• Bellevue takes emergency precautions on COVID-19

    Published March 4 2020

    With the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in King County continuing to rise, Mayor Lynne Robinson has signed a proclamation of emergency that allows the City of Bellevue to act quickly should the outbreak spread to residents here.

    There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bellevue as of Wednesday, March 4, but the emergency proclamation streamlines the city’s process for procuring equipment, supplies and services that might be needed if large numbers of residents and/or city staff contract the illness.  

    “While the direct impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has fortunately been minimal in Bellevue so far, we recognize that all our regional communities are key in slowing the spread of the virus,” Mayor Robinson said Wednesday. “We are committed to sharing accurate, timely information about COVID-19 from our health experts to help community members stay educated about the facts, know the proper steps to take to limit virus exposure risks and take smart, practical actions as we navigate this together.” 

    Mayor Robinson also urged residents to support individuals who have chosen to self-quarantine. 

    Public Health – Seattle & King County announced in a news conference Wednesday that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County rose to 31, up from 21 on Tuesday. One person died Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to nine. 

    While a majority of the cases are tied to a Kirkland long-term care center, public health workers are monitoring more than 200 people in King County who could have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in various ways. Public Health issued new recommendations Wednesday, presented below.

    Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for Washington on Feb. 29; King County Executive Dow Constantine signed a proclamation of emergency for the county on March 1. 

    Based on Public Health’s latest guidance to postpone gatherings, the city will be reviewing upcoming events and possibly rescheduling. Specific updates to the community will follow. City Hall will be open to tomorrow and essential services, including Fire and Police, will continue uninterrupted. Residents are encouraged to use online city resources when appropriate.    

    Individuals can do their part to stem the spread of the coronavirus by washing their hands often, staying home when they’re sick and calling the doctor rather than going to a hospital if they have symptoms such as cough or fever. Older people, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are strongly advised to avoid crowds.

    If you do call 911, police officers or firefighters may respond wearing personal protective gear such as masks. This protective equipment is important for medical and emergency response crews working in close proximity to sick patients, but is not recommended for those in the general public who are healthy. A video explains the policy and offers instructions on how residents can avoid spreading illness.

    Public Health Recommendations

    • People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include those:
      • 60 and older
      • with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes
      • who have weakened immune systems
      • who are pregnant
    • Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness
    • If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.
    • Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time unless there has been a confirmed case in the school. Public Health – Seattle & King County also respects an individual school’s decisions about closures or postponement of activities as each school knows the needs of their community best.
    • People should not go out when they are sick. 
    • Avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.