a higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 – 60 or older with underlying health conditions – but are not symptomatic to a housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to reduce exposure to the larger population.
  • To promote social distancing as directed by the Public Health Officer, public visitation at both adult correctional facilities is cancelled. Visitors are encouraged to use video visitation at adult correctional facilities instead of visiting in person. Video visits will be available at no cost to users. Family members can still visit the Children and Family Justice Center.
  • Group activities are cancelled. The staff are exploring options to continue access to programs, such as education and religious services, that still promote social distancing. In the meantime, staff will offer increased access to other existing recreational programs and activities, including cards, games, books, movies and recreation yard as appropriate.
  • Each person who arrives at correctional facilities now receives a health screening by a registered nurse as part of the booking-intake process.

Updates on correctional facility emergency precautions will be posted at King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.

Isolation and quarantine update

As King County’s response to COVID-19 evolves and to address community concerns, King County will continue to provide temporary housing for people who cannot self-isolate or quarantine in their own home, but will use the Kent isolation and quarantine location for people who do not need onsite behavioral health or medical services.

Isolation and quarantine is a proven public health practice for reducing the spread of disease. Examples of people who may need this assistance include people who do not have a separate bedroom in their home away from a family member who is elderly or medically fragile, students in congregate dormitory settings, or people experiencing homelessness. Individuals can only be placed into these sites after a health professional with Public Health - Seattle & King County has determined that they need isolation or quarantine.

No one is currently staying at the Kent Central Avenue motel location.

The number of persons in King County's isolation and quarantine sites will be included in regular updates provided by Public Health - Seattle & King County. No other identifying or personal information will be provided.

Other information

COVID-19 is spreading in King County, with hundreds of cases reported to date. We expect the case count to double every 5-7 days. A key Public Health goal is to minimize the number of people who get seriously ill at the same time, so that those who are at risk for severe illness are able to get the care they need. If too many people get very sick all at once, this will put an unmanageable burden on our health care system. If that happens, people requiring care may not be able to get it when they need it. Every King County resident has a responsibility to each other to make sure our community collectively lessens the impact of this disease.

Anyone who is sick should stay home.  Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19, as well as their close contacts, should follow Public Health guidance addressing what to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 or are worried that you do. Retail establishments should follow guidance for retail businesses and service operators. People who are having a medical emergency should call 9-1-1.

Public Health has many COVID-19 resources for the general public, the business community, workplaces and employers, travelers, healthcare professionals and links to information at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washington state Department of Health. See our website with additional information available on the Public Health Insider.

Case updates

Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/12/20

  • 328 confirmed cases (up 58 from yesterday)
  • 32 confirmed deaths (up 5 from yesterday)

Deaths being reported today include:

  • A woman in her 90s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/6
  • A woman in her 90s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/6
  • A woman in her 80s, a resident of Life Care Center, who died on 3/4
  • A man in his 70s, who died at Overlake Medical Center on 3/9 
  • A man in his 80s, who died at Swedish Issaquah on 3/11

Of the 32 deaths reported, 25 are associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland. 

Note to media:

Please use the email address for all inquiries. We are working as quickly as we can to provide answers to your inquiries.

Presidential Proclamation Concerning COVID-19

Presidential logo

President Trump has declared a National Emergency and invoked the Stafford Act, which gives access to expanded authorities for the executive branch and frees up federal funding for incident response.

To see the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, issued March 13, 2020, please visit the White House website at: Presidential Proclamation of March 13, 2020

Cancelled Events

Out of an abundance of caution and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the following events are canceled:

Kirkland Shamrock Run
Saturday, March 14, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
Downtown Kirkland and Marina Park
*This event has been converted to digital! For more information, visit:

KU Kids at Kirkland Urban
Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Kirkland Urban 
For more information, visit:

Nowruz Celebration
Sunday, March 15, 12 to 5 p.m.
Marina Park
For more information, visit:

ORCA Card Service
Wednesday, March 18, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 
Kirkland City Hall
For more information, visit:

Kirkland Parks and Community Services Job Fair 
Wednesday, March 25, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Kirkland Parks Maintenance Facility
For more information, visit:

The Kiwanis Club of Kirkland's 46th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 12 1:30 p.m.
Peter Kirk Park
For more information, visit: