On second thought

On second thought

In last week’s blog I mentioned our intention to file an application with the state Department of Health to enter Phase 2.5 of the Governor’s Safe Start Order.

That was then, and this is now.

Since that blog was posted, we’ve seen a concerning number of new cases with a steady increase.  We now exceed the stated target of 25 or fewer cases per 100,000 residents – our total as of June 30 was 46.0.  This trend is similar to what we are seeing in Snohomish and King counties.

The good news is we are testing more widely, we have teams out investigating and notifying folks when they test positive or are close to someone who has tested positive, and so far, our COVID hospitalizations are not increasing.

Suffice it to say that we’re not going to 2.5 soon.  And, I know that our community is disappointed and frustrated.  I am, too.

We want to get our community back to “normal” as soon as possible, but it must be done safely and responsibly.  Restarting our economy and helping the many struggling families and businesses that are barely hanging on is a priority.  But above all we don’t want to relax the requirements too quickly and then move backwards.  Since we are still learning more about the coronavirus, there is no perfect plan for combatting it.

This weekend, we will be celebrating the Fourth of July – our nation’s birth – albeit in a socially distanced manner. This holiday gives us a chance to reflect on all our nation has been through, both good and bad.

It’s important to remember that many of our parents and grandparents have been through much worse than COVID.  Many saw two world wars and a Great Depression. Some survived the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed an estimated 50 million people around the world.  If you are looking for an excellent book and some historical perspective, I recommend “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” by John Barry (http://www.johnmbarry.com/). Our family members faced terrible challenges and they would expect us to show the same determination, grit and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good as they did.

So, let’s all mask up and encourage our friends and family members to do so, too.

I look forward to when we will enter Phase 3 and return to in-person service for our residents. While Phase 3 won’t happen in the next couple of weeks, our courts will start expanding its operations on Monday, July 6.

For weeks, the courts have held virtual hearings for a variety of situations, including bail hearings and arraignments.  In fact, they’ve used a live courtroom feed to keep all parties informed and involved.  You can watch it here.

Starting Monday, jury trials for Superior Court will resume at the CCB. They are calling 120 jurors for the first case and will hold voir dire at The Armory to allow for social distancing. As a result, those of you who work or visit the CCB will start seeing more people than we’ve been used to encountering in recent weeks.

Our Facilities Management team has been preparing for this increased activity for some time.  You can learn more about what they’re doing to keep us and our residents safe in this video:

That’s it, for now.  I’ll keep you posted as our rapidly changing environment continues to adapt and evolve.

In the meantime, I hope you have a fun, safe and socially distanced Fourth!