COVID-19 UPDATE #133
January 29, 2021
KING COUNTY LAUNCHES COVID-19 VACCINATION SITES IN KENT AND AUBURN TO PROVIDE ACCESS FOR VULNERABLE OLDER ADULTS
King County is launching two COVID-19 community vaccination sites on Monday, February 1, at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent and at the General Services Administration (GSA) Complex in Auburn. These sites in south King County will reach those who are at highest risk from COVID-19 and face barriers to accessing vaccine through traditional healthcare systems.

King County Public Health has received enough vaccine doses from the state to begin operating the two sites at 500 doses per day, six days a week. These sites will position King County to be able to quickly scale up vaccination efforts and serve the broader community when more vaccine becomes available.

The appointment schedule goes live at 8:00 AM on Saturday, January 30, 2021. South King County residents age 75 plus or those whose household meets the multi-generational definition are eligible to schedule appointments at this time. The south county eligible cities are: Auburn, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Des Moines and Tukwila. These cities were chosen because of their high rates of COVID infection compared to other locations in King County. Read the complete press release.
DEAR ADMINISTRATOR LETTER PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR OBTAINING EMERGENCY SUPPLY PPE FOR ALL PROVIDERS
In a Dear Administrator letter dated January 28, 2021, providers are notified of the process to request emergency personal protective equipment (PPE) during a shortage. Residential Care Services (RCS) staff acknowledges that access to PPE has been difficult during the pandemic and indicates if a facility has a shortage of PPE, staff may request an emergency supply. The letter provides information on how to obtain PPE for Normal Conditions (no shortage), Shortage Conditions (10-20 days of supply), and Critical Shortage Conditions (less than 10 days of supply). If providers have questions, the letter provides regional email and phone number contact information as well as this email for general questions. 
PREP ACT UPDATE: DOJ FILES STATEMENT OF INTEREST IN TENNESSEE CASE
On January 19, 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Statement of Interest (SOI) in a Middle District of Tennessee case involving a long term care provider to address the preemptive effect of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. 

The recent development of the submission of the DOJ SOI is considered a positive development as trial attorneys continue to sue senior living, long term care, and other health care providers for circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the SOI, the DOJ addresses its interest in a uniform application of the PREP Act across all jurisdictions and public health emergencies. In doing so, the DOJ asserts its position that the PREP Act affords complete preemption of state law claims furthering support of the removal of claims that fall within the purview of the PREP Act to federal court. This is an important statement as it underscores the importance of federal courts deciding if immunity under the PREP Act is invoked, rather than a state court.

If you have a COVID-19 claim or lawsuit filed against you, it is important for you to work with your defense counsel to analyze the potential application of any federal and/or state laws, including the PREP Act. Click here for the full memo from Argentum on this issue.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website. If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.