E-News

Rental, mortgage, and child care assistance

September 18th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

As we enter the fall still feeling the effects of the pandemic, state and local governments are stepping up assistance for people in need. If you need emergency help with food, housing, or other services, contact King County Crisis Connections (call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 877-211-9274). If you are in need of rental or mortgage assistance or child care, or you know someone who is, you can find information below about programs to help. In my next newsletter, I will provide information about assistance for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Child Care

For families facing new child care needs during the pandemic, Child Care Aware of Washington operates a free statewide referral line to connect families with vacant child care slots. Call 1-800-446-1114 or contact them here. The Working Connection Child Care program helps lower-income families and working parents pay for child care. When a family qualifies for benefits and selects an eligible child care provider, the state pays a portion of the cost. The City of Seattle also operates a local child care subsidy program for city residents.

Additionally, many of our local school districts are partnering with community organizations to provide low-cost child care while students are doing distance learning:

  • Federal Way Public Schools is partnering with Right At School to offer families who qualify for Free & Reduced Meals a 25% discount for high-quality, flexible 2020-21 school year child care.
  • Highline Public Schools is partnering with community organizations to provide fee-based child care at several sites. Fees will be charged on a sliding scale.
  • Kent School District is partnering with the YMCA and Champions to offer child care at select schools on weekdays, open to all KSD families for a weekly cost.
  • Renton School District is partnering with Right At School to provide fee-based child care for elementary school students at three sites across the district: Hazelwood, Maplewood Heights, and Sartori.
  • Seattle Public Schools is partnering with the City of Seattle and community organizations to provide full-day child care in nearly 50 elementary and K8 schools while buildings are closed for COVID-19.
  • Auburn School District and Tukwila School District provide information for local families, as well.

Rental Assistance

For people having trouble paying rent or facing eviction due to the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic, there are several sources of assistance. King County provides a wealth of information here, but several particular programs are worth highlighting.

The United Way of King County has expanded its rental assistance program to meet the increased need during the pandemic. One month of rental assistance is being offered to people in King County struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus.

Another source of rental assistance for residents of Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, SeaTac, or Tukwila is the Multi-Service Center’s Covid program. They accept a limited number of applications each week from households affected by the pandemic. Applications open on Sundays for the following week.

Finally, for people facing eviction, King County is participating in our state’s Eviction Rent Assistance program, which is funded by federal CARES Act dollars. If you are in need of assistance to forestall eviction, you can fill in a form online to be entered in the lottery pool. Drawings are held weekly, starting this week, to select tenants who may apply.

Mortgage Assistance

Homeowners who cannot pay their mortgage may have the right to temporary forbearance. The federal CARES Act provides protections for homeowners with federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). If you don’t have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer.

You can get assistance by contacting your mortgage servicer, or by calling the state Department of Financial Institutions at their toll-free number 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334) to learn how best to contact your mortgage servicer, and to learn more about your options.

In addition, if you would like to talk to a housing counselor, you can call the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME.

Stay in Touch

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser
Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Unemployment benefits and returning to work

July 9th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

As our economy reopens, many people who have been furloughed or temporarily let go will be asked to return to work. For anyone who has been collecting unemployment benefits, that can present challenges. The Employment Security Department (ESD) has just published information to help people navigate the return to work. Please share this with anyone you know who might be able to make use of it.

Under normal circumstances, anyone collecting unemployment benefits is required to look for work. This requirement has been suspended at least through August 1 by the governor and legislative leaders due to the coronavirus pandemic. ESD is revising the job search requirements so that when they are eventually reinstated, they will take into account our new normal of social distancing.

If you are collecting unemployment benefits and are offered work, under most circumstances, you cannot refuse that offer and continue to collect benefits. However, there are some exceptions if you have a “good cause” reason. These are determined by ESD on a case-by-case basis.

For example, some employers are offering workers their old jobs back but with reduced wages or hours. That kind of situation would be reviewed, and the wages being offered would be compared for prevailing wage rates in the area to determine if benefits could be continued.

If the job you are offered does not lend itself to telework, some examples of good cause reasons not to accept the offer of work include:

Even if you are denied regular unemployment benefits because you refused an offer of work, you may be eligible for federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance so long as the reason is that you are directly impacted by coronavirus. For example:

  • You must care for a child in your household who is unable to attend a school or daycare that has been closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You can’t get to work because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public-health emergency.

You can find more information on the ESD website:

  • The Refusal of Work page provides information about when someone can or cannot refuse an offer of work and retain unemployment benefits.
  • The Return to Work page provides information and links to resources for both employers and workers.

I also want you to know that the Employment Security Department is making significant progress on resolving claims for people who have been waiting several weeks for the benefits and in recovering the majority of the funds stolen by a criminal network of fraudsters.

I hope you and your family are managing during these difficult pandemic days. I think about how my mom managed during World War II when my father was in the Army for more than four years in every theater of war in North Africa, Italy and France.

The motto then still stands now: “We Can Do This!” Please stay safe, keep your distance, wear your mask and wash your hands.

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee

Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Mask Up for Phase 2

June 25th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

We have much to be proud of. Working together, we have slowed the spread of coronavirus. As we reopen our state’s economy, it’s important to exercise caution so that we can safely resume many of the activities of our daily lives. Now that King County has entered Phase 2, it’s all the more important to follow public health guidelines about hand washing, social distancing, and especially wearing face masks. You can read more below.

King County moves to Phase 2

In Phase 2, social gatherings may be held with five or fewer people outside your household. Restaurants can reopen at less than 50% capacity, and retailers at less than 30% capacity. Businesses must follow state guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. These include social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing cloth masks. You can read more about Phase 2 here, and you can find the guidelines for businesses and employees here.

Mask Up, Washington

Despite the progress we have made, we are seeing a worrisome uptick in coronavirus cases across Washington. Recent research suggests that one of the best ways to reduce transmission is by wearing cloth face masks. The masks protect other people from getting the virus from us when we talk, cough or sneeze.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still be a danger to others. Between 20% and 40% of people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms but can still spread the virus. Wearing masks in public places helps protect everyone you meet and is a crucial way to allow for safe reopening of economic activity.

That’s why the governor has issued a statewide mandate for mask-wearing in public. There are exemptions for people with health conditions, and there are times when you can remove your mask, like when eating at a restaurant. You also do not need to wear a mask when you are alone or only with the members of your household, or when you are outdoors and six feet from other people.

Until a vaccine or cure is developed, masks will be our best defense.

This mask rule is like the speed limits on our roads—it’s about preventing reckless behavior that can hurt others. We can all do our part to protect others!

Stay in Touch

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

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    E-News: Food Assistance for School Children, School Reopening Guidelines

E-News: Food Assistance for School Children, School Reopening Guidelines

June 11th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

Our schools perform many crucial functions in the community, from their core mission of education to providing nutritious meals for students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them. In this time of crisis, our schools are stepping up to make sure that school closures don’t mean that kids have to go hungry.

Pandemic Food Benefits

Because of the impact of the COVID pandemic, this summer, our state will help families with school children buy groceries. The benefit, Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is available to families with children who are eligible for schools’ free or reduced-price meal programs. P-EBT benefits do not replace any child nutrition programs already offered, and families are encouraged to continue participating in grab-n-go meals or emergency food programs at their local schools and community locations.

Most families who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as SNAP or Basic Food, and whose children already receive free or reduced-price meals do not need to apply. The P-EBT benefits – a one-time amount up to $399 per eligible child in each household – will be automatically deposited onto existing EBT cards in early July.

Other families, including those whose children attend a school where meals are free for all students, will need to apply for free or reduced-price meals with their school district before June 30. Once approved by their school district, these families can apply for P-EBT online at Washingtonconnection.org before August 31 or the start of the 2020-2021 school year—whichever is later. Families who need to apply or who have other questions about P-EBT benefits can call the DSHS Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Guidelines for Reopening Schools

The Superintendent of Public Schools has released a set of guidelines for safely reopening schools in the fall, including measures such as instituting health screenings, requiring cloth face masks for staff and students, increasing hygiene and social distancing precautions in school buildings, and cancelling classes and activities that aren’t conducive to distancing. You can read more about the guidelines here.

Beware of Email Fraud Scam

Recently, Washington State employees were the target of a phishing campaign. Similar tricks may be used to target others.

The fraudsters are sending fake Secure Access Washington (SAW) emails in an attempt to trick individuals into providing their account credentials.

In the example above, users are being told they have 24 hours to correct inaccurate information or their SAW account will be restricted. SAW administrators will never send users an email asking for validation of account details. Do not click on the links in the email or reply to it.

Stay in Touch

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-news: An open letter to the people of Washington

June 5th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

I am profoundly moved by the events of the past ten days, and am staying in touch with all our communities in the 33rd legislative district to hear concerns about police agencies and constituent complaints. I have been reassured with what I have heard so far. I am continuing to connect with our local communities to learn what steps we can take to improve police accountability and security for all our neighbors.

The Senate Democratic Caucus leadership has sent this open letter to the people of Washington state on behalf of the entire caucus:

The Senate Democratic Caucus – fully recognizing that our own state Senate lacks the voice of even a single Black legislator, a voice that needs to ground us today and always – stands with our Black neighbors throughout Washington as we grieve together the violent and unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis and too many others, at the hands of law enforcement.

A history of systemic and institutionalized racism and violence leveled against our Black neighbors has manifested in days of protests around our grieving country, including here at home. As the Senate Democratic Caucus, we unequivocally stand with those who are raising their voices in pain, anger and hope to make demands for substantive change.

We are moved by the love and grief displayed over the life and death of George Floyd that has mobilized so many of every background, some for the first time. Though our state and country face a moment of deep pain and renewed trauma, we are also witness to a pivotal moment of potential historic change in public policy; one with an opportunity to craft equitable and compassionate laws that serve all of us.

We recognize that the power to make substantive change lies with us, the policymakers. We recognize this power to make substantive change should have been wielded long ago. We recognize that Black, Indigenous and brown lives have been disproportionately subjected to police brutality in addition to the merciless cycle of incarceration. We are committed to changing these broken institutions.

Our agenda will be shaped by the community. We are committed to listening and working alongside Black leaders and organizers. Their ideas and their solutions to these issues will be elevated so that we may respond to their call for action. Successful efforts toward change have always had their origins at the local level. We are listening.

Know that we grieve with you, stand united in your call for justice and promise to work with you in these next crucial steps toward real change.

On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus,

Sen. Andy Billig
Majority Leader
Sen. Manka Dhingra
Deputy Majority Leader
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
Deputy Majority Leader

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

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    E-news: SharedWork can avert layoffs, keep businesses afloat

E-news: SharedWork can avert layoffs, keep businesses afloat

June 2nd, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

Anyone who owns or works for a Washington business that’s hit by the economic effects of the pandemic should consider using our state’s SharedWork program. It’s a way for small-to-medium-sized businesses to retain employees while decreasing costs. And it’s a way for employees to receive unemployment benefits that can largely offset their decreased pay. This is a true win-win program for businesses and employees.

SharedWork is a solution for businesses that need to open more slowly with reduced capacity and who want to provide their employees with an incentive to return. The program allows businesses to reduce the hours of their staff by 10% to 50%. Their employees will receive unemployment benefits for a partial wage replacement against those reduced hours.

Each employee on SharedWork will receive the wages for the hours they work, their calculated weekly benefit amount, and an additional $600 per week through the end of July.

The program is not just for private businesses. More than 200 employees of the City of Renton have been using SharedWork to save the city money and save jobs. It’s a partnership that helps keep workers connected to their employers and helps employers retain their employees.

You can find more information at https://esd.wa.gov/SharedWork.

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

 

E-news: Be on alert for fraudulent unemployment claims

May 20th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

During the pandemic, it’s important to be on alert—this crisis has led to a rash of fraudulent unemployment claims filed with the Washington Employment Security Department.

Fraudsters file these claims in innocent people’s names using data they have stolen from corporate data breaches, not from the Employment Security Department. ESD paused payments for two days last week to combat this fraud.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of false websites. If you apply for unemployment benefits, use only ESD’s official website: esd.wa.gov.
  • Applying for unemployment benefits is free. ESD will never ask for a payment to process your claim.
  • Be wary of solicitors asking for your personal information online or by phone. ESD will only ask you for information through official correspondence and through your ESD eServices account. If they call you, you can ask the agents to identify themselves.

If you get a letter from ESD referencing an unemployment claim number, but you did not file a claim:

  • Report the fraud here.
  • You can also try calling 800-246-9763.
  • Contact the human resources department at your employer.

If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft:

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-news: Coronavirus economic assistance

May 15th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

This pandemic has brought tough times for all of us—most especially those who have lost loved ones. At the same time, many people are suffering from its indirect economic effects. That’s why I see it as my job to pass on to you information that can help you use the benefits that our state provides, as well as listen to your concerns and help you address them.

I am so sorry that our Employment Security Department was overwhelmed with the tens of thousands of claims that have been filed over the last few weeks. They are catching up on thousands of complicated claims, and have cut the backlog in half.  Please know that the unemployment insurance trust fund remains solvent, so the benefits will be paid eventually. I know many of you are struggling while waiting for your benefits.

You can always contact my office using the information at the bottom of this email. Here are some updates on benefits that may help you or someone you know.

Unemployment Insurance

Here’s some information from the Employment Security Department to help obtain the full benefits you are eligible for.

  1. File your claims every week. Many people who are eligible and qualify for benefits haven’t filed weekly claims. If you’ve already applied for unemployment benefits but have not yet filed a weekly claim, be sure to file your weekly claim and check this information first before doing so.
  2. Apply for expanded benefits. If you applied for regular benefits but were ineligible, you may still be eligible for the new expanded benefit called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Check out this guide before you apply.
  3. Answer the phone. The Employment Security Department (ESD) team members are reaching out and calling people to resolve their cases.
  4. Check your spam filter for emails and check your e-services account for notes from ESD asking for information.
  5. If you’re new to making a claim, these prep materials may help.
  6. If you refused an offer of work, you need to state why. While it’s possible you’ll no longer be eligible for benefits, you may still be eligible if you still have a COVID-19 reason why you are unable to go into the workplace, such as kids home from a school that’s closed due to COVID-19, or a COVID-19-vulnerable member of your household. Here’s more.
  7. Rest assured: the money will not run out and benefits will be paid retroactive to the date of eligibility. Even if you return to work, you’ll be able to receive benefits for the weeks for which you were eligible.

At this point, 810,000 people (or one of every five working Washingtonians) have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of this crisis. Of those, two thirds have received payments, but there are 57,000 people still waiting for their claims to be adjudicated.

If you’ve applied and your claim is in adjudication, ESD has launched Operation 100% to process the claims in the adjudication queue. Here’s their webpage with more information.

Imposter Fraud: If your identity has been compromised in the last few years through one of the huge data breaches at various corporations, it’s possible that your name and data could be used for a fraudulent unemployment insurance claim. If you suspect this has happened to you, this page on ESD’s site has the information you need to report it.

Workers’ compensation

  • Many people are asking whether exposure to COVID-19 on the job is grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. Under certain circumstances, claims by health care providers and first responders may be allowed. Some other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • To file a claim, go to the Department of Labor & Industries’ FileFast tool, call 1-877-561-3453 (FILE), or talk to your doctor.
  • If you already have a claim but are hindered from following through on appointments or other elements by COVID-19, see the answers to more questions here.

Worker safety

  • Employers must ensure social distancing for employees and customers, as well as providing for frequent and adequate employee hand-washing.
  • Sick employees must be allowed to stay home.
  • Employers must also provide basic workplace hazard education about the coronavirus and how to prevent transmission — in languages best understood by employees.
  • Industry-specific rules are online on the LNI website

Safe Start phased reopening

The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has been extended through May 31. And he has introduced a phased reopening plan to chart a careful path to reopening that balances our public health with our economic health. We are all hoping that this plan will not result in a huge increase in deaths or illnesses from COVID-19.  It’s important to maintain strict discipline and standards during this awful pandemic. I consider it to be something like a war, and our public health standards are our first defense.  We are all in this together!

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: COVID-19 – What to do, who to call

April 1st, 2020|

Dear neighbors,

These days I am heeding the experts’ advice to stay home and stay healthy – and I hope you are too. Our state and our nation are losing precious lives to this virus, but hopefully the worst days are behind us. Let’s all do our part and get through this safely!

Please do what our health experts advise.

  • Maintain a distance of six feet or more from others.
  • If you are 60 years old or older, or have an underlying medical condition, you should self-isolate.
  • Re-think all daily routines and eliminate interaction that is not essential. As inconvenient as this is, our behavior could mean a life-and-death difference for those most vulnerable to the virus.
  • Be there for your family, friends, neighbors and anyone else you think might need help or reassurance. We can keep our distance physically and still be there for each other emotionally by calling, texting or emailing.

If you suspect you may have coronavirus:

  • Call your doctor – do not go to the hospital. Your doctor will make an assessment about next steps, and many are using telehealth options. If you require a COVID-19 test, your doctor will contact public health officials to arrange a test.
  • If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the state Department of Health call center at 800-525-0127. You can also call this number if you have general questions about COVID-19 or the state’s response. Phone lines are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, with interpreters available.
  • Recognizing the serious threat of coronavirus, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through April 8. Call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The state Insurance Commissioner has required all insurance plans to cover coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization requirement for people who meet the CDC criteria for testing. The commissioner has also required insurance plans to allow enrollees to refill their prescriptions early one time in order to maintain an adequate supply. You can find more insurance updates at this link.

Know your unemployment options.

  • The state offers a range of unemployment assistance to employers and employees, such as reduced or subsidized work schedules and benefits, but not everyone knows about them.
  • If an employer has had to temporarily shut down operations, for example, workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits and the employer may receive relief of benefit costs. If workers are asked to isolate or quarantine by a doctor or health official, they may receive unemployment benefits while they are temporarily away from work. And the Legislature has waived the requirement that people in this situation must be actively searching for work.
  • Washington has made it faster for those who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to receive unemployment insurance. See if you qualify here.
  • In addition, other state agencies are also taking action to help people and businesses disrupted by the pandemic, adjusting resources to address our current extraordinary circumstances. You can access a broader list of resources here.

Where to find the most useful information and updates:

As the scope and nature of the pandemic evolves from day to day, so does the available information and advice. You can sign up for email updates from the state Department of Health here, and you can also check the links below for updates.

  • WA’s COVID-19 portal is your one-stop shop for all information related to Covid-19 and is constantly being updated here.
  • Statewide statistics: This map has up-to-date statistics on the outbreak in Washington state.
  • Other languages: Fact sheets about coronavirus are available in 15 languages here.
  • Schools: Do you have questions about school closures? The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is continuously updating information here.
  • Essential business list: Got questions about whether your job or business is considered essential during the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy” order? Find your answer here.
  • Personal protective equipment: Washington is seeking to fill shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gowns, and gloves to support our medical system, first responders, public health facilities. Learn how you can help here.
  • Emergency volunteer health practitioners: Did you know? Health practitioners who are licensed in other states can help in Washington. Learn how here.

These are challenging times, but I am confident we are up to the challenge. The key now is to be patient, be careful and stay healthy.

We will see this through together,

E-News: Coronavirus – steps the state is taking to help

March 12th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

The Legislature is taking this health crisis extremely seriously. We quickly appropriated $100 million to fund our state’s response, including monitoring, testing and support for local health departments.

To minimize public health risk, Governor Inslee has prohibited most large events of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and Public Health — Seattle & King County has issued health and safety guidelines that must be followed by the organizers of smaller public gatherings.

State agencies have announced measures to help people and businesses whose lives are disrupted. The governor’s office has assembled a central list of resources here. Below are some of the most important changes that can help you.

Worker and employer assistance

  • If an employer temporarily shuts down operations because of coronavirus, workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits and the employer may receive relief of benefit costs.
  • If workers are exposed to coronavirus and asked to isolate or quarantine by a doctor or health official, they may receive unemployment benefits while they are temporarily away from work. A bill passed recently by the Legislature waives the requirement that people in this situation must be actively searching for work.
  • If workers fall seriously ill and are forced to quit, they cannot collect unemployment benefits while they are seriously ill but may be eligible once they recover and are able and available for work.
  • If employers file their tax reports late, pay their taxes late, or miss deadlines as a result of coronavirus, the penalties have been made more lenient.

Health care coverage 

  • In response to the spread of coronavirus, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through April 8. You can call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Insurance assistance 

  • The Insurance Commissioner has required all insurance plans to cover coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization requirement for people who meet the CDC criteria for testing.
  • He has also required insurance plans to allow enrollees to refill their prescriptions early one time in order to maintain an adequate supply.

School updates

Several schools around the state, including some in Kent, have closed, but many remain open. This is a quickly moving situation, and the latest updates will be reflected on individual school websites or here.

Protect your health and your loved ones

First of all, if someone you know has a fever and non-acute respiratory distress, they should call their doctor – not go to the clinic or hospital. Symptoms to watch for are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The best preparations are to prevent infection with simple yet effective actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (singing happy birthday twice).
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, sleeve or tissue (not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bump elbows with friends rather than giving hugs or handshakes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Use hand sanitizers when unable to wash your hands.

If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the King County coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 or the Washington State Department of Health call center at 1-800-525-0127.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore