30k+Dead: Daily Coronavirus Cases & Deaths Update

TLDR:

  • The Coronavirus has surpassed 665,600+ cases & 30,800+ deaths globally
  • The United States now leads in the total # of cases and is fast rising as a leader in deaths: 2100+ at last count
The world is on (corona) fire

In JUST 90+ days we already have:

665,616 cases & 30.857 deaths globally confirmed*** 

***as of 3/29/2020 12:11:57 AM Source (JHU)

Before we jump into the daily changes in cases and death counts, check out this interesting new “Will coronavirus kill me? Calculator“.

Corona Virus USA Cases March 20 2020

Coronavirus Cases & Deaths in the United States

123,617 as of 3/29/20 2:13am EST (up from 101,819 cases); 2100 dead (up from 1619) – America has SURPASSED CHINA (3/26/20)! 

19 States with 1000+ cases (up from 16)

USA CASES and Deaths 03/29/2020

Other states with 10+ deaths:

  • Missouri: 10
  • Arizona: 15 (up from 13)
  • South Carolina: 15 (up from 13)
  • Nevada: 14 (up from 13)
  • Virginia: 17 (up from 14)
  • Oregon: 13 (up from 12)
  • Vermont: 12 (up from 10)
  • Mississippi: 13 – new state above 10+
  • Oklahoma: 15 – new state above 10+

****as of 3/29/2020 Source (NYT – US Coronavirus Map)

A Harvard Science says: You’re likely to get the Coronavirus (40-70% chance)

Corona Cases & Deaths by Country (as of 3/20/2020)

Increasing Daily Deaths (by Corona)

Corona Cases and Deaths by Country 03202020
Daily Death Rate up through March 28, 2020

Deaths by Specific Country and Region

(as of Mar 29, 2020)

Source

Repeating from above:  How to flatten the curve

The Corona Virus Timeline (specific to Seattle region & the US)

Starting 3/2/2020, we are going to share the events in Reverse Chronological order. 

***Latest updates in the Seattle region***

***Latest updates by the Seattle Times***

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 31: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 30: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 29: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 28: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Ballmers’ charity gives $10 million to UW Medicine to speed up coronavirus testing

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer’s charity has donated $10 million to UW Medicine so it can expand and speed up testing of patients for the novel coronavirus — the largest gift in $25 million of pledges his group so far has made to respond to the ongoing pandemic.

Ballmer Group, the philanthropic organization co-founded by Ballmer and his wife, Connie, also has committed an additional $4.75 million in donations to three other Seattle-area organizations, a spokeswoman for the charity said in an email Saturday.

The Ballmers’ philanthropy has “already made some initial grants to address urgent, emerging needs related to the COVID-19 crisis — and [is] committed also to helping long-term, as we know that families and kids will need support for many months or years,” Ballmer Group spokeswoman Megan Davies said in an email Saturday.

The $10 million gift to the UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund will allow its virology lab to expand capacity for COVID-19 patients, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. As of Friday, the UW lab had tested nearly 34,000 patients — more than 70% of all tests performed in Washington.

“Testing is the most immediate priority right now as we try to reduce community spread of COVID-19,” UW Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey said in a statement Saturday. “Private philanthropy, like Connie and Steve Ballmer’s extraordinary gift, is critical to expanding testing at the speed and scale required to save lives. We are incredibly grateful for their leadership during this crisis.”

Other donations given by the Ballmers’ charity include $3 million to the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which provides emergency assistance grants to nonprofits serving vulnerable populations in Washington; $1 million to All In Seattle, which directs grants to at-risk people and businesses impacted by the pandemic; and $750,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of King County and Bellevue to provide child care for essential workers.

—Lewis Kamb

54 Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area have cororonavirus, company says

According to a Boeing update Saturday, there are 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Boeing’s total workforce as of Friday, March 27.

GM and Ventec relying on Woodinville supplier in venture to rapidly make more ventilators for coronavirus patients

While a worldwide supply chain is helping Bothell-based Ventec Life Systems and General Motors rapidly find parts to build thousands of ventilators for coronavirus patients, the most critical component needed for the machines is made in Woodinville.

That’s one of the first places GM dispatched its Michigan-based personnel to after agreeing to the “Project V’’ venture with Ventec. The city is home to the headquarters of Cascadia Custom Molding, which makes about two dozen of the more than 700 parts needed for Ventec’s VOCSN ventilator, including the main chassis inside the machine.

Read the full story here.

—Geoff Baker

Washington State Nurses Association decries firing of Bellingham ER doctor

The union representing 900 nurses at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham is “appalled” at Friday’s firing of Dr. Ming Lin, a veteran emergency room physician who had publicly criticized the hospital’s practices to prevent coronavirus infections, a spokesperson said Saturday.

The Washington State Nurses Association also has filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor over what it believes is a failure to provide a safe work environment at the hospital, where Lin was fired Friday.

“At a time when our state faces a critical shortage of frontline caregivers — as we are appealing for volunteers and trying to reactivate retired nurses and doctors and pressing nursing students into service — it is outrageous that hospital management could retaliate against health care professionals for speaking the truth,” the union said in a statement.

Lin, the association said, “has been the voice for many nurses and other health care workers who are afraid to speak up out of the very real fear that they could be disciplined or fired. We salute his courage, and we demand that he be reinstated so he can continue his life-saving work.”

The union, which represents 19,000 nurses statewide, said other front-line health care workers attempting to speak out about unsafe conditions are being “muzzled” by hospital administrators during the COVID-19 crisis. Nurses at the Bellingham hospital report being out of paper gowns, and said they are being directed to reuse and share protective equipment, the statement said.

Lin, a 30-year emergency room veteran and 17-year employee of St. Joseph, was informed Friday by an administrator from TeamHealth, the Tennessee-based, national medical subcontracting firm that employs him, that he was fired.

Both TeamHealth and PeaceHealth declined to respond to questions about reasons for Lin’s removal from St. Joseph. A public-relations firm representing TeamHealth confirmed Saturday that Lin had been removed from his post at St. Joseph, but said he remained under contract with TeamHealth, which hoped to help him “find a path forward.”

Lin responded that, because he was paid by TeamHealth only for shifts at St. Joseph, the distinction was irrelevant.

—Ron Judd

Gun dealers should be ‘essential businesses,’ say some legislators and law enforcement officials

Dozens of legislators and law enforcement officials signed letters delivered to Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday, asking him to declare firearm dealers “essential businesses” that can remain open during the novel coronavirus crisis.

By forcing the dealers to close with a recent stay-at-home order, the governor is violating the Constitution and jeopardizing public safety, the letters said.

“Some things don’t stop because of COVID-19 and, unfortunately, one of those is crime,” said state Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, in a news release.

Forty-five other legislators signed one letter, while 15 law enforcement officials, including 11 county sheriffs, signed another.

The similar letters said law enforcement and security businesses rely on gun dealers for ammunition.  What’s more, the letters said: “Local law enforcement officials have also seen a significant increase in background checks in this time of crisis, when thousands of Washingtonians have decided to purchase firearms for personal protection.”

Many of these residents are first-time gun buyers in rural areas, where law enforcement might not be able to respond immediately, the letters added.

Others have argued there are risks in sanctioning a rash of first-time, untrained and perhaps panicky gun buyers.

The issue is being debated across the country.

In California, gun-rights advocates filed suit Friday against the governor, the Los Angeles sheriff and health officials seeking to keep firearm shops there open.

Unlike officials here and in California, Texas’ attorney general has said gun dealers should be considered essential businesses.

—Nina Shapiro

Metro will restore some cut bus routes so riders can keep their distance

With bus ridership dropping significantly amid the coronavirus outbreak, King County Metro this week began to cut bus service. But Metro now says it will restore some of those cut trips “to help riders distance themselves from one another.”

Metro will restore some weekday trips on more than a dozen routes, including restoring all trips on the RapidRide A between Tukwila International Boulevard Station and Federal Way, the agency announced Saturday. Overall, Metro ridership is down 70%, but some routes serving downtown have seen less of a drop than others, Metro said, which could make it harder for riders and drivers to practice social distancing.

Inslee eases funeral ban, provides guidance for real estate transactions

Gov. Jay Inslee is lifting a ban on funerals that was part of his coronavirus emergency stay-at-home order Monday, although strict restrictions still apply to funeral services. The governor also announced additional guidance for real estate transactions, clarifying that they can continue “as essential activities,” also with limitations meant to maintain social distancing.

Inslee said that none of the provisions of his emergency order apply to tribal lands.

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus hits U.S. police

An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S.

Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff’s offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey this week, with the number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places.

The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection.

Read the story here.

U.S. hotspots grow as virus cases surpass 620,000 globally

The number of worldwide infections surpassed 620,000 Saturday with more than 28,000 deaths as new cases also stacked up quickly in Europe.

While the U.S. leads the world in reported cases, five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

New York remained the worst-hit U.S. city. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said defeating the virus will take “weeks and weeks and weeks.” And cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans grew as hotspots Saturday.

Read more here.

What’s essential? In France: pastry, wine. In U.S.: guns, ganja

The coronavirus pandemic is defining for the globe what’s “essential” and what things we really can’t do without, even though we might not need them for survival.

In some U.S. states, golf, guns and ganja have been ruled essential, raising eyebrows and — in the case of guns — a good deal of ire. Several states where marijuana is legal, such as California and Washington, deemed pot shops and workers in the market’s supply chain essential.

In France, shops specializing in pastry, wine and cheese have been declared essential businesses.

Read the story here.

—Elouise Schumacher

Amazon employee at Kent fulfillment center tests positive for COVID-19

An employee in Amazon’s Kent fulfillment center tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, the company confirmed Saturday morning.

Employees there were told during their shifts on Friday. The building was not closed. Amazon said employees who had close contact with the individual who tested positive were being notified and told to stay away from work and in quarantine for 14 days, with pay.

The local case adds to a growing tally across Amazon’s fulfillment and logistics network in the U.S. and Europe, and in its Whole Foods Market grocery stores.

Amazon warehouse and delivery employees and contractors have repeatedly raised concerns about the company’s policies and practices in response to the pandemic, which has strained its systems as demand for delivery skyrockets with hundreds of millions of people staying home to slow the spread of the virus.

Read the whole story here.

—Benjamin Romano

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

After driver dies, Community Transit workers question whether the agency is protecting them from coronavirus

As the coronavirus spread throughout Washington state, Scott Ryan was worried about his mom.

With underlying health issues, she would be vulnerable, so he urged his family to take precautions, said his wife, Heather Ryan.

But it was Scott, a healthy 41-year-old, who would turn out to be at risk.

After testing positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks ago, the father of three died Thursday, Heather said.

Scott worked as a driver at Community Transit, the Snohomish County-based agency where 10 employees have now tested positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

While it’s not known whether he caught the virus at work or somewhere else, Community Transit drivers fear they’re at the center of an outbreak.

Read the full story here.

—Heidi Groover

King County Metro driver tests positive for COVID-19

A King County Metro driver has tested positive for COVID-19, the agency said in a statement posted online Friday night.

The driver has not returned to work since March 16, Metro said. The transit agency declined to release details about which routes the person drove, citing privacy concerns and protections.

Metro previously said a maintenance worker tested positive but that the agency would not report every new positive case. This is the first known case of a Metro bus driver reporting a positive COVID-19 test result.

Because transit operators are designated essential, Metro buses and other transit systems in the region have continued to run, although service has been reduced. Metro and other agencies have stopped collecting fares and directed riders to board through back doors to reduce hand-to-hand contact.

“Transit drivers have always been relied upon to provide safe, reliable, friendly service that keeps all of us moving forward,” Metro wrote in the statement. “As we respond to COVID-19 and so many of us have been asked to stay home, transit employees are essential personnel who serve our country by stepping forward.”

As the novel coronavirus outbreak spread earlier this month, Metro increased its cleaning of buses. The King County ombudsman’s office has started a preliminary investigation into Metro’s bus cleaning procedures after complaints dating to before the coronavirus outbreak.

—Heidi Groover

Texas to quarantine travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday that requires a two-week quarantine for anyone traveling to Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or the city of New Orleans.

The order will go into effect at noon Saturday.

“The State of Texas continues to act upon the recommendations of top state, federal, and local health experts as we implement a comprehensive strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a recent statement. “The New York Tri-State Area and the City of New Orleans have become major centers of this pandemic, and it is vital that we take necessary precautions to prevent additional exposure that could originate from people traveling from these areas to Texas.”

Failure to comply with the order is considered a criminal offense punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both, the statement said.

Southwest Airlines told employees in a memo that Texas officials would provide passengers with an online form to fill out before exiting the plane.

“They expect to have State Troopers begin meeting all nonstop flights from these markets but may look to capture those arriving from connecting markets as well,” the memo said.

—Elise Takahama and Dominic Gates

New reports look at role of health care workers in spread of COVID-19 at Life Care and other nursing homes

As the novel coronavirus illness took hold inside the Life Care Center of Kirkland last month, the disease likely spread from the facility to at least three other nursing homes, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report.

The report was one of two released Friday examining transmission of the illness within Seattle-area nursing homes, including Life Care, where more than 160 people have been sickened. Of those who have fallen ill at Life Care, 35 have died of COVID-19 since late February, including a visitor, placing the Kirkland nursing home at the forefront of the nation’s health crisis.

The other report, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examined an outbreak inside another King County nursing home where a staffer tested positive for COVID-19 on March 1, just after the cases were confirmed among residents at Life Care. In that facility, which was not identified by the CDC, the staff member had worked two different days with symptoms of the illness before it spread among the facility’s 82 residents.

Together, the two reports offer a look at how COVID-19 may have spread among facilities through nursing home workers. Some 30 skilled nursing facilities in King County have identified at least one confirmed case of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

—Mary Hudetz and Sandi Doughton

Olympic National Forest closes all recreation sites

Olympic National Forest officials announced Friday that all developed recreation sites will be closed through the second week of April — or until the state’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

Recreation closures include trailheads, day-use areas, campsites, cabins and picnic sites, an Olympic National Forest statement said.

New reservations can’t be made at this time, and officials will issue refunds to those whose trips were affected.

“Olympic National Forest officials urge people to reduce the spread of COVID-19 … so that, everyone can return to outdoor adventures as soon as it is deemed safe to do so,” the statement said.

—Elise Takahama

ER doctor who criticized Bellingham hospital’s coronavirus protections has been fired

BELLINGHAM – An emergency room physician who publicly decried what he called a lack of protective measures against the novel coronavirus at his workplace, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, has been fired.

Ming Lin, who has worked at the hospital for 17 years and became a local cause célèbre for his pleas for more safety equipment and more urgent measures to protect staff, was informed of his termination as he was preparing for a shift at the hospital Friday afternoon, he said.

“I got a message that said, ‘Your shift has been covered,’” Lin told The Seattle Times. He phoned his supervisor and was told, “You’ve been terminated.” Lin said he was told he would be contacted by human resources staff from his employer, TeamHealth, a national firm that contracts with PeaceHealth’s emergency department.

TeamHealth could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesperson for PeaceHealth St. Joseph confirmed that Lin had been fired but said the hospital had no comment because Lin wasn’t a PeaceHealth employee.

Lin said supervisors threatened his employment more than a week ago after he spoke to reporters and made social media posts accusing PeaceHealth of a lack of urgency to protect health care workers from the virus.

Lin said he was told to take down his social media posts about the hospital but refused.

Read the full story here.

—Ron Judd

Amazon discloses median pay, plans virtual shareholder meeting due to coronavirus, climate concerns

Amazon’s median full-time U.S. employee made $36,640 in 2019, up $1,544 from the year before, the company disclosed in a securities filing Friday.

That increase in total compensation, including salary, bonus and stock grant value, but not a host of benefits including health insurance and parental leave, stems from the $15-an-hour wage floor the company implemented in late 2018. More than 500,000 of the company’s nearly 800,000 workers are in the U.S.

Global median compensation for Amazon employees was $28,848, up $12 from 2018. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest people, received total compensation from Amazon in 2019 of about $1.7 million, the majority of which was for personal security, according to Amazon’s preliminary proxy statement.

Amazon also confirmed that its annual shareholder meeting, set for May 27, will be held virtually, accessible only online, to reduce “the carbon footprint of our activities” and “in light of evolving public health and safety considerations posed by the potential spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.”

Read the full story here.

—Benjamin Romano

Some landlords offer rent relief during coronavirus shutdown. Others — not so much.

Amid jobless claims numbering in the hundreds of thousands every week, most Washington landlords are steadfastly insisting that rent is still due, in full, on the first of the month.

A landlord in Kent put a unit on the market in early March for $400 less than a recently-unemployed tenant in the same building is currently paying. When she asked him to lower her rent to the amount of the new unit, he refused, according to correspondence reviewed by The Seattle Times. Tuesday, a landlord in Yelm told tenants in a letter that “nothing has changed and we will not be offering extensions” to postpone rent payments.

In online forums for landlords, discussions abound about how to encourage tenants to pay rent in full on April 1 in cities and states with eviction moratoriums.

Read the full story here.

—Katherine Khashimova Long

Firearms activists sue California, L.A. County over gun-shop closures tied to coronavirus

A coalition of gun owner groups filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the Los Angeles County sheriff, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state and county health officials seeking to block the closure of gun shops during the coronavirus shutdown.

Sheriff Alex Villaneuva closed gun stores in L.A. County Thursday to everyone except police and licensed security company employees after the governor deemed that firearms sellers are considered nonessential businesses during California’s shutdown of commerce in an effort to limit and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday seeking declaratory relief, the gun owner groups characterized the closure as a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

—Los Angeles Times

Boeing to start manufacturing face shields for front-line health care workers

Boeing says it will begin manufacturing face shields to help protect front-line health care workers, using its 3D printing capabilities at facilities in St. Louis; El Segundo, California; Mesa, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama; and Philadelphia.

It aims to produce thousands of face shields per week initially and ramp up production later. The jet maker is also offering to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to health care professionals using its giant Dreamlifter air cargo carriers, normally used to ferry completed sections of the 787 around the globe.

Boeing says it has already donated tens of thousands of masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals in need and is analyzing other ways it can use its engineering, manufacturing and logistics expertise to help.

—Dominic Gates

Trump, rejecting blame, warns governors to be ‘appreciative’

After days of pleading from the nation’s governors, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to expand the federal government’s role in helping produce critically needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet the president rejected any criticism for the federal government’s response to a ballooning public health crisis that a month ago he predicted would be over by now.

“We have done a hell of a job,” Trump told reporters Friday, as he sent an ominous message to state and local leaders who have been urging the federal government to do more to save lives.

“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, shortly after telling reporters: “I want them to be appreciative.”

One month after predicting the U.S. was days away from being “close to zero” coronavirus cases, Trump in recent days had increasingly tried to shift the blame to state and local leaders as the spread tops more than 100,000 cases nationwide.

—Associated Press

Washington State Ferries will reduce service on central Puget Sound routes

Washington State Ferries will reduce service on routes that operate within the central Puget Sound region in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Reductions will begin Sunday and continue through at least April 25, the agency said in a news release.

Sailings on the Seattle-Bainbridge and Seattle-Bremerton routes will be cut by about half. The Triangle route — Fauntleroy-Vashon, Fauntleroy-Southworth and Southworth-Vashon, will be reduced by about one-third.

The last daily round trip on the Seattle-Bainbridge, Seattle-Bremerton and Mukilteo-Clinton routes will be suspended starting Sunday.

On the Edmonds-Kingston route, the last daily round trip will be suspended on Fridays and Saturdays. Some early morning sailings on the Triangle route will also be canceled.

The transit agency said Monday it would operate on a winter sailing schedule until at least April 25 to match ridership and availability of qualified crew.

Further suspensions and adjustments are possible, depending on ridership trends, state ferries director Amy Scarton said in the release.

Ridership aboard Washington State Ferries as of Thursday dropped about 60% compared to the last week of February. Walk-on passengers decreased by more than 80%, and the number of vehicles carried fell by nearly 50%, the agency said.

—Michelle Baruchman

Beloved Seattle restaurant owner Elizabeth Mar of Kona Kitchen and husband Robert Mar die of the novel coronavirus

Family, friends and the legion of fans of Seattle’s Kona Kitchen are mourning the death of Elizabeth Mar, the beloved matriarch of the local Hawaiian restaurant classic. After a two-week illness, she succumbed to the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, at the age of 72. Her husband, Robert Mar, age 78, died of the virus on Thursday night.

Elizabeth Mar was “everything” at Kona Kitchen, filling in wherever needed, managing or bartending, always a huge part of the heart of the place, daughter Angie Okumoto says.

The Seattle location of Kona Kitchen remains open for takeout, serving the family recipes for quintessential Hawaiian dishes. As with many local restaurants turning to takeout in the wake of the mandated dining-in shutdown due to COVID-19,

“We’re just trying to stay afloat,” Okumoto says, “and keep as many employees afloat as much as we can.”

Read the full story here.

—Bethany Jean Clement

Ski vacation hot spot becomes virus ground zero in Idaho

A scenic Idaho county known as a ski-vacation haven for celebrities and the wealthy has a new, more dubious distinction: It has one of the highest per-capita rates of confirmed coronavirus infections in America.

Numbers from Johns Hopkins University on Friday show that with more than 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, Blaine County has the highest rate of cases outside New York City and its surrounding counties.

The numbers themselves are far smaller in the Idaho region than in New York City but still dire for residents. At least 14 of the cases in the rural county of roughly 22,000 people involved health care workers, and at least two people have died from COVID-19.

The county includes tony Sun Valley Resort and draws skiers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. It’s also known as a celebrity getaway, thanks in part to its history of famous second homeowners and vacation regulars including Ernest Hemingway, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others.

—Associated Press

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 26: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Worst job claims EVER

CH weekly ui claims march 21

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 25: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 25: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Number of daily tests for COVID-19 dipped over the weekend

The number of daily tests for COVID-19 being completed by labs in Washington dipped during the weekend and at the beginning of the week.

The drop off was because of a weekend slowdown when most of the testing involves patients admitted to area hospitals and less outpatient testing, said Alex Greninger, assistant director of the University of Washington’s Virology Lab, which is doing about 80% of the testing done in the state.

The number of tests completed daily dropped from 4,261 on Friday to 3,058 on Monday. The total number of tests completed Tuesday is unknown because the state Department of Health only released the number of positive tests, which was 248.

Volumes are starting to pick up again, with more than 2,000 samples going through the Virology Lab on Tuesday, Greninger said.

—Ryan Blethen

King County reports COVID-19 deaths have reached 100

King County public health officials confirmed 100 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, making it the first Washington county to reach a death count in triple digits.

Eighty-two more COVID-19 cases were also reported, bringing the total of confirmed cases in King County to 1,359. The county has also received 9,484 negative tests.

State health officials have not yet released updated numbers for Washington.

Amazon workers say coronavirus safety measures are missing despite what company says

As at least 11 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Amazon warehouses and Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S., employees say the company’s statements on safety measures don’t line up with what they’re seeing. Some fear for their safety and the safety of customers.

“People are trusting they will use sanitary practices, but it is nothing of the sort,” said an employee at an Amazon warehouse in Kirkland that handles groceries. “Most employees are handling all the food without gloves…. I think this is a serious health risk to the Seattle area as thousands of bags of groceries are being delivered each day from this one location.”

A lack of gloves was one of several deficits this employee and several others have described in recent days at local Amazon facilities and Whole Foods stores. Other inadequacies they cited include a lack of time to properly wash hands or sanitize shared equipment, a constant emphasis on speed and management indifference.

Moreover, the employees, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, said Amazon is still not performing recommended regular health checks, including temperature and respiratory symptom screening, as employees arrive at work.

Read the full story here.

Rural America watches pandemic erupt in cities as fear grows

DUFUR, Ore. — The social distancing rules repeated like a mantra in America’s urban centers, where the coronavirus is spreading exponentially, might seem silly in wide-open places where neighbors live miles apart and “working from home” means another day spent branding calves or driving a tractor alone through a field.

But as the pandemic spreads through the U.S., those living in rural areas, too, are increasingly threatened. Tiny towns tucked into Oregon’s windswept plains and cattle ranches miles from anywhere in South Dakota might not have had a single case of the new coronavirus, but their main streets are also empty and their medical clinics overwhelmed by the worried.

Shelters struggle to get clients into isolation and quarantine, as county motel opens slowly

At the beginning of March, King County bought a motel in Kent for people who needed to be isolated or quarantined because they had symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but who had no homes to isolate or quarantine themselves in.

The idea was to get anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 out of a shelter, where the disease could potentially travel very quickly.

But more than three weeks later, a number of shelter providers say it’s been extremely difficult to get their clients who are symptomatic and waiting on test results into this motel — even when they were referred by nurses in shelters or Harborview Medical Center, according to staff at the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), one of the largest shelter providers in Seattle.

Most of the Kent motel’s units have been sitting empty for the last three weeks. As of Tuesday, only five people were staying at the facility, which has 79 rooms set aside for isolation and quarantine, according to Public Health — Seattle and King County.

Read the full story here.

L.A. threatens to shut off water, power of businesses breaking coronavirus rules

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed frustration and outrage that some nonessential businesses remain open despite coronavirus restrictions and vowed the city would take action against them.

Garcetti said that his office is still receiving daily reports of nonessential businesses that continue to operate as normal — behavior he called “irresponsible and selfish.”

He also announced a Safer at Home business ambassadors initiative that aims to help push greater adherence from nonessential businesses that aren’t complying with the city’s order to close.

Such businesses should also expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power, he said.

Read the full story here.

Chef Floyd Cardoz dies of COVID-19 complications

NEW YORK — Chef Floyd Cardoz, who competed on “Top Chef,” won “Top Chef Masters” and operated successful restaurants in both India and New York, died Wednesday of complications from the coronavirus, his company said in a statement. He was 59.

Cardoz had traveled from Mumbai to New York through Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8. He was admitted a week ago to Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, New Jersey, with a fever and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, the statement said.

Read the full story here.

Inslee suspends some parts of open-government laws amid coronavirus crisis

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, in response to the ongoing coronavirus public health crisis, suspended several key parts of the state’s government transparency laws late Tuesday, including portions of laws granting the public access to government meetings and records.

Inslee’s proclamation temporarily waives some requirements in Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) that compel government bodies to hold meetings in public areas open to citizens, and in the state’s Public Records Act (PRA) that requires agencies to allow citizens access to public facilities where they can submit requests and copy and review public records in person.

The governor’s order also temporarily suspends the records law’s requirement that local and state public agencies must provide an initial response to a records request within five days, though it retains a general provision that agencies must respond to requests promptly.

Inslee’s proclamation contends “strict compliance” with the records law’s “regulatory obligations or limitations will prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action for coping with the COVID-19 State of Emergency in responding to public records requests by bringing people in contact with one another at a time when the virus is rapidly spreading.”

The proclamation extends until midnight April 23.

Toby Nixon, president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, wrote in a journalism list-serve Tuesday that because most people already request and obtain records electronically, the changes “will not impact most requesters.”

Nixon also said his group is “encouraging the public to follow their local agencies via electronic participation when meetings are convened, and to submit the records requests they would normally make also through online means.”

—Lewis Kamb

State’s Department of Natural Resources closes all public land it oversees, including recreation sites

The Washington Department of Natural Resources is temporarily closing all the public land it manages, nearly 6 million acres, in another effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

All DNR-managed lands will be closed from Thursday through at least April 8, the agency announced in a news release.

Earlier this week, the agency closed all state campgrounds through the end of April.

The new closure shutters DNR’s 1,200 miles of trails and more than 160 recreation sites throughout Washington and applies to all trailheads, water-access sites and day-use areas. It does not apply to DNR-managed logging and agricultural lands.

DNR staff will be patrolling state lands, but will only issue citations to people who refuse to leave.

“I cannot ignore the unfortunate reality of what we saw this weekend: crowded trails, people shoulder to shoulder, and large gatherings,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a prepared statement.

“This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making in order to adhere to social distancing. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting epidemic.”

—David Gutman

5 more Community Transit employees test presumptively positive for COVID-19

Five more Community Transit employees have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, CEO Emmett Heath said in a news release.

It has been eight to 20 days since the employees have been at work. The cases are presumed positive until public health officials confirm the tests.

In addition, eight employees told the Snohomish County transit agency that they have tests pending. Those workers are at home self-quarantining and none have been to work since March 17, he said in the release.

Eight other employees said they experienced flu-like symptoms but tested negative for the coronavirus.

The five presumed positive cases come after Community Transit said four transit operators tested presumptively positive last Thursday.
After that announcement, the agency said it would stop collecting fares from rides, move riders to board and exit buses through rear doors, and reduce bus service by about 25%.

Community Transit also detailed a supplemental leave policy for employees.

Crews are disinfecting buses and cleaning frequently used and high-touch areas of bus bases nightly.

—Michelle Baruchman

Will California’s corona crisis soon look like Italy’s?

If residents respect California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to stay home as much as possible, illnesses and deaths from coronavirus may be avoided or delayed, but if a single asymptomatic person enters the state and becomes a superspreader — transmitting the virus to a large number of people — he or she could ignite a new outbreak, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Roberto Cosentini, a doctor in the northern city of Bergamo near Milan, Italy, said in a podcast for emergency room physicians that it’s hard to see so many people sick at the same time.

“It’s like a regular daily earthquake,” he said.

Health officials in the U.S. have hinted it’s possible we could in Italy’s footsteps.

More than 2,600 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Golden State and 55 people have died of the respiratory disease.

That’s a far cry from the 69,000 cases and 6,820 deaths reported in Italy.

But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 5,707 new coronavirus cases on Monday night and the next day there were an additional 4,790 cases, bringing the Empire State’s total to 25,665.

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, is bracing for a surge in hospitalized patients within the next week or two. “The worst is yet to come,” he said.

Read the full story here.

—Los Angeles Times

Catch up on the past 24 hours

The White House and Senate leaders have announced a deal on a $2 trillion emergency package to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and the health care system. President Donald Trump spoke of putting the U.S. economy back in business by Easter — “this cure is worse than the problem” — but scientists warn the worst is yet to come.

Will two weeks be enough? Washington state’s stay-at-home order may need to stretch longer, public health experts say.

What counts as an ‘essential business’ that can stay open under the stay-home order? “If you asked our customers, they’d say we’re essential,” says Ambika Singh, founder of Armoire, a clothing rental company. But the state may not agree. Its definition of essential businesses that can keep the doors open during the stay-home order is causing plenty of confusion. Farmers markets have been controversial, for example, while pot and liquor stores are staying open and enjoying a boom. Here’s a full list of who’s allowed to keep working.

How many people aren’t social-distancing? FYI Guy digs into the small percentage (which translates to a big number) of Seattleites who said they hadn’t changed their behavior, and the sizable chunk of people who did it only “some of the time.”

More than 250 people were hospitalized in the state last week, and officials are watching for a bigger surge. Our interactive map shows the spread of the virus across our state and the world.

What can you do outside? Many adventures will have to wait under Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest coronavirus mandates. Here’s a quick look at which outdoor spaces are open and closed.

Layoffs have begun as the aviation collapse hits Washington companies, for which “Boeing’s health is a huge, huge worry.”

The Gates Foundation is pouring $3.7 million into the Seattle area to help respond to the pandemic. The foundation last night described where the money will go.

There’s a “moon shot” to save the school year from coronavirus, but it isn’t happening in Seattle. This is not the district’s finest moment, columnist Danny Westneat writes.

240,000 masks, 15,000 pairs of goggles, 850 protective suits: Getting medical gear to Washington state is all in a day’s work for Microsoft lately.

The world’s biggest lockdown starts today. India’s 1.3 billion people face “a total ban on coming out of your homes,” a staggering challenge in a country where hundreds of millions are destitute. The photos show a startlingly different version of India.

Here’s help

Know what you can and can’t do under Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order.

How can you get a coronavirus test? It might not be easy. Here’s where tests are happening and who qualifies.

Workers and businesses affected by the outbreak: We’ve pulled together a page of resources to help you find information on grants, unemployment benefits, emergency food programs, rent assistance and more.

Your turn to help? There are ample opportunities to support coronavirus causes in Seattle, from donating cash to making masks for health workers. Here’s how to get involved.

A few weeks ago, “social distancing” just meant the Seattle Freeze. As words take on new meaning, here’s a pandemic glossary and a guide to the medical gear you’re hearing about, from PPEs to N95 masks.

Even as restaurants are hurting, many of them are helping people in need. Frelard Tamales, below, is buzzing with activity these days as the owner, his parents and others make free sack lunches for children who are out of school. “It’s a cost, but it’s not a burden,” Osbaldo Hernández says. It’s among several Seattle-area restaurants sacrificing profit to help their communities.

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 24: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 23: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

The state Department of Health announced 225 newly confirmed cases Monday, bringing the state total to 2,221 cases, including 110 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 1,170 people fall ill and 87 die.

‘All In Seattle’ effort to help nonprofits, aid agencies during coronavirus crisis raises $27 million

Northwest Harvest Development Director Laura Hamilton is bracing for unprecedented demand for food from her nonprofit relief agency as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy.

With some forecasts showing up to 40% of jobs in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties being disrupted in coming weeks, “We’re going to be seeing people who’ve never used a food bank before,” Hamilton said. “Who’ve always been able to make it even if it’s been paycheck to paycheck, and now that safety net is gone.’’

Grappling with those logistics for the nonprofit’s statewide network of 375 food banks and meal programs will take big money.

That’s why a group of community-minded business leaders have banded together to pledge funding to Northwest Harvest and other local nonprofits and charities, raising $27 million from more than 200 individuals and entities in an All In Seattle initiative launched Monday.

Read the full story here.

Alaska Airlines is cutting 200 flights a day, parking 30 jets, as coronavirus reduces air travel

The head of flight operations at Alaska Airlines told his pilots late Sunday that the carrier will cut 200 flights per day through March, out of roughly 1,300 a day in normal times. And in the next few days, Alaska will park 30 jets out of its mainline fleet of about 230 aircraft until further notice.

Experts say Inslee’s stay-at-home order will add to Seattle economy’s coronavirus-induced pain

Economists and business owners said Monday that Gov. Jay Inslee’s order for state residents to stay at home will land hard on a local economy already reeling from weeks of closures and declining business.

The order, which closes the physical locations of all nonessential businesses in the state, seemed largely supported by business leaders as a critical step in minimizing the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“We can’t allow certain nonessential activities to undercut our collective efforts to mitigate the spread” of the coronavirus, said Jon Scholes, CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association.

But the short-term impacts could be massive. Coming on top of an earlier order that closed gyms, recreational and entertainment venues, and many bars and restaurants, it almost certainly means another round of layoffs, including some in higher-wage sectors such as manufacturing, that raises new fears about the depth of the coming recession.

Read the full story here.

Which food-related industries can stay open under Gov. Jay Inslee’s ‘stay-at-home’ order?

On Monday night, Gov. Jay Inslee banned all social gatherings and ordered Washington residents to “stay at home.”

Restaurants and bars throughout the state had previously been directed to close their dining rooms through March 31. This new order extends that for at least a week.

However, Inslee’s office also released a detailed list of “critical” businesses that are allowed to stay open.

From a “food” standpoint, some of the most consumer-facing types of businesses that can remain open include grocery stores, liquor stores that sell food, farmers’ markets and food banks, among many others.

Read the full list here.

Washington education officials: school must continue, even during coronavirus closures

Washington education officials have a new message for the state’s schools: buildings may be closed, but school must go on.

The state’s Education Department released guidance Monday that calls on school districts to provide some form of instruction while schools are closed because of the novel coronavirus.

The guidance represents the first time the state has said that across-the-board, some form of instruction is mandatory. Districts must resume class in some format by March 30, a spokesperson for the state Education Department said. Beyond that, the state offered few mandates of what instruction should look like.

Read the full story here.

Delivery work, other gig jobs, appear on Inslee’s essential-workers list

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home directive appears to exempt many gig-economy workers in several industries, including those delivering food and online purchases, although questions remain.

Inslee’s office produced a list of “essential critical infrastructure workers” to go along with his Monday evening announcement closing nonessential businesses and directing everyone to stay home, except for necessary trips, such as to the grocery store.

Seattle’s best restaurants asking for help from Congress — and from you

More than 100 of the Seattle area’s best independently owned restaurants have joined forces to ask for help as the coronavirus closure appears likely to devastate the industry.

With estimates from experts indicating that 75% of independent restaurants will not survive the COVID-19 crisis and that up to seven million people have lost jobs in the industry nationwide, the calls for action are growing urgent. Acting as Seattle Restaurants United, the brand-new local coalition has dispatched a plea to Congress and created the change.org petition “Seattle Restaurants United: Save Restaurants & Bars, Save the City” for supporters to sign.

Read the full story here.

Kenmore suspends plastic bag policy to reduce spread of COVID-19

The city of Kenmore is temporarily suspending its plastic bag policy, which prohibits retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 when buying groceries.

Kenmore city manager Rob Karlinsey signed the proclamation and issuance of the emergency rule Monday. It will be in effect until April 30.

Yakama Nation joins Lummi Nation and Makah Tribe in sheltering in place

The Yakama Nation has joined the Lummi Nation and Makah Tribe in adopting a shelter in place ordinance.

Gov. Inslee issues “stay-at-home” order to slow spread of coronavirus

Gov. Jay Inslee is ordering all Washington residents to stay at home, except for crucial activities like buying groceries, seeking medical care or going to work at essential businesses.

The stay-at-home order goes into effect immediately, and will last for two weeks, the governor’s office said. It bans all gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, whether by public or private groups. That includes weddings and funerals. Any non-essential businesses still operating must close in 48 hours.

“It is still safe to go outside using social distancing of six feet, but really only for essential purposes,” Inslee said at a Monday press conference.

His order follows similar decrees by mayors in Washington cities, including Everett and Edmonds, that in the last few days shuttered non-essential business and ordered residents to shelter in place: stay at home, go outside only for food, medicine and absolute necessities.

“Make no mistake,” Inslee said. “This order is enforceable by law and can be enforced.”

Washington residents will join those in Illinois, California, New York and other states who are under similar orders issued last week.

In California, which was the first to order the statewide restrictions, 40 million residents were told by Gov. Gavin Newsom to go into home isolation starting Thursday evening, marking the most stringent U.S. effort yet to stymie the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Last week, Inslee said it was not yet time to order Washingtonians to shelter in place, and that the state still had a couple unused tools before the more restrictive order to shelter in place was invoked.

Read the full story here.

Metro and other transit agencies seek $25 billion in federal aid

Warning of a “looming financial catastrophe,” King County Metro and other transit agencies are asking federal lawmakers to include at least $25 billion for public transportation agencies in a federal relief package.

“Scaling back service isn’t enough to keep our operating budgets in the black,” read a letter to congressional leaders signed by Metro General Manager Rob Gannon and executives from nine other agencies including New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Party Zero: How a soirée in Connecticut became a ‘super spreader’

About 50 guests gathered on March 5 at a home in the stately suburb of Westport, Connecticut, to toast the hostess on her 40th birthday and greet old friends, including one visiting from South Africa. They shared reminiscences, a lavish buffet and, unknown to anyone, the coronavirus.

Then they scattered.

The Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed. The partygoers — more than half of whom are now infected — left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City, and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way.

Snoqualmie mayor tests positive for COVID-19

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson announced Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

He was tested at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital last week after showing symptoms of the illness, including a fever and cough, according to a statement from the city of Snoqualmie. He is currently recovering at home, and his family is also self-isolated.

Nordstrom cuts spending plans in response to coronavirus impact on shopping

Nordstrom will cut a further half billion dollars from its spending plans, suspend its cash dividend and share repurchases, and look for ways to raise additional capital, the Seattle-based retailer said Monday.

CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a news release that “we are proactively taking steps to strengthen our financial flexibility to help us navigate through this unprecedented situation.”

The company on March 16 announced the temporary closure of its full-line and Nordstrom Rack stores to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It had previously disclosed plans to cut $200 million to $250 million in costs. The additional effort to pare an additional $500 million in costs will involve cuts in “operating expenses, capital expenditures and working capital,” as well as “ongoing efforts to realign inventory to sales trends,” the company said in the news release.

Read the full story here.

Department of Social and Health Services to close select offices to public due to coronavirus outbreak

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) announced Monday three of its offices are closing to the public in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Mukilteo furniture maker converts factory for ‘100 Million Mask Challenge’ to fight coronavirus

To help hospitals survive a dangerous shortage, a Mukilteo furniture maker has converted its tables and machines to sew lightweight surgical masks, at a rate of thousands per day.

Kaas Tailored is leading what Providence Medical Group, based in Washington state, calls the 100 Million Mask Challenge.  The technical specifications are meant to be downloaded by nimble enterprises nationwide, at www.kaastailored.com.

It’s an example of how necessity spawns local innovation. Scientists from the University of Washington started tests when federal response lagged, while health-care workers are resorting to procuring their own protective gear.

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 22: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

The state Department of Health announced 203 newly confirmed cases Sunday, bringing the state total to 1,996 cases, including 95 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 1,040 people fall ill and 75 die.

South King County mayors urge residents to stay home and warn of ‘additional steps’ if they don’t

The elected mayors of eight mostly South King County cities issued a joint letter supporting Gov. Jay Inslee’s self-isolation orders but warning their residents that they may “take additional steps to protect our communities” if people don’t follow recommendations on social distancing.

A new COVID-19 drive-through testing site opens in Snohomish County

Snohomish Health District and the Medical Reserve Corps are partnering with several other municipal agencies to open a free drive-thru testing site for the novel coronavirus.

Trump to activate National Guard in Washington, New York and California

President Donald Trump has activated the National Guard in Washington, New York and California to carry out missions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, he announced at a press conference Sunday.

Lummi Nation shelters in place to slow spread of coronavirus

The Lummi Nation is sheltering in place to protect its people.

The announcement by Lawrence Solomon, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, requires Lummi tribal members to remain in their homes except for essential trips as of midnight March 22 until midnight April 5.

Trump: Navy hospital ship will deploy to California, not Washington

The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Mercy will head to Los Angeles and not to the Puget Sound, a destination Gov. Jay Inslee had requested to help build the state medical system’s capacity for handling the strain of the coronavirus outbreak.

Boeing worker at Everett plant dies from coronavirus infection

A Boeing worker who came down with the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus has died, the first death among the infected employees.

On Saturday, while he was still in intensive care, his brother posted a plea to Boeing on Facebook.

“Boeing Everett plant, please close your doors and shut down,” his brother wrote, adding that the man had worked at Boeing for 27 years.

Read the full story here.

Bridge Park resident dies after being diagnosed with COVID-19

A resident of Bridge Park, a senior living community in West Seattle, died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dubai’s Emirates cuts passenger flights to 13 destinations

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Long-haul carrier Emirates said Sunday it has dramatically cut its passenger flight destinations from 145 locations to just 13 countries. It’s a pivotal move that reflects the dramatic slowdown in traffic through the airline’s hub in Dubai, the world’s busiest international airport, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

President Trump approves Washington emergency declaration, freeing some federal funding

On Sunday, President Donald Trump issued a “major disaster” declaration for Washington state over the novel coronavirus crisis, freeing up some federal assistance — but Gov. Jay Inslee said the designation is not enough to bolster the state’s fight against the pandemic.

“The president’s action makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Washington,” President Trump’s declaration said.

However, Inslee’s office said crisis counseling was just one of several aid requests Inslee had made in a 74-page letter detailing exactly what the state would need to fortify its response to the COVID-19 crisis, including emergency aid, disaster case management and disaster unemployment assistance.

“We appreciate that the federal government has recognized the severity of the public-health emergency in Washington state,” Gov. Inslee said in a statement. “However, today’s declaration does not unlock many forms of federal assistance we have requested to help workers and families who are badly hurting.

Read our updating story here.

Washington campgrounds will close through April 30

Various outdoors-oriented Washington state agencies announced the closure of campgrounds from Monday, March 23, through April 30.

Find the latest information at parks.state.wa.us/COVID-19.

Truckload of 50,000 N95 masks headed to UW researcher’s home thanks to Elon Musk, Tesla

A truckload of 50,000 N95 surgical masks, critical for health-care workers fighting the novel coronavirus, is headed to the Seattle home of a UW Medicine physician — courtesy of Elon Musk and Tesla.

This lightning-quick donation happened in a matter of hours. Read the full story, which will be updated, here.

Inslee appoints surgeon Raquel Bono to lead Washington’s COVID-19 response

On Sunday morning, Gov. Jay Inslee named the head of Washington state’s COVID-19 health-care response team: Retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, a surgeon and former director for the Defense Health Agency.

Don’t visit mom: UK advises distance on Mother’s Day

LONDON (AP) — Sunday was Mother’s Day in Britain and the government had a stark message for millions of citizens: Visiting your mom could kill her.

Athletes call for postponement of Olympics, International Olympic Committee says it’s too soon to decide

A worldwide group representing Olympic hopefuls is calling on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

Seniors, urged to stay home, cope with isolation

Many of us are feeling a sense of isolation as public health officials tell us to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing. Yet, for seniors, who have suffered the vast majority of fatalities, the warnings are more dire — and the potential ramifications of a constricted life greater.

Many had lost friends and loved ones before COVID-19. Seeing even fewer people could compound the feeling of social isolation, said Dr. Richard Veith, a geriatric psychiatrist and former chair of University of Washington School of Medicine’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department. Studies show loneliness and depression bring health risks, he said, noting that those who are depressed are five times more likely to die in the months following a heart attack.

Read more.

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 21: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut have ordered their residents to stay home. But Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t mandating a “shelter in place” order for Washington. Yet. In a news conference Friday afternoon, Inslee again pleaded with people to stay home, and hinted that the state could move to more stringent measures if people do not comply.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread through Washington, and more COVID-19 diagnoses are made each day. The state Department of Health announced 269 newly confirmed cases Saturday, bringing the state total to 1,793 cases, including 94 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 934 people fall ill and 74 die, according to the county’s Public Health Department.

Hawaii institutes mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving travellers and residents

Hawaii’s governor has instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine starting Thursday of all people traveling to the state as part of efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Hawaii News Now reported.

Lost or diminished sense of smell could signal coronavirus in people with no other symptoms

An early warning sign of COVID-19 may be a loss of smell, particularly among patients showing no other symptoms, a medical group in the United Kingdom said Saturday. The observation could help reveal otherwise hidden carriers of the illness, whose lack of symptoms have fueled its rapid spread.

“There is already good evidence from South Korea, China and Italy that significant numbers of patients with proven COVID-19 infection have developed anosmia/hyposmia” – lost or decreased sensitivity to smells, wrote the leaders of the British Rhinological Society and ENT UK, a professional group for ear, nose and throat surgeons. “In Germany it is reported that more than 2 in 3 confirmed cases have anosmia. In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to employees on coronavirus crisis: ‘We are in uncharted territory’

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an interview with The Seattle Times said he feels Microsoft’s technological and human ability to adapt to a largely remote workplace and meet outside demands “has grown by orders of magnitude in the last month.” He also talked about feeling the personal anxieties many of his employees have shared about the coronavirus pandemic.

Nadella gave the interview shortly before releasing a lengthy email to his more than 140,000 global employees, applauding them for their response to the pandemic and urging them to do the best they can to help others on a personal and professional level.

Washington students stuck in Peru after the government closes all borders

Hundreds of U.S. citizens have been stranded in Peru after the Peruvian government instituted a 15-day quarantine and closed all borders on March 16. Now, Peru’s minister of defense says that this Saturday will be the last day that Peru allows official flights arranged to repatriate visitors from abroad before the country closes all borders permanently on Sunday.

Seattle suspends 72-hour parking rule

Saying “no one should be punished for following public health guidance,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Saturday the city would temporarily stop enforcing its 72-hour parking rule.

The city will also limit vehicle towing and stop booting vehicles with unpaid parking tickets as long as the Seattle Municipal Court is closed, Durkan’s office said.

“I have heard from many residents about simultaneously being asked to stay at home and to move their car every 72 hours,” said Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss in a statement. “We need to make sure our residents are focusing on staying healthy and avoiding unnecessary trips outside – this policy does just that.”

Other parking rules regarding fire hydrants and bike and transit lanes will still be enforced, and payment will still be required for metered spots, the city said. The change is expected to last at least two weeks. In permitted residential parking zones, drivers without permits must still obey time limits, the city said.

New isolation and recovery center for vulnerable populations to open at Harborview Hall, King County says

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, King County and Harborview Medical Center have joined forces to open an isolation and recovery center for vulnerable populations in the county’s Harborview Hall.

The center will preserve hospital beds for those with the most acute health care needs, according to a Saturday news release from King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office.

A single Skagit County meeting results in more than 30 cases of COVID-19

In a case that underscores the contagious nature of COVID-19, Skagit County Public Health is investigating a cluster of recently confirmed cases that have been traced to a meeting of about 60 people in March. More than half the attendees at the gathering are confirmed, or probably have, cases of COVID-19, the department said in a statement.

Tacoma Dome testing spots filling up quickly

A drive-through coronavirus testing site in Tacoma began to quickly fill up Saturday morning.

The newly opened site at the Tacoma Dome is offering limited testing for people who work in certain key industries, including first responders and grocery store employees.

The site is offering 240 testing spots per day and is fully scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, said Edie Jeffers, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department spokeswoman.

City of Everett orders residents to stay at home; Boeing can remain open

A man walks the quiet streets in downtown Everett on Saturday. Everett mayor Cassie Franklin issued an order for individuals to stay at home except for necessary errands, walks and caring for friends and relatives. The order takes effect at noon Monday. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)
A man walks the quiet streets in downtown Everett on Saturday. Everett mayor Cassie Franklin issued an… (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times) More 
 

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin has ordered the city’s 110,000 residents to stay home, in what is believed to be the first Washington city to take the drastic step to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Oregon to announce ‘aggressive’ social distancing measures

State and local officials in Oregon may announce measures similar to a shelter-in-place policy on Monday, but the details are muddled, The Oregonian reported.

‘We can’t test everyone,’ warn health officials in hard-hit areas

Health officials in New York, California and other hard-hit parts of the country are restricting coronavirus testing to health care workers and people who are hospitalized, saying the battle to contain the virus is lost and we are moving into a new phase of the pandemic response.

—Washington Post

National Park Service waives entrance fees, encourages social distancing

The National Park Service will temporarily stop collecting entrance fees, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said.

The window for using testing as a means to curb coronavirus transmission is closing, some experts say

When the new coronavirus erupted in China more than three months ago, each country faced a monumental task: manufacturing or acquiring enough tests to track the virus as it spread across its territory and around the globe.

Decisions made at those early, pivotal moments determined the course of the pandemic. China, after early denial-fueled stumbles, improved its response to the virus by deploying a flurry of rapid-fire tests. South Korea, hit hard in early days, mounted a comeback steered by knowledge gained from an avalanche of roadside swabs. In recent weeks, Italy has led the globe in testing, producing results that show the highest caseload and death toll in the world.

And Germany cleared regulatory hurdles to allow biotech firms to make tests available on a scale that the country’s government could not.

But the United States and Japan stumbled, experts say, by initially shutting out the private sector while proceeding sluggishly with public sector efforts, leaving too few tests to track the extent of the virus’ spread. Now, some experts say, the window for testing as a measure to curb transmission could be closing in many places where the virus is widespread.

Read more about this here.

—Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

US Passes China’s Coronavirus cases per million

 

US surpasses China’s rate of catching Covid-19

Source

Coronavirus daily news updates, March 20: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state, and the nation

Although many patients with symptoms have struggled to access testing, Washington is gaining the capacity to test more people for the virus, and more COVID-19 diagnoses are made each day. The state Department of Health announced 148 newly confirmed cases Friday, bringing the state total to 1,524 cases, including 83 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 793 people fall ill and 67 of them die, according to the county’s public health department.

 

Starbucks is closing cafes in response to coronavirus crisis; drive-thrus remain open

Starbucks informed staff that it would close its cafes in the United States in response to the coronavirus crisis, though it will remain open for delivery and drive-thru customers, the company said in an emailed statement Friday.

Grocery-store workers’ unions and supermarkets reach agreements on hazard pay

Washington grocery-store workers’ unions, which have been thrown onto the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, recently reached agreements with their supermarket chains for better benefits, including paid time off, flexible scheduling and hazard pay.

‘It will not be pretty’: State preparing to make life-or-death decisions if coronavirus overwhelms health care system

Washington state and hospital officials have been meeting to consider what once was almost unthinkable — how to decide who lives and dies if, as feared, the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms the state’s health care system.

Seattle senior living community Kline Galland confirms a positive case of COVID-19

Kline Galland, a senior living community in Seattle, confirmed this week a resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

The patient, who was in the transitional care unit of the Kline Galland Home in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood, has since been taken to a hospital. The center didn’t have any additional information on the patient.

Lawmakers call protecting jobs the priority in any bailout for Boeing and aviation industry

Stunned by the rapidity with which the coronavirus crisis has gripped America in a chokehold, Congress on Friday scrambled to agree on a massive financial-relief package that could prevent economic collapse on top of the mounting toll in human lives.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 19 in the Seattle, WA area

The state Department of Health announced 189 new cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 1,376 cases, including 74 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 693 people fall ill and 60 of them die, according to the county’s public health department.

How and where to be tested for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19

More labs around the Puget Sound region are gaining the capacity to test specimens for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Getting those specimens to the labs has been another story.

The official advice, if you believe you’ve been exposed to the virus and you’re experiencing a fever, cough or difficulty breathing — some of the most common symptoms — is to call your doctor so they can determine whether testing is necessary. In reality, many patients have called their doctors only to be told there’s no way for them to get tested and they should just stay home and take care.

Read the full story here.

Washington’s unemployment system flooded with claims as coronavirus fallout grows

Like many of the thousands of Washington residents who have recently received pink slips, Darcy Wytko has gotten little reassurance from the state’s unemployment insurance system.

Read the full story here.

Sound Transit, Metro facing big drops in funding as coronavirus downturn takes hold

Sound Transit will see a sharp decline in funding as the coronavirus outbreak erodes tax revenue and keeps transit riders at home, CEO Peter Rogoff warned Thursday.

Read the full story here.

In a SoDo warehouse, Seattle opens first coronavirus testing site for first responders

Inside a Seattle police warehouse just south of downtown, next to a bomb-squad truck and parking-enforcement vehicles, a 6-foot wide rectangle has been marked with yellow tape on the concrete floor.

This, according to the City of Seattle, is the first COVID-19 testing site in the country dedicated to first responders.

Read the full story here.

Emergency order postpones criminal hearings across Washington due to coronavirus, expedites release of some jail inmates

With the goal of keeping people out of courtrooms and jails to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, a state Supreme Court emergency order issued Wednesday evening postponed hearings for out-of-custody criminal defendants and provided a mechanism to expedite the release of some jail inmates whose health is especially vulnerable.

Read the full story here.

Eviction measures offer some help for small businesses during coronavirus crisis, but not long-term relief

Seattle’s 60-day halt to evictions for small businesses, announced Wednesday by Mayor Jenny Durkan, alleviates some immediate anxiety but doesn’t provide long-term relief, commercial tenants say.

Read the full story here.

South Lake Union streetcar will not run, many bus routes to be scaled back

Starting Monday, most King County Metro bus routes will run fewer trips as the agency scales back service in response to the coronavirus outbreak and decreasing ridership.

Starting Saturday, a Reduced Schedule page on Metro’s website will allow riders to see further details. Passengers will also be able to check whether a bus is coming by texting their stop ID to 62550.

California governor issues statewide order for home isolation

The entire state of California will be under a stay-in-place order starting Thursday evening, marking the most stringent U.S. effort yet to stymie the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Los Angeles mayor orders residents to stay in their homes unless ‘absolutely necessary’

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday that he’s ordering all residents to stay in their homes and limit all non-essential movement.

Community Transit will suspend collecting fares

Community Transit in Snohomish County will not collect fares from riders beginning Friday morning after four transit operators tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, said CEO Emmett Heath in a news release.

Sen. Patty Murray asks for investigation into coronavirus testing, cites failures by Trump administration

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is demanding a government watchdog investigate delays and mismanagement by the Trump administration in rolling out testing for the novel coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

Inslee requests U.S. Navy hospital ship to help with potential coronavirus patient surge

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee this week requested the hospital ship U.S.S. Mercy be sent to the Puget Sound to help prevent Washington’s medical system from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus begins to chill homebuyer interest, and Redfin pauses its instant offers

As late as last week, the mounting number of coronavirus cases in King County seemed to be having a negligible affect on the housing market. The “spring frenzy” predicted by brokers earlier this year was in full swing — and even if not quite as frenzied as some had hoped, buyers were still crowding into open houses by the hundreds.

‘Tax Amazon’ group, Sawant announce ballot initiative for tax on big businesses

Boosters of a new Seattle tax on large corporations such as Amazon, including City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, have filed a petition to put an initiative on the ballot this year, they said Thursday.

Read the full story here.

Doctor decries Bellingham hospital’s coronavirus response, saying it puts health care workers at risk

BELLINGHAM — Veteran emergency room doctor Ming Lin is in the business of saving lives, not pointing fingers. But with numbers of coronavirus patients expected to crash like a wave at Puget Sound area hospitals, he’s making a public plea for better preparation and safety precautions at his own hospital, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.

Read the full story here.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources office to close to the public

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Thursday that it would close to the public in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

After first ignoring coronavirus order, Tesla will shut down California factory

Tesla, the luxury electric carmaker, said Thursday that it would shut down production at its San Francisco Bay Area factory, which has remained open for several days in apparent defiance of a local county order.

Seattle team gets funding to start human trials of potentially groundbreaking coronavirus treatment

Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute has received seven-figure funding to begin human trials on a potentially groundbreaking novel coronavirus treatment.

Read the full story here.

Funerals prohibited in Washington state amid coronavirus fears

Add funerals to the list of prohibited social gatherings under the state’s “social-distancing” order intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Sports and arts events had already shuttered after Gov. Jay Inslee’s March 16 proclamation shutting down restaurants, bars, theaters and other places where people congregate.

On Thursday, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) clarified the proclamation, adding funeral and memorial services.

Read the full story here.

Inslee orders suspension of “non-urgent medical and dental procedures” to save protective gear for medical workers

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced statewide restrictions on “non-urgent medical and dental procedures” so healthcare workers can save up protective equipment needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

State has 1,376 COVID-19 cases, including 74 deaths, officials say

Officials have confirmed an additional 189 cases and eight deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in Washington state.

Seattle-area Amazon workers say they’re not checked for coronavirus symptoms, despite CDC recommendation, as an employee in New York tests positive

Amazon confirmed its first U.S. case of an hourly employee with COVID-19 while workers at two of the company’s major fulfillment centers in the Seattle area said they were not being screened for coronavirus symptoms as recently as Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

Pacific County cancels clam digging season

Pacific County health officials canceled clam digging until further notice to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a Thursday press release from the county’s Sheriff’s Office.

Saints coach Sean Payton says he tested positive for the coronavirus

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

WWU announces online instruction through spring quarter

Western Washington University has joined other state institutions in announcing online classes for the entirety of spring quarter, which begins April 6, on a delayed schedule.

State Department warns Americans against all overseas travel; urges those abroad to get home

The Trump administration has upgraded its already dire warning to Americans against all international travel as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

The State Department on Thursday issued a new alert urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.

“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19,” it said in the new advice.

“In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”

Until the this announcement, the department’s advice to U.S. citizens was to “reconsider” all international travel under what is known as a “level three” alert.

The global “level four” warning was unprecedented, as such alerts are generally reserved for specific countries embroiled in conflict, natural disasters, or where Americans face specific risks.

However, the upgrade will likely have little practical effect because it is not mandatory and there are now limited transportation options for international travel.

Read the full story here.

Goodwill stores closed through April 2; some donations sites open

Seattle Goodwill and Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region have temporarily closed retail stores through April 2 due to COVID-19.

Third confirmed COVID-19 case at West Seattle senior complex

A third confirmed case of  COVID-19 has been reported by management at Bridge Park, a senior-living complex in High Point, according to the West Seattle Blog.

Two Sound Transit employees test positive for coronavirus

Two Sound Transit employees have informed the agency in the last week they tested positive for the novel coronavirus, CEO Peter Rogoff told a Sound Transit Board committee Thursday.

Coronavirus ravages 7 members of a single family, killing 3

A close-knit, sprawling Italian American family is quarantined at their separate homes, praying in isolated solitude, unable to mourn their deep collective loss together after the 73-year-old matriarch of their family was killed by the coronavirus.

Grace Fusco, the mother of 11 and grandmother of 27, died Wednesday night after contracting COVID-19 — hours after her son died from the virus and five days after her daughter’s death, a relative said.

Four other children who contracted coronavirus remain hospitalized, three of them in critical condition, said the relative, Roseann Paradiso Fodera.

Grace Fusco’s eldest child, Rita Fusco-Jackson, 55, of Freehold, New Jersey, died Friday; after her death, the family learned she had contracted the virus. Fusco’s eldest son, Carmine Fusco, of Bath, Pennsylvania, died Wednesday, said Paradiso Fodera, who is Grace Fusco’s cousin and is serving as a spokeswoman.

Fusco, of Freehold, died after spending Wednesday “gravely ill” and breathing with help from a ventilator, unaware that her two oldest children had died, Paradiso Fodera said.

The large, active New Jersey family gathered frequently. “A party to most people was a regular dinner to them,” Paradiso Fodera said. A routine Tuesday dinner is believed the outbreak source, and information about the number of people infected there led to a new intensity in warnings against even small get-togethers.

Read the whole story here.

Steve Shulman, longtime grocer at Leschi Market in Seattle, died Wednesday night from COVID-19

Steve Shulman, longtime grocer and community figure at Leschi Market along Lake Washington in Seattle, died Wednesday night from the effects of COVID-19, his family says.

“We all mourn the passing of this generous man who has been a pillar of the Leschi community and beyond for many years,” wrote his nephew Yousef Shulman, co-owner of the store.

Shulman said his uncle’s death was especially wrenching because he was kept in quarantine at the hospital, and because the community  can’t gather to mourn or celebrate his life due to the coronavirus social-distancing restrictions.

Steve Shulman was 67. He began working in the store along Lakeside Avenue in Seattle when he was a teenager, and his family has owned it since the 1970s. He also was a co-founder of the Seattle Police Foundation and served on numerous community group boards.

The impact of Steve Shulman and his illness on Leschi was featured in a Seattle Times column Wednesday.

Woman with coronavirus who flew from Massachusetts to LA to China faces criminal investigation

A woman who flew last week from Massachusetts to Los Angeles — then to Beijing, where she tested positive for coronavirus — is under investigation on allegations of concealing her symptoms and putting fellow travelers at risk of infection.

First head of state with coronavirus: Monaco’s Prince Albert II

The palace of Monaco says its ruler, Prince Albert II, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, making him the first head of state who has publicly said he contracted the virus.

Skagit Transit will not collect fares during the coronavirus outbreak

Skagit Transit will not collect fares from riders during the coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement on the agency’s website.

Being rich and famous may help in getting a coronavirus test

Politicians, celebrities, social media influencers and even NBA teams have been tested for the new coronavirus. But as that list of rich, famous and powerful people grows by the day, so do questions about whether they are getting access to testing denied to other Americans.

Read the whole story here.

Drive-thru coronavirus screening opens Friday in Spokane but you need a doctor’s note

Starting Friday, medical personnel wearing protective equipment will be ready to screen hundreds of people referred by doctors for COVID-19 testing as they drive through a four-car-wide white tent set up in the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center parking lot.

In desperate survival mode, Europe’s biggest airline cuts 95% of seats

Three of the world’s leading airlines laid bare the devastation the coronavirus is inflicting on air travel, with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Delta Air Lines parking a total of 1,500 planes and Qantas Airways laying off close to 30,000 employees in some of the industry’s deepest cuts to date.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 18 in the Seattle, WA area

*The internet is getting slammed.  It’s harder to obtain information because the websites are being taxed (rather, their servers)

The state Department of Health announced 175 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state total to 1,187 cases, including 66 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 562 people fall ill and 56 of them die, according to the county’s public health department. 

Redmond City Hall to close until April 30

Redmond City Hall will remain closed until May and other city facilities are closed until further notice, the city of Redmond said Wednesday.

Washington Supreme Court issues sweeping order to protect courts from COVID-19

The Washington Supreme Court issued a sweeping order Wednesday evening, which, among other things, postpones all civil and criminal jury trials as well as all “non-emergency civil matters,” until after April 24, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order also says the courts must allow telephone and video appearances for all criminal matters scheduled within that timeframe.

Bright Horizons closes most locations as child care workers statewide express concerns about their safety

Late Wednesday, national child care chain Bright Horizons decided to close most of their centers by the end of the week until April 27. They have about 20 locations in the Seattle area and will keep some centralized centers open. In a letter to employees, workers were given the option to continue working for increased pay at a nearby center if it is possible or to work through the company’s back-up in-home caregivers program. Others will receive two weeks of pay and benefits.

Feds on the lookout for Coronavirus fraud

U..S. Attorney Brian T. Moran has asked federal state and local law enforcement to be on the lookout for frauds preying on concerns over COVID-19.

UW classes to be remote through end of spring quarter

University of Washington classes will be remote through the end of spring quarter, the school announced Wednesday afternoon.

Five Kirkland firefighters in quarantine; 37 others released after completing isolation

Five Kirkland firefighters remain in quarantine and 37 others have been released after completing their recommended isolation period, the City of Kirkland said Wednesday.

Washington Democrats move all party activities online, postpone annual dinner until August

The Washington State Democratic Party says it will move all party events online in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Seattle International Film Festival canceled due to coronavirus pandemic

The 46th annual Seattle International Film Festival, scheduled to run May 14 though June 7, has been canceled. Organizers announced the news in an email Wednesday.

Department of Revenue will have authority to ‘suspend penalties and interest on certain late tax payments’

The state Department of Revenue will now have the authority to “suspend penalties and interest on certain late tax payments,” according to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.

Inslee announces 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions for residential tenants

OLYMPIA — As workers brace for the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday announced a 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions for residential tenants.

Coronavirus death at Costco Headquarters poses questions about “forcing” employees to come to the office, March 17

A Costco employee at the Issaquah headquarters has died after testing positive for the coronavirus. This news comes days after Costco initially said they wouldn’t allow head office telecommuting due to issues around “equity and fairness.”

The Costco Travel employee died this past Sunday evening, according to an internal email obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

When the announcement was initially made, Costco officials downplayed a potential coronavirus connection. When it became clear the employee had contracted the coronavirus, the messaging changed.

Third Department of Corrections employee tests positive for COVID-19

The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) says a third employee has tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee works at a work-release facility in Port Orchard and was last in the office on March 5, the agency said in a news release. The employee will not return to work until they recover and will be screened before being cleared to work, the agency says.

King County Metro reportedly plans to cut bus service amid coronavirus

King County Metro is considering cutting bus service by about 25% amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and social distancing measures that have contributed to plummeting ridership, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski said Wednesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection to close enrollment centers for Trusted Traveler Programs until May 1

All U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers will be temporarily closed starting March 19 until May 1 to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirues, CBP announced in a press release Wednesday.

King County to put 200-bed field hospital on Shoreline soccer field

A temporary field hospital for use by people unable to isolate and recover from COVID-19 in their own homes will be located at a soccer field in Shoreline, a city spokesman said.

Costco encourages employees who can to work from home

Costco workers, who have technological capability, are being encouraged to work from home, after an employee died Sunday from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, according to an email sent to IT employees Wednesday morning.

“If your job does not require you to be on site, we encourage you to work from home. This includes all members of management,” Costco Vice President of Global Supply Chain Terry Williams wrote in the email.

Managers are recommended to have daily conference calls and use chats, hangouts and phone calls to keep employees feeling productive and connected.

The retail company will stream its weekly “Fireside Chat” Friday to provide employees with updates and answer questions from staff.

On Tuesday morning, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said in an email to all employees that efforts were underway to increase the spacing between warehouse workers.

“As we all know, not everyone can perform their job responsibilities away from the office, but we now feel we can and should increase the number of employees who are doing so,” he said in the email.

10 more deaths and 44 new cases reported in King County

There were 44 new reported cases of COVID-19 in the past day in King County and 10 more people died from the virus, Public Health – Seattle & King County reported Wednesday.

That brings the county’s totals to 562 confirmed cases and 56 deaths. Of those reported deaths, 35 are associated associated with Life Care Center, the Kirkland senior-living facility that was at the heart of the outbreak.

All of the 10 new reported deaths were people over 60 years old, the age-range most endangered by the virus.

They are: A woman in her 90s, who died at Life Care Center on March 6; a woman in her 60s, who died at Life Care on March 16; a man in his 90s, who died at Life Care on March 17; a man in his 70s, who died at Life Care on March 17; a man in his 80s, who died at Life Care on Feb. 28; a man in his 90s, who died on March 15; a woman in her 70s, who died at Overlake Medical Center on March 16; a man in his 70s, who died at University of Washington Medical Center on March 17; a man in his 60s, who died at Harborview Medical Center on March 16, and a man in his 70s, who died on March 16.

The UW invites you to watch its cherry blossoms from home

It’s cherry blossom season, but the University of Washington wants you to stay home to maintain social distancing and slow the spread of the new coronavirus. It’s part of the UW’s overall changes, which include moving courses online.

Pierce County reports first COVID-19 death of woman in 50s

A woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions became the first person to die of complications from COVID-19 in Pierce County, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

COVID-19 claims UW pathologist Stephen Schwartz

A longtime member of the University of Washington’s Department of Pathology has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19 infection.

The news was shared with faculty members in an e-mail from the interim chair of the department, Charles E. Alpers, on Wednesday.

“It is with extreme regret that I share with you the news that a member of our faculty, Professor Stephen Schwartz, died yesterday after being hospitalized with COVID-19 infection,” the message said.

Alpers wrote in the email that Schwartz did his residency in the Department of Pathology from 1967-1972, and then was a postdoctoral trainee in the laboratory of Earl Benditt.

He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1973 and has been on the faculty since, becoming a full professor in 1984.

Schwartz was also was an adjunct professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Medicine, “reflective of his many collaborative relationships with faculty and other departments in our medical school and in the world.

“Steve had a distinguished career as an investigator in the field of vascular biology. He is rightfully considered a giant amongst investigators of the biology of smooth muscle cells and the structure of blood vessels,”  Alpers said in his e-mail.

Schwartz was an investigator of the American Heart Association, a founding Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on vascular biology, a co-founder of the North American Vascular Biology Organization — the leading organization for investigation in vascular biology — and he chaired numerous meetings both national and international in the field of vascular biology, Alpers said.

#whenileave

More than 400,000 Puget Sound-area workers are in industries facing immediate risk due to coronavirus, study says

More than 400,000 workers in the Puget Sound region are in industries facing immediate risk due to impacts resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and more than 500,000 additional workers are in industries facing near-term risk, says a white paper commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and released Wednesday.

The region’s economy is experiencing “an economic shock that will take many months and beyond to recover from,” with impacts likely to result in wage reductions or temporary layoffs in about 40% of all jobs in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, says the study by the Seattle-based research firm Community Attributes Inc. (CAI).

“Many of these jobs will start again once the virus threat has passed and the economy starts up again,” the study says. “Not all businesses will survive this challenge.”

The CAI study says the Puget Sound economy is in trouble due to declines in consumer and business spending, event cancellations, tourist visit reductions, supply-chain and trade disruptions, real estate and economic uncertainty and government tax challenges.

Because Washington and its cities rely heavily on sales taxes, they should pursue new revenue sources, the white paper says.

“Washington state’s dependency on retail spending and business revenues will see immediate impacts in March and throughout the second quarter of 2020,” the study says. “State and local revenues will decline in 2020, as government spending increases to serve immediate needs. Difficult budget choices will play out in Q3 and Q4.”

CAI and Boston Consulting Group identified industries at immediate and near-term risk due to the coronavirus crisis, such as the restaurant sector and the retail sector.

They estimated there are 419,000 immediate-risk workers, including retail salespersons and supervisors, cooks, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, dishwashers, bartenders and stock clerks, mostly making $15 to $25 an hour.

Most workers facing immediate and near-term risks work in King County, as opposed to Pierce and Snohomish counties, the CAI white paper says.

Nearly all qualify for state unemployment insurance benefits, but there also are large numbers of gig workers who, as independent contractors, may not be eligible for the same benefits.

—Daniel Beekman

My agency will be creating a Small Business Resources Guide to be ahead of the Economic downturn in the Puget Sound and the United States

More Coronavirus News on March 17, 2020

Costco coronavirus death – Reported ~3/17 – 3/18

Last week, I amplified a report of a remarkably ill-advised Costco coronavirus staffing decision by CEO W. Craig Jelinek. He originally prohibited telecommuting for head office staff. Despite recommendations by public health officials, Jelinek defended the unpopular decision because they “consider it a matter of equity and fairness” for employees who can’t work from home.

Jelinek later walked back the decision in an email to staff: “Based on recent developments, we’ve decided to allow some employees at Costco’s corporate offices to work remotely.”

Then, on Sunday night, March 15, a Costco employee died.

The details were not reported at the time, but in a Monday morning email to staff Costco Vice President Terry Williams pushed back against “misinformation that surfaced” and said “there have not been any employees or contractors confirmed with COVID-19.”

Instead, Williams said, one contractor “had flu like symptoms, and employees were prematurely asked to stay home. This is inconsistent with CDC guidelines.” He instructed people to continue working in the building, LP-1.

It’s not entirely clear if this email was directly related to the employee’s death or another employee.

The Costco coronavirus tragedy announced

Later Monday afternoon, Ron Vachris (Executive Vice President, COO – Merchandising) and Peter Gruening (general manager of Costco Travel) sent a staff email with the tragic news.

As some of you may have heard, we received sad news this morning that a Costco Travel employee passed away at home last night. Exact details of the employee’s passing are unknown at this point, and we have no information that this was related to COVID-19. However, to be cautious and because we lack important details, we decided to close LP-2 for the remainder of the day for a deep cleaning.

The very next day, however, they sent out an important update. This became a Costco coronavirus case.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 17 in the Seattle, WA area

The state Department of Health announced 108 new cases Tuesday, bringing the state total to 1,012 cases, including 55 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 518 people fall ill and 46 of them die, according to the county’s public health department.

Surge of coronavirus patients expected as officials marshal emergency supplies, health workers test positive

Expecting a surge of patients suffering from severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, state and federal officials are trying to marshal emergency resources and supplies to Washington state.

The state could soon have up to 1,000 additional emergency hospital beds supplied by the federal government, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday afternoon. State officials also are trying to stock up on essential medical gear like masks, gloves and ventilators from new sources. And health care centers are beginning to open new drive-through testing centers for the public, widely seen as one of the most effective means to understanding the outbreak’s scope here.

US, Canada working on mutual ban on non-essential travel

Canada and the United States are working out the details of a mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries amid the new coronavirus pandemic, a Canadian official said late Tuesday.

The official was not authorized to discuss details ahead of an announcement and spoke to The Associated Press on condition anonymity.

University District Trader Joe’s closes after employee tests positive for COVID-19

A Trader Joe’s employee who works in Seattle’s University District has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting an immediate store closure.

The crew member was last in the store — located at 4555 Roosevelt Way — on March 7, according to a statement from a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman.

Coronavirus travel cancellation woes drag down Expedia’s systems, making refunds difficult to obtain

Travelers say miscommunication between Seattle-based travel booking company Expedia, hotels and airlines about refund and cancellation policies is leaving them on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars — and with the company’s call system overwhelmed by “unprecedented” call volumes, some are desperate for answers.

Hundreds of thousands of travelers in the U.S. alone are frantically canceling flights and hotel bookings amid far-reaching restrictions on movement and the closure of many tourist destinations to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Tulalip Tribes health clinic closes after patient tests positive for COVID-19

The Tulalip Tribes closed its health clinic for deep cleaning after a patient was transferred to the hospital and later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Russell Wilson, Ciara to donate 1 million meals to help Seattle food banks amid coronavirus outbreak

In a one-minute video posted to Twitter Tuesday night, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson announced that he and his wife, entertainer Ciara, will donate one million meals to local food banks through the Feeding America nationwide network to help those suffering due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

State health officials confirm more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Washington

More than 1,000 people in Washington state have now been confirmed to have COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

New numbers released Tuesday by the department of health bring the total number of cases statewide to 1,012, an increase of 108 from Monday. Seven new deaths were reported by officials Tuesday — three in King County, two in Snohomish County and two in Clark County — totaling 55 deaths in the state.

First Mason County resident tests positive for COVID-19

Public health officials announced Tuesday evening that a Mason County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the county’s first confirmed case.

Citing coronavirus, Trump will announce strict new border controls

The Trump administration plans to immediately turn back all asylum-seekers and other foreigners trying to cross the southwestern border illegally, saying they cannot risk allowing the coronavirus to spread through detention facilities and among Border Patrol agents, four administration officials said on Tuesday.

Seattle-area health care systems begin drive-through coronavirus testing for patients

As the need and desire for COVID-19 testing grows, area health care systems are opening drive-through testing sites to meet the demand.

From Lynnwood to Puyallup people are driving through makeshift testing locations and having nurses swab the inside of their noses.

On Monday, UW Medicine began testing the public for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, at a drive-through testing location in Northgate, where 15 people were tested. The testing is being done in the parking lot of the University of Washington Medicine’s Northwest Outpatient Medical Center.

The location is designated only for UW Medicine patients who schedule an appointment after their doctor sends them for testing. The tests are being processed at a UW lab, and it is expected to be a least a couple of days before results are available.

On Tuesday morning, the first patient of the day rolled up to the site tucked just west of Interstate 5 in the parking lot’s southeast corner.

Read the full story here.

With new restaurant ban, some parking will become food pick-up zones

As a way of adjusting to a new reality in which restaurants are not allowed to offer dine-in service, Seattle will convert some on-street parking spaces near restaurants into loading zones intended for meal pickups, the city announced Tuesday.

“Our small businesses, particularly restaurants, are bearing the brunt of our efforts to combat this pandemic. By facilitating easier takeout for restaurants, we can help support these businesses who make up the fabric of our city,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

Crews were installing temporary new signs Tuesday afternoon, the mayor’s office said. Most of the zones will allow two cars to park for three minutes at a time.

To reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine issued orders this week to further reduce public gatherings, including shutting down bars and restaurants for dine-in service through at least the end of March. Restaurants can provide takeout and delivery.

The first new zones will be at the following restaurants with more to come, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation:

  • Mezcaleria Oaxaca, 422 E. Pine St.
  • Bar del Corso, 3057 Beacon Ave S.
  • Breezy Town Pizza, 4864 Beacon Ave. S.
  • Machiavelli, 1215 Pine St.
  • Meet Korean BBQ, 500 E Pike St.
  • El Camino, 607 N. 35th St.
  • Il Lupo, 4303 Fremont Ave. N.
  • Feed Co. Burgers, 1190 24th Ave.
  • Jack’s BBQ, 228 9th Ave.
  • Hurry Curry of Tokyo, 825 Harrison St.
  • Loretta’s Northwesterner, 8617 14th Ave. S.

Restaurants can request a loading zone near their business at (206) 684-ROAD.

Individual who visited Bellevue Corporate Plaza tests positive for COVID-19

A person who visited the Bellevue Corporate Plaza on March 7 tested positive Monday for COVID-19, the illness related to the novel coronavirus, according to an administrative email sent to tenants Monday night.

Kevin Durant among four Nets players to test positive for coronavirus

Kevin Durant is one of the four Nets players to test positive for coronavirus but he has been asymptomatic, according to the Athletic.

King County reports 30 new COVID-19 cases, including 3 deaths

There are 30 new cases of COVID-19 in King County and three additional people have died from the virus, Public Health – Seattle & King County reported Tuesday. That brings the total number of novel coronavirus cases in King County to 518 and the number of deaths to 46.

Small businesses and nonprofits in state hurt by coronavirus can tap up to $2 million in federal loans

Federal disaster loans of up to $2 million have been made available to Washington small businesses and nonprofits significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that working capital loans for fixed debts, accounts payable, payroll and other bills can be accessed in 32 counties statewide including King, Pierce and Snohomish. Repayment plans can stretch up to 30 years at an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75 % for nonprofits.

“Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,’’ SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a news release.

Applicants can apply online or download forms and receive additional relief information there as well. They can also call 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

Read the full story here.

Pentagon to provide respirator masks, ventilators to civilian health authorities

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that the Pentagon will provide civilian health authorities with 5 million respirator masks and 2,000 specialized ventilators to help in a national response to the coronavirus pandemic.

CenturyLink waives late fees, promises no service shut-offs for 60 days

CenturyLink said it is waiving all late payment fees and won’t shut off service for any small business or residential customer for the next 60 days, as a response to the economic woes caused by the novel coronavirus.

Grim milestone reached: 100 dead in the U.S.

Across the United States, at least 100 people infected with the highly contagious new virus have now died – a toll that experts expect to rise quickly and a preview of the challenges ahead.

The Washington Post tracked every known U.S. death of a disease that’s killed thousands of people worldwide and analyzed data provided by state and local health officials, families of the victims and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the first 100 reported fatalities, many people appear to have had underlying health conditions, making it harder for their bodies to fight off COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Some had diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension or pulmonary ailments.

Nearly all – about 85 percent – were older than 60, and about 45 percent were older than 80. It’s unclear how some of them contracted the disease, but more than a third were living in residential care facilities when they became ill.

What is known about the scale of transmission and the high number of deaths among vulnerable populations – like at the Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington, where 27 of the facility’s 120 residents have died – has experts deeply concerned.

Read the full story here.

“People have died in 18 states.”

T-Mobile closing 80% of its retail stores

Starting Tuesday, about 80% of T-Mobile’s retail stores will close until at least March 31, according to a letter sent to employees by President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert.

Inside Day 1 of the surreal new world at Seattle’s restaurants: With Tuesday as the first full day without dining-room service, and as layoffs and closures multiply, owners of surviving restaurants are “totally in limbo.” The new normal, Bethany Jean Clement writes in a personal essay, is delivery and dread. And yet … the energetic scene at Canlis might give others hope.

Callers to Washington’s new coronavirus hotlines have been waiting … and waiting … and then getting the runaround. The call centers, caught off guard by massive demand, have been hampered by too few operators, technical snafus and contradicting messages from health care providers. Read the Times Watchdog story.

“This is bigger than all of us.” Every Washingtonian must act to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, state leaders said as they outlined how to avoid all unnecessary social interactions. The U.S. government has released its own sweeping guidelines urging, among other things, that all older Americans stay home.

The San Francisco area has screeched to a halt, with 7 million people ordered to shelter at home and only leave for “essential” reasons. Here’s what this will look like.

Thousands of families will get supermarket vouchers of $800 each from the city of Seattle. Here’s who is eligible. At the same time, the city faces a massive hole in its own budget amid the economic breakdown.

Boeing is asking the White House for aid as it tries to avoid layoffs, and Alaska Air is cutting flights and CEO pay.

Two intrepid lab sleuths in Seattle ramped up tests, working around the clock for days as the virus closed in. Here’s a look inside the work that’s leading the nation — and becoming increasingly personal for the two UW scientists.

Amazon is hiring 100,000 people to keep up with a crush of orders. It’s also raising hourly workers’ pay.

Nordstrom is temporarily shutting all of its stores.

Many tribal casinos are closing, too. In some ways, tribes moved faster than other governments to protect their people.

Home-sales activity isn’t slowing, brokers say, even though more than 30,000 Western Washington real estate agents have been warned not to host open houses.

King County property-tax bills may be delayed for homeowners and businesses in hardship situations. County leaders are making that request of Gov. Jay Inslee.

“Social distancing is impossible in a preschool.” Child care providers are in a scary situation, and so are parents. Meanwhile, schools around the Puget Sound area have had to transform nearly overnight; here’s how that’s going.

Small-business owners are banding together, and they’ve already thrown some creative life preservers to each other.

Love in the time of coronavirus: Megan Griffiths and Ben Camp were “really excited to get married,” and then the virus arrived. This is their story of starting from scratch to make unexpected memories.

Brawling monkeys and misplaced deer are among the more bizarre side effects of the crisis.

Here’s help

If you think you might have COVID-19, call your doctor and stay home unless you have “emergency warning signs,” health officials say.

Taking your temperature? Know that 98.6 isn’t “normal” anymore, and that’s an interesting little mystery.

One less thing to worry about: The toilet-paper supply pipeline is strong. Barring a new craze for mummy costumes, we can all relax about it.

As Gov. Inslee reminds Washingtonians that “we need to make changes,” here’s what’s allowed and what’s not under new social-distancing rules:

Coronavirus Economic Update, March 16: Dow Jones drops almost 3000 points; worst stock market drop since 1987

Stocks fell sharply Monday — with the Dow suffering its worst day since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987 and its third-worst day ever — even after the Federal Reserve embarked on a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2,997.10 points lower, or 12.9%, at 20,188.52. The 30-stock Dow was briefly down more than 3,000 points in the final minutes of trading. The S&P 500 dropped 12% to 2,386.13 — hitting its lowest level since December 2018 — while the Nasdaq Composite closed 12.3% lower at 6,904.59 in its worst day ever.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 16 in the Seattle, WA area

As Washington gains the capacity to test more people for the virus, more COVID-19 diagnoses are made each day. The state Department of Health announced 135 new cases Monday, bringing the state total to 904 cases, including 48 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 488 people fall ill and 43 of them die. A Seattle expert estimates the U.S. could have 10 times as many cases as have been confirmed.

Seattle Center Monorail reports 95% drop in ridership over the past weekend

The Seattle Center Monorail announced Monday, after it began implementing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 last week, that it would temporarily close until at least April 6.

View image on Twitter

Seattle government expecting revenue loss of more than $100 million as result of coronavirus

The novel coronavirus pandemic that’s wreaking medical and social havoc in Seattle also could punch a hole of $100 million or more in the city’s budget, forcing leaders to make tough decisions about cuts and emergency funds, a top official said Monday.

Vaccine is being tested on local volunteers for $1100 each

This vaccine candidate, code-named mRNA-1273, was developed by the NIH and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna.

Some of the study’s subjects will get higher dosages than others to test how strong the inoculations should be. Scientists will check for any side effects and draw blood samples to test if the vaccine is revving up the immune system, looking for encouraging clues like the NIH earlier found in vaccinated mice. Even if the research goes well, a vaccine would not be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Kaiser is still looking for healthy volunteers, ages 18 to 55. Over a 14-month period, they will have 11 in-person visits and four phone visits. Different volunteers will be injected in the upper arm.

State Department of Licensing closes driver’s license and other service counters starting Tuesday

The state Department of Licensing confirmed Monday that it would temporarily close its driver licensing and other service counters to the public to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Nordstrom to shutter all its stores to limit virus spread

Nordstrom Inc. says it will temporarily close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday as it tries to limit the spread of the new virus.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 15 in the Seattle, WA area

As Washington gains the capacity to test more people for the virus, more COVID-19 diagnoses are made each day. The state Department of Health announced 60 new cases Sunday, bringing the state total to 769 cases, including 42 deaths. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 420 people fall ill and 37 of them die. The pandemic has pushed our strained health care system to its limits.

About 2,300 people across the U.S. have been confirmed to have the virus, but a Seattle expert estimates the real count could be 10 times that many. And while President Donald Trump has banned air travel from many European countries, most new infections in the United States are likely being spread by the country’s own residents.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 14 in the Seattle, Washington area

As Washington gains the capacity to test more people for the virus, more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed every day. The state Department of Health announced 60 new cases Saturday, bringing the state total to 643. In total, 40 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 388 people fall ill and 35 of them die.

Inslee: I am not planning to quarantine or seal off Washington

Seeking to quash rumors amid public anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday night said he is not planning on sealing off or quarantining any part of Washington.

In a post on Twitter, Inslee said while fighting COVID-19, “We must also fight against rumors and false information.” He said neither he nor his staff “are engaged in conversations to quarantine or seal off any part of Washington state.”

Inslee added he has been in regular contact with Vice President Mike Pence, and “this has not come up.”

Coronavirus daily news update, March 13 in the Seattle, Washington area

The Puget Sound region is adjusting to a new normal as most people practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Schools are closed, large gatherings are bannedbusinesses are struggling and an already-strained health care system has been pushed to its limits.

More cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, are confirmed every day. The Washington State Department of Health announced 111 new cases Friday, bringing the state total to 568. In total, 37 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease. The bulk of cases remain in King County, which has seen 328 people fall ill and 32 of them die.

Coronavirus daily news update, March 12: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state, and the nation

Officials continue to confirm cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, around Washington state. In total, 31 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease…The state Department of Health announced 91 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 457.

11 March 2020 – Without ‘social distancing,’ 400 could die from coronavirus in Western Washington by April 7, study suggests

New modeling suggests that if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not slowed, there could be 25,000 infections in King and Snohomish counties by April 7, with 400 of those people likely to die.

11 March 2020 – Map of Seattle Region – Corona Cases

Source

11 March 2020 – Without “social distancing,” 400 could die from coronavirus in Western Washington by April 7, study suggests

New modeling suggests that if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not slowed, there could be 25,000 infections in King and Snohomish counties by April 7, with 400 of those people likely to die.

Researchers at The Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center released a working paper on March 10 using research from around the world on coronavirus, and local research from the flu — including a study of how much school cancellations around 2019’s “Snowpocalypse” reduced spread of the flu.

This modeling is apparently one of the factors Gov. Jay Inslee and other local leaders consulted before instituting one of the harshest emergency responses in state history.

Read more here.

11 March 2020 – Trump Delays Federal Taxes beyond April 15

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night that he will instruct the Treasury Department to allow individuals and businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus to defer their tax payments beyond the April 15 filing deadline.

In an address from the Oval Office, Trump said he would use his emergency authority to allow individual taxpayers and businesses to defer paying their taxes by next month’s deadline if they have suffered adverse effects from the spreading virus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress earlier Wednesday that the payment delay would have the effect of putting more than $200 billion back into the economy that would otherwise go to paying taxes next month. He did not indicate what the new deadline would be.

Mnuchin told reporters that the delay would cover “virtually all Americans other than the super-rich.”

He said the delay would not apply to large corporations or very wealthy taxpayers but he did not offer any specific income or asset thresholds that would be needed to qualify for the delay.

Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the administration could grant the tax delay without having to go to Congress for approval.

Mnuchin said the delay would allow individuals to not pay their taxes by the April 15 deadline. The IRS would also waive interest payments or other penalties for missing the deadline. Under current IRS rules, taxpayers can get an automatic extension on filing their tax returns but they are required to pay tax on the estimated amount they will owe when they do file.

—Associated Press

10 March 2020 – Coronavirus daily news update, March 10: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

9 March 2020 – Coronavirus daily news update, March 9: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

8 March 2020 – Coronavirus daily news update, March 9: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

7 March 2020 – Coronavirus daily news update, March 9: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

6 March 2020 – UW becomes First Major US University to Shut Down Classes 

The University of Washington announced on Friday that it would cancel all in-person classes and move them online for at least the next few weeks. In doing so, Washington became the first major American university to take such drastic action amid rapidly growing fears of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19.  Source.

Other Universities or Educational Institutions:

Yeshiva University, in New York City, closed its Washington Heights and Midtown campuses on March 5, until March 10, after a student was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Everett Community College, in Everett, Wash., announced on March 5 that it would close through Sunday, March 8, “for cleaning,” and that a number of students and employees had been exposed to the novel coronavirus. The college later announced that one student had received a diagnosis of Covid-19.

Dartmouth College notified its community on March 2 that an employee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center had tested positive for the virus, and had attended an event at the college’s graduate business school before being quarantined. It was reported late on March 3 that a second employee of the center had tested positive and had been isolated.

Students at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, near Seattle, may have been exposed to the virus, according to the Kirkland Reporter, after visiting a nursing facility where cases have been confirmed. On March 4 the college announced that a faculty member had tested positive for Covid-19 and the campus would be closed through the weekend. The college said the unidentified faculty member had been self-quarantined.

6 March 2020 – death toll is 13 in WA State

NBC reports in their “Map of where cases have been confirmed” that there are 13 deaths in WA state and one in California.  Other local sources either do not know or can not report the information (or they are terrible at SEO; yes, I can help you local news outlets)

6 March 2020 – Facebook is running into #misinformation issues (#ironically)

Facebook’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus misinformation are running into a problem: groups.

Dozens of public and private Facebook groups totaling hundreds of thousands of members have become a haven for conspiracy theories, medical equipment promotion and unproven cures related to the new coronavirus, according to an analysis by NBC News.

Some Facebook groups we found (related to the piece and corona):

*Note the first FB group here has 2.4k posts a day and the last one has 150 posts/day (so be warned about the volume)

Facebook conspiracy theory #666: Zuckerberg helps medical industry by preventing users from finding “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” group

Just tried to find the group that the NBC News piece highlighted at the end.  Look at what shows up:

FB preventing Stop Vaccination group
Stop Mandatory Vaccination FB group search – all

and when you click on “groups” which could be FB’s excuse, it still doesn’t show up.  Did it get banned?  Is FB’s search algorithm that bad?  Is there artificial manipulation of their searches?

Stop Mandatory Vaccination FB group search – groups search

5 March 2020 – Seattle named America’s “Coronavirus Capital”

Great piece titled “Life in Seattle, America’s Coronavirus Capital” written by Margaret O’Mara in the New York Times

#karma?  #shouldthingschange #sittingonourlaurels #seattlenolongerbestplacetolive #shouldistartacareerincomedy?

5 March 2020 – Stranger puts out a list of cancelled events & the ones who are moving forward in the Seattle area

As the coronavirus continues to dominate the news cycle, many Seattle event organizers have canceled or postponed their events for the coming days, following a King County recommendation to consider postponing events and gatherings. Many other event organizers and venues, however, (including, notably, Comic Con) have made public statements that they will not be canceling their events as they continue to monitor the situation, but that they have put extra measures in place to ensure public health.

We’ve rounded up everything we’ve heard related to event cancellations and non-cancellations below, and we’ll add to this post as we hear more. If we’re missing something, email us to let us know.

4 March 2020 – Death toll rises to 10 in Washington State

39 confirmed cases: 9 deaths in King, 1 death in Snohomish Counties

A tenth person in Washington State has died from the coronavirus and several new infections have been confirmed, officials said on Wednesday, as ramped-up testing offered troubling evidence of how widely the virus had spread. Source.

Ten new cases:

  • A female in her 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
  • A male in his 50s, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized
  • A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
  • A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
  • A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at Evergreen
  • A female in her 90s, Life Care resident, was hospitalized at Evergreen and died on 3/3/20
  • A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
  • A male in his 30s, no known exposure, not hospitalized
  • A female in her teens, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized
  • A male in his 80s, a resident of Life Care, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

4 March 2020 – Facebook shuts down – contractor tests positive

A Facebook contractor based in Seattle tested positive for coronavirus, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The person was last in the Stadium East office on Feb. 21. Facebook closed its Stadium West and Stadium East offices, located in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, until March 9. Source

4 March 2020 – Kent to be the site of quarantine

1:24pm – King County Executive Dow Constantine said the purchase of a motel to quarantine people sick with coronavirus is final. The hotel is located in Kent. Media was invited to tour the facility. Source

3 March 2020 – Amazon is reported to have an infection

5:40pm – In a memo passed around on Reddit and confirmed by MyNorthwest, Amazon is telling its employees that a fellow Amazonian has tested positive for coronavirus. The employee went home not feeling well on Feb. 25 and hasn’t been back since. The company says it has notified employees who it knows would have been in close contact (within 6 feet) with this person. Amazon is asking its employees to stay home if they experience symptoms. “Your health is our top priority and we are continuing with enhanced deep cleaning and sanitization in the office,” the memo reads. Source

(I have a personal contact internally who is orally confirming this)

3 March 2020 – Seattle issues “Emergency” – 18 cases reported

Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a Proclamation of Civil Emergency allowing her to exercise emergency authority to address any immediate dangers to the public as a result of the coronavirus.

The seven new cases in King County are:

  • A female in her 40s, worked at LifeCare, never hospitalized and is recovering at home
  • A female in her 60s, family member of a confirmed case of COVID-19, not hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s, a frequent visitor of LifeCare, hospitalization status unknown currently
  • A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
  • A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
  • A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
  • A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on 2/26/20

14 other cases in King County alone, already reported earlier by Public Health, include:

  • A male in his 50s, hospitalized at Highline Hospital. No known exposures. He is in stable but critical condition. He had no underlying health conditions.
  • A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 80s, a resident of LifeCare, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She is in critical condition
  • A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. This person died on 3/1/20.
  • A female in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
  • A male in his 70s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
  • A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20.
  • A man in his 60s, hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton.
  • A man in 60s, hospitalized at Virginia Mason Medical Center.
  • A woman in her 50s, who had traveled to South Korea; recovering at home
  • A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on 3/2/20
  • A woman in her 40s, employed by LifeCare, who is hospitalized at Overlake Medical Center
  • A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died 2/28/20 at EvergreenHealth

Source

2 March 2020 – Coronavirus death toll rises to 28 in South Korea

The death toll from the coronavirus has reached 28 in South Korea with 600 newly confirmed cases, raising the national tally to 4,812 cases, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a news release Tuesday. Source.

2 March 2020 – At least one employer is brave enough to encourage all it’s employees to work from home

Twitter is asking all of its employees worldwide to stay away from their offices until further notice to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, the company said in a message posted Monday on the its official blog.

Beginning today, we are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able,” wrote Jennifer Christie, chief human resources officer.

2 March 2020 – Redmond and Woodinville Firefighters and Kirkland Police Officers in quarantine

The city of Kirkland, Washington, is putting two more firefighters in quarantine as a result of possible exposure to coronavirus. There are now 27 firefighters in quarantine after having responded to coronavirus calls at the Life Care Center nursing facility, city spokeswoman Kellie Stickney said in a statement. Source.

2 March 2020 – Seattle area deaths rise to 6

At the news conference, [Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington’s state health officer] originally announced five total deaths in the area until Dr. Ettore Palazzo, chief medical and quality officer at EvergreenHealth where several patients are being treated, announced a sixth death that state health officials didn’t know about.

“So six should be the correct number,” Lofy told a confused room of reporters.

Washington state currently has at least 18 cases, 14 of which are in King County where the nursing facility is located and four in Snohomish County, she said. There are 29 other cases pending test results, officials said. Source

2 March 2020 – The epidemic may double by 3/9/2020

Something to keep in mind in the coming couple of weeks: we believe from modeling estimates from case data (github.com/midas-network/) and from phylodynamics (bedford.io/projects/ncov-) that epidemic doubling time is about 7 days.  

This means that 100 infections will grow to 200 infections after one week and to 400 infections after two weeks. After local transmission has started, “there’ll be twice as many infections in a week” is a good grounding to think about how things will behave in your area.

Because of the lack of national testing that had been going on, there is likely a backlog of cases to be detected. As this backlog gets cleared, case counts are going to rise quickly. But please remember that reported cases aren’t newly acquired infections.

If US cases more than double in the next week it’s not because the virus is moving any faster. It’s just because we’ll finally be catching up to it.

2 March 2020 – Mariner High (Mulkiteo), Discovery Elementary (Sammamish), & Hazen High (Renton) Schools are all closed

A handful of schools announced closures Monday due to concerns over coronavirus.

Mariner High School is closed Monday after the parent of a student was diagnosed with coronavirus. The parent’s child is not showing any symptoms, but will be quarantined at home and monitored for 14 days, as per the direction of the Snohomish Health District.

Because the student was in contact with Discovery Elementary, that school will be closed Monday as well.

Hazen High School in Renton is closed Monday as crews disinfect the campus, after school officials learned that a student and their parent are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

2 March 2020 – The virus is spreading in Seattle

COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, may have been spreading in Washington state for weeks undetected, according to researchers at the Seattle Flu Study.

29 February 2020 – USPS Postal Service Employee tests positive 

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — KIRO 7 found out Saturday evening that a Seattle-area U.S. Postal Service employee tested positive for the coronavirus.  A corporate communications spokesperson said that the employee works at the Seattle Network Distribution Center located in Federal Way.

29 February 2020 – 1st US Death

Evergreen Health Medical Center is where a person died of COVID-19, in Kirkland, Wash. State health officials announced the death Saturday, marking the first such reported death in the United States. Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary” to prepare for and respond to the outbreak. Source

21 January 2020

Health officials in Washington state report the first case in the US. The man is in his 30s and is in good condition at a hospital in Everett, Washington, after returning to the area last week from China. He was believed to have travelled to the Wuhan area.

31 December 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) is alerted by the Chinese authorities of a string of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

Patients are quarantined and work begins on identifying the origin of the pneumonia.

More comprehensive timeline here

Repeating from above:  How to flatten the curve

Snapshots of the different Coronavirus updates on Johns Hopkins:

26 hours later

  • +68,141 cases, +3103 deaths, +10,017 recoveries
  • Cases velocity growth decreased slightly & deaths velocity has dropped quite a bit with recoveries velocity being strong; it may be as a result of the weekend, however
Coronavirus Update March 03/29/2020 01:21:08 AM

24 hours later

  • +65,282 cases, +3684 deaths, +9100 recoveries
  • All metrics have a HIGHER velocity, but the concerning one is the number of deaths drastically increasing
  • And NOTE: the daily cases velocity was around ~13-15,000/day the day we started this (March 12, 2020), but you can see it’s drastically WORSE & the death rate was about 500-700/day, but we are now at 500%+ that just 2 weeks+ later
Coronavirus Update March 03/27/2020 11:10:46 PM

24 hours later

  • +60,712 cases, +2769 deaths, +7802 recoveries
  • EXTREMELY HIGHER cases velocity, HIGHER deaths velocity, but fortunately a HIGHER recoveries velocity
Coronavirus Update March 03/26/2020 10:59:40 PM

23 hours later

  • +48,028 cases, +2361 deaths, +5725 recoveries
  • HIGHER cases velocity (again), higher deaths velocity AND lower recoveries velocity
Coronavirus Update March 03/25/2020 10:50:45 PM

25 hours later

  • +41,940 cases, +2373 deaths, +7288 recoveries
  • Higher cases velocity (again), MUCH HIGHER deaths velocity, but fortunately a MUCH higher recoveries velocity
Coronavirus Update March 25, 2020 010713 AM

29 hours later

  • +46,108 cases, +1933 deaths,  +3523 recoveries
  • Highers cases velocity, slightly lower deaths velocity, but definitely MUCH lower recovery velocity
Coronavirus Update March 03/24/2020 01:15:00 AM

23 hours later

  • +28,722 cases, +1592 deaths, +5961 recoveries
  • Cases, deaths have slightly decreased in velocity AND recoveries velocity increased which is a good sign
Corona Virus Update March 22 2020 08:43:08 PM

23+ hours later

  • +31,844 cases, +1650 deaths, +4117 recoveries
  • Cases, deaths and recoveries velocity increased in the past day
Corona Virus Update March 21 2020 09:43:04 PM

26 hours later

  • More than 11,000+ deaths
  • +30,917 cases, +1369 deaths, +2231 recoveries
Corona Virus Update March 20 2020 10:13:04 PM

Another 22 hours after the last update

  • MORE than 10,000+ deaths
  • +25,702 cases, +1220 deaths, +1911 recoveries
Global Corona Virus Update March 19 2020 08:13:18 pm

Just 22 hours after the last update

  • +20,637 cases, +856 deaths, +2154 recoveries
  • Doing the math, there appears to be an exponentially HIGHER increase in cases (938 case/hr vs. 564/hr) & deaths ( 38 deaths/hr vs. 28/hr), but also recoveries ( 97 recoveries/hr vs. 92/hr).
Global Corona Virus Update March 18 2020 10:13pm

2 days & 3.5 hours later:

  • +28,791 cases, +1441 deaths, +4703 recoveries
  • higher number of cases in a 48+ hour period, and MANY more deaths, but more recoveries
Corona Virus Update March 18 2020 12:13:12 am

29 hours expired from the last update and there are:

  • +13,464 cases, +699 deaths & +4,665 recoveries
  • the cases rate decreased slightly, but the death rate increased.  Recoveries have thankfully improved significantly.
Corona virus update March 15 2020 08:33:03 PM

With just 2 days, +27,580 cases, +1094 deaths, +4268 recovered

Corona virus update March 14 2020 3:13:32 PM
Corona virus update 3-12-2020 4:44:33p
Corona virus update March 12 2020 4:44:33p

More related:

*Disclaimer: The information shared by Brandonna.com is for educational and informational purposes and is intended to support not replace the professional medical advice or information you receive from your doctor, news sources or otherwise. You should always consult with your physician or lawyer regarding any medical issues or legal concerns regarding the information provided. This information is not to be used to diagnose or treat any condition. Brandonna.com is not liable for how you use and implement the information you receive.