Dear friends and neighbors,
This will be the last e-newsletter you will receive from me until after the November election is certified due to restrictions preventing the use of state resources for election purposes. Among those restrictions are a freeze on legislators’ websites and on mass communications, such as e-newsletters.
I want to thank you for staying home and physically distancing these past two months. This collective effort has made it possible for us to protect many of the most vulnerable among us from contracting the coronavirus.
What this quarantine is putting us through—heightened anxiety due to uncertainty, isolation from family and friends, financial hardship, and the loss of loved ones and community members—hasn’t been easy, but the light at the end of this tunnel is getting slightly brighter. For instance, take this May 7 Seattle Times story, with data from the CDC, it shows that we’ve slowed the spread of the virus in Washington state significantly more than most other states in the nation. Let’s keep it going.
The Safe Start Plan
Thanks to the great job we’re doing, the state has begun to gradually open, following the governor’s four-phased approach.
Phase 1 began on May 5th. In this phase, we will continue to stay home and limit trips to only essential travel. Some outdoor recreation, including state parks and hiking, have been opened, as well as drive-in religious services.
Every 3 weeks, the Governor’s office and Cabinet will evaluate public health data to determine if we are ready to advance to the next phase. These data include health care system readiness, testing capacity, contact tracing ability, and risk to vulnerable populations. Over the course of the four phases, our goal is to balance our public health and economic needs.
The metrics and steps in this plan are crucial components to reopening Washington safely, slowly, and thoughtfully. Following the guidelines in the Safe Start plan will help prevent another peak in COVID-19 infection rates and a further extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Read more about what each phase includes.
Washington Mask Challenge
Along with washing your hands and practicing social distancing, please don’t forget to wear a face mask when you’re out and about. There seems to be some confusion as to why this is so important. Here’s the thing, many people are carrying the virus without showing any symptom. So, while they feel fine and are unaware that they’ve caught the bug, they can and are infecting others. That’s where the face masks come in. By keeping droplets from spreading everywhere every time we speak, we are protecting others.
The fact that face masks are necessary has gotten people across the state busy sewing cloth masks for organizations that need them most, like nursing homes, shelters, food banks, grocery stores and more. I’ve been so encouraged by their commitment because they are making a difference! You can join them by participating in the Lieutenant Governor’s Washington Mask Challenge. Learn more about how you can make and donate cloth masks here.
Election Year Restrictions
Because my website will be static due to election year freeze, meaning no new content can be added or updated during that period, I’ve made sure a lot of useful information is there for you to peruse. For example:
I have a new tab dedicated to COVID-19 resources that includes links to health care sites, resources for children and families, as well as for businesses and workers, and even local resources, like cities and school districts within our district.
As the legislative session was winding down, in early March, the spread of the coronavirus required all our attention. Many legislators did not send out our customary session wrap newsletters because, with the situation constantly changing, we felt it was more important to get information on COVID-19 to you as quickly as we were receiving it. But we did get a lot done during the session and you can take a look at this comprehensive report that compiles some of the most significant legislation passed this year.
Keep in Touch
While I won’t be able to reach out to you over the coming months through November, I don’t want to stop hearing from you. I’m your state representative year-round and my office will continue working. Elsa, my Legislative Assistant and I will do our best to answer questions, provide information and help you out in any way we can when you reach out to us either by phone or email. So please let me know how you’re doing.
Thank you and stay safe,