Mayor Durkan: Seattle needs to ‘get back to basics’ with masks, vaccines
With Gov. Jay Inslee urging all Washingtonians to wear masks in indoor public settings on Wednesday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan stressed the need for the city to “get back to basics” in its COVID response efforts.
Inslee’s recommendation is classified as a “consideration, not a requirement,” and does not include any enforcement or mandates. That said, the guidance regarding students and school employees is mandatory statewide.
Earlier in the week, Seattle-King County Public Health issued a recommendation of its own, similarly urging residents to wear masks indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status.
Then, on Wednesday, Mayor Durkan announced that the city will be handing its COVID-19 testing over to UW Medicine at the end of the month. Up until now, the Seattle Fire Department has operated and staffed all city-run vaccination and testing sites, including locations in West Seattle, Rainier Beach, SoDo, and Aurora.
Moving forward, UW Medicine will provide free COVID testing at the Aurora and SoDo locations “without a gap in service,” as well as testing services at Rainier Beach and West Seattle hubs. As of July 31, the city will no longer be administering vaccines, instead leaving it to local providers.
“With the rise of more dangerous variants, let’s get back to basics: wear a mask in indoor public places, wash your hands, and get tested if you have symptoms,” Durkan said. “Our success in vaccinations allows us to transition back to our core functions and focus on reopening.”
Roughly 82% of Seattle residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the start of the pandemic, the Seattle Fire Department has administered nearly 260,000 vaccinations, while helping facilitate over 786,000 tests. An estimated one in three residents have used a city-run fixed testing site since the start of the pandemic.
After 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, the SFD mobile teams will no longer be operating. After July 31, the City will no longer be a vaccine provider.