42 deaths, 769 confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington
Health officials say 42 people in Washington state have died from the coronavirus. Another 769 cases have been confirmed. Schools have been ordered closed and events over 250 people are prohibited across the state.
MyNorthwest will break from live updates on the weekend, but continue to follow breaking news. Please check out a robust live Twitter list below.
Sunday, March 15:
8:11pm – Governor Inslee will order restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities closed in a proclamation tomorrow. Take-out services will be allowed. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open.
5:54pm – According to the Associated Press, a government official says the first dose will be delivered Monday in a clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The trial is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. However, it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate a potential vaccine.
5:42pm – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said gatherings of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed throughout the country for the next eight weeks. The recommendation does not apply to “the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.”
4:56pm – Governors in Illinois, Ohio, and California have announced restaurants and bars must close down to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. KTTH’s Jason Rantz said it seems likely that Washington will institute a similar policy to the already struggling industry.
3:49pm – Health officials said on Sunday that 42 people have died of coronavirus in Washington state. As many as 769 have tested positive for the virus.
3:35pm – The Federal Reserve took emergency action Sunday to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
The Fed cut its key rate by a full percentage point — to a range between zero and 0.25% — and said it would keep it there until it feels confident that the economy can survive a sudden near-shutdown of economic activity in the United States. Read more from the Associated Press.
12:42pm – The government’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down even more to help slow spread of the coronavirus.
Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci said travel restrictions within the United States, such as to and from hard-hit Washington state and California, probably will not be needed anytime soon. Read more from the Associated Press.
Saturday, March 14:
3:24pm – The number of deaths due to coronavirus in Washington state is 40. Health officials also updated the cases to 642 on Saturday.
11:17am – Health officials confirmed on Saturday three cases of coronavirus in Spokane County, according to the Spokesman Review. It’s the first report of the virus in the county.
11:03am – President Trump announced on Saturday that the U.S. is expanding a European travel ban to include the UK and Ireland. He’s also considering imposing restrictions on travel to areas within the country hardest hit by the virus.
“If you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said.
The president also told the media he’s been tested for coronavirus.
Friday, March 13:
5:34pm – The National Nordic Museum in Seattle is now temporarily closed to the public. The museum plans to reopen on April 1, but will follow advice from public health officials.
5:20pm – From Monday, March 16, until at least April 13, all permitted events in the city of Seattle are suspended. These events include farmers markets, cultural events, and street events like block parties. The city has vowed to work to assist farmers market vendors impacted by the coronavirus.
Any events that were scheduled to occur during this time frame will have the opportunity to reschedule without reapplying for a permit. Events that cancel instead of rescheduling, will be refunded the permit fee. Seasonal and annual events will have their permits reactivated once the suspension is lifted.
5:16pm – The Pierce County Library System’s buildings will close to the public starting Saturday, March 14. During the closure, with does not yet have a set end date, the library will not be charging fines on overdue books and materials.
5:10pm – The Boys & Girls Clubs of King County will offer extending programming to support families in the area who have experienced school closures in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We recognize that not all families have the ability to stay home and take care of their kids when schools are closed. At this point we are offering full day programs at 12 of our sites across greater Seattle area,” said President & CEO Laurie Black.
Call your local Club to confirm details about the available extended programming and start times.
5:07pm – Fire Station 21 in Kirkland will return to service, fully staffed on March 14 after a deep cleaning. None of the firefighters quarantined at Station 21 tested positive for COVID-19.
The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and responding to calls as normal. The City of Kirkland currently has 12 firefighters and zero police officers in quarantine. Thirty firefighters have been released after completing the recommended quarantine period.
4:26pm – The Environmental Protection Agency has released an expanded list of disinfectants that work against the new coronavirus. The list contains nearly 200 additional products — including 40 new ones that just passed the agency’s expedited review process. A variety of disinfecting wipes, multi-purpose cleaners, and bleach products dominate the list.
Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website to see the full list.
4:23pm – To help Washingtonians stay connected to the internet while schools are closed and more people are working from home, Comcast is implementing new policies for the next 60 days. The company announced that it will offer free Xfinity WiFi hotspots to everyone, a pause in customer data plans to give all customers unlimited data at no additional charge, and will not disconnect service or charge late fees for customers who can’t pay their bills during this period.
4:15pm – The Washington State Department of Transporation is suspending the free coffee volunteer program at safety rest areas until further notice. All rest areas statewide will remain open, and are being cleaned more frequently.
3:46pm – A worker at the 3A and 4A state basketball championships tested positive for COVID-19. The WIAA has been in contact with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the situations has been deemed as a low risk for those involved with this event, and anyone suspected to have had close contact with the worker will be contacted by the WIAA.
3:12pm – Safeway and Albertsons are immediately hiring in-store employees, delivery drivers, and personal shoppers at the distribution center. There are more than 2,000 immediate opening in Western Washington, for full- and part-time position. Apply online or inquire at your local store.
3:00pm – The closures continue as Tacoma Art Museum announces it will be closed to the public, volunteers, and staff until the end of March.
2:05pm – There are now 568 confirmed coronavirus cases and 37 deaths in Washington state. Cases have been identified in 15 counties across the state, with deaths in King, Grant, and Snohomish Counties. The state Department of Health reports 67 unassigned cases.
1:48pm – Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday that all K-12 public and private schools in Washington state must be closed for six weeks, from March 17 until at least April 24. This comes one day after announcing school closures in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties for the same date range. Read more.
Inslee has also expanded the ban on events over 250 people to the entire state of Washington.
“A county by county approach to this epidemic is not sufficient,” Inslee said. “We need to get ahead of this wave, and we need to do it today.”
12:31pm – Speaking at a press conference Friday, President Trump has officially declared a national emergency over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Powers granted to his office by the Stafford Act allow him to provide additional resources and up to $50 billion in funding to local governments fighting to contain the spread of the virus.
He also asked that every hospital to activate their emergency preparedness plans, vowing that “no resource would be spared” in the response to COVID-19.
He expects at least 500,000 additional coronavirus tests to be available as early as next week, in an effort to provide them to anyone who might need them.
11:58am – King County will be shifting how it uses its coronavirus isolation sites, after a patient at its Kent quarantine site left against the advice of on-site security. Read more.
11:07am – Metro Parks Tacoma has announced that after Friday, closures will be in effect at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Tacoma Nature Center, W.W. Seymour Conservatory, and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
11:00am – Gov. Jay Inslee addressed the possibility President Trump might declare a national emergency Friday, touting it as a necessity for unlocking “additional resources and authorities for states like Washington on the front lines of this crisis.”
“By declaring a national emergency, the federal government can provide states with direct assistance to meet our residents’ needs for health care, shelter, food and cash assistance, and more,” Inslee said in a written statement.
10:08am – QFC is offering up “a couple hundred positions with special focus on e-commerce clerks” to restaurant workers furloughed from their positions. Interested applicants can show up to the Bellevue QFC corporate office at 10112 NE 10th Street, “and be prepared for an interview and [to] be hired on the spot” at a 2 p.m. Monday hiring event.
10:04am – Researchers from Yale working with the Gates Foundation believe they could be weeks away from having at-home coronavirus testing kits ready to distribute.
9:36am – Washington Sen. Patty Murray sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence Thursday, calling for a single official to head up the effort to improve coronavirus testing nationwide.
Shortly after, the Trump Administration announced that it was appointing Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir to that position.
Sen. Murray categorized the ongoing difficulties and confusion surrounding coronavirus testing as “unconscionable.”
“My frustration with the federal government response on testing grows by the day,” she stated.
9:03am – President Trump is expected to declare a national emergency related to coronavirus sometime Friday. Senior White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs expects him to invoke the Stafford Act, which would “open the door to more federal aid for states and municipalities.”
8:29am – The PGA Tour has canceled all of its events through April 5. The Masters tournament has also been postponed by Augusta National, making it the latest in a series of major sporting events to be affected by coronavirus.
8:08am – The CDC is fielding questions related to the coronavirus on Twitter Friday, led by Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Jay Butler. More here.
7:42am – With large events banned and much of the Seattle area staying home, the hit to local industry has been significant in the wake of the region’s coronavirus outbreak. Read more.
6:56am – As the end of the early-2020 legislative session drew to a close Thursday, Washington lawmakers passed a bill allocating $200 million toward the state’s coronavirus response.
Of that $200 million, $175 million will go toward public health measures, while the remaining $25 million will go into a newly-formed coronavirus unemployment fund. The money laid out in the bill will come out of the state’s rainy day fund.
Additionally, the bill officially made it so those in quarantine could be eligible for unemployment benefits, while granting certain waivers for high school seniors for graduation requirements to mitigate ongoing school closures.
6:21am – Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis spoke with KTTH’s Jason Rantz Thursday, detailing the city’s efforts to help its struggling small businesses in the midst of its coronavirus crisis. Listen here.
5:24am – UW Medicine continues to lead the charge for coronavirus testing in Western Washington, having ramped up its capacity from 1,500 tests per day to 2,000.
By next week, the facility hopes to be able to test 4,000 samples a day.
That being said, the criteria for testing individuals continues to be a high bar to meet.
“It’s important to understand that the decision to test is really a clinical judgment by the patient’s provider based on their clinical symptoms and risk factors,” said UW Medicine’s Dr. Tim Dellit.
The lab has also set up drive-through testing for employees and students, and wants to expand this to first responders, as well.
5:13am – The Space Needle has opted to suspend all operations starting Friday, extending through Tuesday, March 31.
Thursday, March 12:
10:46pm – UW Medicine will begin postponing elective procedures from Monday through March 31st as the impact of coronavirus is significantly impacting its facilities in Seattle.
10:34pm – The Seattle Public Library will temporarily close all library locations.
Additionally, Seattle Parks and Recreation will cancel all programming, rentals, and permitted events, and close all community centers, pools, environmental learning centers, and all other recreation facilities to the public beginning March 13 through April 13. Preschools and hygiene services will remain open.
9:04pm – The Department of Corrections is suspending visitation at all correctional facilities in Washington, including extended family visits (EFV). Corrections has authorized reimbursement for families scheduled for EFVs.
8:18pm – All Sno-Isle Libraries will close to the public starting at 6 p.m. Friday, March 13.
6:03pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a $1.5 million fund for small businesses in the city that have been financially impacted by coronavirus. Eligible small businesses will receive a grant of up to $10,000 to mitigate any revenue lost during the coronavirus outbreak and response.
5:17pm – Washington State Department of Health is now reporting 457 total confirmed cases in the state, and 31 deaths. King County increased to 27 deaths, and Snohomish County to 3 deaths, and Grant County remains at just 1 death. There are now 13 counties with confirmed cases in Washington, and 46 cases that are unassigned. There have been 4,350 negative tests.
4:53pm – Seattle Public Schools will distribute lunches every week day starting Monday at 26 school sites in the city. All SPS students can participate. Find the full list of sites here.
4:19pm – King County Metro will stop in-person fare enforcement inspections during the region’s response to coronavirus. Fares are still required, and enforcement officers will still be on-board and visible “to deliver safety support, assist customers and operators, and provide information or directions to those who need help finding resources.”
4:15pm – The XFL announced it will be not playing its regular season games at this time. Commissioner Oliver Luck said all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 season. All ticket holders will receive refunds or credit toward future games.
4:11pm – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) will postpone the upcoming State Drama Festival and State Dance/Drill Championships until further notice, both scheduled to take place later in March.
3:57pm – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California, will close March 14 through the end of the month. The New York Times reported that the park has only closed three other times in history: after Kennedy’s assassination, after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and post-9/11. Disneyland Resort said it will work with guests who plan to cancel or change their visit, and will continue to pay cast members during this time.
3:52pm – The University of Washington athletic department is suspending all athletic-related events and activities, including training, workouts, and practices until after spring break for all student-athletes. Leadership will reassess the decision at the start of spring quarter.
3:50pm – The Pierce County Library System is canceling all classes and events in libraries through April 30, canceling all public meetings, closing all conference rooms to the public, and asking staff and the public to keep a distance from each other while using the library. The library is also exploring alternate options for classes, events, and services, and encouraging people to check out e-books, or use other online resources provided by the library. It will remain open until otherwise directed.
3:39pm – At a press conference Thursday afternoon held by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, a KIRO 7 reporter asked about the potential domestic travel ban hinted at by President Trump on Thursday and if it would affect Washington.
“On occasion, the President says some things that don’t come to pass and never were going to come to pass, and I hope that’s one of them,” Inslee said. “We’ve had no discussions with the White House on this. … So, at the moment, it sounds like a random comment by the President rather than a thoughtful consideration.” Read more.
3:33pm – Snohomish County Health Department released updated numbers, now at 108 confirmed coronavirus cases in the county, and 3 total deaths. The number of deaths has not increased since Wednesday. The county will no longer provide specific details on each case as of Thursday, March 12.
2:13pm – Governor Inslee has ordered all K-12 public and private schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties to close until April 24, in a six-week closure. Read more.
“We have reached a tipping point where the spread of this virus demands that we take action,” Inslee said.
Districts and local leaders are working together to make plans for nutrition and childcare that can continue for those students and families who need it during the closure. Free childcare will be provided for families of first responders and anyone in the medical field, Inslee said.
All school districts across Washington state should prepare for closures and create a plan.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal cited low attendance rates during the outbreak, in both students and staff, as a challenge school districts were already dealing with before any closures were announced. Reykdal hopes to be able to minimize the learning lost, but says to consider the next week as a “spring break” to give districts time to establish food distribution and additional service plans for an extended closure.
1:44pm – According to The Seattle Times, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to order all schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties to close until April 24. Inslee is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2 p.m.
1:26pm – The NCAA has canceled the Division I men and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.
1:17pm – Life Care Center of Kirkland provided another update Thursday afternoon, with mostly no change from Wednesday. There are still 26 total deaths, 15 in hospitals, and 11 on site since late February. The current number of residents at the facility is 47, with approximately seven showing symptoms, though that number fluctuates daily, spokesperson Timothy Killian said.
The test results from the residents stand at 26 positive, 12 negative, 5 outstanding, and 4 inconclusive. Tests for the employees are happening off-site, so full results have not been shared with the facility, but they know that 66 employees are showing symptoms and not currently working at the facility. Additional information is expected in the coming days in regards to employee test results.
In a correction from an earlier update, Killian clarified that nurses at the Life Care Center are trained in “infection control,” which determines the gear they use, how they enter and leave the facility, and includes training on how to minimize their own risk of infection.
12:13pm – President Trump hinted to reporters Thursday that he is considering limiting domestic travel to parts of the U.S. where the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is “too hot.”
Asked about whether that might include states like Washington or California, the President said the following to a New York Times reporter in the Oval Office:
“Is it a possibility? Yes, if somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot.”
11:56am – Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is now circulating a petition to ban evictions, home foreclosures, and late fees for struggling small businesses, while the region’s coronavirus outbreak continues.
11:32am – Gov. Jay Inslee will be addressing the media Thursday at 2 p.m., to announce new school guidelines to mitigate the effects of Washington’s coronavirus outbreak.
10:52am – Seattle restaurant Canlis is closing its doors. In an effort to keep its workers gainfully employed, though, it will be opening up a bagel stand, a drive-thru for lunch and dinner, and a meal delivery service. Read more.
10:38am – Seattle – King County Public Health released a recap of Wednesday’s press conference providing updates on the spread of coronavirus in the region. In the video posted to Twitter, Dr. Jeff Duchin detailed how health officials “expect a large-scale outbreak in weeks.”
“As we bring on more testing, we’re learning of more cases each day — this will be a very difficult time,” said Duchin.
10:35am – Major League Baseball and the NHL have both announced that they will be suspending their respective seasons “indefinitely.”
10:22am – Some Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada may become drive-thru only while others could limit the number of people allowed inside. “As a last resort, we will close a store if we feel it is in the best interest of our customers and partners, or if we are directed to do so by government authorities,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a letter to customers. Read more from AP.
10:13am- The 2020 MLS season has been suspended for 30 days. The Seattle Sounders announced the team is canceling its trip to Houston today. Also, operations at Starfire Sports are suspended, including First Team training, USL, and Academic activities.
9:30am – The remainder of the Pac-12 Conference tournament has been canceled. The hope from the NCAA is to limit the spread of coronavirus among its student-athletes.
8:54am – One expert believes that it could very well take a “full lockdown” to truly stop the spread of coronavirus in Washington. Read more.
8:07am – Wall Street took another hit Thursday morning, when trading was halted following a 7% drop of the S&P 500 shortly after it opened.
7:30am – Princess Cruises has announced that it will be suspending its sailings for the next 60 days. It will be posting a refund form on its website, but hopes that travelers will reschedule for when the 60-day suspension ends after May 11.
The decision coincides with the Port of Seattle’s move to cancel the first two cruises of the season sailing out of its docks. They were originally scheduled to depart for Alaska on April 1 and April 5.
6:52am – The Associated Press is reporting that Congress will be shutting down the U.S. Capitol, House, and Senate office buildings to the public until April 1 over concerns for the ongoing spread of coronavirus.
6:40am – Are Seattle-area movie theaters included under a recently-announced ban on events over 250 people? Read more here as KTTH’s Jason Rantz looks for answers.
5:37am – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan spoke to CNN Wednesday night, asking that President Trump declare a national state of emergency over coronavirus.
“I was really hoping that the President would have declared an emergency, so that FEMA could respond to communities like ours that are going to need that help,” said Durkan, referring to Trump’s Wednesday address where he limited travel from Europe for the next 30 days.
“Seattle is in for a really long haul, and it’s going to be hard,” she continued. “Our way of life is going to change, we will know people that get sick, [and] our health care system will be tested.”
5:24am – A recently released paper from local researchers estimates that without social distancing measures, Washington state could see upwards of 25,000 coronavirus infections by April 7, eventually killing 400 people.
With a 75% increase in social distancing intervention instituted by March 10, the number of infections could instead be closer to 1,700 over that same time period, with just 30 more deaths.
“Social distancing measures are critical to slowing the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic,” the paper concludes.
The scenario where 25,000 people could get infected is based on a “baseline scenario assuming no change [in social distancing intervention] since January 15.”
It’s also worth noting that the paper was also released before Wednesday’s measure to ban all events over 250 people in three Washington counties, which itself represents a sizable social distancing measure.
5:08am – The White House clarified that its ban on travel from Europe only includes those who have been to any of the 26 European countries with open border agreements in the last 14 days. U.S. citizens are exempt and “will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place.”
Wednesday, March 11:
9:46pm – Seattle chef Tom Douglas is temporarily closing all 13 of his restaurants, according to The Seattle Times. The closure is effective Sunday. The Times reports sales have declined up to 90 percent since the coronavirus outbreak.
6:37pm – Monroe School District will close on Friday, March 13 and anticipates being closed to students for 6 weeks (through April 24).
6:27pm – President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.
Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers. Read more from the Associated Press.
6:02pm – The King County Sheriff’s Office is reminding people not to call 911 or the non-emergency line to report gatherings over 250 people. Call the King County Novel Coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977. Hours of operation are 8am – 7pm.
5:42pm – Everett Public Schools announced all schools will be closed for a minimum of 14 days, beginning Monday, March 16. Read more here.
5:30pm – Sno-Isle Libraries is canceling all events for its 23 libraries across Snohomish and Island counties through March 31. This includes events scheduled for public meeting rooms. Library on Wheels services are also suspended through March 31.
5:18pm – The Archbishop is asking all parishes in Western Washington to end the public celebration of Mass, according to devout Catholics in the KIRO Radio newsroom.
4:42pm – The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said it is temporarily changing business hours at some of its locations, including the Courthouse, Granite Falls Police Department, Snohomish Police Department, Stanwood Police Department, and South Precinct in Mill Creek. Read the full statement here.
4:06pm – Snohomish County reported its third death due to coronavirus, bringing the state total to 30.
3:44pm – President Trump will address the nation tonight at 6pm regarding the US response to coronavirus. Tune into AM 770 KTTH.
3:32pm – The Museum of Flight is temporarily closing its campus and the Restoration Center and Reserve Collection in Everett to the public after 5 p.m. Wednesday. No reopening date has been set. Employees can choose to telecommute or work on site. All tickets purchased prior to the closure will be honored at a later date.
3:05pm – The Bellevue School District will be closed starting Friday, March 13, until at least March 27 with limited instructional opportunities. Thursday, March 12, will be a regular school day allowing students a chance to collect learning materials they might need or bring any personal items home they may want during the closure.
3:02pm – Benaroya Hall has canceled or postponed all public events through March 31. Ticket holders will receive an email regarding options, but may be able to apply the ticket value toward an upcoming performance, hold the value on the account, or donate their tickets back to Seattle Symphony.
2:48pm – Shoreline School District has announced it will also be closing all schools from March 12 to March 27. Read the statement from the superintendent here.
2:30pm – The Washington State Department of Health released an updated count Wednesday afternoon, now reaching 29 deaths in the state, and 366 confirmed cases. Cases now span across 12 counties, including the first identified cases in Island County and Whatcom County. King County has the most confirmed cases at 234 with 26 deaths, followed by Snohomish County at 68 cases, 2 deaths.
2:24pm – UW Medicine clarified its announcement of a temporary change to hospital visiting policy was in regards to people who want to visit a patient in the hospitals. The number of visitors to hospitals is being limited, with certain exceptions. The policy does not affect access of patients themselves.
2:20pm – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide $11,480,798 in funding to Washington in support of response efforts to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
2:13pm – The Lake Washington School District is closing all schools from March 12-March 27. District officials will be planning an alternative model for childcare, meals, and educational resources to support at-home learning. Read the full statement here.
2:00pm – The NCAA announced Wednesday that both the men and women’s basketball tournaments will be restricted to essential staff and limited family attendance.
In other sports news from around Seattle, the Seattle Dragons XFL game scheduled for Saturday in Seattle will be played without fans in attendance at CenturyLink Field. The Seattle Sounders have postponed its next home game on March 21, and the Seattle Mariners announced that the team will not play the first two series of the 2020 season in Seattle. More details are expected from the leagues in the coming days.
1:16pm – In another update from the Life Care Center of Kirkland, spokesperson Timothy Killian reported there are now 65 patients in hospitals from the facility. On Feb. 29, 2020, the center had 120 residents, which is the date they’re counting as the start of the outbreak and measuring data against. Killian said there is not full reporting from hospitals on who has passed away, but since Feb. 29, 2020, there have been 26 deaths within the facility and hospitals, a number which has not changed in the past few days.
Overnight, on-site residents dropped by two, now at 47. Some patients have stopped showing symptoms and others have started, so there are still seven patients at the facility showing symptoms, reported Killian Wednesday. All residents have been tested for coronavirus, with 5 more positive results today. There are now 26 total positives, 12 negative, 4 inconclusive, and 5 outstanding tests.
Employee tests are ongoing, with at least 67 showing symptoms now, but not necessarily all positive for coronavirus. There is no certain number for employee tests as the tests are conducted off-site and results are not always shared with the Life Care Center. Killian said there are still about 30 employee tests he is aware of at this time, no change from Tuesday.
In regards to a question asked yesterday, there is no ban on family members or patients leaving the facility. It is not a jail, Killian said, and anyone has the right to leave if they believe they can be cared for better elsewhere. That said, Killian believes the likelihood of anyone leaving is low as the patients at this facility are here because they need the care that can be provided by skilled professionals.
12:44pm – The Port of Seattle has opted to cancel its first two sailings of the Seattle cruise season. Read more.
12:34pm – Seattle Public Schools has announced that it will be closing its schools for at least the next two weeks, starting Thursday. Read more.
12:08pm – Thurston County has now confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
11:45am – The Tukwila Police Department has announced that it will be temporarily suspending fingerprinting services.
11:18am – Snohomish County is now reporting its second death related to coronavirus, as well as 68 confirmed cases. That’s up from 54 reported cases on Tuesday.
10:47am – Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a ban on large gatherings and events of 250 people or more in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties through March. The ban will apply to social, recreational, spiritual, and other community gatherings. That includes parades, concerts, conventions, sporting events, fundraisers, and festivals across those three counties. The ban could expand beyond those three counties. Read more.
As for schools, Inslee said districts should immediately begin contingency planning for closures in the coming days.
“Our children are relatively free of serious disease associated with this,” Inslee said. “But the best science tells us they have the capability of transmitting the disease with people they come into contact with.”
Inslee also called on businesses to begin embedding social distancing within their day-to-day strategy, and to expand telecommuting to as many employees as possible.
9:42am – The World Health Organization has now officially declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global pandemic,” going to note that it is “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”
9:21am – A pair of Seattle City Councilmembers have already come out in support of possible limits on large-scale events to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“I appreciate all that Gov. Inslee is putting into action,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said in a statement to The Seattle Times.
Also voicing her support was Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
“We have to continue to work together, and in new ways, so the most vulnerable do not bear the weight, as they usually do in time of crisis,” said Herbold.
9:15am – Crosscut’s David Kroman is reporting that the Port of Seattle plans on making an announcement on Wednesday at 12 p.m. regarding the start of cruise season
8:30am – Earlier this week, the Seattle Foundation announced that it was putting together a COVID-19 Respond Fund, gathering over $2.5 million from partners like United Way, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, King County, the City of Seattle, and Alaska Air.
The Foundation’s President and CEO Tony Mestres spoke with Seattle’s Morning News Wednesday to elaborate on how the coalitions plans to fight Washington’s ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The fund will focus on four needs: Mitigating the economic impact of reduced or lost work, immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations, increased demand for medical information, and working with community-based organizations.
“The Seattle Foundation will work in close collaboration with King County’s pandemic community advisory board, who are going to help us understand the best way to address the issue,” said Mestres.
7:38am – UW Medicine has opted to suspend patient visits starting Wednesday. That includes UW Medical Center’s Montlake and Northwest campuses, as well as Harborview Medical Center and Valley Medical Center.
The policy will remain in effect until coronavirus “is no longer perceived as a threat to patients, staff and community.”
There are a handful of exceptions to the new rules, including obstetric patients with one partner and one “birth support person,” parents in the nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, patients who are at the end-of-life, patients undergoing surgery, and more.
6:53am – With thousands of people working from home and others trying to avoid public spaces due to coronavirus concerns, restaurants are seeing empty dining rooms. Read more from KIRO Radio’s Rachel Belle.
6:07am – How would a potential ban on large-scale gatherings affect a handful of sporting events on the calendar for March? Read more on 710 ESPN Seattle.
5:19am – A New York Times report outlined how limits imposed by the CDC greatly limited the ability of Washington state to track and test the spread of coronavirus in its early days.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan reiterated that on Twitter as well, noting that “the federal government’s failure to provide adequate testing capacity — and the previous restrictions on people who could be tested — hindered our public health officials, first responds and health care workers.”
Tuesday, March 10:
7:48pm – At a press conference scheduled for Wednesday at 10:15 a.m., it is expected that Gov. Jay Inslee along with regional leaders and city mayors could announce a ban on large gatherings and events of 250 people or more. Any ban would affect upcoming sporting events in the area, including a home game for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons on Sunday.
6:04pm – Tutta Bella Neopolitan Pizzeria is offering discounts to health care employees all month, providing free meals to restaurant employees during their shifts and discounts when they dine off shift, offering free delivery to guests, and sending its mobile food truck to various locations in the region, in addition to increased sanitization measures.
“We have a three-pronged approach during this extremely difficult time,” Founder and CEO Joe Fugere said. “Our focus is to support our guests, team members, and the community.”
Fugere himself has reduced his pay to zero at this time to support his team.
5:45pm – Gov. Jay Inslee and other regional leaders are scheduled to give a press conference to announce new community strategies and social distancing plans to limit the spread of coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11, at 10:15 a.m. MyNorthwest.com and KIRO Radio will have live updates.
5:32pm – Skagit County reported its first positive coronavirus case Tuesday. The patient is a female in her 40s, in isolation at home.
4:53pm – The Stanwood-Camano School District will be closed from March 11 to March 13 to “assess the evolving situation in [the] community.” Visit the school district’s website for more information.
4:41pm – Starting Wednesday, March 11, UW Medicine hospitals are restricting visitations, suspending all routine visiting.
“The decision to restrict visitors was difficult and made only after careful consideration as we witness schools, houses of worship and other venues restrict gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reads a letter sent to the UW Medicine community.
There are a few exceptions for cases where having a family member or visitor is crucial, but no visitors with symptoms of respiratory illness will be allowed, nor will children under the age of 16 except in extraordinary circumstances.
4:08pm – Local 360 Cafe & Bar in Belltown announced it will be closing due to coronavirus.
The statement on the restaurant’s website reads: “With a sad heart, we are announcing that Local 360 Cafe & Bar will be closing immediately due to the impacts of the COVID-19 situation. After all the group dining cancellations this month, accounting for likely impacts to Seattle tourism this summer, possible mandatory quarantine measures, and modeling shorter hours with fewer staff, it became clear that closing entirely is the only current option. Thank you for 10 wonderful years! Never say never.”
3:47pm – Public Health — Seattle & King County announced Tuesday that it is working with 10 long-term care facilities where residents or employees have tested positive for coronavirus. The following places have reported residents or employees who tested positive:
Life Care Center of Kirkland
Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
Aegis Living at Marymoor
Redmond Care & Rehabilitation Center
Ida Culver House Ravenna
Boulevard Park Place Active Retirement Community
Madison House Independent & Assisted Living Community
The Gardens at Juanita Bay
Columbia Lutheran Home
3:38pm – The City of Kirkland said 29 firefighters and four police officers are in quarantine as of Tuesday. Eleven firefighters have been released after completing the recommended quarantine period. Any first responders who are currently symptomatic are being tested for coronavirus, and the city reported that there have recently been 11 negative results returned and one positive.
First responders who test negative will remain in quarantine for the entire 14-day period as recommended by public health officials.
The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and responding to calls as normal.
2:31pm – The Washington State Department of Health released an updated statewide count, bringing the confirmed total to 267 cases in Washington, 24 deaths. Kitsap County is now reporting two cases, and Pierce County has 16 cases, in addition to the updates released earlier Tuesday from King and Snohomish Counties.
1:55pm – Public Health — Seattle & King County has reported 74 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total case count in King County to 190, with two new deaths totaling 22 for the county. King County said 19 of the 22 reported deaths are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland.
The two additional deaths for King County would put Washington state at 24 total, with one death in Snohomish County and one in Grant County. With 54 cases reported from Snohomish County this morning, the state total now sits at 253 confirmed coronavirus cases.
1:14pm – As of Tuesday morning, Timothy Killian with Life Care Center in Kirkland said, there are 21 positive tests within on-site residents, 12 negatives, 12 pending tests, and 4 inconclusive tests. In total, there have been 55 tests associated with the facility, with 34 in hospitals. Killian reported that 63 Life Care patients have been transferred to hospitals, which is plus four from yesterday’s update. The deaths associated with coronavirus at the facility have not changed, with 26 deaths, 15 of those at hospitals and 11 in the center. All 49 current residents have been tested for coronavirus, and 7 are showing symptoms.
Twelve patients on-site have tested negative and are being moved to a separate wing.
About 30 employees have been tested so far, and are awaiting results. Killian said the tests are conducted off-site, and he believes there is capacity to test all 180 employees soon. There are 64 employees who have reported showing symptoms, two of whom have been cleared to return to work, and five pending return. The criteria for determining when employees can return to work comes directly from King County Public Health, Killian said.
ServPro, a local, expert company will be conducting a deep clean at Life Care Center this afternoon at 3 p.m.
12:03pm – Snohomish County Health also confirmed that the county now has 54 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 37 on Monday. Seventeen of those patients have been hospitalized. Seven are at home, 1 died, and 13 have recovered.
11:49am – Snohomish County health officials announced Tuesday that Josephine Caring Community is on lockdown after three patients were diagnosed with coronavirus. All three have been hospitalized.
The Stanwood nursing home is not accepting any visitors, including family members, and has locked down all entrances.
Residents are being monitored for symptoms every four hours — anyone found with symptoms will be immediately isolated. Staff members are also being tested for the virus as a precaution.
11:09am – Using data from outbreak screening and viral sequencing from the University of Washington’s virology lab, researchers have been able to determine that the state could have close to 1,100 cases of coronavirus, a large majority of which have yet to be tested for.
That comes with a “90% uncertainty interval between 210 and 2,800 infections,” given the difficulty of estimating the virus’s spread without more widespread testing in Washington.
“This points to a growing outbreak of (COVID-19) in the greater Seattle area,” warned Fred Hutchinson scientist Trevor Bedford. “If steps are not taken to increase social distancing as recommended by (King County Public Health) and (the Washington State Department of Health), I fully expect cases to keep climbing.”
As of early Tuesday morning, the official state count for confirmed coronavirus cases sat at 162, albeit with local health officials adhering to limited testing parameters.
10:46am – A Boeing employee at the company’s Everett facility who tested positive for coronavirus is now in quarantine.
“Boeing is providing its full support,” the company said in a news release.
Boeing also asked that all employees who were in close contact with that worker remain home to self-quarantine.
9:33am – Gov. Inslee shed more light in a Tuesday press conference on measures his office is taking to provide relief for those affected by coronavirus.
The Washington governor outlined a laundry list of new requirements for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in an effort to limit the spread of the virus among elderly, at-risk residents. That includes restrictions related to visitors, protective equipment, and other precautionary measures. You can read more about those new rules here.
Inslee went on to elaborate on concerns voiced by many about the possible cancellation of large-scale events, citing a focus on acting before things get worse.
“We need to look forward ahead of the curve in Washington state — we need to look at what is coming, not just what is here today,” he detailed, estimating that given limits on testing capacity, there could be as many as 1,000 people in Washington who could be infected with the virus.
That being so, he again stated that his office continues to “consider policies” that would potentially call for limits on large-scale gatherings
“The government is going to make the right decision at the right time with the right science,” said Inslee. “Don’t be surprised if we’re back here in a day.”
9:05am – The University of Washington’s virology lab is now opening up large-scale testing through health providers. Read more.
7:50am – Gov. Jay Inslee spoke to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday evening, detailing the state’s continued efforts to curb its coronavirus outbreak.
“We are increasing our capacity for some of the medical things we need, both in testing for the virus and stocking up for the surge capacity we will need in our hospital system,” Inslee described.
Beyond that, he also reiterated that the state might soon have some difficult choices to free up hospital capacity by possibly postponing elective surgeries, keeping large gatherings to a minimum, and more.
“We’re going to have to make some hard decisions — we need to free up some capacity in our medical system,” said Inslee. “All of us are going to have to make priority decisions to save people’s lives here.”
That comes after he had previously hinted over the weekend at the possibility of enacting “mandatory measures” in the days ahead.
Gov. Inslee will address the media at 9 a.m. Tuesday to outline other measures to support struggling small businesses and workers affected by the outbreak.
7:00am – Amazon has launched a $5 million fund to support the local economy around its Seattle headquarters in South Lake Union.
The fund will support small businesses in the area that are struggling amid the coronavirus outbreak, providing cash grants to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, or less than $7 million in annual revenue.
6:22am – With Washington set for its presidential primary Tuesday, the state has taken measures to ensure that the recent coronavirus outbreak doesn’t stand in the way of voters. Read more.
5:17am – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Monday that it is putting $50 million toward the development of treatments for coronavirus. That comes as part of $125 million in total seed funding combined across the foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard.
The program will be known as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, touting a “catalytic role [in coronavirus treatment] by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treats patients in the immediate term.”
The hope is what these treatments will provide short-term relief for coronavirus patients while other health organizations work to develop a vaccine.
“Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman in a news release. “If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster.
Monday, March 9:
8:20pm- All schools in the Snohomish School District are closed on Tuesday. Athletics and after school activities have also been canceled. The district said Monday night on its website that an employee in the transportation office has tested positive for coronavirus. The transportation facility will be closed for cleaning, which would impact the district’s ability to transport students to campuses.
5:19pm – Timothy Killian, a spokesperson for the Life Care Center of Kirkland, gave a second update on the coronavirus outbreak at the facility after receiving some test results. Out of 35 tests, 31 returned positive, 3 are inconclusive, and 1 was negative. The center is still waiting on results for 20 additional residents.
Any residents who have tested positive for coronavirus will remain on site, Killian said, but as soon as their symptoms reach a point where they can not be cared for at the facility, they will be transferred to hospitals. Killian said the center has been working on a contingency plan, and will have a wing where they will be able to move patients who have tested negative.
Seven patients are currently experiencing symptoms, an increase of one since Sunday. That’s a fluid number that doesn’t necessarily correlate to the patients from the previous day.
Killian said, as of Feb 19, they had 120 residents. They now have 60 that have transferred to hospitals. They have had 15 residents who’ve died in hospitals, 13 of which tested positive for COVID-19. Eleven patients have died while in the facility since Feb. 19. They have no post-mortum test results on the patients who’ve died in the facility. On average, Killian said 3-7 residents pass away each month.
The employees at the center have been trained in infectious disease, and are following any additional guidelines from the CDC. Watch the full video.
Currently, there are 65 employees showing symptoms for coronavirus. Five employees that were self-quarantined have returned back to work.
4:53pm – Today was the first official day for Northshore School District’s distance learning, and the district reported a 98 percent attendance rate, expecting an increase before the end of the day. Northshore School District also launched its nutrition program and meal service for online learners Monday.
4:38pm – The Grand Princess, which had been quarantined off the coast of San Francisco after dozens of confirmed coronavirus cases on-board, is expected to dock in Seattle as the first ship of cruise season.
“We are ready and committed to handling the operations of this and other vessels that may call at the Port of Seattle, with the upmost safety of the public and other maritime workers in mind,” said ILWU Local 19 President Rich Austin Jr. in a statement released Monday. ” … We wish to center on the safety of passengers, our workforce, and the public as the top priority.”
3:56pm – Vice President Mike Pence said doctors and leaders in the coronavirus response efforts have put together a list of common sense advice and guidance that will be made public tonight to help protect all Americans, including businesses and schools. He encouraged all Americans to visit coronavirus.gov.
Pence also said that testing will rapidly expand across the United States. President Trump and his administration are seeking relief to the payroll tax and help to ensure hourly-wage workers won’t miss a paycheck, with another press conference expected Tuesday.
3:34pm – The blood supply in the Pacific Northwest is reaching emergency levels due to coronavirus concerns and the increasing number of blood drive cancellations. Bloodworks Northwest is urging the community to donate and spread the word of the need, and assures that you are not at risk of contracting coronavirus through the blood donation process.
2:21pm – There are now 162 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 21 deaths. The Washington state Department of Health is now updating the counts at 2 p.m. King County has the most cases with 116, and 20 deaths. Snohomish County has 31 cases and 1 death.
1:36pm – Gov. Jay Inslee has issued updates to the bill signing process in the interest of public health. As of Monday, the governor’s office will not hold public bill signings for any remaining bills from the 2020 Legislative session until circumstances change. RSVPs will be required for media representatives who wish to attend and bill sponsors, but bill signings can still be viewed by the public on TVW.
12:59pm – King County is now reporting three additional deaths related to coronavirus, running the state total to 22.
12:24pm – Breaking from what’s become a normal daily routine at 11 a.m., the Washington State Department of Health will now announce new coronavirus numbers at 2 p.m. every day. That will include cases and deaths broken down by county, cases by age range in 10-year increments, cases by sex at birth, and total number of patients tested.
11:41am – The Port of Seattle announced Monday that it will be “actively reviewing multiple options” related to the start of the 2020 cruise season, scheduled to kick off on April 1.
“We are using the time before cruise season starts to closely coordinate with our partners,” the Port of Seattle said in a news release. “We will report back to the public soon with further information about our upcoming plans for the season.”
11:30am – Kaiser Permanente Washington is conducting a coronavirus vaccine study, offering up to $1,100 for participants who complete all visits. Read more.
10:33am – A new McKinsey report details the potential effect of coronavirus on businesses across the country. Read more.
10:17am – As testing in Washington continues to lag, a Snohomish County nurse details her own experience during which she suspected she might have been sick with coronavirus. Read more.
8:44am – The Washington Department of Health has confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Kitsap County, in a resident of Bainbridge Island. The virus has now spread to eight counties statewide.
7:35am – A coalition of local companies, governments, and more has been formed to provide extra resources to curb Washington state’s coronavirus outbreak.
Led by the Seattle Foundation and labeled the COVID-19 Respond Fund, it’s already gathered over $2.5 million from partners like United Way, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, King County, the City of Seattle, and Alaska Air.
Money from the fund will be used to “provide flexible resources to organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak.”
It will distribute need-based grants released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues.
6:58am – A sharp stock plunge had trading on Wall Street halted for 15 minutes Monday. The S&P 500 dipped 7% mere minutes after trading opened Monday morning. Similar falls have been seen in Europe over coronavirus panic and crude oil-producing countries.
6:25am – Oregon has declared a state of emergency, in a bid to manage its own fight against coronavirus. As of Sunday, the state reported 14 confirmed cases.
5:25am – The Washington State Department of Health is still reporting a limited ability to test potential coronavirus patients. As of now, those with underlying health conditions or serious illness are being prioritized.
In an FAQ published on Sunday, the answer to the question of whether or not the average person should get tested was a simple “maybe not.”
“We still have limited capacity to run these tests right now,” the FAQ continued. “Testing may become more readily available in the future, but, for now, if you have mild symptoms (cough, fever), you need to stay home, stay away from people, and maybe catch up on your Netflix shows. A test, whether it’s positive or negative, won’t change that advice!”
For its own employees, UW Medicine has enacted a drive-through clinic able to test a person every five minutes, and returning most results within a day. In the days ahead, it hopes to expand this testing to first responders.
Sunday, March 8:
7:29pm – Grant County reported its first coronavirus death on Sunday evening.
“Our hearts are with the family, friends, and Central Washington Hospital staff,” Theresa Adkinson, Health District Administrator said in a news release. “I speak on behalf of our staff, Health Officer, and Board of Health, we are so sorry for your loss.”
This latest update might bring the overall total deaths in Washington state to 19. However, MyNorthwest will await official word from the state Department of Health.
2:41pm – The Washington Department of Health announced Sunday that deaths related to coronavirus have now ballooned to 18 statewide, with 136 total cases spread across at least 8 counties.
That includes the first documented cases in both Kittitas and Spokane Counties. There are also now 83 cases in King County, 31 in Snohomish County, 4 in Pierce County, and one in each of Grant, Jefferson, and Clark Counties (in addition to the one in each of Kittitas and Spokane Counties). The state is categorizing 14 other confirmed cases as “unassigned.”
Seventeen of the 18 deaths in Washington have occurred in King County, with 1 in Snohomish.
11:37am – Gov. Jay Inslee stated in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation that local health officials are weighing mandatory measures for social distancing to curb the continued spread of coronavirus.
“We are contemplating some next steps, particularly to protect our vulnerable populations and our nursing homes and the like — we are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required,” said Inslee.
What exactly that would look like remains unclear, but the Washington governor praised local events for opting to postpone or cancel over the last few days. That includes Emerald City Comic Con, which recently made the decision to delay the popular downtown Seattle convention until the summer.