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COVID-19 updates: 40,656 cases statewide, with 1,438 deaths

A sign at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle reminds guests to keep their distance. [MyNorthwest photo]

There are now more than 40,000 confirmed total COVID-19 cases statewide. Meanwhile, a recent spike in new cases in King County continues to worry health officials.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Follow live updates today below.

Sunday, July 12:

7:54pm – The state Department of Health is now reporting 40,656 confirmed cases, with 1,438 deaths statewide. There have been 686,005 total tests, 5.9% of which have been positive results.

Data was not released Saturday as the system was down for maintenance.

12:27pm – Health officials in Snohomish County ordered Tender Hearts Day School in Marysville closed after at least 10 people, primarily children, tested positive for COVID-19. The health district is helping with symptom monitoring, testing, and quarantine procedures as needed. The center will be closed through July 14.

Saturday, July 11:

6:22pm – The Washington State Department of Health’s data system is down Saturday for “necessary maintenance.” New case numbers and data will be updated late afternoon July 12.

1:37pm – Thurston County will offer drive-through voting for both the August primary and the November general election to allow for social distancing as people cast their ballots. Residents can register to vote, get a replacement ballot, and vote from their car at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia.

10:12am – The latest statewide situation report from the state Department of Health shows that COVID-19 transmission is accelerating across most of the state as of the end of June, highlighting concerning trends in Spokane County, the Puget Sound, north-central, and southwest counties.

The reproductive number — the estimated number of new people each COVID-19 patient will infect — is still above one in both eastern and western Washington.

7:33am – Snohomish County’s Department of Human Services is partnering with Volunteers of America Western Washington in creating a Community COVID Outreach Counselors Program to provide emotional support services to residents whose mental health has been impacted by the pandemic. This  is supported by federal CARES Act funding.

Counselors will receive direct referrals, as well as referrals from 211, family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, neighbors and others concerned about how individuals are coping with COVID changes. To access the service, residents in need may call 2-1-1.

Friday, July 10:

4:42pm – There are now 39,218 total COVID-19 cases in Washington, along with 1,424 deaths. Friday marked a single-day increase of 637 cases and 15 deaths. Over 668,000 people have been tested across the state, 5.9% of which have been positive.

3:21pm – King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin spoke Friday on a recent rise in new cases in the region.

While most cases are still in young people who experience mild symptoms if any at all, others are also getting sick, and now the county is now seeing a slight increase in hospitalizations over the past couple of weeks.

Duchin stresses everyone needs to mask up, and follow other safety protocols if the county is going to manage COVID long term and remain in the zone between the need for a total shutdown and letting the virus run its course.

1:43pm – The University of Washington is planning for a “hybrid” education model in the fall — expecting about 30% of classes in person. Vice Provost Phillip Reid said in-person classes will see reduced classroom occupancy, and there will be more time in between classes to reduce crowding.

He also said classes that can be held online, such as lectures, will be virtual, but more hands-on classes like labs will have to meet in person. Read more.

11:40am – Residents in Yakima County were ordered to wear masks even before the mandate was issued for rest of the state. State Secretary of Health John Wiesman believes that’s why COVID-19 numbers are finally dropping in that area.

“We’ve seen in other states who have implemented these [measures] that the rate of infection slows down, and actually starts slowing down even in a matter of five days,” Wiesman said.

Cases in Yakima County have dropped by about one-third in the past few weeks.

8:56am – The Big Ten conference announced Thursday that its fall sports teams, including its football teams, would not be participating in out-of-conference games in 2020. The season opener for the University of Washington was slated to be against Michigan, but the UW confirmed Thursday that game will not take place. Read more.

7:07am – For Seattle’s Kona Kitchen, the pandemic hit home when both owner Elizabeth Mar and her husband Robert passed away in March after contracting the virus.

Their daughter, Angela Okumoto, who now runs the restaurants, hopes that if people take one thing from her family’s tragic experience, it’s that “it will hit home,” and that maybe people “will all take (the virus) seriously.” Read more.

5:49am – Starbucks is making its customer face-mask policy a nationwide requirement, beginning next Wednesday, July 15. If there’s no government mandate in place where you live, Starbucks requests customers without masks use other options to order like drive-through or curbside pickup. Employees in the cafes have been wearing masks or facial coverings since April.

Thursday, July 9:

5:31pm – Washington is now reporting 38,581 total COVID-19 cases, and increase of 640 between Wednesday and Thursday. The state reports 1,409 total deaths, a single day increase of 15. Over 660,000 people have been tested, 5.8% of which have been positive.

5:02pm – In the past week, Renton’s Community Services Department has given away thousands of free masks to residents in need. Read more

3:16pm – On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee addressed threats from the Trump administration to withhold federal funding from schools opting to not fully reopen in person this fall. Read more

1:11pm – There’s a new rule on rollercoasters in Japan, asking that revelers stay quiet, and “please scream inside your heart.” KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross and Aaron Granillo discussed the measure here.

10:20am – During the week of June 28 to July 4, the Employment Security Department reports that there were 28,393 initial regular unemployment claims and 736,151 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories filed by Washingtonians. While initial claims are down 11% from the previous week, applications remain at unprecedented levels, 416% above last year’s weekly claim applications.

8:27amThe Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was named as the coordinating center for vaccine clinical trials of the COVID-19 Prevention Network (COVPN). A team at Fred Hutch will lead the operations across a network of at least five efficacy trials with more than 100 clinical trial sites in the United States and abroad.

The first Phase 3 efficacy trial for a COVID-19 vaccine conducted by the COVPN is scheduled for this summer, with four more expected in the coming months.

7:44am – The City of Renton Community Services Department is giving away thousands of free masks to community members in need. Hundreds showed up yesterday to pick up packs of 10 washable masks per car from the city. In light of the governor’s mask mandate, and with help from a King County grant, the city decided to make sure its residents had access to face coverings.

Volunteers will be handing out masks again Thursday from 9-11 a.m. at the Renton Community Center.

5:53am – Duke’s Chowder House on Alki Beach has been closed due to an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 among employees, the potential for transmission, and a lack of overall compliance with the state’s Safe Start plan, according to Seattle-King County Public Health.

“At this time, all the cases have been in employees of Duke’s restaurant and we are not aware of cases among customers. The risk to diners is generally lower because they are typically not in close contact with employees for prolonged periods of time. For these reasons, customers do not need to quarantine, but should monitor their health closely for any symptoms and get tested at any sign of COVID-like illness,” said Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.

Public health officials in King County are expanding their efforts to educate and enforce compliance of the Safe Start reopening requirements as a response to a recent rise in cases.

Wednesday, July 8:

6:03pm – The unemployment woes brought on by the COVID-19 crisis for tens of thousands of Washingtonians is not over yet. But for some, it’s finally been resolved, and it has not been easy.

Lisa from Bellevue spent months looking for a resolution so she could get her unemployment benefits, and experienced quite a maze in doing so, even getting a notice that she owed the state money. Read more. 

4:41pm – Washington now has 37,941 COVID-19 cases statewide, an increase of 521 between Tuesday and Wednesday. The state now has 1,394 deaths from the virus, a single-day increase of 10.

4:39pm – The Washington State Fair officially announced Wednesday that it would be canceling its 2020 iteration.

“Consequently, though it was a difficult decision, it was really the only decision possible based on what we currently know,” the fair said in a written news release.

1:54pm – The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released its latest COVID-19 projections Tuesday. The UW modeler predicts that the U.S. could see over 200,000 total deaths from the virus by November 1, but also estimates that if 95% of people wear masks in public, over 45,000 lives could be saved.

12:00pm – The Snohomish County Health District is relying on employers to play a role in the county’s COVID-19 response, encouraging all employers to review local and state requirements for reopening. These requirements include developing a Safe Start plan that fits with industry guidelines, identifying a COVID site supervisor, and understanding what is expected if an employee tests positive.

9:41am – Vice President Mike Pence spoke after a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and said it is “absolutely essential” for students to return to the classroom in the fall for in-person learning. Pence said the CDC will issue new guidelines for reopening schools.

President Trump threatened earlier Wednesday to withhold federal funding if schools don’t reopen in the fall. Read more from the AP.

9:09am – Cabins, yurts, vacation homes, and other roofed accommodations in more than 30 state parks are now open and available for reservations, according to Washington State Parks. All accommodations will be cleaned and sanitized to COVID-19 standards between uses, with a later check-in time of 4 p.m. to allow staff more time to follow safety procedures.

Visitors must bring their own bedding, linens, and towels. For an updated status of open state parks, camp sites, and available accommodations, visit this page.

6:12am – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Executive Board, which oversees nearly 800 member schools in Washington state, decided Tuesday to delay the start of the fall season until Sept. 5, 2020, for football and Sept. 7 for all other fall sports.

The board is continuing to meet as they monitor the COVID-19 situation statewide, how counties are doing, and what the return of school may look like this fall. Mick Hoffman, WIAA executive director, spoke with KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show on Tuesday morning. Read more.

Tuesday, July 7:

4:35pm – Washington now has 37,420 total COVID-19 cases statewide, an increase of 435 new cases since Monday. That comes alongside 1,384 total deaths, a daily increase of 14. Nearly 6% of tests have been positive.

3:51pm – Gov. Inslee laid out the state’s plan Tuesday for dealing with a new surge in COVID-19 cases across Washington. Read more. 

1:05pm – A rise in COVID-19 cases across Washington state continues to alarm local health officials, including Seattle-King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin. Read more

10:23am – Paid street parking will return to Seattle starting Monday, July 13. For at least one month, it will be set at the minimum rate of 50 cents per hour. Parking services were suspended in early April in response to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

9:18am – Two restaurants owned by local restaurateur and chef Tom Douglas join the growing list of permanently closed spots as the pandemic continues. Douglas announced the closure of Bravehorse Tavern and Trattoria Cuoco, both located in South Lake Union.

Douglas told The Seattle Times that both restaurants had reached the end of their 10-year lease, and renewing in these uncertain times just was not in the cards. Bravehorse and Cuoco have been closed since March.

7:45am – Starting the week of July 13, 2020, Costco will be cutting back on its senior hours. Special operating hours had been held Monday through Friday, but will be reduced to Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time.

6:02am – Gov. Inslee’s new mask mandate took effect overnight, which prohibits businesses statewide from serving customers without masks. The governor said the new mandate is a result of increasing cases of COVID-19 across Washington state.

“This is not an optional plan for businesses,” the governor said about the new mandate. “This is a legal requirement. This is not merely a suggestion. If you go to a business and you’re not complying with this, the business cannot legally serve you.” Read more.

Additionally, masks and face coverings remain mandatory for Washingtonians in all public, indoor spaces, and outdoors where it is difficult to maintain six feet of distance from others.

Monday, July 6:

5:24pm – Washington saw an increase of over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases between Sunday and Monday, the first time that threshold has been reached since the pandemic began. There are now 36,985 total COVID-19 cases statewide, as well as 1,370 deaths. Out of 629,256 tests run, 5.9% have been positive.

5:19pm – Seattle’s COVID-19 relief got a boost Monday, after the passage of a big business tax which will provide funding for rental and business assistance, food security, and more. Read more

3:00pm – There are a substantial number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 pretty well, but more and more we’re hearing about complications that can happen after you recover from the virus. Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss. Read more

1:03pm – The Washington Department of Health now has an FAQ on face coverings, detailing the research supporting their use, exemptions for the state mandate, and more. Read more.

9:54am – Benton, Yakima, and Franklin counties have moved to a modified Phase 1 of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, which allows for retail and dining to reopen with limited capacity.

State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said this is part of a “containment strategy” since residents in these counties have been leaving the area to visit restaurants, salons, and other businesses that are open in neighboring counties. Read more.

7:21am – As of Sunday, July 5, at least 121 University of Washington students have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection to an outbreak on Greek Row near the Seattle campus. All residents are being asked to quarantine or self-isolate.

6:02am – The TSA confirmed two more officers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Sea-Tac International Airport. One officer last worked on July 1 at Checkpoint 2, and the other on June 30 at Checkpoint 2.

There have been some adjustments made at security checkpoints to further protect employees and passengers, including reducing physical contact, and adding social distancing measures, wearing personal protective equipment, and cleaning more frequently. Read more.

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