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Washington State and King County Activate Emergency Responses After First COVID-19 Death

It is important to to not become anxious or jump into worst-case scerenio mode when you see “has declared a state of emergency.”  Doing this allows cities, counties and states to utilize certain resources they may not otherwise be able.  It also allows them to call on external aide that may not otherwise be available to that entity.

Declaring a state of emergency or activating emergency operations may sound scary or seem like an overreaction, but this aide can be essential in the response for the incident it is related to.  Additionally, if declared early it can help prevent unnecessary delays in the aftermath when resources may be needed for recovery.

Information on COVID-19, current and new cases are continually developing.  It is important to remain alert but not anxious.


Inslee issues COVID-19 emergency proclamation

Gov. Jay Inslee today declared a state of emergency in response to new cases of COVID-19, directing state agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.

“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state. Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation’s first case appeared in Snohomish County. Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic.”

He issued a proclamation that directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases. It also allows the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary. In January, the Washington Military Department activated the State Emergency Operations Center at a Level 1, the highest level, to help coordinate a statewide response.

Today, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced the death of an individual with COVID-19, the first in the United States.

The nation’s first case of COVID-19 was found in a Snohomish County man in January. He had traveled to Wuhan, China and has now recovered. On Feb. 28, the state Department of Health announced two additional cases – a King County woman who had recently traveled to South Korea, and a Snohomish County teenager with no travel history. Both are recovering at home and remain in home isolation.

The Department of Health also announced last week that the Public Health Lab in Shoreline now has the capability to test for cases of COVID-19, expediting results.

“This means our state can respond quickly and effectively,” Inslee said. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus. Our health care professionals say the easiest way to do that is to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often, sanitize frequently touched surfaces and stay home when you’re sick. Preventing future cases will require the work of all of us.”

For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation, visit the Department of Health’s website. The Governor’s Office has also developed a partial list of resources to support economic retention and recovery related to COVID-19 coronavirus.

King County activates Emergency Operations Center for COVID-19 response

King County Executive Dow Constantine activated the King County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to the COVID-19 cases in King County to coordinate the work of cities across the region.

“This response is a collaborative effort between the federal, state and local governments,” said Executive Constantine. “The Emergency Operations Center will provide regional coordination in support of County and local operations for King County residents.”

The EOC will also coordinate with the Health and Medical Area Command under King County Public Health to ensure coordination at all levels of county government.

King County Metro has also established an Incident Management Team to develop policy recommendations, operational strategies, and protocols for sustaining Metro operations in all contingencies.

King County’s Department of Community and Human Services and Public Health are working with the County’s Facilities Management Division, which oversees all County properties, to explore options for people who are homeless who may need to rest and recover from any possible COVID-19 infections away from others in shelter locations.


The above are releases from the offices of Governor Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified their content, and encourages our readers to independently verify anything they feel is overly biased or questionable.

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