Dear Friends, 

While our rates of vaccination against COVID-19 continue to rise in Washington, and across the country, we’re also seeing a rise in total cases, as well as hospitalizations. The most important thing that we can do as individuals to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those around us is to get vaccinated, but additional steps must be taken to protect our communities.

With that in mind, last week Governor Inslee amended the Washington Ready Order, which was originally issued in February of 2020, to prohibit government agencies or officials, and landlords from preventing people or businesses from imposing requirements for face masks or requiring proof of vaccination from a worker, customer, or any other person.

Governor Inslee also issued a new proclamation allowing long-term care facilities to transfer or discharge residents, acting as a safety measure to protect COVID-negative residents from coming in contact with residents who have tested positive.

Meanwhile, just yesterday President Biden put into place new federal vaccine requirements that will mandate employers with more than 100 workers require their employees be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly.

The President is also requiring vaccination for executive branch employees and contractors who work with the federal government – without the option to test instead.

These strong steps towards vaccinating more Americans are necessary as we watch our case rates rise from coast to coast. By far the most effective way that any one of us can make a difference in this pandemic is to get vaccinated, and if you haven’t already, I would strongly encourage you to go out and get your shot.

If you need more information about the vaccines or where to receive one, the Department of Health has a dedicated web page here.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.  

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Weekly Trivia! 

The Seahawks are set to kickoff their new season on Sunday! What year did they join the NFL as an expansion team?

Hospital Capacity and Crisis Standards of Care

As COVID-19 rates continue to rise across the country – and right here in Washington – our hospitals and health care providers are being put under a tremendous amount of stress. We’re seeing hospitalization rates reach new highs, and those working on the frontlines to help our sick recover are working tirelessly to protect as many people as they can.

While this has gone on, there has been some discussion and concern around hospital capacity and crisis standards of care, particularly as our hospitals fill up with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

The Washington State Department of Health recently released a statement laying out their standards and practices moving forward. I want to share a part of their statement with you today:

“DOH has adopted and plans to use the ethical framework developed by the National Academy of Medicine, which stresses the importance of an ethically grounded system to guide decision-making in a crisis standards of care situation. It also defines surges capacity within the healthcare systems, during normal operations and disaster operations, as a continuum: from conventional to contingency and finally crisis. The goal is to prevent ever having to utilize crisis standards of care anywhere in Washington.”

Our Department of Health has consistently done a tremendous job in protecting Washingtonians throughout this pandemic, and I have every faith that they will continue to make the right decisions about protecting those who become sick enough to need hospital care.

While this is all important, it is worth reiterating that the most effective thing you can do to prevent the need for any sort of crisis care is to get vaccinated. The overwhelming majority of hospitalization cases of COVID-19 are among the unvaccinated, and you can protect yourself and your loved ones by receiving one of the vaccines.

If you need more information about the vaccines or where to receive one, the Department of Health has a dedicated web page here.

Happy Labor Day!

As we pass and acknowledge the end of summer with our Labor Day celebrations this past Monday, I’d like to take a moment on this Fantastic Friday to thank all of the incredible workers who have done so much for our communities, and for our state.

Thank you all so much for the work that you do, and thank you for your continued support as I work on your behalf in Olympia!

Rep. Lekanoff with LiUNA members in 2019

Thank you to Trevor Smith and everyone over at LiUNA for always standing by my side and supporting me – in both of my campaigns! Thank you to IAM Local 751, the American Federation of Teachers, the Washington State Nurses Association, and all of the other labor groups and unions that have supported me over the years!

I will always work on your behalf, doing everything in my power to help keep jobs secure and strengthen workers’ rights. Thank you for always keeping our communities going and growing.

New Funding for Affordable Housing

Earlier this week, the Washington State Department of Commerce announced they will be awarding $39.1 million in grants to five projects aimed at helping address the homeless crisis across the state.

The projects will help by acquiring 307 housing units that will be turned around quickly and made available to people with low incomes or who are experiencing homelessness. The recipients of the grants are:

  • City of Vancouver Housing Authority – $5.1 million to provide 62  shelter units at Bertha’s Place in Clark County.
  • King County – $8.9 million to provide 84 shelter units in the Federal Way Red Lion Inn.
  • Low Income Housing Institute – Three projects located in King County: 
    • $10.89 million for 69 permanent supportive housing units at the 225 Harvard Apartments
    • $8.39 million for 58 permanent supportive housing units at the Boylston Apartments
    • $5.76 million for 34 permanent supportive housing units at the 506 10thApartments

This is an issue that is very close to my heart, and I am glad to see such strong action being taken to support those in our communities that need help the most. Everyone should have a safe and affordable place to live, and that is something I will always work for.

September is Eat Local Month!

September is Eat Local Month! Once again Sustainable Connections is highlighting ways to enjoy local food in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties as a way to connect people to place.

Eating local helps to support our local food growers and producers, as well as keeps our money in our local economy, supporting our communities and small businesses along the way! Not to mention you’ll be reducing your environmental impact – food from nearby has a significantly lower impact than what you find at the grocery store.

You can join Sustainable Connections on social media (@eatlocalfirstnw)

 to learn more about farmlands, seas, markets, and restaurants of Northwest Washington, and you can find more information about Eat Local Month on their website here.

Personally, I’m very excited to follow along with Sustainable Connections, and to eat locally this month! It really is a great way to support our communities, support our environment, and get to know our own backyards!

Madrona Institute Advisory Council

Friends, the final thing that I would like to share with you today is some exciting news about a recent appointment that I have accepted!

Earlier this week it was my pleasure to happily accept an appointment to serve on the Madrona Institute Advisory Council! The Madrona Institute is based in the San Juan Islands, and has worked tirelessly for years to create a positive, healthy, and resilient San Juan Islands.

I am pleased to join their advisory council, and I’m excited to help continue their work to engage current and future generations in the conservation and stewardship of our local ecosystem, and to encourage community dialogue and leadership on climate-related issues.

They have done this through youth conservation & stewardship corps in the San Juan Islands, and through initiatives on climate change – to learn more about them and their work, check out their website here.

Trivia Answer!

The Seahawks joined the league in 1976, and their first season was in 1977! Originally they were a part of the AFC West, but moved to the NFC West in 2001.

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