At least two of the confirmed COVID-19 cases originated from the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland. Samantha Pak/Sound Publishing

At least two of the confirmed COVID-19 cases originated from the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland. Samantha Pak/Sound Publishing

State steps up response to coronavirus outbreak

Public health officials ask WA Legislature for $100 million.

By Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service

Public health officials asked the Washington State Legislature for $100 million for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman said March 2 that the state is 42 days into its response to the outbreak and there have been 18 confirmed cases of the virus in King and Snohomish counties.

By Monday morning, six people were reported dead of the virus in the Western Washington counties.

According to Wiesman, 231 people were under public health supervision as of Monday for displaying symptoms.

Wiesman said this is a “very dynamic situation, moving very quickly,” and right now the focus is on slowing the spread of the virus so the already strained health care systems can keep up.

Recently the Centers for Disease Control has developed a testing kit that allows for one-day results.

Wiesman says the state has the capacity to test about 100 people a day using the kits, but expects up to 5 million tests to be available nationwide in the coming weeks.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, pointed out that each testing kit currently costs $2,500.

Wiesman said local health departments are on the front lines of the issue. He said localities are covering the cost with the expectation of being reimbursed in the future. He said about $3.5 million has been spent in response to the viral outbreak so far.

Wiesman said projected costs of the outbreak are difficult to predict because officials still do not know how long the outbreak will last.

Wiesman requested $100 million in the next biennium for the public health system and to help increase hospital capacity in the event of an infection surge.

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, proposed Senate Bill 6696 on Monday, hours before the fiscal cutoff, which would grant the $100 million requested for outbreak response from the state’s emergency “rainy day fund.”

“A public health crisis is exactly the kind of event that justifies dipping into the ‘rainy day fund,’” O’Ban said via written statement. “We want to act quickly to make sure response and recovery efforts are not delayed by a lack of funding.”

Wiesman says data is still being collected and studied by health experts to understand how the disease spreads, but he said the coronavirus has on average a five-day incubation period between when the virus is contracted and when symptoms appear.

Wiesman said the elderly, extremely young and those with underlying health issues will be the most adversely affected populations, similar to influenza.

He also said the virus can live on surfaces, and with perfect temperature and humidity conditions, could live on a surface for a few days. This raises the risk of port workers contracting the virus from an item or surface shipped from overseas.

Jaime Bodden, managing director at Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials, said the state’s response will have to be coordinated between local, tribal, state and federal agencies and health departments.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction reported at least 14 schools that are temporarily closed due to outbreak concerns.

“We can succeed in this if we make our decisions based off of calm confidence that is based on science and rational thought,” Gov. Jay Inslee said at a press conference Monday.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot
King County weather: Dec. 3-5

Here is your King County area weather forecast for Dec. 3-5, 2021.… Continue reading

Keith Wagoner
Senator becomes first GOP candidate for secretary of state

Sen. Keith Wagoner will challenge Democrat Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the statewide post in November

The Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center is located at 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
FEMA to send mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit to Western Washington

The mobile site is set to open Dec. 20 in Federal Way; additional locations to come.

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Washington health officials discuss response to new COVID variant

Things will be handled with Omicron variant similar to the Delta variant.

Aftermath of crash at intersection of NE Woodinville Duvall Road and West Snoqualmie Valley Road (Screenshot from King County Sheriff's Office Facebook account)
Teen walks away from horrible crash in rural East King County

First responders found the overturned and crushed vehicle abandoned near Duvall.

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Redmond Mayor Angela Birney (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon (courtesy of City of Redmond)
Newly renovated Westside Park now open to public

The park includes new amenities such as walking trails, sports courts and a zip line.

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

Most Read