Hello friends and neighbors,
We’d like to express our sympathy to those in our community who have lost loved ones from the coronavirus and extend our empathy to everyone concerned about their health and the health of their friends and family.
At this moment, we believe our best ally is access to accurate, updated information on what is going on, how to protect ourselves, and how we are addressing this rapidly evolving situation. We will keep you posted on new developments as we get them.
Thank you to those who have reached out to us about the coronavirus. We hear your concerns and appreciate your thoughtful engagement on this critical issue.
Please take care of yourselves and each other during this difficult time for our community and our state.
$125 Million for Coronavirus Response
Governor Inslee signed an emergency proclamation on February 29, 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.
Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives 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.
On March 4, the Senate also passed the bill unanimously after adopting a couple of amendments increasing the amount to $125 million.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the Washington Department of Health have a series of recommendations to follow during this coronavirus outbreak. Although we’ve included them in previous newsletters, here’s a quick reminder of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and those around you:
Make sure you talk to your health care provider, pharmacist and insurance provider about keeping an emergency supply of medications at home if you or someone in your household are on a regular prescription drug regimen to treat specific conditions.
Visit the DOH coronavirus#beprepared website for additional resources on how to prepare.
We are aware that there has been an issue with testing availability. Previously, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) restricted COVID-19 testing to individuals with serious respiratory illnesses who had traveled to countries with coronavirus outbreaks, or had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
The CDC has issued an Updated Guidance on Evaluating and Testing Persons for COVID-19.
We understand people are frustrated because it’s hard to find clear direction on where to go or how to get tested. We also know that more tests are becoming available and more laboratories, both public and private, are or will soon be offering more options for testing. So we are hopeful that the path going forward will be easier to navigate.
For now, if you have symptoms and believe you should get tested, contact your health care provider. If you don’t have access to a doctor, call a local urgent care clinic.
OSPI Guidance and Resources
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has a COVID-19 Guidance & Resources website where school districts and parents can find information, as well as a tracker of school closures, including private schools and higher education institutions.
Below are links to the school districts in the 48th Legislative District, where you can find specific information on your child’s school:
Support for Small Businesses and Workers
Several 48th District small business owners have contacted our offices concerned about the economic impact the coronavirus could have on their businesses.
Last week the Governor’s office created a site with a list of resources that compiles comprehensive information on how several agencies can help those impacted by COVID-19:
The Washington State Department of Commerce also offers COVID-19 related information and resources for small businesses here.
And this morning, Governor Inslee announced new rules to support workers and businesses financially impacted by COVID-19, including:
There’s also an Employment Security Department one-stop shop, where workers and businesses can get answers and explore their options. Here you’ll find information on Workers’ Compensation, Paid Sick Leave, Unemployment Benefits, Paid Family and Medical Leave, SharedWork, Standby, and Partial Employment, among others.
Bill signing changes in response to Coronavirus
Yesterday, Governor Inslee issued updates to the bill signing process based on COVID-19.
For the time being, the governor’s office has placed a number of restrictions as a result of recommendations from numerous medical and health officials over the past few days.
So if you are interested or planning to attend a bill signing ceremony, please read the notice.