West Seattle, Washington
Exactly one week ago tonight, we got word of the first confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in King County. Here are today’s key local developments:
NEW KING COUNTY CASES: From the daily Seattle-King County Public Health update:
7 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/5/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 58.
In addition, a person who was previously reported, a male in his 60s, has now died. He was not a resident of Life Care Center of Kirkland, but was a visitor. He died on 3/5/20. The total number of deaths in King County reported to Public Health is 11.
Of the 58 cases, 34 are residents of or associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland. Eighteen are residents, six are staff, and 10 are visitors or family members. Of the 11 deaths reported, ten are associated with Life Care Center.
The county is no longer providing case-by-case info, except for deaths. To our knowledge, no cases to date have West Seattle links.
BRIEFING: No SKCPH-focused briefing today, but Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and most of our state’s U.S. House delegation held a briefing this morning, mostly to talk about funding for the crisis response (though there also was discussion of the Kirkland Life Care Center situation). Here’s the video:
The federal aid will include loans for small businesses sent reeling by effects of the crisis.
LIBRARY CHANGES: While Seattle Public Library facilities remain open, SPL has canceled all events and programs for the rest of the month. Here’s the announcement made late today. The message on the SPL website says:
Due to current guidance from public health officials and in the interest of protecting the high-risk populations we serve and the high-risk populations who volunteer for us, the Library is canceling all programs, events, meeting room bookings, outreach activities and Bookmobile services during the month of March. At this time, all physical Library locations continue to operate with standard hours.
SENIOR CENTER OF WEST SEATTLE CHANGES: Again today, the Senior Center of West Seattle issued an operational update, focusing on how it will handle “essential programs” next week. Read the update here.
NEW INFO ABOUT TOP HAT QUARANTINE FACILITY: We covered an hourlong telephone briefing today about the King County plan for a quarantine facility at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat (east of White Center), first announced Tuesday. New details emerged regarding how it will be managed and who it’s for; the call also included some strong words of opposition from community members. See our report here.
On March 5, Public Health Seattle and King County provided revised guidance to reduce exposure to COVID-19 in the general population. Public Health is recommending, but not requiring, that people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 stay home and away from large groups of people. People at higher risk, according to Public Health, include those who are 60 years and older; people who are pregnant; people with weakened/compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.
How does this “at risk” population guidance effect Seattle Public Schools?
The health of our staff matters to us. Seattle Public Schools has close to 11,000 part-time and full-time employees, and some who meet the “at risk” criteria. In our effort to help disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and protect our staff and students, these employees, with required documentation, may need to stay home.
Our goal is to keep our doors open as long as possible, while prioritizing the health and safety of our students. With that said, we are tracking staff and student attendance daily. In order to keep schools open we need to have enough staff to provide a safe learning environment for students. We also want to make sure that staff who need to self-quarantine because of high risk or illness take time off. We have canceled all events, workshops, field trips, etc. that require a substitute teacher and deployed our certified central office staff, an estimated 100 educators, to support in our 104 schools.
While some universities elsewhere in Seattle are going online for the rest of the quarter, South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle is continuing classes – here’s the daily update for SSC and its sibling colleges.
WHAT’S BEING CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED: Our West Seattle list continues to grow – see it here. If your organization, business, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302.
WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Whatever we publish related to all this is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.
A new redevelopment proposal in South Delridge for three HALA-upzoned lots centered on 9218 18th SW [map]: It’s described in city files as a 5-story “approximately 76-unit mixed-use apartment building with ground-floor commercial and 1 level of below-grade parking for approximately 36 vehicles.” Though the address is on 18th, part of the site faces Delridge. The early-stage site plan (PDF) is by Caron Architecture.
After the question came up in a WSB comment discussion earlier today, we called West Seattle Farmers’ Market management to verify they WILL be open on Sunday. Since then, they’ve sent this news release saying all markets will indeed be open this weekend, and explaining why:
Farmers Markets in Seattle will continue as planned this weekend, including the University District, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets, run by the nonprofit Neighborhood Farmers Markets, and the Ballard Farmers Market, run by the Seattle Farmers Market Association. The markets offer year-round economic opportunity to over 200 Washington State farmers and local food businesses, and also provide access to fresh nutritious food in local settings.
According to annual data collected by the Neighborhood Farmers Markets, the majority of their direct-to-consumer farm businesses earn 70% or more of their household income from the farmers markets. Only some businesses have secondary sales channels such as wholesale or restaurant purchasing, so a downturn in attendance will likely take a toll during a month when many farmers are making significant purchases for the upcoming growing season.
“It is important that everyone understand farmers markets are a place to buy nutritious local food, not a social event,” says Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Markets. “As an organization based in community connection, our top priority is the health and wellness of market shoppers, vendors, and our staff.” Farmers markets work closely with King County Public Health to ensure safety and cleanliness throughout the year. In the wake of concern over COVID-19 in King County and guidance that large gatherings be postponed, market organizers have been proactively consulting on additional measures, and are voluntarily implementing the following to help prevent the spread of illness.
• Public handwashing stations will be available for shoppers;
• Customary cancellation fees are not being charged to any vendor who cancels due to illness or concern over public contact;
• Handwashing posters and public health information will be posted;
• Cooking demonstrations, public seating, and special events within the market have been cancelled to reduce close proximity gathering and increase available supplies for handwashing stations;
• A zero-tolerance policy for market staff or vendors who attend the market if they are experiencing illness;
• Everyone is cooperating to ensure cleanliness of “high touch” items and areas, such as card readers and touch screens.
Alessandra Gordon, owner of Ayako and Family and longtime vendor at the U-District and Ballard Farmers Markets stated, “Health and safety is important – know and trust that the small food businesses and farmers in your area are continuing best practices.”
“It’s a tricky situation in that farmers markets are public gatherings.” says Colleen Donovan, Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, “Farmers markets bring people together precisely to promote health through good food and community, so public health is always top of mind. And they are also places of business and the embodiment of local supply chains for healthy food which is always important and even more so now.”
The market happens in the street on California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska, 10 am-2 pm Sundays.
Another update today from the Senior Center of West Seattle, looking ahead to next week:
The Senior Center of West Seattle (SCWS) shares your concerns about the rapidly evolving and expanding global novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at the SCWS, nor any staff with symptoms.
The SCWS will be closed through Friday, March 13th except for the essential programs listed below. We do not have a date that we will be reopening due to these exceptional circumstances and we are following recommendations from the King County Department of Public Health.
SCWS ESSENTIAL PROGRAM UPDATE
Community Dining – starting on Monday, March 9th we will be providing sack lunches to participants 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 10th Food Bank Distribution – We will provide prepared bags of food for pick-up starting at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, March 11th Meals on Wheels will be delivered as normal.
Social Workers are continuing outreach and will have office hours for individuals as needed.
Tax Help Appointments – will take place on Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th.
Stop and Shop: We will keep the Stop and Shop open as long as we have volunteer coverage. Communications will go out as we know more and if we have to close.
The Washington State Department of Health and Seattle & King County Public Health advise that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large public gatherings where there will be close contact with others. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified that there is an increased risk of exposure for people with weakened immunity, pregnancy, and those over the age of 60 in large gatherings.
CARE FOR OUR COMMUNITY
As we continue to monitor and respond to the situation, we request your partnership in keeping everyone in the community healthy and minimizing the spread of infectious disease. To facilitate this goal, if you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath OR have traveled to a country the CDC has designated with a travel warning level 3 (Mainland China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan) in the last 14 days, please do not enter the buildings. We recognize that we must each do our part, individually and collectively, to provide the safest possible environment for our PNA community.
Additionally, the SCWS reminds you to exercise caution when reading and using social media responsibly. There is a great deal of misinformation on social media platforms that may alarm or mislead your family or others. You can find accurate, up to date information on webpages set up by the CDC at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the Washington State Department of Health at Novel Coronavirus Outbreak 2020.
We will continue to communicate frequently about the SCWS response and post updates on our website (www.sc-ws.org) and our phone message 206-932-4044 and westseattleblog.com.
We’ll keep the newest Senior Center update linked on our cancellations, postponements, changes page, too.
In addition to collecting cancellations, postponements, and changes – here’s our updated, ongoing list – we are doing our best to verify what IS happening, before publishing our daily highlight lists. So here’s what we have so far:
****CONFIRMED – HAPPENING AS SCHEDULED****
WINE! The Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) tasting room is open the regular 5-9 pm schedule. (5910 California SW)
HIGHLAND PARK CORNER BAR: The monthly Highland Park Improvement Club Corner Bar is on, starting at 6 pm. Music by New Primitives Trio. (1116 SW Holden)
‘THE BOOK CLUB PLAY’: Second weekend for the Twelfth Night Productions play at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. 7:30 pm curtain. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
MUSIC AT THE SKYLARK: 13 Rabbit and Frames in Motion. 7 pm. $8 cover. 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
MUSIC AT PARLIAMENT TAVERN: ‘Music Is the Best Fest,’ 9 pm. $8 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
We’re still checking on other events that are listed in our calendar and will add anything more that we confirm.
DNDA’s Destination Delridge fundraiser (announcement)
Nelson Wright, Steve Beck, & Brian Cutler @ C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), but the coffeehouse itself IS open
206-293-5302 text/voice, or email@example.com, for any and all info on changes – or if you want to tell us about something that IS still on – thank you!
12:49 PM: Avoid 35th/Fauntleroy – emergency responders are at the scene of the crash shown on that SDOT traffic-camera framegrab; at least three vehicles appear to be involved. SDOT says 35th is blocked both ways but so far Fauntleroy traffic (to and from the bridge) is getting through.
1:56 PM: The scene is now clear. We’re checking with SFD about injuries.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
New information on the King County quarantine/isolation facility planned at 206 SW 112th [map] in Top Hat, just east of White Center, first announced Tuesday. The new details emerged in a conference call meeting that county reps organized for community members; we were on that call, which just concluded, for WSB and partner site White Center Now.
The site will start up with two 4-room trailers, with up to six more when a vacant building on the site is demolished. (Above is our photo of the first trailer that was delivered Tuesday – the county had 14 in storage on Harbor Island.) The county has now decided NOT to open the site until utilities including water/sewer are hooked up to the trailers’ built-in bathrooms – they originally had said they would start with portable toilets and hand-washing stations but have scrapped that plan. They expect the connections will be complete by the middle of next week.
The site will NOT have medical staff – but the county plans to “check in” with people at least twice a day. They also plan to deliver food and other supplies. And they will have 24-hour security who will “notify” county reps if someone leaves the site.
Who will be there? Criteria are still being developed, the county reps said. Three scenarios were mentioned for starters – people who are traveling and have nowhere else to go, people who are unhoused, people who can’t “self-quarantine” because of a situation at their home such as an at-risk person also living there.
How long will someone stay? If they’re being tested – until the test results are in, if those results are negative. If they’re ill, “until they’ve recovered.”
The call wasn’t strictly informational – strong opposition was voiced, primarily by people pointing out that the area is home to low-income people and other marginalized populations and should not have to bear this burden and risk. “10,000 people are opposed” was mentioned – apparently a reference to this online petition. But county reps were clear – this decision has been made and will not change.
Those on the call, besides several staffers from various county departments such as Local Services, included County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta. McDermott said County Executive Dow Constantine‘s request for emergency funding will be approved at next Tuesday’s King County Council meeting.
We have a few other details to add shortly.
ADDED 12:58 PM: First, for those wondering about the other two quarantine sites, the county has provided these addresses – 531 Elliott Avenue West [map] in Interbay and 1132 N. 128th Street [map] in North Seattle. The Top Hat site was formerly home to the Wilderness Technology Alliance.
Julie Hiatt of the North Highline Fire District, which serves the area, was on the call and said NHFD had not even had a meeting with the county to talk about this; one was promised. County reps also said they were not intending for NHFD to have to transport patients to/from the site; they are working with potential providers such as Tri-Med.
One community member on the call was aghast at the single-security-guard plan: “You’re bringing this into poor communties and telling us there’s going to be one security guard for people who might leave?” Security plans would be re-evaluated along the way, county reps said. Another community member: “If this is going to spread, this is not the community you want it to spread in – most (nearby) people don’t even have health insurance.” The site is in a densely populated area of North Highline, with neighboring apartment complexes including the huge new Southside by Vintage across SW 112th.
Another community member: “It seems like an experiment. … The community does not want this facility here. It’s going to cause death … There is death attached to this facility.” County reps countered that this was meant to save lives; Local Services director John Taylor countered, “The consequence to the community of not doing this could be disastrous.”
The call ended after an hour but more communication including an email list was promised.
We start today with a reminder that we have an ongoing list of local changes, cancellations, and postponements – see it here. We’re updating it as fast as we can, and marking pre-existing calendar events; also, at this point, before we publish a daily highlight list, we are doing our best to verify what IS still happening. Best way to get us updates – as with everything – is via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via our hotline (text/voice 206-293-6302) – thank you!
6:57 AM: Good morning. Texter reports a stalled tanker truck on the EB West Seattle Bridge, and the camera shows a backup on the Spokane St. Viaduct, though there’s no word from SDOT. Meantime, WSDOT reports a crash blocking the HOV lane on NB I-5 north of the WS Bridge.
WEEKEND REMINDER: Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 am Sunday – that’s when we “spring forward” one hour.
7:08 AM: Another tip clarifies that the tanker is on the EB bridge at 4th. Meantime, SFD is arriving at the aforementioned I-5 crash scene (which is now blocking 2 lanes).
7:39 AM: WSDOT says that crash is now cleared.