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posted Friday, October 16, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 42
Durkan Digest: We must keep leading the way on COVID-19
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Durkan Digest: We must keep leading the way on COVID-19

SEATTLE (October 9, 2020) - In this unprecedented year, COVID-19 has forever altered our city. While we were an original epicenter of the virus, the actions that each of us are choosing to take are literally saving lives.

As reported by the Seattle Times this week, Seattle is recording the lowest cases of COVID-19 compared to the top 30 other major cities with currently available data. In addition, our city has some of the lowest hospitalization rates and death in the country.

Seattle is leading the country in our response to COVID-19 because of the continued actions of Seattle's residents and businesses. We must continue our actions, because in recent weeks we have seen an increase in cases across King County and the state. In the last 14 days, our city has seen 492 cases, 16 hospitalizations, and 8 deaths.

Unlike the other Washington, every step of the way, our local officials, residents, and businesses have understood how dangerous and deadly COVID-19 is to our community. Our community believes in practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings, washing their hands, and limiting their gatherings. Most of our businesses have modified their business models to transform into safer establishments to minimize the risk to both employees and customers. When individuals believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel sick, they can visit our free citywide testing sites, which have now surpassed 250,000 tests (more on that below).

There continues to be no national leadership on the COVID-19 crisis or recognition of basic scientific facts. We are not taking our leadership cues from a White House whose actions continue to put at risk the lives of so many.

To address both the public health crisis and economic crisis, I continue to listen and learn from other cities. In the early days of the virus, many cities like New York City did not act quickly enough and saw an astonishing surge in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. We have now seen that many cities have reopened too quickly, leading to a dramatic increase in cases.

Here's what we know: seven months into the crisis, Seattle has the lowest cumulative cases of the top 30 major cities in the US. Seattle also has the lowest hospitalizations per resident and the second lowest deaths per resident.

Across the country, there are now 7.6 million cases and 213,000 deaths. Many individuals have been hospitalized. We must never forget that these loved ones are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends. Many families could not be with their loved ones in their final days or mourn their losses. Ultimately, we are taking actions locally to protect our friends and family while preventing our health care system from being overwhelmed.

COVID-19 will continue to be in our community until there is a vaccine or proven treatments. We need to continue to be vigilant and continue our efforts to save lives. The actions of individuals who ignore public health guidance will hurt the health and well-being of our friends, families, and community. In this challenging year, let's continue to prove to the country and the other Washington that science prevails and saves lives.

As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we're doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.

City of Seattle free testing sites administer 250,000 total tests - so far
The City of Seattle continues to lead the way in our COVID-19 response with widespread free testing across the city. Our existing testing sites are testing thousands of individuals each day, and have administered 250,000 tests since opening in June.

Under the leadership of Chief Scoggins, we have pioneered innovative testing programs that have been replicated across the state and country. In the initial days of the crisis, the City of Seattle created a site to test first responders exposed to COVID-19 and deployed our firefighters to test seniors and workers at long-term care facilities, where the virus had spread rapidly due to the lack of testing.

Testing at these City of Seattle sites is free, so if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a family member or individual with COVID-19, please visit www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19/covid-19-testing to get tested.

Courtesy of Mayor Jenny Durkan

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