West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to MC for the photo from Monday’s “drive-up” flu-shot clinic at Chief Sealth International High School. Five more clinics, with the Visiting Nurse Association, are ahead in West Seattle this week and next for Seattle Public Schools students, staff, and families. You are welcome with or without insurance – MC notes, “Funding is available for free flu shots for uninsured kids and adults.” This year, health experts say flu vaccinations are more important than ever because of the pandemic – here’s why. Here are the upcoming clinics:
Wednesday, September 23
Madison Middle School – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, September 25
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 29
Chief Sealth High School – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 1
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, October 2
Madison Middle School – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
You need to register for an appointment – via the link on this page.
Dare we hope that this will be the final extension? The National Weather Service, in consultation with other regional agencies, has extended the Air Quality Alert, this time until 10 am Saturday. Some cancellations/closures continue – city parks are still closed today, Seattle Public Library curbside service is canceled today, and the twice-weekly BLM sign-waving at 16th/Holden is canceled again today too, per organizer Scott.
As smoky as it is now, authorities warn it’s going to get worse; Notes so far today:
HEALTH WARNING: Just in from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency:
Heavy smoke from Oregon has entered our region making air quality UNHEALTHY. Air quality may continue to worsen to VERY UNHEALTHY by Friday afternoon. We expect UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY air this weekend into early next week. We will continue to update as conditions change.
Fire marshals in our four-county area of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have issued fire safety burn bans prohibiting outdoor burning including recreational fires.
Current air quality conditions are UNHEALTHY for everyone, but may reach VERY UNHEALTHY for everyone by this afternoon.
While air quality is UNHEALTHY, everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. If air quality reaches VERY UNHEALTHY, everyone may experience more serious health effects.
Right now, everyone should take precautions, especially infants, children, and people over 65, or those that are pregnant, have heart or lung diseases (such as asthma or COPD), respiratory infections, diabetes, stroke survivors, and those suffering from COVID-19.
City and county officials are having a news conference at 11:30 am; we’ll report separately on anything that emerges.
11:41 AM UPDATE: Mayor Durkan has just announced that all parks, playfields, boat ramps, and beaches are closed until Sunday, and urges everyone to stay indoors.
12:13 PM: Golf courses too.
Mayor Durkan has closed all Seattle parks, boat ramps, athletic fields, public golf courses & beaches through end of Sunday 9/13 due to unhealthy air quality from wildfire smoke. Normal reopening times on Monday morning are expected, unless air quality takes a turn for the worse.
— Seattle Parks (@SeattleParks) September 11, 2020
For people experiencing homelessness, one additional shelter is opening, in SODO, with capacity for 77 people, starting at 3 pm. (1045 6th Ave. S.)
1:16 PM: Here’s the news release with details of what was discussed in the briefing.
(Back to original post) Cancellations so far because of the air quality:
SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE COVID-19 TESTING: The Friday testing was canceled for today.
SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY CURBSIDE SERVICE: This has been canceled for today.
(added 3:04 pm) DELRIDGE BLM VIGIL: The weekly vigil on the Delridge/Oregon overpass is canceled. Organizer Nancy emailed, “It’s with a heavy heart I’m writing to cancel this week’s vigil because of the extremely poor air quality due to smoke.”
Any other cancellations or changes, today or through the weekend, please let us know – email@example.com or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Last night, as we reported, the National Weather Service said the wildfire-smoke-fueled Air Quality Alert would probably be extended – and now that’s just happened. It’s in effect until 11 am Monday. The alert notes, “Expect conditions to be worse during the overnight hours through this period as calmer winds will allow smoke to settle.” And @WestSeaWX adds:
It's going to get bad this weekend, see attached smoke model.
Onshore flow will push all of the smoke to our south and west into our area over the weekend, esp on Saturday pic.twitter.com/aaMKpV0eEi
— WestSeattleWx (@WestSeaWx) September 10, 2020
The wildfire smoke is expected to hang around at least into Wednesday morning – that’s when the current Air Quality Alert expires. Right now, as this map shows, local readings are all in the “unhealthy” range. This is all from wildfires that, in our state, burned 330,000 acres yesterday alone. For our area, there’s some good news, though – the forecast has pulled back a bit on the feared mini-heat wave … now it looks like three days ahead in the 80s, no more talk of 90s.
Thanks for the tip! Melissa just pointed out that one casualty of today’s smoky air is Seattle Public Library‘s curbside service. SPL tweeted: “Due to poor air quality, the Library is unable to provide Curbside Service today and appointments should be rescheduled. Some locations are still offering restroom access and book returns. Please contact the Library before visiting.”
Health centers will open on 34 school campuses in King County this September, to provide health services for students – including flu shots and other vaccines – even when the instruction is online.
Even though most schools are starting with online learning this fall, more than 30 campuses will be open for in-person health-care services.
They have School-Based Health Centers that offer routine primary care, including vaccinations, as well as mental health counseling. Several even have dental services. Seasonal flu vaccine will also be available.
The health centers serve any student enrolled in the participating school districts. They operate at 27 Seattle Public Schools, including all high schools and middle schools, along with a number of elementary schools. … The centers are independent clinics based inside schools or on school campuses, staffed by health professionals.
Public Health coordinates the network of 34 clinics, and directly operates three locations. All the others staffed and operated by community health-care providers, which compete through a Request for Application process to provide health services.
The full list of clinics around the county is here, including seven West Seattle schools – Chief Sealth International High School, Denny International Middle School, Highland Park Elementary, Madison Middle School, Roxhill Elementary, West Seattle Elementary, and West Seattle High School, all operated by Neighborcare Health.
Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor, We Sweat – an infrared-sauna salon and dealer. New sponsors get to tell you about their business; here’s what We Sweat would like you to know:
We Sweat is West Seattle’s first Infrared Sauna Salon. We Sweat opened its doors January 12, 2020, with an overwhelming response from the community. The business was only open for two months before the COVID-19 shutdown, but in that time hosted more than 500 sauna sessions.
Athena Frederick, the owner, is a United States Army Veteran, trained in Biomedical Engineering; her career before becoming a mom was in the medical-device field. She moved to West Seattle in 2009 and immediately started a business formerly known as Stroller Strides, sold in 2012 as it was being rebranded to Fit4Mom. Athena had 9 locations throughout Seattle and won the national Franchisee of the Year sward. This business was supportive of motherhood in the early years and built a community of families that are still friends and now raising teenagers together. From this business, a running club was formed, and after 11 years they are still meeting weekly on Alki and running the annual Ragnar Relay event. She is mom to two teenage boys and for over 7 years has been active in various PTAs and served on the PTA Board at Genesee Hill Elementary for 4 years as the volunteer coordinator and Move-A-Thon co-chair. Health and wellness, community service, and fully funding public schools are just some of her greatest passions.
In 2019. when Athena decided to return to the workforce, her entrepreneurial spirit took over and the idea for an infrared sauna salon was born. Balancing work/ family life has always been a top priority. Due to injuries sustained in the military, Athena has worked hard to maintain active and healthy and has found some holistic ways to manage pain and anxiety. Infrared heat is something she discovered on vacation and she frequently visited a spa in Lynnwood to help ease some of her chronic pain. It was her dream to open a spa similar to the Olympus Spa, but coed. Additionally, she wanted to get into the nonprofit world and create a group based on volunteerism, Women Serving West Seattle. During the COVID-19 shutdown, she used the salon as a staging area to collect food and supplies for families in need.
The original goal of creating a space where you could come in for self-care and a sauna and then hang out in the “chill” area had to be rethought because of the COVID-19 crisis. We closed our indoor chill area and made the salon less of a place to “hang out.” Today folks come in for their hour in an individual sauna suite and then leave or hang out in our outdoor chill area reading a book. We are located at 2705 California Ave SW, the former location of the family-owned West Coast Cruises. We are their first renters after they operated a West Seattle business for over 20 years. The building has 6 individual rooms with doors and was the perfect location for a salon, with social distancing already in place, no build-out required. Each sauna suite is provided with fresh towels and the room is sanitized between uses with an Ultraviolet Wand, nontoxic disinfectants, and an ultraviolet air-purifying system. These infrared saunas are the most hygienic out there because they do not retain moisture, and our cedar saunas are naturally antimicrobial.
We chose the nationally known Jacuzzi (R) branded saunas because they are designed by doctors and have the lowest EMF of any sauna out there. Infrared Saunas are being recognized by doctors everywhere as helpful with chronic inflammation, anxiety/depression, skin conditions, Lyme disease, cancer recovery, and detox for flight attendants and firefighters.
In response to the COVID-19 shutdown, our sauna salon purchased more saunas so we have 7 to choose
from; we also have a showcase of saunas as we have recently become an infrared sauna dealer for Jacuzzi. People can schedule a time to visit our salon to see the different models and also try out a session before purchasing a sauna for their in-home use. These are low-cost and many don’t have additional electrical requirements. We are also selling Jacuzzi’s doctor-designed Ultraviolet Wand.
We welcome anyone to join us in the salon. Our mission statement is to be an inclusive place to create a health-conscious community. For those interested in purchasing a sauna for in-home use, one of our biggest sales of the year is happening now for Labor Day. We have new-client specials on the website and we have single sauna suites or saunas that can be shared. We have strict COVID-19 policies in place. You can find additional information on our website.
We thank We Sweat for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Customers at King County locations of Safeway will be able to take home free face masks with their groceries starting today with a new partnership between King County, Safeway, and UFCW Local 21. …
King County purchased more than 25 million face masks for county residents, and to date has distributed more than 14 million reusable and disposable masks through direct distribution and partnerships with local chambers of commerce and other community organizations. …
Starting today, customers at any of the 59 Safeway locations in King County can obtain two free reusable masks per person in their household, for up to 12 masks total, while at the checkstand. Disposable masks will also be available for customers who may have forgotten or misplaced their masks at all stores. All told Safeway will help distribute 750,000 face masks provided by King County.
Safeway stores in our area are at 28th/Roxbury, 42nd/Edmunds (Jefferson Square), and 2622 California SW.
P.S. In case you wondered too – we checked: No purchase required.
(Added: Seattle Channel video of announcement)
3:47 PM: The city’s been promising for a while that a new COVID-19 testing site was in the works for West Seattle, and the location has just been announced: The lot at Southwest Athletic Complex, 2801 SW Thistle (behind SW Pool/Teen Life Center). Testing will be available there five days a week. Mayor Jenny Durkan is making the announcement in Rainier Beach this afternoon, while visiting one of the city’s three existing sites. We talked with her by phone while she was on the way to that event; she says, “We’re going to have to live with COVID at least another year or so,” which means abundantly available testing will be all the more important. Right now, she says, the city’s three testing sites are accounting for about 15 percent of the testing done statewide – administering more than 128,000 tests since early June. More details from the announcement:
Testing is free at the City of Seattle sites, and clients are not billed regardless of health insurance status. For those with insurance, UW Medicine will handle the billing of Medicaid, Medicare, or individuals’ private insurance. Under Washington state law, insurance companies cannot charge co-pays for COVID-19 testing. For uninsured clients, UW Medicine will seek reimbursement directly from the federal, Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test.
Clients can, and should, register online to keep wait times to 10 minutes or less. Registration for the West Seattle location will be available on Wednesday, August 26, and testing will begin Friday, August 28. Hours across all sites are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Individuals can sign up to be tested five days of the week. Translation services are offered at all Citywide testing sites and can be requested during the registration process. Individuals should first seek to access testing through their primary care physician.
This testing will be available to anyone, the mayor stressed; appointments are preferred – a West Seattle link will show up soon on this webpage – and they’re working on same-day options for people with symptoms.
5:22 PM: Here’s the full announcement. (Note that although the city’s headline says this is at Chief Sealth, we verified that it’s across the street at SWAC, “behind the pool.”)
The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) has announced its reopening plan:
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be welcoming our members back starting the week of August 17th! We’ve adjusted available services, reduced capacity, and launched new policies and procedures to ensure the safety of you and our staff and adhere to the governor’s Safe Start guidelines. Here’s everything you need to know about coming back to the Y.
The Triangle facility (3622 SW Snoqualmie) reopens next Tuesday; the Fauntleroy facility’s reopening date is not yet set.
Just got word that a health fair offering free COVID-19 testing in West Seattle today and tomorrow has room for more walk-ups, so they asked us to share a public invitation. It’s happening on the basketball courts behind Neighborhood House in High Point (6400 Sylvan Way), until 3 pm today and again 8 am-3 pm tomorrow (Thursday). Neighborcare Health‘s Mobile Assessment Team is doing the testing at this site (NOT their nearby clinic), and Neighborcare’s Kate Greenawalt tells WSB that everyone is eligible, no charge, just show up.
Thanks for the tips! Three large West Seattle fitness centers have announced they’re reopening tomorrow (Monday, August 10th) – West Seattle Health Club (2429 SW Andover), 24 Hour Fitness (Westwood Village), and LA Fitness (3900 SW Alaska).
Reopening comes with a long list of new rules at each center – WS Health Club, for example, has posted its new rules online, including “Masks Required – unless you are exercising vigorously”; the protocols for 24 Hour Fitness say, “Wear a mask in the club at all times”; LA Fitness (whose rules are in a message to members, sent to us by a reader) says, “Members are required to wear face coverings while in the club, except when they are exercising and are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.” WSHC locker rooms will remain closed, as will those at LA Fitness.
The reopenings follow new state-issued guidance for fitness operations; you can read it here. Many smaller fitness businesses were able to reopen weeks ago.
Starting this Friday, hours for weekly COVID-19 testing at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) will be earlier. Here’s the announcement:
UW Medicine and the Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods are changing mobile COVID-19 testing site hours to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at South Seattle College’s main campus in West Seattle, effective Aug. 7. The testing site, located in SSC’s north parking lot, is open on Fridays only. This change was made to avoid the hottest hours of the day during summer.
When: Fridays only from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: South Seattle College’s North Parking Lot, accessed by Entry 1 (campus map link)
Please Note: Visitors should only use Entry 1/North Parking Lot entrance. South Seattle College’s physical campus is otherwise closed to the public in response to COVID-19 with very limited exceptions for essential staff and programs approved by the state. The college is operating remotely until further notice and will run fall quarter classes in accordance with public health guidelines.
Testing Site Details
Anyone experiencing the following symptoms can come to the site, speak with medical staff from UW Medicine and, if qualified for testing, get tested on-site:
Shortness or breath or difficulty breathing
Gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
New loss of taste or smell
There is no cost to be tested. If you have health insurance UW Medicine will bill your insurance.
Walk-up and drive-up visitors are welcome. Please note due to King County Metro bus service reductions in response to the pandemic, the college does not currently have Route 128 service to campus. Route 125 is currently running. Visitors should only use Entry 1/ North Parking Lot Entrance where UW Medicine staff will direct you.
Thanks for the tips. After being closed for at least two days, the Bank of America branch at Westwood Village will reopen tomorrow, but the B of A in The Junction will be closed. That’s according to B of A spokesperson Britney Sheehan, who says it’s the same type of situation that closed the Junction branch for multiple days a month ago – ” We continue to take several steps to support our clients and employees during the health crisis, including some temporary financial center closures. Our temporary financial center closures have occurred in areas where foot traffic is low, or when our staffing is not sufficient for all to remain open. When a center closes we work to reopen it as soon as possible.” She says they’re not sure yet how long the Junction branch will be closed this time.
If you can donate blood, you have six chances to do it via Bloodworks Northwest‘s next roun of pop-up blood drives in West Seattle. They’re set for the first half of August in the gym at Our Lady of Guadalupe (7500 35th SW). From Bloodworks NW:
This pop-up (as with all our donation sites) is by appointment only to ensure social distancing. Here is the link to sign up. If folks prefer to have our scheduling department book an appointment for them, they can call 800-398-7888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates and times offered at Our lady of Guadalupe are as follows:
Mon Aug 3 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wed Aug 5 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fri Aug 7 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Mon Aug 10 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wed Aug 12 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fri Aug 14 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
With Public Health Seattle-King County stepping up its enforcement of health rules for restaurants, the city announced today that “the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) has issued a new public health and safety measure to help enforce state-mandated business requirements, including protective face coverings, social distancing and capacity limitations. For customers, residents or employees who have concerns about non-compliance, FAS will conduct outreach, provide education, and help to enforce Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan in non-food business establishments across the city.” Here’s how the announcement expands on that:
… Effective immediately, FAS will begin implementing the new measure through the use of a Director’s Rule. Understanding the complexities of navigating the COVID-19 environment, the City’s focus is primarily to conduct outreach and education to help businesses comply with the new rule. With repeated and/or egregious offenses, businesses may have their City of Seattle business license suspended and may be charged with a crime that carries a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Individuals or employees who are concerned that businesses are not enforcing the face coverings mandate, practicing social distancing or adhering to occupancy limits, and other measures identified in the statewide order can use the Find It, Fix It app or online form or call 206-684-2489 (CITY) to report their concerns. Businesses can also learn more by visiting the FAS website.
Read the new emergency rule here or below:
Twp business notes to share …
EASY STREET RECORDS: You can now shop by appointment at Easy Street Records (California/Alaska):
Each shopping appointment is for 30 minutes. There is a max of 2 people allowed in the loft at a time. Appointments are available from 10 am to 4 pm [Daily] To make your appointment, please call 206-938-3279.
Mask required! Easy Street also offers curbside pickup – more on that, and the café, here.
COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE PROJECT: Also by appointment in The Junction – the Community Acupuncture Project of West Seattle has reopened. It’s at 4545 44th SW, and you can reach CAP via phone at 206-933-7891 or email at email@example.com.
Six days after Public Health Seattle-King County closed Duke’s on Alki because COVID-19 was spreading among its staff, the restaurant says it has clearance to reopen today. (The PHSKC website confirms the reopening.) Subscribers to its email list received a message from founder Duke Moscrip, including:
… When the health authorities examined our Alki location and took the action to shut us down, we were devastated. Frankly, we thought we were following the safety protocols precisely. After cooperating with them fully over the past few days, we earned their approval to reopen today. Specifically, they approved the distance between our tables and the occupancy levels that allow us to keep everyone safe.
As a new layer of safety at Duke’s restaurants, we ordered and are installing new air purification technology over the next few weeks at all our locations to stop COVID-19 particles, other viruses, and bacteria in internal spaces.
Safety. That is the only thing important to us as we all begin to venture out more and enjoy our unique way of life here in the Pacific Northwest.
Despite every safety measure available, we expect we will see more cases of COVID-19 among our valued team. Today we are better prepared to properly react.
I know that many of you believe that Duke’s let you down. For that, we are truly saddened.
The message also says an unspecified number of staff members remain quarantined. This statement from the restaurant following last week’s shutdown noted 7 Alki employees had tested positive for the virus.
(ADDED 12:55 PM: PHSKC has since published this statement about the reopening.)
Before the shutdown announcement, after our previous report about two cases at Duke’s, we had asked Public Health some questions about how outbreaks are handled; we’d noticed while covering other businesses that no two seemed to be handling cases the same way. We have since received the replies, published below in Q&A format, with our questions and Public Health’s answers:
WSB: “What if anything are businesses required to report to PHSKC regarding employees testing positive?”
PHSKC: “Notify health department within 24 hours if you suspect COVID-19 is spreading in your workplace, or if you are aware of 2 or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.”
WSB: “What are they required to tell customers?”
PHSKC: “No requirements.”
WSB: “Under the new state guidance, what circumstance constitutes “spreading” at a workplace that would need to be reported?”
PHSKC: “We would consider ‘spreading’ when any person in the workplace, whether an employee, contractor or customer, might have been potentially exposed in the workplace. We would recommend that a workplace call us if they have any questions or concerns as it generally takes some investigation to try to determine the most likely location of exposure (e.g., community exposure vs. workplace exposure, etc..).”
WSB: “Once PHSKC gets a report of ‘spreading,’ what will you do with that information? How/is it investigated? Might orders for closure ensue?”
PHSKC: “- We first try to confirm any reported cases through our public health databases and if any non-household contacts have been identified already.
“- We then do an initial investigation call to (i) confirm whether transmission occurred in the workplace, (ii) identify any exposed workplace contacts (coworkers or customers), and (iii) assess steps that employers have taken to reduce the risk of transmission within the workplace and provide technical assistance when necessary.
“- If this investigation identifies conditions indicating a higher risk to employees or the public, we may schedule a site visit to the workplace. A public health order or closure could ensue if the risk level is deemed to be very high and we believe there is an ongoing risk to employees or the public that isn’t being mitigated.”
WSB: “What about employees who feel their employer isn’t taking appropriate action – is there anything they can do?”
PHSKC: “Workplace safety complaints about coronavirus or other issues can be filed with L&I (1-800-423-7233). Employees can also file a written safety/health complaint.”
(Again, we had those questions out to PHSKC *before* the Duke’s closure – the first of its kind in our area – was announced.)
Bloodworks Northwest sent this “urgent alert” for a donation event on the 4th of July:
Blood Donations Needed Over 4th of July Weekend!
Bloodworks NW has partnered with Seattle Seahawks and Seafair to host a Pop-up Blood Donor Center at CenturyLink Field. Tomorrow, July 4th, there are still 35 donor appointments available. Our state is in a blood crisis and your blood is needed to service our local hospitals and patients. Please make your blood donation for tomorrow at www.BloodworksNW.org and use code SEAF – All donors who sign up by the 11th receive a $20 grocery gift card and will be entered into win a Seahawks Swag Bag that includes a full-sized authentic helmet autographed by Tyler Lockett and a 12 Flag autographed by Bobby Wagner.
Though West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW; WSB sponsor) is open for in-store shopping, its long tradition of in-person events will have to wait for a later phase before resuming. But that’s not stopping the next “Get Fit, West Seattle”! WSR proprietors Lori and Tim McConnell are offering a virtual version – and you can get ready by watching their advance video – here’s the announcement:
July 18th would be the day that Float Dodger 5K would have happened, so we are kicking off GET FIT WEST SEATTLE virtually that day to have a little something fun on the running docket.
You start with one mile and you will train to run the Seattle Half Marathon on November 29th 2020! This is a program for BEGINNER runners. We will be providing a training plan, clinics on injury prevention, run nutrition, proper running form, run/walk intervals, and all things that new runners need to know to do it safely and successfully.
Much of this may occur virtually depending on city regulations, COVID cases, and safety measures that need to be taken. We know we will be starting remotely. Once it is deemed safe, we will meet in-person and run as a group. Until then, we will offer suggestions for routes, tips, dialogue and support in an on-line format, with Facebook being our main interactive platform. Learn more about this program by watching our Informational Night video, posted on our facebook group pages: West Seattle Runner and Get Fit West Seattle. It will stay posted on those pages for you to view at your leisure. Furthermore, you can email any questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have trouble finding the video on either of those pages, try this direct link.
3:19 PM: Gov. Inslee is speaking right now (watch it live) and just announced that masks will be mandatory statewide as of Friday. Even though the worst outbreak right now is in Eastern Washington, infection rates are concerning on this side of the Cascades too, he says. They’ll be required in most indoor (public) circumstances as well as many outdoor circumstances in which social distancing isn’t always possible. “Until a vaccine is developed, this is going to be our best defense,” he says. There will be exceptions, he adds – children younger than 5, people with hearing challenges, people with certain health problems.
3:32 PM: Secretary of Health John Wiesman says he’s issuing the official order and that it’s how “life will be different” for a while. He’s followed by a doctor who declares, “Masks can save lives.” They protect the wearer and those around them. “We know that this appears to work for lots of respiratory-tract infections.”
3:44 PM: Asked about enforcement, Gov. Inslee says that’s not the point – he expects there will be lots of voluntary compliance because people want to stay healthy and care for their neighbors. He says Yakima – which is dealing with a major outbreak – is already up to about 60 percent mask use. — Violating the rule would be a misdemeanor, Inslee says in response to another question, but it’s “not our desire to see hara-working officers (become the mask police) – they have other things to do.”
4:09 PM: This is about to wrap up; the governor and secretary were joined by Craig Jelinek, president and CEO of Costco, and Faye Guenther, president of UFCW 21. Inslee stressed that this isn’t about your personal choice if you want to risk getting sick or not – it’s about protecting others, such as essential workers (like store clerks) who don’t have a choice – they have to be at work “to feed their families.”
5:47 PM: Here’s the governor’s full announcement.
2:32 PM: As previewed – the Seattle Fire/Airlift NW drill is under way at Alki Playfield, first of 4 drills in West Seattle this week.
2:41 PM: The helicopter has lifted off. Next drill, 2 pm tomorrow at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point. Viewing was OK today *around the edges of the field* so it should be tomorrow too.
ADDED 5:31 PM: More details, photos, and video:
Airlift Northwest (corrected) has a base in Bremerton – its helicopter can get here in as little as six minutes and carries trauma nurses as well as blood and plasma.
SFD plans to use the four drills – continuing 2 pm Tuesday and Thursday at Walt Hundley, back at Alki 2 pm Wednesday – for different local SFD crews to practice a helicopter transfer. Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon talked about it after today’s drill:
The helicopter was on the ground less than half an hour (longer, though, than it would have taken for an actual patient transfer).
SFD stresses that this kind of transport is expected to be rare – if it’s required at all – but they need to be ready just in case.