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As we continue our efforts to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in King County, we have put together several resources for King County employees to use during this outbreak. This guidance applies to Executive Branch employees; employees in separately elected agencies will receive guidance from their leaders.

Remember that coronavirus does not recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Ancestry does not make a person more vulnerable to this illness. Please keep this in mind when interacting with your fellow employees and the public.

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On May 21, 2020, King County Executive Dow Constantine extended mandatory telecommuting for all Executive Branch employees who are currently telecommuting through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, except where there is an operational need to physically return to the workplace. Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders. View the full announcement here.

Employees to wear cloth masks

Effective Wednesday, May 13, all Executive Branch employees must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths if they are likely to be in contact with another individual and distancing of six feet is not able to be maintained, per the Public Health Directive from the Seattle & King County Public Health Officer. 

This applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders.

Local Directive and Order

On March 28, Public Health's Health Officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin, issued a Quarantine Directive and Isolation Order to protect the health of our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Quarantine Directive: Everyone with COVID-19 symptoms who has a test result pending shall remain in quarantine while waiting for the test results.
  • Isolation Order: Every who has tested positive for COVID-19 shall remain in isolation until no longer infectious.
Get involved

Employees can support coronavirus efforts by:



Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
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An important message
about COVID-19

COVID-19 FAQs

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  3. Stay at home when sick.
  4. Cover cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with regular household cleaning spray.
  6. Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  7. Be symptom free for 72 hours before returning to work.

For additional information, see Public Health’s website.


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell. This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Basic FAQ on Coronavirus

People at higher risk include:

  • People 60 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • People who have weakened immune systems
  • People who are pregnant.

 

Public Health direction says people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. If this applies to you, please consider contacting your supervisor, Division Director, or your department’s HR Manager (employee only) if you have a concern so changes can be considered. Let your supervisor know if you have concerns about your paid leave balances.


Please stay home if you are sick, and let your supervisor know if you have concerns about your paid leave balances.


You can telework, if appropriate in your role, or use accrued or donated leave.


An employee may use sick leave if “an employee’s child’s school is closed by order of a public official for health-related reasons or place of care is closed by order of a public official for a health-related reason.” This also applies to the closing of private schools. The employee may telecommute if feasible, or use accrued or donated paid leave during their absence. If the employee does not have any leave to use, the employee should discuss the matter with their department’s human resources staff.


Effective Wednesday, May 13, all Executive Branch employees must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths if they are likely to be in contact with another individual and distancing of six feet is not able to be maintained, per the Public Health Directive from the Seattle & King County Public Health Officer. Follow the guidance here.

Misinformation about coronavirus can create fear and hostility that hurts people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. We’re stronger as a community when we stand together against discrimination. Take advantage of these resources to prevent, interrupt, and respond to stigma. Find out how.


This guidance applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government (definitions below) are advised to confirm policy questions with their human resources staff and leadership.

Executive Branch departments: Department of Assessments, Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Department of Executive Services, Department of Community and Human Services, Department of Human Resources, Department of Judicial Administration, Department of Local Services, Metro Transit Department, Department of Natural Resources and Park, Department of Public Defense, Department of Public Health, Executive Department, King County Elections, King County Sheriff’s Office (The King County Sheriff’s Office is administered by the King County Sheriff).

Other branches of County governmentDistrict Court, King County Council, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Superior Court.

Telecommuting FAQs

  • First Responders and Mission-Critical Employees are classified as “critical government workers” for the purposes of the Governor’s Order, and accordingly are expected to continue to report to work in person or telework per existing arrangements. Departments can change employee designations as needed, and must inform employees accordingly.
  • Under King County’s Temporary COVID-19 Personnel Policy, First Responders “have the highest duty to report to work as directed in emergency conditions,” and Mission-Critical Employees “must be available to perform their duties as determined by their agency management.” This is as important as ever during our COVID-19 response.
  • For all other employees, King County is now mandating telecommuting for those Executive Branch employees (definitions below) whose work allows for it, with supervisor approvalthrough Monday, Sept. 7, except where there is an operational need to physically return to the workplace. Managers and supervisors must work with their employees to permit telecommuting wherever possible and be creative to maximize telecommuting. Employees are permitted to telecommute with children in the home. The expectation of productive work remains. Please find telecommute resources here and submit a signed telecommute agreement to your supervisor. You can also get KCIT resources here on the necessary technology tools (SharePoint). Please note that this guidance does not apply to employees designated as first responders and mission-critical employees. Employees in other branches of County government (definitions below) may receive additional guidance from their leaders.
  • Executive Branch departments: Department of Assessments, Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Department of Executive Services, Department of Community and Human Services, Department of Human Resources, Department of Judicial Administration, Department of Local Services, Metro Transit Department, Department of Natural Resources and Park, Department of Public Defense, Department of Public Health, Executive Department, King County Elections, King County Sheriff’s Office (The King County Sheriff’s Office is administered by the King County Sheriff).

    Other branches of County government: District Court, King County Council, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Superior Court.

Employees are permitted to telecommute with children in the home. The expectation of productive work remains. Get some tips in this Balanced You article on Telecommuting with children at home.

There is still much we do not know about the pandemic or its future course. Departments are working on plans for continued telework, where possible, and safer workplaces where employees must come back to our facilities. Where necessary, we are gradually returning to the workplace  with new safety precautions. The County’s approach on telecommuting will be evaluated periodically and decisions will be guided by operational need and public health advice.

If you are currently telecommuting, please continue to telecommute unless advised otherwise by your department leadership. If you believe you have a specific need to return to your worksite, please discuss this with your supervisor who can work with leadership on your request.

A designated work area is recommended for teleworking, and can mean fewer distractions or interruptions. Think about your space at home and how you might make the most of it to successfully telecommute. If you feel you cannot successfully perform work outside of the workplace, please contact your supervisor to discuss options.

It can be challenging to maintain good ergonomic practices when working away from the office. Review these tips for good ergonomic practices when working from home by King County Safety and Claims. Check out this safety checklist provided by www.telework.gov for working from home. You may request an ergonomic evaluation and find more resources on the Safety and Claims Ergonomic evaluation webpage.

With many employees telecommuting at this time in line with the County’s guidance, employees are permitted to take home laptop peripheral equipment, including monitors, to help them continue to be productive during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employees must receive supervisor approval prior to taking peripheral equipment home, such as a monitor, mouse, or other devices. Supervisors should keep a record of any equipment that is being taken home. Departments are responsible for keeping an inventory of equipment taken home. (Note: this applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in separately elected agencies should check with their IT staff).

Employees who need assistance in the setup of peripheral equipment should contact the KCIT helpdesk at https://helpdesk.kingcounty.gov/ to live chat with an agent or submit a ticket, or call 206-263-4357 (3-HELP).

 

King County offers a comprehensive telecommuting resources webpage to help employees stay connected and engaged while telecommuting. Employees can also review Balanced You’s Self-care for telecommuters during the COVID-19 pandemic as a resource.

KCIT has produced a comprehensive Telework Resources website to help you with technology tools and resources.


If you want to continue to telecommute, but have been instructed to plan to return to the workplace, please discuss this with your supervisor who can work with leadership on your request. The County’s approach on telecommuting will be evaluated periodically and decisions will be guided by operational need and public health advice.

Contact information

  • If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you're a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact our novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977.
  • The call center will be open daily from 8 AM to 7 PM PST.
  • For general questions about COVID-19 or Washington State's response, please call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127.
  • If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Isolate yourself and wear a mask before leaving the house. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.