In This Issue....
Board of Health Adopts Ordinance Prohibiting Vaping in Public Places
Auditor's Office Provides Drive Thru Voting Center at SPSCC
Thurston County Achieves Major Milestone on Habitat Conservation Plan
But first....
This week is Flood Awareness Week and county leaders are encouraging residents to prepare for winter storms that can bring floods by checking their emergency kits, making plans with family members, and getting flood insurance before disaster strikes. With an average annual rainfall of 50 inches, floods are the most common natural hazard in Thurston County. A simple step you can take today is signing up for Thurston Community Alert (TC Alert) at: www.tcalert.org. Learn more here.
1
COVID-19 Update
From Friday, October 9, to Thursday, October 15, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) confirmed 130 additional Thurston County residents diagnosed with COVID-19. This brings the total of confirmed cases in the county to 1,519. There has been a total of 105 people hospitalized (number is of accumulated hospitalizations, not all currently hospitalized), and 1,171 people recovered or recovering. We are sad to share four Thurston County residents died this week due to complications with COVID-19. We join the community in mourning and send our deepest condolences to their friends and families. Twenty-one Thurston County residents have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The highest number of cases are in the 98513, 98501, and 98503 zip codes.  (You can learn more in this week's COVID-19 update). Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek also released another letter to the community, where she talks about transmission rates, data calculations, an update on in-person learning, and new guidance around school sports. You can read her letter here. Find other resources related to COVID-19, including mental health resources, on the PHSS COVID-19 webpage.
2
Board of Health Adopts Ordinance Prohibiting Smoking and Vaping in Public Places
After a public hearing on Tuesday, October 13, the Thurston County Board of Health adopted new rules on smoking and vaping. The action formally adopts rules consistent with the statewide Smoking in Public Places law into the Thurston County Sanitary Code and adds the same restrictions for vaping. The sanitary code now prohibits smoking and vaping in indoor public places, places of employment, and certain youth-oriented outdoor public places, and applies the same 25’ rule from doors and other air intakes for indoor spaces for vaping, as is true for smoking. 

The sanitary code requires signage about the rules at public places and places of employment; it also includes a rebuttal process for reducing the 25’ rule. The rules take effect on Friday, January 1, 2021 and begin with a six-month phase in approach for education and outreach. Because this is a health code, when enacted, the restrictions will apply to all jurisdictions of Thurston County. You can learn more here.
3
Drive Thru Voting Center Now Open at SPSCC

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Elections Division with the Thurston County Auditor's Office moved the Voting Center from the Thurston County Courthouse Complex to the Mottman Campus of South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), located at 2011 Mottman Rd SW, in Olympia. There will be no voter services available at the Thurston County Courthouse Complex due to the inability to maintain physical distance, which is necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the SPSCC Voting Center, Thurston County residents can register to vote, get a replacement ballot, and vote all without leaving their car. The Voting Center is open: 
  • Monday through Friday, October 14 through October 30, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
  • Saturday, October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday, November 2, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, the Voting Center will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Voters must be in line at the voting center by 8:00 p.m. on election day in order to vote. For more information, visit ThurstonVotes.orgor call elections at (360) 786-5408.
4
County Provides Support to Thurston Strong for COVID-19 Response
The Thurston County Board of Commissioners have been working with Thurston Strong (thurstonstrong.org), a local economic recovery task force, administered by the Thurston County Economic Development Council, to provide funding to support local businesses facing economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, the county has provided $6,230,000 in Coronavirus Relief (CARES Act) Funding of the more than $10 million in funds from partnering jurisdictions to support programs through Thurston Strong. Other funding partners include the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, as well as the State of Washington. The initiatives supported by Thurston Strong include microbusiness grants, childcare support grants, personal protective equipment resources, restaurant and retailer grants, business resiliency training, agriculture support grants, nonprofit grants, and minority owned business grants. You can learn more here.
5
Thurston County Achieves Major Milestone on Habitat Conservation Plan
On Friday, October 16, 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published in the federal record a Notice of Intent (NOI) to begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the Thurston County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This action by USFWS is a major milestone in the process Thurston County has engaged in with the federal government to honor the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Thurston County and USFWS will host two virtual public meetings to gather community feedback. At each public meeting you will have an opportunity to learn about the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process and ask questions of the project team. 

What: HCP Environmental Impact Statement Virtual Meeting #1
When: Monday, October 26, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: The public Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86768293569, and the passcode is 932545. You can also dial-in at (253) 215-8782. The webinar ID is 867 6829 3569 and the passcode is 932545.
 
What: HCP Environmental Impact Statement Virtual Meeting #2
When: Wednesday, October 28, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: The public Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83530202275, and the passcode is 633751. You can also dial in at (253) 215-8782. The webinar ID is 835 3020 2275 and the passcode is 633751. 

The comment period will close on Sunday, November 15, 2020. You can submit comments online here. Learn more at: www.thurstoncountywa.gov.
Before you go....
Be a part of parks history! Do you have memories, stories, or photos to share about Deschutes Falls Park? If so, we want to hear from you! We are nearing completion of a new Interpretive Center at the park and want to include historical photos, stories, or mementos from visits to the Falls. If you have questions, please call 360-867-2276, or email at PublicWorksContact@co.thurston.wa.us
Learn more about the falls here.
Halloween will look and feel a little different this year because of COVID-19, so it is important to identify safe activities to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The Department of Health shared some ideas on how you can have a fun, safe Halloween this year while preventing the spread of COVID-19. Read more here.