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COVID-19 updates: 52,635 confirmed cases, 1,501 deaths in Washington state

A person in a mask walks by a sign asking people not to enter if they are feeling ill or have been in contact with a coronavirus (COVID-19) patient at the downtown Amazon campus on April 30, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 52,000 in Washington state. As of Saturday, masks or face coverings are required in all indoor, common spaces and outdoors where it is not possible to remain six feet away from others. Check below for more updates.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Follow live updates today below.

Sunday, July 26

6:33pm – Health officials say there have been 52,635 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, out of 919,347 tests. That’s a rate of 5.7% positive tests. The state says 1,501 people have died from the virus — that’s seven more than Saturday.

3:55pm – MyNorthwest has put together a reopening tracker so that it’s easier to compare districts’ plans as they develop. Many districts are trying to solidify their plans early so that families have time to prepare. This tracker will change as they meet those deadlines.

8:21am – Chris Milton, a friend of host Gee Scott, is recovering from COVID and feels lucky to be alive. He’s been battling COVID-19 for the last three weeks, and joined the Gee & Ursula Show on KIRO Radio to share his experience.

“I’ve gone from not wanting to shower for over a week to not eating at all for almost three weeks, to just laying down and feeling yourself just sink away,” Milton said. Read more.

Saturday, July 25

4:18pm – The state Department of Health is reporting a total of 51,849 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,494 deaths statewide. This marks an increase of 1,025 cases since Friday’s report. The state also removed one death from its official tally.

2:50pm – A bit lost in Gov. Inslee’s Thursday announcement of tighter restrictions was a new expansion to the statewide mask mandate that takes effect Saturday. Masks or face coverings must now be worn in all common areas, including in elevators, hallways, university housing, hotels, motels, and assisted living facilities. Read more.

11:32am – Governor Inslee has issued new restrictions in Washington state on bars, restaurants, weddings, funerals and gyms. Co-host of KIRO Nights Mike Lewis joins reporter Aaron Granillo to talk about the impact in a very real way, since he owns a bar himself. Listen here.

Friday, July 24

4:29pm – The Centers for Disease Control released an update on Thursday titled, “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall.”

In the conclusion, the CDC states: “The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children, at least in areas with low community transmission, and suggests that children are unlikely to be major drivers of the spread of the virus.”

3:27pm – Health officials say there are 50,824 positive cases of coronavirus in Washington state, with 883,982 tests conducted. That’s a rate of 5.7% of positive tests. The state says 1,495 people have died from the virus. So far, 5,301 people have been hospitalized.

2:03pm – Nearly half of Americans whose families experienced a layoff during the coronavirus pandemic now believe those jobs are lost forever, a new poll shows, a sign of increasing pessimism that would translate into roughly 10 million workers needing to find a new employer, if not a new occupation. Read more from the AP.

12:35pm – It seems like every week we’re hearing about potential coronavirus vaccine trials and there are numerous therapies being explored. Are any of them promising developments? Read more.

7:59am – People will be able to walk, roll, and bike on Seattle’s Lake Washington Boulevard from July 24 to Sept. 8, 2020, with the possibility of extending it through the end of September. The city ran a 5-day pilot of the “Keep Moving Street” in June and received positive feedback from the community. The goal of opening this street is to provide people with more exercise and recreational options close to home, while being able to stay 6 feet apart from others.

6:03am – All undergraduate courses at Washington State University in Pullman will be remote this fall with very few exceptions for in-person instruction.

Seattle University also changed its plan for Fall 2020, announcing that academic courses will now be “primarily virtual” with exceptions for performance-based, clinical, and laboratory courses for students on campus. The campus will be reopened for single occupancy housing in university-managed residence halls.

Thursday, July 23

5:58pm – A new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows support for requiring masks is overwhelming among Democrats, at 89%, but 58% of Republicans are in favor as well. The poll was conducted before President Trump, who for months was dismissive of masks, said this week that it’s patriotic to wear one.

Secretary John Wiesman, Washington State Department of Health, announced an expansion to his statewide mask mandate. He is asking all residents to wear a face covering in common areas, including in elevators, hallways, university housing, hotels, motels, and assisted living facilities. The expansion will take effect on Saturday, July 25.  Read more.

4:49pm – The state’s Employment Security Department says for the week of July 12 through July 18 initial regular unemployment claims were down 27.3% from the week prior. Total claims for all unemployment benefit categories filed by Washingtonians were down 4.7% from the week prior.

Despite the decreases, the ESD says initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels compared to last year’s weekly new applications.

3:42pm – Health officials say there are 50,009 positive cases of coronavirus in Washington state, with 870,763 tests conducted. That’s a positive rate of 5.7%, a number that has dropped after a month of sitting at 5.8%. The state says 1,482 people have died from the virus, an increase of 14 people since Wednesday.

3:21pm – Gov. Inslee on Thursday announced he will tighten restrictions for weddings, funeral, restaurants, bars, and gyms, among other recreational activities.

The changes to Inslee’s Safe Start plan for reopening Washington state also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters, and card rooms. Additionally, the state also announced an expansion to the mask mandate, asking residents to wear a face covering in all common areas. Inslee also extended the Eviction Moratorium Extension to Oct. 15. Read more.

12:36pm – King County is offering to re-assess commercial property that’s dropped in value because of coronavirus. Assessor John Wilson says residential values have been relatively steady, but some businesses properties have lost market value since being assessed at the beginning of the year. Wilson’s office has a website for King County commercial property owners to make their case for a lowered value.

12:14pm – One person per Lynnwood household can apply for a COVID-19 rent or mortgage grant. The city council has released $200,000 for the housing assistance for those facing hardships due to the virus.

You can find information on the communities of color coalition here.

11:18am – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and 77 mayors across the United States, including Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, sent a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force calling on the administration to make full use of the Defense Production Act to rapidly scale up testing supplies. In Washington state, there are reported testing delays in some cases of up to 7-10 days.

“As the virus surges across the entire country, we know that supply chains are at capacity. By refusing to act, we will continue to not have the capacity needed for widespread and rapid testing. Testing saves lives,” Durkan said. “We have asked so much from our communities from Stay Home orders to wearing face coverings to socially distancing from family and friends — a requirement that goes against every fiber of our being in times of crisis. Just as we’ve asked much of our communities, we need our federal government to step up and harness the ingenuity and innovation of American companies to provide the supplies needed to save lives.”

9:37am – Yakima is providing a glimmer of hope for future success in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state. The Yakima Health Department reported that 95% of people in Yakima are wearing a face covering in public, and Yakima County is the only place in the state right now where each person who gets COVID-19 spreads it to less than one other person on average.

Everywhere else in the state, unfortunately, is on “the path to runaway transmission rates of COVID-19.”

8:06am – A small-scale study involving 185 participants suggests that self-collected swabs are comparable to swabs administered by health care workers in their ability to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open, and the lead author is Dr. Denise McCulloch, an infection disease fellow of medicine at the UW School of Medicine.

As states reopen, researchers believe increased COVID-19 testing will be critical in managing the pandemic. Self-collected home swab kits may be able to improve testing accessibility.

7:25am – The Seattle Public Library remains closed, but you can now hear Library staff reading classic short stories, poems, and articles about historical Seattle scandals, triumphs, and curiosities any time, day or night, thanks to a new service. Call the SPL Lit Line at 206-386-4656.

Each piece is under five minutes in length and may include brief updates from the library about services and resources. Content is available in English and Spanish and is refreshed every two to six days.

5:53pm – More school districts in Washington state are making the decision to implement a remote learning model for the fall, at least until community transmission of COVID-19 is low enough that it will be safe to resume in-person learning. The school districts of Northshore, Kent, Highline, Auburn, Renton and Bellevue are among those that announced an online return, and the superintendent of Seattle Public Schools is recommending the same.

Public Health Seattle-King County said it supports school districts that have made the decision to begin with online learning this year, adding that the current level of transmission is of “serious concern.”

MyNorthwest is keeping track of Western Washington district decisions here.

Wednesday, July 22

4:59pm – Health officials say there are 49,247 positive cases of coronavirus in Washington state, out of 855,152 tests conducted. That’s a rate of 5.8% positive tests. The state says 1,468 people have died from the virus. Over 5,200 people have been hospitalized.

2:49pm – Secretary of Health John Wiesman said Wednesday that, overall, infection rates are continuing to increase across Washington state. The current rates are about double of what they were at the peak in March, he said.

The pause on counties moving forward in the Safe Start plan issued by Wiesman and Gov. Inslee remains in place until July 28, and could be extended. Wiesman has returned any county application that had not yet been officially reviewed, as the applications would be at least four weeks old at the end of the pause. When the state can move forward again, the applications will need to be updated.

“Really what we’re trying to do at the moment is prevent runaway growth of COVID-19 in our state,” Weisman said. “And it is increasing when you look at the state as a whole.”

Fewer, shorter, and safer interactions are critical to being able to move forward in reopening Washington state, Wiesman said. While staying home remains the safest option, he said if you have to go out, keep it quick, keep your distance from others, and wear a face covering.

2:21pm – Seattle’s school district is now recommending that instruction in the fall begins remotely, until the risk of transmission of COVID-19 has decreased. Read more.

12:39pm – Joel McHale is doing a Q&A with Fred Hutchinson’s Dr. Joshua Schiffer, discussing the latest on the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. You can listen in here.

9:23am – The global tally of people infected with the coronavirus neared 15 million Wednesday, with more than 617,000 killed, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Read more from AP.

8:10am – Washington state’s Coronavirus Joint Information Center will be holding a 2 p.m. briefing Wednesday “to give an update on the state’s response to COVID-19. You can tune in live at this link.

5:08am – Unfortunately, the worst of 2020 may still be ahead in terms of the pandemic, according to Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University. Read more

Tuesday, July 21

9:41pm – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on Tuesday modified the 2020-21 sports calendar, creating four seasons and moving high-risk team sports to spring. For instance, girls’ soccer, 1B/2B boys soccer, volleyball and football will move to spring. Cross country and slowpitch softball will begin practices the week of Sept. 7. Read more from the WIAA.

5:13pm – Health officials say there are 48,575 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, with 841,184 tests conducted. That’s a rate of 5.8% of positive tests, a number that hasn’t changed much all month. There have been 1,465 people who have died from the virus.

1:09pm – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday promised a new round of direct payments to earners below a certain income level, similar to the $1,200 checks sent in the spring. President Donald Trump insists on a payroll tax holiday for workers. And Democrats want billions to outfit schools and shore up local governments. Read more.

12:28pm – Washington state has been added to a travel advisory list by the state of New York, joining 31 other states and Washington, D.C.

“These states appear to be looking at total positive lab results per 100,000 population reported over a 7-day period, while Washington assesses our new case incidence by assigning new cases to date of symptom onset,” Gov. Inslee said Tuesday. “Washington is experiencing significant growth in COVID transmission, and this announcement underscores this fact.”

10:04am – A new study announced by UW Medicine on Tuesday will look to figure out the percentage of Washingtonians who have been infected with COVID-19. Read more. 

8:03am – Much has changed about what we now know COVID-19 does to children, and it’s all informing the debate on whether or not we should actually reopen schools in Washington and all across the country. Dr. Don Shifrin, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, joined the Jason Rantz Show to weigh in on sending kids back to school. Read more

6:14amA new poll from Crosscut indicates that 72% of Democrats in Washington are expressing concerns about the state’s reopening process. Just 23% of Republicans share those same concerns. Roughly 59% of total Washingtonians said they either supported pausing reopening or reimposing restrictions.

Monday, July 20

4:21pm – There are now 47,743 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,453 deaths in Washington state, as reported by the state Department of Health. Out of 826,354 total tests, 5.8% have been positive results.

3:15pm – UW Medicine in Seattle says a replicating RNA COVID-19 vaccine developed in its labs has shown promising results in animal studies — both with young and old mice, and primates. After clearing a few more steps, the vaccine would enter trials in human volunteers.

“This candidate vaccine design appears to have safety, economics, scalability and ease of storage advantages,” UW Medicine said in a news release, adding, “Its components are quick to manufacture in large quantities.”

1:47pm – The latest report from the Washington Department of Health warns that the state’s current COVID-19 outbreak could reach a critical level if more preventative measures aren’t enacted.

“Washington state is in the early stages of an exponential statewide outbreak that has zero chance of being reversed without changes to our collective behavior and policies to support that change,” the DOH’s report — a collaboration with Fred Hutchinson and Bellevue’s Institute for Disease Modeling — reads. Read more.

12:18pm – With sunny weather setting in, the Department of Health is warning Washingtonians to remain on their guard.

“Staying close to home is safest,” it advises. “Wear your face covering. Keep 6 feet between you and others. Limit the number of people you interact with. Avoid large groups of people/crowded spaces. We can beat the virus if we all do our part!”

10:12am – Starting Tuesday, President Trump reportedly plans to resume his daily COVID-19 briefings, citing “flare-ups” of the virus in states like Texas and Florida.

9:26am – Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot. Read more

7:12am – UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation expects the COVID-19 death toll to “continue to rise,” driven by a “huge surge in cases the last few weeks.”

“Finally we’re now seeing that turn into a surge in deaths, not just in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, but it’s spreading into a number of other states,” the IHME told CNN.

The IHME now predicts that on its current trajectory, the U.S. could see over 224,000 total COVID-19 deaths by November.

5:23amA new study looking at the possibility of achieving herd immunity was released this week, labeling the strategy as “not only highly unethical, but also unachievable.”

That’s driven by the fact that full herd immunity in the United States would required at least 225 million people to get infected. With a death rate even as small as 0.5%, that would kill roughly 1.2 million Americans.

Read last week’s COVID-19 updates here.

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