Emergency Manager's 3/24 Report to Council on COVID-19

Release Date: March 24, 2020

Report to Sammamish City Council on COVID-19

by Andrew Stevens – Emergency Manager, Eastside Fire & Rescue

On March 3rd, I provided the City Council with a preliminary report on the rapidly developing Coronavirus, or COVID-19, situation. At that time there were 27 positive cases throughout the State. As of today, the number of positive cases across the state is almost 2,500.

For weeks now, the City of Sammamish has been widely promoting, and complying with, the recommendations of public health agencies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The City has implemented a robust tele-work program which has allowed for the continuation of nearly all organizational functions while allowing for roughly 85% of city staff to work remotely. Every City department has thoroughly revised a continuity of operations plan identifying mission essential functions, succession plans, and delegations of authority which ensures critical government services will continue throughout this pandemic.

The City of Sammamish has also developed a COVID-19 information and resource hub for our residents. That hub is linked on the top of the City website or available directly by visiting connect.sammamish.us

The Connect Sammamish COVID-19 site is the City’s central point for sharing information and news relating to the pandemic, current public health recommendations, and a host of economic, utility, mental health, and emergency preparedness resources. Through Connect Sammamish, residents can also ask questions to staff and share stories of community resiliency.

Yesterday, the Governor issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which requires everyone to stay at home except when:

  • Pursuing an essential activity, such as shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.
  • Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).
  • Going to work at an essential business, or
  • Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing is maintained.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and other businesses identified as essential services will remain open.

All gatherings of people for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes are prohibited. This includes playdates for children, dinner parties, going to church, even funerals. By tomorrow evening, all non-essential businesses must also close, however, those who can operate remotely should continue to do so.

I would like to take a moment now to urge all Sammamish residents to comply with these orders, and all other public health recommendations, and to reiterate why their compliance is so critically important.

According to the World Health Organization, the speed of which Coronavirus is spreading is accelerating. It took 67 days from the first reported case of COVID-19 to reach 100,000 cases, only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, four days for the third, and just 3 days for the number to now rise to over 400,000 cases globally. Unless drastic actions are taken to stop the spread of this virus, our medical systems will quickly be overwhelmed, a large percentage of the global population will get sick, and many will die.

The exemptions provided under the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order should not be taken advantage of, and you should not be looking for opportunities to leave your home.

Just because grocery stores remain open does not mean that you should heading to the store daily. If a recipe calls for an ingredient and you don’t have it, make do with what you have. Similarly, don’t run to a hardware store because you would like to take advantage of home isolation and paint your bathroom. Limit your trips to only those that are essential.

This is not only to protect yourself and your family from additional opportunities of exposure, but to protect the front-line workers who are keeping these essential services going.  Parents, if your children are still gathering socially throughout the City and in neighborhoods, it is time to step up and enforce these regulations at home.

The definition of integrity is doing the right thing even when no one else is watching. Governments will not be able to regulate away the risk posed by this virus.

The importance of whole-community compliance cannot be understated, and that begins with every individual.

I urge all residents to support one another through the entirety of this incident, to be a good example, and to not put others at risk.

Thank you.