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April 17, 2020

Stay Home, Stay Healthy Updates from Skagit County

Ongoing COVID-19 Transmission in Skagit County

We are closely monitoring the increasing rate of positive COVID-19 cases we have seen over the last several days. Today, Public Health reported 8 new laboratory confirmed cases. Daily updates and total case counts are available at http://www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus. Case Counts are updated at 4 p.m.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits through the Washington State Employment Security Department

In late March, Congress passed a Coronavirus relief package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Part of the CARES Act was an expansion of unemployment benefits for those impacted by COVID-19.

This weekend, the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD), which oversees Washington State’s unemployment benefits, is rolling out a new website and application to help those who are eligible access CARES benefits. To make this upgrade, ESD Claims Services and Call Center will be closed this Saturday, April 18, from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.

ESD is expecting a record number of people to apply for unemployment benefits over the coming weeks. Before applying, ESD recommends you take these four action steps:  

After April 18, and once you’ve completed these four steps, you can apply online or by calling 800-318-6022. Please note that ESD is experiencing extremely high call volumes, and you may experience long wait times to apply over the phone or have trouble getting through. If at all possible, please use the online option.

One thing to know: If you need to provide ESD with your wage documentation (a 1099 or your 2019 tax form) they will need to verify your wages before issuing your full benefit. Don’t worry! Once you’re approved to receive a benefit, you will immediately begin receiving the minimum weekly benefit provided in Washington State, and the additional $600 a week provided in the CARES Act- a total of $835 per week. Once your wage is verified, ESD will retroactively pay you the difference between the benefits.

Additional Resources

  • On Wednesday, April 15, the Skagit County Board of Health convened for a session with Skagit County Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand to discuss what safely reversing some aspects of social distancing might look like. If interested, you can listen to the full session here.
  • Today, the Public Health Department published a new resource which shows positive COVID-19 cases by zip code. You can view the map here. Zip codes are recorded based on where a patient lives. New data will be added to the map on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson has put out a new video called “Together, Protecting our Future” on the importance of social distancing. You can view the video here.
  • On Monday April 13, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the Skagit Valley Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund was created in response to COVID-19 and will be administered by the Skagit Community Foundation with support from EDASC, the United Way of Skagit County and other philanthropic partners. We are excited to report that the community has contributed over $140,000 to the fund. We give our heartfelt thanks to all who have donated. If you would like to donate, please visit Skagit Community Foundation’s website.
  • Skagit Health Connection has a new post titled Dear Class of 2020, written by Burlington Edison High School Senior Brylee Axelson-Ney. Read the post and sign up for updates at skagitcounty.blog.
  • The Washington State Department of Health has updated its mental and emotional well-being resources to ensure that everyone has equitable access to support, including support for survivors, service men and women, and health care workers.