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COVID-19 updates: Almost 24,000 cases of COVID-19, 1,159 deaths in Washington

FILE - In this May 16, 2020, file photo, Tina Nguyen, left, a nurse at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle's International District, takes a nose swab sample from David Carroll, an ICHS employee, during testing for the coronavirus in Seattle. At a cost of $120-130 per test and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s estimate the league will need 25,000-35,000 in total to get through the playoffs, the price tag he concedes is “millions of dollars.” But regular testing is something players insisted on in the name of feeling safe to compete.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Health officials report 23,729 people have tested positive for coronavirus statewide, and they report 1,159 deaths. The majority of counties in Washington state are in Phase 2 right now.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Follow live updates today below.

Sunday, June 7

4:31pm – Washington now has 23,729 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide, and 1,159 deaths. Over 405,000 people have been tested, with just 5.9% testing positive.

10:15am – As more counties move into Phase 2 and Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee’s reopening plan, sports leagues around Western Washington are trying to figure out practices, field times, and games under social distancing guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control has released considerations for youth sports, addressing issues like sharing gear, spectators, team size, face coverings, and travel.

Saturday, June 6

4:34 – Health officials have tested 400,588 people for coronavirus in Washington state. Of those, 23,442 people are confirmed positive. That’s 449 new cases since Friday and a rate of 5.9% positive. The state says 1,153 have died from the virus —- four more since Friday.

4:26pm – Whitman County has received approval from the state Secretary of Health to move into Phase 3 of reopening. Eight total counties are now in Phase 3 in Washington.

9:44am – Free COVID-19 testing sites are now available in King County, with the goal to open over 15 more “by early next week, including new testing sites in Auburn and Seattle.”

Friday, June 5

5:02pm – There are 22,993 total confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington state, with 1,149 deaths. According to the state Department of Health, of the 390,863 total tests, 5.9% have been positive.

4:19pm – The organizers of All In WA have rescheduled the virtual concert planned for COVID-19 relief to Wednesday, June 24, at 7 p.m., previously scheduled for June 10. It will stream on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel, on All In WA’s website, and on local news channels statewide.

The statement from organizers reads in part:

“We recognize the pain and injustice the Black and African American community is facing, once again, and the need to honor the ongoing marches, protests, and organizing. We also want to give space for our community to focus on what matters most at the moment; acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and violence that dehumanizes Black people and families, and taking steps to build to a new reality. We recognize that for many in our community and country, this grief and trauma are nothing new, and the effects are compounding.”

4:00pm – With more ridership expected as Snohomish County moves to Phase 2, Community Transit plans to implement a two-stage increase in bus service this summer. The agency will restore a number of trips on heavily used routes on July 6, bringing service up to 75% of pre-pandemic levels. Service will then increase to 85% of pre-pandemic levels in September.

1:06pm – Good news: King County residents will be able to get a haircut, dine out, or shop in-person at retail stores again soon. Find out what’s allowed under King County’s modified Phase 1 plan here.

12:52pm – On Friday, 14 counties in Washington state were approved to move into the next phase of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start plan. There are now five counties in Phase 1, one county in a modified Phase 1, 26 in Phase 2, and seven in Phase 3.

Snohomish and Pierce counties were among those approved to move to Phase 2, and King County has moved to a modified Phase 1 approach. Read more.

11:31pm – Bellevue’s Healthy Streets project, which gives people more room to safely walk and bicycle while physical distancing by temporarily closing streets to vehicle traffic is expanding Friday.

9:29am – Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week that as of June 5, professional sports can resume in Washington, provided certain benchmarks are met. Read more.

6:01am – Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson announced this week that its scientists will play “key roles” in clinical trials for the coronavirus vaccine.

That will include “harmonizing” the trials, where Fred Hutch researchers will “ask a common set of questions and use a common set of measurements” for participants.

“The system that we’re talking about is allowing us to have some commonality, so that when we’re done, there’s the ability to not only compare the vaccine against placebo, but some relative sense of how one vaccine works versus the other,” Fred Hutch Director Dr. Larry Corey said in a recent interview.

Thursday, June 4

5:59pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced free, citywide COVID-19 testing in partnership with UW Medicine. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to get tested. There will be two testing sites, one in North Seattle and one in South Seattle. Read more.

4:50pm – “If you think you’re sick, get tested,” is the updated advice from Gov. Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman. While access to testing supplies has been a consistent problem in the state’s COVID-19 response, there are now more supplies becoming available. Read more.

“The good news: Our testing capacity has grown,” Inslee said. “… But there is much more work to be done to fully contain this virus.” Read more here.

4:08pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will announce a new partnership with UW Medicine to provide free, citywide testing for COVID-19.

Durkan is expected to speak at 5:15 p.m. Check back for more details.

3:40pm – Health officials say 383,587 people have been tested for coronavirus in Washington state. Of those, 22,729 people have tested positive. That’s a rate of 5.9%. The state says 1,138 people have died.

10:08am – Washington state is reporting a 36% decrease in regular unemployment claims for the week of May 24 to May 31. The Employment Security Department attributes that decline “to a variety of reasons including fraud prevention measures and more people going back to work with the reopening of some industry sectors and regions over the past three weeks.”

8:20am – An agricultural worker in Yakima County died from COVID-19 last Sunday, and other workers marched in protest this week.

According to the Washington News Service, David Cruz worked at Allan Brothers Fruit for 12 years. Wednesday, Cruz’s fellow workers marched to the Department of Larbor and Industries and Department of Health offices in Yakima.

5:30am – The vast majority of counties in Washington state are now in Phase 2 or have pending applications to move forward in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan.

As of Wednesday, there are are eight counties that have been in Phase 2 for three weeks, which means they now may be considered for Phase 3, assuming they meet the necessary criteria. Read more

Wednesday, June 3

4:28pm – There are 22,484 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,135 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. This is an increase of more than 327 new cases since yesterday’s report, and six new deaths.

1:33pm – Gov. Inslee released guidance for library and drive-in theater operations to resume in Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start plan. In Phase 1, The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library is permitted to fulfill book orders by mail, but in-person services are to remain closed to the public.

All public libraries, public library systems, institutional and governmental libraries, and libraries at institutions of higher education may offer limited services in Phase 2, including the ability to provide items by mail or via curbside pick-up while following additional health and safety guidelines.

Drive-in theaters will also be allowed to reopen in Phase 2 provided they adopt a written procedure that is “at least as strict” as the safety and health requirements of Phase 2.

12:09pm – King County announced Wednesday that it has submitted its plan to reopen in a “modified Phase 1,” which would include allowing dine-service at restaurants to resume with 25% capacity. Under its request, barbershops and “other personal services” would also be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity.

8:29am – Snohomish County officially sent in its application Tuesday asking to move into Phase 2 of reopening, and will soon hear from state health officials on its possible approval.

6:20am – Mayor Jenny Durkan urged protesters who begin to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their health provider immediately to get tested. For those without a health care provider, King County provides assistance at (206) 477-3977.

Tuesday, June 2

3:24pm – The Washington State Department of Health has reported 180 new cases and five new deaths Tuesday. Statewide, there are now 22,157 total confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,129 deaths.

2:00pm – As protests continue locally and across the country, there are concerns that these large gatherings could become “super-spreader” events, leading to an uptick in new COVID-19 cases.

“I think it’s probably safe to say that we’re going to see an increase in cases,” said Columbia University virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen. Read more.

11:04am – The Washington State Employment Security Department provided an update on a series of issues related to imposter fraud.

“We are verifying identities and making payments every day,” the ESD said on Twitter. “We are working hard to fix issues holding up legitimate customers and will provide more details this week about how and when we will resolve the issues for those impacted by the imposter fraud situation.”

8:24am – Washington’s three largest counties are in the process of asking the state to begin lifting restrictions on gatherings and businesses. Read more

7:39am – The Puyallup Tribe announced its new Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma will open Monday, June 8.

The site had been set to open in late March before the coronavirus swept through Washington state.

Opening day will begin with a prayer at 9 a.m. The casino will only open to tribal members until 12 p.m., before opening to the general public.

5:53am – Seattle City Council voted Monday to require companies with gig workers like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash to give their Seattle employees paid sick days for the duration of the city’s coronavirus emergency.

Mayor Jenny Durkan intends to sign the bill.

Monday, June 1

6:16pm – QFC and Fred Meyer are offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Tacoma Dome on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in June from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All patients must pre-register online here, but no insurance is needed.

4:09pm – There are now 21,977 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington state, according to the state Department of Health, with 1,124 deaths. Out of 365,272 total tests, 6% have been positive. Yakima, Pierce, Snohomish, and King counties have the highest numbers of confirmed cases.

1:42pm – Klickitat County has been approved to move into Phase 2. There are now 27 counties that have approved for Phase 2 across Washington state. The application from Clark County remains paused due to an outbreak investigation.

11:38am – King County plans to submit an application for a “modified” Phase 1 Monday. That would include the reopening of some businesses and activities, including outdoor gatherings of five or fewer people, additional construction, in-store retail with 15% occupancy, and more.

9:35am – Drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available starting today in Monroe. You can find out how to sign up for an appointment here.

7:10am – Yakima is seeing one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Washington state. Dr. Scott Lindquist is with the Washington State Department of Health, a specialist in spreading viruses, and joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss. Read more

5:16am – There remain concerns that weekend protests could potentially set off another surge in new COVID-19 cases in major cities across the U.S.

“There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS’s Face the Nation.

Last week’s updates

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