Updated March 21. Previous updates here.
Renton and COVID-19— cancelations and what to know:
Coronavirus pandemic is here in Renton, straining hospitals and grocery stores, shutting down events and starting a string of layoffs. But in this time, everyone has a role they can play to help slow the spread to high risk neighbors, including staying home when possible, washing hands and avoiding touching the face.
“We all have people in our lives who are high-risk. We all are one mishap away from needing access to a functioning hospital. We all have a lot at stake,” Public Health – Seattle King County states on the new guidelines.
“Giving up social events will not be easy, and the impacts on businesses and jobs may be significant. But this is our best chance to save lives. It is in support of the most vulnerable in our community, and a protection for everyone. The more united we can be in preventing the spread – be in this together – the greater the benefit for the whole community.”
The illness is a new virus strain spreading from person-to-person, and has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in elderly folks or those with underlying medical conditions, but most who get it have mild symptoms, with a fever, cough and shortness of breath, or asymptomatic. In most viruses like this children are also more vulnerable, but this coronavirus does not seem to impact kids disproportionately.
Right now, health experts believe it is shared through respiratory coughs or droplets and close contact (within about six feet for about 10 minutes). Symptoms have also appeared in those with it anywhere from two to 14 days after coming into contact. There are no medicines or vaccines currently available specifically for the coronavirus.
Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider and call the public health call center between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 206-477-3977. For general questions about coronavirus, call 1-800-525-0127 and press # for next steps. Unless it is an emergency, do not go to an emergency room without calling ahead so they can take steps to provide you with the right treatment and protect others from a possible exposure. Those who are sick should stay home.
Public Health is also strongly advising those in high risk categories (60-plus, with underlying health conditions, have weakened immune systems, or are pregnant) stay home and away from large groups as much as possible (considered more than 10 people), and asking everyone else who is able to do the same. As of Wednesday, March 18 Public Health states there are 562 confirmed cases and 56 deaths, 35 of which are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland.
King County announced Friday, March 20 the closure of playgrounds, sport courts, picnic shelters and other areas of Seattle and King County parks where social distancing is hard to maintain. Ballfields and playfields are open “for walking and other non-team activities.” Renton then followed with similar closures Saturday, March 21.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday, March 18 imposed a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants, saying no person should be forced from their home as the COVID-19 outbreak worsens. He’s also
A major unemployment crisis is unfolding after Inslee, like other governors, this week ordered the closure of many businesses and imposed restrictions on others, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Inslee’s temporary ban of evictions is one of several steps the state is taking to provide a lifeline to residents and businesses.
All gatherings with more than 50 people are prohibited in Washington state beginning Monday, March 16. Gov. Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The order doesn’t apply to restaurants, which are able to provide take-out and delivery services, but in-person dining will be prohibited. Additionally, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.
Other retail outlets need to reduce their occupancy if they wish to stay open. This includes places like hardware stores, shopping centers, banks and gas stations. All gatherings of less than 50 people are only allowed if they meet public health criteria around cleaning and social distancing.
The state has also closed all public and private schools for six weeks. Renton School District has resources during cancellation here. Renton Technical Colleges is moving some classes to online and has updates at rtc.edu.
City of Renton
In the city of Renton, all playgrounds, sport courts, picnic shelters, ball fields and other areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve.
Within the city, Mayor Armondo Pavone signed an emergency proclamation and has moved employees who are able to telecommuting. On Monday, March 16 he announced all city facilities are closed until further notice with the exception of in-custody court hearings that still require a health screening. On Tuesday, March 18 Pavone announced an emergency order that lifts the noise restrictions on vehicles so retailers can receive deliveries or stock at night, something needed as stock flies off the shelves in many grocery stores.
The Renton Senior Activity Center drop-in lunch program now has sack lunches instead of a hot lunch. They will be available for drive through pick-up only, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
City council is exploring ways to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the community during a discussion on March 23. They are teleconferencing for council meeting and have cancelled all subcommittees.
Renton Police Department has closed its lobby, but the walk-up window outside city hall is still open.
The Renton Responds app now links to the city’s information page on the coronavirus. The city on it’s daily updates webpage also offers a King County Council compilation of resources for unemployment to food assistance, available here.
Despite the closures from certain parts of Renton parks, you can still practice safe social distancing outside walking in natural areas, fields and trails to get some fresh spring air.
Know of more event cancelations and facility closures in the Renton area due to novel coronavirus? Let the reporter know at firstname.lastname@example.org.