38th LD Update – CORONAVIRUS: Funding, DOH, Workers’ Comp & ESD Resources

$100 Million for Coronavirus response

Over the weekend, Governor Inslee signed an emergency proclamation directing state agencies to use state resources to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak and to utilize the National and State Guards as necessary.

On Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives quickly and unanimously approved the appropriation of $100 million to get state agencies, local governments and federally recognized tribes the necessary funding to assist with the coronavirus response. The bill also gives the Department of Social and Health Services funding to increase nursing staff to help address this growing need.

At a Legislative briefing earlier this week, Washington Department of Health (DOH) Secretary John Wiesman reported that the agency is spending $60,000 per day responding to the outbreak, and total spending has surpassed $3.5 million since the beginning of the year.

DOH Recommendations & Resources

As this situation continues to rapidly unfold, please protect yourself and your family by following these DOH recommendations:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue and discard it immediately.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Do not attend large gatherings (sporting events, conferences, community events) if you are sick, don’t feel well, or someone in your home is sick.
  • Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted.

You can also check out and share this DOH fact sheet, which is available in eleven languages.

Additionally, you can follow the DOH links below for information on home quarantine and testing protocols:

Workers’ Comp for quarantined health workers and first responders

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is immediately changing its policy around workers’ compensation coverage for health care workers and first responders quarantined by a physician, or public health officer, after being exposed to COVID-19 on the job.

That’s what Governor Inslee and Joel Sacks, L&I director, announced on Thursday morning.

L&I is encouraging employers to continue to pay workers who are quarantined after being exposed. Time loss is partial payment and does not replace a worker’s entire income. Quarantined workers who continue to be paid by their employer may not need to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Read the full announcement here.

ESD Resources for workers and businesses

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) released a notice yesterday with information on how the agency can help both workers and businesses as they deal with the effects of COVID-19.

We have numerous programs and resources but navigating through them can be confusing. At this ESD one-stop shop, workers and businesses can get answers and explore their options.

You’ll find information on Workers’ Compensation, Paid Sick Leave, Unemployment Benefits, Paid Family and Medical Leave, SharedWork, Standby, and Partial Employment, among others.

We encourage you to take a look at that site if you or someone in your household is sick, or just to be prepared in case you need to access any of these resources in the near future.

Knowing what steps to take ahead of time to help your own circumstances can save you hours of frustration trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do at the last minute.

A quick note on our proposed Capital Budget investments

Our proposed supplemental Capital Budget includes a $100 million investment to tackle the state’s crisis in affordable housing and homelessness.

Construction workers

Eighty percent of that funding would go toward permanent housing, because that’s the bottleneck right now preventing people from moving from temporary shelters to a home.

Twenty percent of the $100 million is earmarked for immediate help and temporary shelters, to make sure families, kids and veterans have a safe, warm place to sleep at night.

The construction budget also funds $83 million in other projects, including earthquake-proofing the most vulnerable public schools and investing more in early learning facilities to meet the high demand.

Finally, our proposal puts $38 million more toward toxic cleanup and environmental projects.

Thank you for reading this update, we hope you found it informative.  Please don’t hesitate to contact our offices with your feedback, questions and concerns.


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