Neighbors in the 34th Legislative District,
As many of you are aware by now, King County has chosen to place a quarantine facility for those ill with the novel coronavirus in White Center. This decision was made following an increasing number of confirmed cases of the illness in the region throughout the week.
Being someone with family and history in White Center, I understand the concern that many of us feel regarding the placement of this facility. It is important during this time of uncertainty, however, to understand that a quarantine facility will not necessarily mean the surrounding area is more prone to infections. These sites are a vital part of the statewide response to the virus, and provide an opportunity for those who have become sick to recover without posing a risk to their surrounding population. Our issue is not that this decision puts the public at additional risk, but rather ensuring that the community is consulted before such a decision is made.
Additional quarantine facilities will be introduced throughout the County in the coming weeks on top of the one in White Center and the preexisting Department of Health facility in Shoreline. I have been in contact with King County throughout the day to discuss the logistics of this decision, and will be working with them even more as the situation continues to play out. Additionally, the County has been reaching out to members of the White Center community to ensure this process has as minimal of an impact on the neighborhood as possible.
Considering the severity and constantly developing nature of this health crisis, communication between varying levels of government can be difficult. However, we are all working to ensure a coordinated response to the crisis.
While there are still many unknowns with this virus, what we do know is that our government is working overtime to provide the resources we need going forward. Here in Olympia, we passed a $100 million funding package to ensure a comprehensive response from state and local public health organizations. Governor Inslee has declared a state of emergency as well, and I’m sure we can expect more precautionary measures at every level as this situation develops.
Though many of us are understandably nervous about this situation, we need to be sure we’re reducing stigma as much as possible. Only share information you know to be true, such as from the Seattle & King County Public Health website, the Washington Department of Health twitter, and the Centers for Disease Control website.
Seattle & King County Public Health have updated their recommendations to slow the spread of coronavirus in our community and reduce the number of people infected. These include:
- Working from home if you’re able to.
- Considering postponing large gatherings and group events.
- Staying home and out of the public when sick.
- Frequently washing your hands with warm soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Calling the King County novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 if you are in the county and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case, or if you are a health care provider with questions about the outbreak.
We must work together as a community in our response to this health crisis. Testing will be amped up in the coming weeks in order to provide those who have been diagnosed with the proper care they need to both recover and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Sen. Joe Nguyen
34th Legislative District.