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95 COVID-19 deaths; 1,996 confirmed cases statewide

Safeway and many other Seattle-area grocery stores implemented a set of limited shopping hours to help ensure at-risk members in the community stay safe from contracting COVID-19. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

There are now at least 95 coronavirus deaths in Washington, with 1,996 cases confirmed. President Trump on Sunday declared the existence of a federal major disaster in Washington state after Gov. Inlsee sent a letter on Friday requesting the declaration.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, March 22:

7:18pm – An Everett Boeing worker who was ill with COVID-19 has died, according to The Seattle Times. The man was an inspector who worked on the 787 Dreamliner in Everett, the Times reports. His brother had pleaded with the company to shut down. In total, the Times reports there were 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus among Boeing employees — 25 of those cases in the Puget Sound region. Some Boeing employees and their families have created a petition calling on Boeing to close.

3:02pm – Health officials announced one new death due to coronavirus, bringing the total to 95 in Washington state. The number of cases jumped to 1,996. Over 30,000 people have been tested.

2:29pm – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Natural Resources have announced the closure of all state campgrounds across Washington through at least April 30. This also includes cabin and yurts.

No new campers will be accepted beginning Monday, March 23. Current campers will be phased out of the parks. Refunds will be offered.

Day use, trails, and ocean beaches are available, but social distancing is urged. It’s suggested you bring along your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer for restroom use.

2:20pm – President Donald Trump declared the existence of a federal major disaster in Washington state Sunday. Gov. Jay Inslee sent a 74-page letter to President Trump on Friday requesting he make this declaration.

CORONAVIRUS TWITTER LIST:

Saturday, March 21:

3:02pm – Health officials announced 94 deaths to coronavirus in Washington state. The number of cases rose to 1,793.

Friday, March 20:

8:16pm – Everett’s mayor has issued a directive ordering all residents and business owners to stay home except for essential activities, government services or infrastructure. The directive takes effect at noon on Monday, until further notice. Read more here.

5:47pm – King County and the City of Seattle are closing playgrounds, sports courts, picnic shelters, and recreation areas where social distancing may be difficult to maintain. Parks, natural lands, trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained will remain open. Playfields will remain open for walking or non-team activities.

“Go for a hike. Take the family for a stroll. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “But use good sense and avoid gatherings, team sports, pick-up games, and playground equipment.”

5:39pm – Sound Transit will suspend fares on all transit modes until further notice, starting Saturday. King County Metro and Community Transit have previously announced similar fare suspensions.

5:25pm – The Boeing Company announced Friday that CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo their pay until the end of the year, the company will suspend its dividend until further notice, and it will extend the pause of any share repurchasing. Read Boeing’s full statement here.

4:44pm – “Stay home, stay home,” Gov. Inslee pleaded with Washingtonians on Friday afternoon. “Unless it is necessary for you to go out, I’m asking both businesses and individuals to help with this.”

Inslee said he’s not issuing a shelter-in-place order on Friday, but he will if necessary to protect 7 million residents.

“I’m asking every Washingtonian who has someone older in their family and tell them they really can’t go out anymore unless it’s for the essentials, like food or to the pharmacy,” Inslee said.

Inslee warned older residents of Washington state.

“It’s too dangerous, frankly, for your grandkids and your family to be close to you,” Inslee said. “It may be a while until we’re back to normal, but we can help everybody in the community get back to that.”

While the governor emphasized social distancing and staying home, he did say that it’s important to keep in close contact with each other in other ways, like texting, sending letters and flowers, and making phone calls.

Inlsee went on to show the behavior changes Washingtonians have made with data from tolling facilities. He touted about a 60% reduction in trips on Highway 99 and on SR 520 in King County, but also pointed out only a 24% drop across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and a 20% drop on roads in  Spokane.

“That is not enough,” Inslee said. “It’s clear we have continuation of too many social interactions in our state.”

Inslee was happy to report that testing for coronavirus has increased to about 3,500 tests every day. To date, about 20,742 people have been tested.

4:34pm – Pharmicists with the UW Medical Center say they’re making their own hand sanitizer to supplement supplies. It’s following a recipe from the World Health Organization. If you’re feeling particularly science-y, here’s the recipe.

4:29pm – WDFW has canceled a razor clam dig that was supposed to begin Friday through Monday at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Morocks, and Copalis.

“Under these circumstances, we need to include more than sustainable harvest in our decision making and do what is the best for the community. We understand that the county health department is responding to a global pandemic and WDFW is cancelling these digs to support that work and keep folks healthy,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s coastal region director.

More digs are scheduled through April.

3:59pm – The White House says a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff has tested positive for coronavirus. Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Miller said Friday that the staff member, who is not being identified, did not have “close contact” to either the vice president or President Donald Trump. Read more from the AP.

3:06pm – State health officials say there have been 83 deaths in Washington due to COVID-19, an increase of eight people since Thursday. The number of positive cases in the state now sits at 1,524.

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2:57pm – WSDOT is temporarily closing all Good To Go! walk-in customer services centers beginning Saturday, March 21. They’ll remain closed until further notice. WSDOT is reminding users that customers can manage almost all aspects of their accounts online at MyGoodToGo.com or over the phone (the call center will remain open).

2:27pm – Governor Inslee’s office says it is NOT issuing a shelter-in-place order or other emergency order on Friday during a scheduled 4:30pm news conference.

2:24pm – Snohomish County is reporting an eighth death on Friday. A woman in her 90s with underlying health conditions connected to Josephine Caring Community died on Thursday. Positive cases have jumped from 348 to 385 in the county.

2:06pm – Many city playgrounds around the region are closing. Sammamish and  Mukilteo are among those cities posting signs at the playgrounds. Health officials have said that coronavirus can live on hard surfaces for several hours.

On the Sammamish Facebook page:

We should have added to this announcement that another important reason for this decision is that our parks crews do not have the time resources to wipe down the play equipment frequently or even effectively given all the surfaces in the many Snoqualmie playgrounds. We are doing the best we can. – Joan Pliego

1:52pm – The UW Virology Lab started a donation page on its website. You can donate here.

The lab is playing a large role in research, testing for, and treating and preventing COVID-19. You can follow the lab on Twitter here.

1:37pm – Governor Inslee has plans for a 4:30 p.m. news conference today to address protections for at-risk employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Inlsee also sent a 74-page letter to President Trump on Friday requesting that he declare a federal major disaster in Washington state. Inslee says the declaration will unlock additional funds for things like expanded unemployment assistance and food benefits.

“Tens of thousands of individuals have found themselves unemployed and will require disaster unemployment assistance that is not otherwise available through state disaster unemployment programs, including many hourly workers who are unable to work because they are under quarantine or their business is closed,” Inslee said.

1:24pm – Beginning Saturday, March 21, King County Metro riders will not be required to pay fare on Metro services, including buses, water tax, and Access paratransit, until further notice.

Additionally, all riders will be directed to board and exit at the rear doors. The front-door will be reserved for those who need the boarding ramp or use mobility devices.

12:52pm – Washington state Safeway and Albertsons locations are now taking extra precautions to protect both their employees and customers.

That includes the installation of sneeze guards at check stands, enacting hours for senior shoppers each Tuesday and Thursday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and more.

Washington locations will now close at 10 p.m. to allow for 8 hours of deep cleaning. Checkers also have the option to decline a customer’s reusable bag and provide them with paper or new reusable bags at no charge.

12:17pm – Gov. Inslee continues to urge Washingtonians over the age of 60 to stay home, while asking anyone else who’s able to donate blood to Bloodworks Northwest.

11:19am – The Washington National Guard asked the public on Twitter to “put aside the rumors about martial law or military rule,” labeling them as “just not true.”

“Emergencies are scary enough,” it stated. “Let’s not add to the fear by spreading misinformation.”

10:57am – The Seattle Municipal Court issued an emergency order Friday, shutting its doors until further notice excepting custody appearances.

10:25am – Providence is putting a call out for 100 million medical masks for hospitals across Western Washington, asking anyone with a sewing machine to volunteer to help. More info here

9:47am – A patient and a worker at Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital have tested positive for coronavirus, and workers at the facility fear the number of cases will increase due to a lack of protective gear and new policies that force them to crowd together as they try to get into the building. Read more

9:06am –The Trump administration announced Friday that it will be closing its shared borders with Mexico and Canada to all non-essential travel.

Additionally, anyone attempting to cross at either border without proper documentation will be immediately sent back to their country of origin, rather than being detained by Customs and Border Patrol.

For any U.S. citizens not currently in the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that they should either make plans to immediately return home, or make plans to remain abroad for the foreseeable future.

8:27am – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered 100% of the state’s workforce — excepting essential businesses — to work from home.

7:51am – Beginning Friday and running through April 5, Everett’s Paine Field will be providing free parking for all travelers flying out of the airport.

7:14am – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Friday that the IRS will be moving the 2020 deadline to file taxes to July 15 to account for the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

6:48am – Will Washington be the next state to enact a “shelter in place” order? We have no official word yet, but if the escalating crisis across the country is any indication, it seems like it could be on the horizon. Read more. 

6:12am – In a letter addressed to President Trump requesting the use of a Navy hospital ship, Gov. Jay Inslee said that “we anticipate our hospitals will be in crisis by the end of this month.”

The hope is to use the Navy ship to treat trauma patients from more standard incidents like car accidents, acts of violence, and more, and then allow hospitals to direct their focus toward treating coronavirus patients.

Military officials are now staffing and preparing to deploy the 1,000-bed USNS Mercy, currently in docked in San Diego. More details from KIRO 7 reporter Michael Spears.

5:40am – Seattle is designating a coronavirus testing site specifically for first responders. This is the first such site of its kind in the U.S. Read more. 

5:12am – The Washington State Department of Health received 8,000 sample collection test kits from the federal government Thursday, but still cites testing as “a significant issue” for its coronavirus response efforts.

As of late Thursday afternoon, over 20,000 people have been tested in Washington, with 1,376 positive tests.

Washington state is also still awaiting a large shipment of “vital” supplies, including almost 65,000 N-95 respirators, over 154,000 surgical masks, over 29,000 face shields, and just under 24,000 gowns. That request was sent out to the federal government last Friday, and as of March 19 was still awaiting approval.

Thursday, March 19:

7:28pm -California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home, restricting non-essential movements to control the spread of the coronavirus that threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “We need to recognize reality.” Read more from Associated Press.

5:50pm – Starting at 5 a.m. on Friday, March 20, until further notice, all Community Transit buses will be fare free. All buses will board and exit through the rear doors only, with the front doors reserved to be accessible for ADA customers. The front 10 feet of buses will be available for bus drivers and ADA customers only.

5:43pm – During Major League Soccer’s suspension of play, Sounders FC in partnership with JOEtv annnounced the start of a new series to re-air the best matches in Sounders FC history. The series, Sounders FC Classics, will kick-off this Saturday, March 21, with a re-air of the 2019 MLS Cup, and continuing each Saturday at 7 p.m. PT. The next three weeks of matches are planned, but after that fans will be able to vote on which match they want to see.

The matches will be broadcast live on JOEtv, SoundersFC.com, and the Sounders FC app for local fans, and will be archived both online and on the app for later viewing. In addition, each game will feature a different host, streaming live from the club’s Twitter account, starting with former Sounder Steve Zakuani.

5:20pm – Sound Transit says it will reduce service on light rail and Sounder trains. King County Metro’s ST Express routes will also see service reduction. ST Express buses operated by Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Tacoma Link will operate as normal for the time being. Sound Transit said as of Monday, ridership was down about 69 percent.

4:38pm – United Way of King County launched the Community Relief Fund to help people who’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that thousands of people in our community are already struggling because of the economic impact of COVID-19,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of King County. “Many families in our community are already living paycheck-to-paycheck, and they can’t afford to lose any income. This fund will make a direct, immediate impact by helping them.”

You can donate here.

4:16pm – King County is opening field hospitals around the region to treat patients with coronavirus. The first such field is under construction at the Shoreline soccer fields just west of I-5. Read more here.

3:51pm – Gov. Inslee announced restrictions on non-urgent medical and dental procedures in order to maintain enough protective equipment for health care workers on the front line of the pandemic.

This order impacts hospitals, surgery centers, dental, orthodontic, and endodontic offices in the state. There are exceptions, including treatment for patients with emergency and urgent needs, and if delayed surgery would cause harm to the patient within three months.

3:30pm – The Washington State Department of Health is now reporting 74 deaths and 1,376 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide. Seven counties (Benton, Clark, Grant, Island, King, Pierce, and Snohomish) are reporting at least one death from coronavirus.

2:59pm – A drive-through COVID-19 testing facility has been set up by the Seattle Police Department to test police officers, firefighters, and all first responders by appointment.

Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins reported that 45 firefighters have had a valid exposure and been taken off circulation, though most have since returned after a period of quarantine and monitoring any symptoms. There are 24 out of service right now.

This clinic, in effect since Saturday, allows for easier testing for first responders. So far, 56 have been tested, with only 2 returning positive. Many cases are still pending and the numbers change constantly.

The swabs taken at this facility are sent to the UW Virology Lab for results. Only first responders who have symptoms and have been scheduled for an appointment by a doctor are tested at the SPD site.

2:35pm – The Canadian government said Thursday the Canada-U.S. border will be closed to all non-essential travel in both directions on Friday night. Read more from AP here.

Also, 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. Read the full story from AP here.

2:08pm – Snohomish County reports that seven people have died of coronavirus, bringing the state total up to 69 (state #s expected later today). As many as 348 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Snohomish County.

12:34pm – There are now at least 68 confirmed coronavirus deaths in Washington state, including the first in Island County reported Thursday, and Pierce County’s first death reported Wednesday.

The death in Island County was a woman in her early 90s with underlying health conditions. The county now has 17 confirmed cases, with officials saying they “anticipate more positive cases or deaths.”

11:45am – A Seattle police officer has tested positive for coronavirus, and now the union is demanding answers from city leaders. Read more

11:26am – The University of Washington is urging people not to come to its campus to see the cherry blossoms this year. They’re expected to reach full bloom early next week, and normally thousands of people come to campus to check them out.

UW has set up a webcam so you can get a glimpse of the famous flowers from home.

10:51am – Hospitals in our area are running out of basic supplies to provide care for patients or test for COVID-19. Read more from KIRO 7 reporter Deedee Sun

9:55am – A scientist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Research Center detailed a potential plan for limiting the spread of coronavirus, for what he labels “the Apollo program of our time.” Read more

9:11am – Seattle-Tacoma Airport now has a map available detailing nearly 150 hand sanitizer stations situated across the area. It also plans to install 100 more.

8:51am – In his daily press conference providing updates on measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, President Trump detailed efforts from the FDA to “cut through red tape” to fast-track the development of antiviral treatments.

That includes gaining approval to use Chloriquine, a malaria drug he says has shown “very encouraging results” in mitigating symptoms of coronavirus.

8:29am – The City of Everett has launched a website designed to provide assistance to local businesses operating under social distancing measures.

It provides information to customers about restaurants offering curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery, as well as detailing ways “to support the arts and enjoy virtual hangouts.”

The website — titled “Everett for Everett” — is active now here.

8:12am – When Seattle resident Elizabeth Schneider went to a house party three weekends ago — a week before anyone knew coronavirus was silently spreading among Puget Sound residents — she had no idea what she was bringing back with her. Read more from KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show here

7:39am – The Low Income Housing Institute has suspended all public visits to its tiny home villages. LIHI manages nine separate sites in Seattle, and one in each of Olympia and Tacoma.

6:46am – New data from the CDC indicates that adults in the U.S. in every age demographic are experiencing severe symptoms of coronavirus.

The previous perception was that a large majority of patients under the age of 60 and without underlying health conditions would experience mild symptoms. But a CDC report now indicates that almost 40 percent of all U.S. cases requiring hospitalization were between the ages of 20 and 54.

Additionally, almost half of patients admitted to intensive care units were under the age of 65.

Read more here

6:25am – The City of Shoreline will be setting up a temporary field hospital on a local soccer field, capable of housing as many as 200 beds.

The facility will be used for anyone “exposed to, at risk of exposure, or becoming ill with the novel coronavirus.”

A city spokesman told The Seattle Times that the field hospital is being constructed now, and that it won’t be occupied by patients “for another week or so.”

6:12am – The Washington State Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday, suspending all civil jury trials through April 24, as well as making it so that “all emergency matters” for courts are conducted by telephone, video, or other means that don’t require in-person attendance. You can read the full order here.

5:23am – A new report from the CDC details the failures of Kirkland’s Life Care Center to treat and contain coronavirus as the outbreak escalated in its early stages.

The nursing facility is largely viewed as ground zero for Washington state’s outbreak of the virus, with at least 35 deaths linked to it.

The CDC’s report found that Life Care employees weren’t equipped with sufficient personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer. Employees also went into work while displaying symptoms, didn’t adhere to prevention recommendations, and even works in multiple facilities, facilitating the spread of the virus among the elderly.

5:18am – President Trump signed a recently-passed coronavirus relief bill into law Wednesday, which includes measures for free testing, paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, and more.

The bill was passed by a 90-8 margin in the U.S. Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging Republicans opposing it to “gag and vote for it anyway.”

Moving forward, a new bill designed to stimulate the economy and provide direct payments to taxpayers is currently in the works.

Wednesday, March 18:

10:03pm – King County Metro said on Wednesday that it will temporarily reduce service on Monday. Metro reports that ridership on March 12 was 45% of less than a comparable day in 2019 — or 189,000 fewer passengers.

Metro says it will release more details on Friday, March 20.

5:15pm – The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families has posted an update on child care guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions on its website here.

4:41pm – The 46th Seattle International Film Festival, the largest film festival in North America, scheduled to run May 14 to June 7, 2020, has been canceled. SIFF asks anyone who has already purchased passes or ticket packs to consider making the purchase a donation. Read the full statement here.

3:41pm – The state Department of Health is reporting 1,187 total confirmed coronavirus cases statewide, with 66 deaths.

3:11pm – Gov. Inslee discussed efforts the state is taking to respond to the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak and response at an afternoon press conference.

“Like when we face any squall,” Inslee said, “we know that we are going to get through that squall and that storm, but it is going to be tough.”

He announced a statewide moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent for residential tenants for the next 30 days. With a rapidly growing number of workers off the job, he announced that the one-week time period before you can get access to unemployment insurance will be waived.

All public utilities will waive late fees for customers who are out of work, including payment plans, and Inslee thanked the utilities who have already taken this step for their leadership. Penalties on late tax payments will be also suspended.

Inslee reiterated that we need to protect our loved ones, especially those who are older and at risk. This responsibility falls to all of us, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, and neighbors, to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

2:40pm – Governor Jay Inslee will update the state on new steps to take to stop the spread of COVID-19. Listen in to KIRO Radio at 3pm

1:31pm – Seattle & King County Public Health reports 56 deaths and 562 cases across the county.

12:52pm – Pierce County is reporting its first coronavirus death, a Puyallup woman in her 50s. Health officials note that the woman had underlying health conditions, and was originally admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup on March 6.

“She was not a number, she was a beloved daughter, she was a mother, she was an incredible community volunteer that was active in her daughter’s school,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.

The executive thanked health care workers caring around the clock for coronavirus patients and reminded Pierce County residents that we are all in this together.

“Go the extra mile and check on your neighbor,”  Dammeier said. “Think about bringing groceries to the elderly woman who lives down the street.”

12:23pm – The Office of the Washington State Superintendent of Schools offered advice for talking to children as coronavirus school closures have taken effect. Read more

11:26am – A new report from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce estimates that “very near-term” impacts from coronavirus could affect “roughly 40% of all jobs in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.”

Those impacts include wage reductions and temporary layoffs that have escalated as more and more restrictions on businesses have become necessary to limit the spread of the virus.

“Not all businesses will survive this challenge,” the report reads.

11:16am – In addition to the $2.5 million in funds for small business grants, Seattle Major Jenny Durkan issued a moratorium on evictions of small businesses and nonprofits.

“We are facing the challenge of our lifetime,” said Durkan. “We’re doing everything we can to help keep small businesses afloat during this unprecedented, difficult time.”

10:54am – Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman is urging Gov. Inslee to cancel an upcoming special election scheduled for April 28.

“When conducting elections, officials must always balance access with security. Right now, both of these standards are in peril,” Wyman detailed in a written statement. “As this pandemic continues to evolve, we cannot guarantee to conduct this election by the same standards we administer every other election. We also cannot mitigate potential critical reductions in key election workers.”

Read more here

10:34am – Washington’s coronavirus outbreak may be front of mind right now, but the region’s history of contagious outbreaks dates all the way back to the 1700s. More from KIRO Radio’s Feliks Banel here.

10:05am – Bill Gates is holding an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit to field questions related to the efforts of his foundation to fight coronavirus. The session began at 10 a.m. and is ongoing here.

9:33am – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday that the city will be investing another $1 million in Seattle’s Small Business Stabilization Fund.

The fund now has $2.5 million in funds to disperse across the city’s struggling small businesses, in the form of grants up to $10,000. Small businesses in Seattle are also eligible to apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million “to offset economic losses.”

9:10am – A slew of new developments were announced in a Wednesday press conference by the Trump Administration. First, President Trump has officially invoked the Defense Production Act, providing the federal government with the ability to marshal more resources among the private sector to produce essential medical supplies.

Additionally, he announced that the U.S. Department of Housing would be suspending all foreclosures and evictions through the end of April, as well as the closure of the U.S./Canada border to all non-essential travel.

Later on Wednesday, another press conference will be held to unveil developments from the FDA to “cut through red tape and reduce regulatory barriers.”

8:37am – The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office is currently not accepting bookings for misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and non-mandatory arrest crimes. But that doesn’t mean criminals are getting a pass. More here from KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show

8:11am – Boeing is reportedly asking for $60 billion in federal aid to make up for losses brought on by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

7:51am – A group of local Seattle area businesses created a Facebook group to coalesce and provide each other with advice, assistance, and anything else they might need. Read more

7:25am – The Seattle Mariners announced that the team’s ownership will be creating a fund to support event staff employees who are set to lose pay due to postpone games.

“We are working on details to the grant program now, and will have additional information available once the details are finalized,” the team said in a news release.

6:39am – Confirming overnight reports, President Trump announced Wednesday morning that “by mutual consent,” the U.S. will be temporarily closing its shared border with Canada to non-essential traffic. This will not affect trade between the two countries.

The President promised more details later in the day.

6:36am – As Sea-Tac Airport sees airlines drastically cutting flight schedules, it will soon ask the government for $10 billion.

“We’re feeling the pinch, as well as the decline in passengers coming through the airport,” said Sea-Tac Airport Director Lance Lyttle.

5:52am – In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee urged all Washington residents ages 60 and above to shelter in place. He stopped short of enacting an official order akin to the one currently in effect in Northern California, noting that Washingtonians are already doing a good job socially distancing themselves.

“This is something we’re evaluating every day or every hour — we can’t rule anything in or out,” he added.

5:39am – A paper released by Imperial College posits that in order to truly mitigate the risk of coronavirus and its ongoing spread, social distancing measures would need to be in place “until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more).”

In a scenario where cases start to dip and suppression measures are relaxed before a vaccine is produced, the paper claims that “transmission will quickly rebound.”

That timeline is echoed in the U.S. government’s own 100-page plan for the pandemic, which spans 18 months, and warns that the outbreak could come in “multiple waves.”

Read more here. 

5:19am – Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Ciara announced Tuesday that they will be donating a million meals through Seattle Food Lifeline.

Tuesday, March 17:

10:07pm – 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 amid discussions and ahead of an announcement and spoke to The Associated Press on condition anonymity. Read more from the Associated Press.

7:50pm – Nevada’s governor has ordered a month-long closure of casinos and other nonessential businesses like bars, movie theaters, gyms, and restaurants, according to the Associated Press.

5:49pm – The Washington State Ferries’ service between Anacortes and Sidney, British Columbia, has been suspended until at least April 28 as a result of the closure of the Canadian border. Service was scheduled to start March 29 following its annual shut down during winter months.

5:41pm – Seattle Goodwill and Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region will be closed starting Thursday until April 2. Some donation centers will remain open. All employees will be paid during the closure.

5:36pm – The city of Seattle and other partners are distributing an Economic Impact Survey to capture the effects of coronavirus on businesses and non-profits in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. This survey aims to identify regional and local effects, inform strategies for economic recovery and development, and maximize the allocation of state and federal recovery aid.

Businesses and non-profits interested in completing the survey, visit this website.

4:08pm – Safeway and Albertsons stores across Washington state announced Tuesday afternoon that they will be reserving Tuesdays and Thursdays 7 – 9 a.m. for “at-risk shoppers,” including seniors, pregnant woman, those with compromised immune systems or people who have been advised to avoid leaving home.

“We are asking for customers to honor the reserved hours and we thank the community in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and for helping us maintain these temporary operation guidelines.” Read more.

3:31pm – The Washington State Department of Health reports 1,012 confirmed cases statewide, and 52 deaths. Clark, Grant, King, and Snohomish are the only four counties with coronavirus deaths, with the most in King County.

As testing capacity has increased, there are now 13,117 negative test results reported by the state.

2:30pm – Gov. Jay Inslee signed five bills to help in the state’s coronavirus response, including $200 million toward the response efforts. He reminded older adults to shelter in place, avoiding exposure to anyone outside your household, and encouraged everyone to continue practicing social distancing measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.

2:23pm – “We’re likely to be in this all the way to the fall and beyond,” Superintendent Chris Reykdal told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

Reykdal said the mission now is to focus on how to get the entire public school system able to offer distance learning for all students, so that all students have the same opportunity to learn. Read more.

2:05pm – Snohomish County is reporting 266 confirmed cases, 5 deaths Tuesday — an increase of 66 cases and one death from yesterday. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department added 7 new cases since yesterday, now at a total of 45 confirmed cases in the county. Washington State Department of Health is expected to release statewide numbers shortly.

1:53pmThe Everett Herald reported 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Boeing Company, nine of which are employees in the Puget Sound region. While an effort is being made to increase the number of employees working from home company-wide, there are some who are told to continue to work on-site until further notice, unable to work at home due to the nature of their jobs.

1:47pm – The King County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday it will not execute court-ordered evictions in King County until further notice.

“This is no time to be putting vulnerable people and families on the street without shelter” said Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. “I have committed to suspending evictions during this difficult time when we need to embrace our neighbors rather than remove them from their homes.”

1:34pm – T-Mobile will temporarily close 80 percent of its company-owned stores until the end of March, and any stores that remain open will have reduced hours. Additionally, all current customers on plans with data will be provided unlimited connectivity for the next 60 days and free international calling to Level 3 impacted countries.

Through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app today, the company will donate up to $500,000 to Feeding America with the help of customers, giving $1 per click.

12:53pm – UW Medicine’s drive-thru testing facility is now open, capable of testing 50 people a day depending on supplies. Tests are distributed on a by-appointment basis to UW Medicine patients.

11:57am – Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez announced over Twitter that she would be ending her 12-week maternity leave early, and return to work effective Thursday, March 19. She plans to fully resume her duties on that date as Council President.

11:45am – Tacoma Public Utilities will be suspending disconnection of water and power for customers who fall behind on payments, announced in a press conference late Tuesday morning.

11:15am – President Trump heaped praise on Boeing in a Tuesday press conference, calling it “the greatest company in the world,” and stressing the need to “protect” the company as the air travel industry continues to struggle.

10:53am – Both AMC and Regal have opted to temporarily close all movie theater locations, in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.

10:38am – Washington state’s coronavirus deaths are now up to at least 50, after two more were confirmed in Clark County overnight.

10:17am – Amazon announced Tuesday that it would be suspending shipments through its warehouses from independent vendors, with the exception of medical supplies and other items categorized as “high demand.”

The suspension is in effect through April 5. Products from independent merchants already en route to or residing in warehouses will still be shipped out as planned, but no new products from those sellers will be accepted and shipped for the next three weeks.

9:33am – White House officials stated that President Trump wants the government to send checks to Americans in the next two weeks to provide relief for workers struggling in the wake of the continued coronavirus outbreak.

No further details on the amount of money or who exactly would be receiving checks were revealed, outside of a comment from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin noting that higher earners wouldn’t be included.

9:12am – WSDOT issued a statement regarding why it’s strategy on tolling for routes like SR 520, the Narrows Bridge, and the SR 99 tunnel.

“As we are all learning more each day, this situation is unprecedented,” said WSDOT. “We are currently reviewing options about how best to proceed with tolled facilities, and will keep the traveling public informed of any decisions as soon as they are made.”

8:51am – President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence detailed efforts to continue providing resources for coronavirus testing, prevention, and supplies. That includes a $850 billion stimulus package for small businesses, hotels, airlines, and more. The administration will be providing additional information “later today.”

8:25am – UW Medicine will now offer drive-thru coronavirus testing to its patients by appointment. It will be limited to UW Medicine patients experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath.

8:03am – Bartell Drugs is adding a 24-hour pharmacy to areas in the region hit hardest by coronavirus. The new store will serve the Kirkland and Bellevue areas. Lower Queen Anne’s Bartell pharmacy will also stay open for 24 hours.

7:47am – A janitor at a facility used by the Seattle Police tested positive for the coronavirus. She has been “actively ill within the last ten days” according to an email memo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show. Read more. 

6:59am – As the Bay Area is ordered to shelter in place, the question then becomes whether Western Washington is next. Read more from KTTH’s Jason Rantz here

6:07am – The City of Burien has enacted a 30-day moratorium on residential evictions and late fees.

5:41am – The Seattle Center Monorail announced Monday that it would be temporarily closing, after carrying just 5% of its normal expected ridership over the weekend.

In a news release announcing the move, the Monorail cited that it typically carries over 9,000 passengers on a normal Saturday in March. This last Saturday, it saw just 550.

5:06am – A drive-thru coronavirus testing site is beginning to take shape in the parking lot of a Burien CVS Pharmacy, KIRO 7 reports.

Contractors erecting a tent on-site told KIRO 7 they were working on behalf of the Washington National Guard. They said the tents would be used for drive-up coronavirus testing, and they might be ready with a full medical testing staff as early as Tuesday afternoon.

You can read more about the site here. 

Monday, March 16:

11:06pm – Nordstrom said late Monday night that it’s closing all stores for two weeks beginning March 17.

8:02pm – Tulalip Tribes confirms it will temporarily close its three casinos and bingo halls effective 6 p.m. Monday to protect against coronavirus. KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott reports that staff will receive regular base pay and benefits through 3/30.

Puyallup Tribes said it’ll close Emerald Queen Casino locations at midnight Monday for two weeks. Angel of the Winds properties will close on Tuesday, March 27 until at least April 1.

5:26pm – Suquamish, Puyallup, and Tulalip tribes are closing their casino operations for two weeks starting this week. More casino closures are expected in the coming days, though are not included as part of Gov. Inslee’s shut down of restaurants, bars, and other businesses.

4:28pm – Uber Eats announced it will help support the restaurant industry in the United States and Canada during the coronavirus crisis. The company is going to promote free delivery for local restaurants, offer an opt-in program for restaurants to receive daily payouts rather than weekly, and has pledged at least 300,000 free meals to be delivered to health care workers and relief efforts.

4:00pm – There are now 904 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide and 48 deaths, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Cases span 18 counties, with 126 unassigned cases.

3:09pmTacoma-Pierce County Health Department is reporting 38 total coronavirus cases Monday. The list of positive cases includes two kids under 10.

Snohomish County reported 24 new cases, jumping from 176 to 200, with no additional deaths.

3:02pm – King County is reporting 68 new confirmed cases and six new deaths Monday, bringing the official count now to 488 cases and 43 deaths in the county.

Of the 43 deaths reported, 29 are confirmed to be associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland.

2:48pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Monday that the city will provide $5 million in grocery vouchers to help families impacted by coronavirus. They expect the vouchers will give 6,250 families $800 in vouchers at any Safeway store in Washington. The vouchers will be distributed (in two $400 installments) to families that are currently enrolled in city childcare programs and food assistance programs via mail as early as this week.

2:44pm – “We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something,” Jennifer Haller, 43, of Seattle said before getting vaccinated with coronavirus. Her two teenagers “think it’s cool” that she’s taking part in the study.

After the injection, she left the exam room with a big smile: “I’m feeling great.”

Three others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

Neal Browning, 46, of Bothell, Wash., is a Microsoft network engineer who says his young daughters are proud he volunteered. Read more from the Associated Press.

1:50pm – Washington Emergency Management is reminding people to heed Governor Inslee’s warning: Residents older than 60 and those with underlying health conditions need to self isolate, if they can. “This will require behavior change.”

1:28pm – Tim Killian, the public information liaison for Life Care Center in Kirkland gave another update on the residents and employees at the center of the outbreak in Washington state. Since Friday, no new residents have been transferred to a hospital. There are 43 current residents, which is down one since Killian’s last report, but he said it is not related to a hospitalization. Killian said there are no current residents are showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. There have been 30 positive tests, 12 negative, and 1 pending among the residents, which puts the total number for residents who tested positive since the event began in late February at 67.

All the employees have been tested, according to Killian, with 46 positive tests, 24 negative, and 24 pending. More employees are returning to work, with an estimate that they’ve reached about 80-90% of full staff, in part due to the help and extra team members sent from HHS.

Killian did stress his concern regarding a lack of personal protective equipment, which experts have indicated could become a real issue in the next two weeks for Life Care and other nursing homes.

12:30pm – President Trump recommended in a Monday briefing that all Americans participate in school from home, avoid gatherings in groups over 10 people, avoid “discretionary” travel, and avoid dine-in service at restaurants for the next two weeks.

Trump urged all older Americans to stay home, but id not immediately define what an “an older American” was in terms of the recommendation to stay home.

“We will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” Trump said. “We can turn the corner and turn it quickly.” Read more from the Associated Press. 

11:54am – Residents of the Bay Area have been ordered to shelter in place, with only essential businesses remaining open across six counties in northern California. The order will be in place through at least April 7. Read more

11:08am – Canada has opted to close its borders to all non-citizens, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.

10:54am – Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine are delivering a press conference with more details on the plan to close Washington’s restaurants and bars. Watch live here at 11 a.m.

10:14am – An Evergreen Health doctor is in critical condition right now brought on COVID-19. The Kirkland hospital has been at the epicenter of the region’s outbreak, as the site where many of the elderly LifeCenter residents have been receiving treatment.

9:43am – As restaurants and bars in Washington and other states are shutting down dine-in service, GrubHub is opting to defer its commission fees for “impacted independent restaurants.” The popular food delivery service hopes the measure will help restaurants currently struggling to stay afloat in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Additionally, it will continue to use contact-free delivery, offering customers the option to have drivers drop food off on doorsteps or in lobbies, rather than delivering it face-to-face.

9:06am – Fred Hutchinson scientist Trevor Bedford provided details on his lab’s work to to sequence the genome of coronavirus in Washington state. You can read more about his research here.

8:23am – Stocks dipped another 8% in morning trading on Wall Street Monday, despite emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve late Sunday. More details here.

7:54am – The first patient in a Seattle clinical trial to find a coronavirus vaccine will receive an experimental dose on Monday. Read more

7:22am – Nike has opted to close all of its U.S. and Western Europe retail locations as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

6:57am – King County Metro calculates that its ridership has dropped by almost 50% in March, seeing 185,000 fewer riders than usual across its entire system.

6:32am – After the impending temporary closure of all restaurants and bars in Washington was announced Sunday night, King County Executive Dow Constantine had some sobering advice to deliver.

“Go to work if you must. But hunker down if you are able,” Constantine said on Twitter.

Constantine asked that people “assume that they and everyone they meet is infected to avoid any unnecessary interactions.”

He cited that as part of his justification for immediately enacting the closure of restaurants and bars in King County, spelling out the need for increased social distancing measures in a region that’s become the epicenter of Washington’s coronavirus outbreak.

“Treat the next two weeks as a period of self-quarantine, to protect yourself and the lives and health of your loved ones and the entire community,” Constantine detailed.

6:05am – Superior courts in King and Snohomish Counties are suspending criminal jury trials through April 24. Jury summonses are suspended until 27, and court personnel will immediately call off any summons that has already been sent.

5:59am – Safeway and Albertsons locations in Washington are taking steps to restock dwindling supplies. Read more

5:22am – In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, King County plans to repurpose three more properties for isolation centers. Read more. 

5:05am – Gov. Jay Inslee announced his intention to enact even more stringent measures to contain coronavirus in Washington state Sunday night. That includes temporarily shutting down restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities statewide.

Restaurants will still be able to provide takeout, drive-thru, and delivery service. Additionally, all gatherings over 50 people are prohibited, while gatherings under 50 people will need to meet strict criteria for hygiene and social distancing.

These new rules do not apply to grocery stores or pharmacies. Retail outlets like hardware stores, gas stations, banks, and shopping centers can also remain open, provided they enforce reduced occupancy.

“I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities. But every hour counts as we bend the curve of infection,” said Inslee. “We have, and will continue to take steps to mitigate those challenges.”

The governor will be holding a joint press conference Monday with more details. These changes have taken effect immediately in King County.

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