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COVID-19 updates: United Kingdom enters into 4-week lockdown

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, Pool)

The state Department of Health says there have been over 108,300 coronavirus cases in Washington state, and 2,366 people have died from the virus statewide. Check below for more updates.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, Nov. 1

5:31pm – There have now been 108,315 total COVID-19 cases in Washington since the start of the pandemic, a single day-increase of 814 cases. The state Department of Health does not track new deaths on weekends.

12:51pm – Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had some words of warning this week, cautioning against the strong likelihood of a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, while offering criticism of the Trump administration for its handling of the virus in recent weeks.

7:17am – The United Kingdom announced Saturday that it will be entering into a four-week lockdown, following a troubling rise in new COVID-19 cases.

According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, there’s a chance that the lockdown extends past that four-week window, a decision that will ultimately be “driven by what the data says.”

The new restrictions in the UK make it so bars and restaurants can only provide takeout service, non-essential businesses must close, and residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for a short list of reasons, exercise among them.

Saturday, Oct. 31

4:01pm – There have now been 107,501 total COVID-19 cases in Washington since the start of the pandemic. That makes for a single-day increase of 928 cases. The state Department of Health does not track new deaths on weekends.

12:24pm – Taking the kids trick-or-treating tonight? Seattle-King County Public Health has a series of tips for parents to stay safe.

That includes maintaining six feet of distance whenever possible, wear masks that cover the face and mouth, and more. You can read the full list here.

8:27am – King County is seeing its highest ever daily COVID case counts right now, after a single-day increase of 267 cases on Thursday. Prior to that, the highest increase in the county was over the summer, when it saw 206 cases in a single day.

“I feel we’re heading down a treacherous path,” warned King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. “The potential for a significantly more extreme outbreak than we have seen is real, but not inevitable. Think about what you can do for our entire community right now.”

In the days ahead, health officials are warning residents to minimize indoor gatherings, meet outside at a safe distance, and reduce your contacts as much as possible.

Friday, Oct. 30

5:23pm – There are now 106,573 total COVID-19 cases in Washington, along with 2,366 deaths. That makes for single-day increases of 1,016 cases and 7 deaths.

3:15pm – A reminder for Halloween: SDOT is allowing neighborhoods to apply for permits to block off streets for socially distanced trick-or-treating. Read more

1:26pm – Skagit County’s drive through COVID-19 testing site shut down this afternoon, thanks to high winds making it unsafe for workers. It is expected to reopen on Monday.

12:02pm – As of 8 a.m. on Friday, 321 students at the University of Washington have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of an outbreak that began on Sept. 10, involving 19 of the 45 Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council chapters. According to the UW’s case tracking dashboard, there have been 19 total positives recorded in the last seven days among students, faculty, and staff at all three campuses.

Since significant improvement in the course of the pandemic is not expected before winter quarter is set to begin, the UW previously announced that the schedule will look similar to autumn quarter in terms of the number of courses taught remotely. Those held in-person will generally be hands-on courses.

10:53am – Outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities are on the rise, with 80 outbreaks in the past 10 days at facilities across Washington, according to KIRO 7 TV. At the Garden Courte Memory Care Community in Olympia, 45 residents have tested positive for COVID and seven of them have died.

8:57am – Since remote learning is here to stay for a while as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Washington, the state is helping more families stay connected. Comcast announced the expansion of a program to connect students to internet at home, making more than 50,000 low-income student households across 75 school districts eligible for the program for the remainder of the school year.

The program is offered through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and made possible with funding from the federal CARES Act.

5:25am – Soon you may be able to get a rapid COVID-19 test at your grocery store. Kroger Health is launching COVID-19 testing in its pharmacies. The company has already been offering tests in Michigan and California and is looking to expand to other states. In Washington, Kroger owns Fred Meyer and QFC.

The test costs $25 and will be available to people who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are not currently experiencing symptoms.

Thursday, Oct. 29

5:32pm – Unless Gov. Jay Inslee extends a suspension again, a requirement for Washington unemployment applicants to show proof of a job search will soon be back. That requirement had been waived since the start of the pandemic. Read more.

3:56pm – Health officials say there have been 105,557 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 2,359 people have died. The state reports 2,405,352 tests have been conducted since the start of the outbreak.

3:30pm – King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a warning Thursday, revealing that coronavirus cases in the county are two and a half times higher than they were just a month ago.

Dr. Duchin says the county’s contact tracers are struggling to keep up, and some notifications are slower than he’d like to see.

Household and workplace transmission each account for about 25% of infections. The other big driver is social activity and travel, which make up a little over a third of cases.

2:15pm – A Seattle-area man who found himself infected with COVID-19 for a second time shares his story with KIRO Radio reporter Aaron Granillo. Read more. 

12:28pm – As COVID cases continue to rise statewide, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says we have to keep up our masking and social distancing efforts, and that even with the holidays coming up, we should refrain from family gatherings.

“It’s going to be really hard around Thanksgiving because people are used to gathering and bringing lots of people together, maybe traveling to relatives or friends’ houses,” Durkan said. “… I know we’re all exhausted, … but we really have to, over the next couple months, double down on wearing our face coverings, washing our hands, not having gatherings.”

“We’ve seen the devastating impacts both health-wise and economically that this has had on the community,” she added. “So just want to encourage you all again, do your part, and thanks for everybody who’s doing their part.”

10:56am – Some COVID-19 symptoms may be similar to symptoms of the flu or common cold. If you’re feeling under the weather, compare your illness to the Washington State Department of Health’s symptom checker online here.

Contact your health care provider for a test if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

9:59am – Snohomish County has seen a significant spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but the chair of its county council doesn’t expect any more local restrictions on residents. Nate Nehring told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show that any new restrictions would probably come from the state. Listen to the full interview here.

8:23am – The number of cases at Tacoma’s St. Joseph Medical Center keeps growing. A week ago, two patients and one employee were reported to be infected. On Monday, CHI Franciscan announced that seven employees and four patients have now tested positive at St. Joseph’s. They also say more than 1,000 workers have been tested and, as of Monday, results had been received for 834 of them.

All of the rooms of the hospital’s seventh floor have been deep cleaned. The health system says suspected and confirmed COVID patients are placed in isolation.

6:07am – There have been 26 known COVID-19 outbreaks at Washington schools since the start of September.

“The definition of an ‘outbreak’ is two or more cases of confirmed COVID among staff or students within a 14-day period, and a plausible epidemiologic linkage or sign that transmission occurred in the school,” explained Washington’s Deputy Secretary of Health Lacy Fehrenbach.

Fehrenbach says despite these outbreaks, they see this as an overall success. She says the health and safety guidance from the state has helped protect students and staff. However, data in our state is somewhat limited.

Many school districts across the Puget Sound have announced that they won’t even consider bringing students back to classrooms until early next year because of a recent upswing in cases.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

5:35pm – There are now 104,743 total COVID-19 cases in Washington state, along with 2,353 deaths. That makes for single-day increases of 726 cases and 16 deaths.

4:11pm – With COVID-19 transmission continuing to rise across Washington, officials are warning residents to adhere to public health guidelines to avoid “increased risk” during the holidays. Read more.

2:25pm – Pierce County is expanding an upcoming program that will give people dining at restaurants a discount on their meals. Read more

12:10pm – A new COVID-19 report reveals where people in Kitsap County are most likely to catch coronavirus, finding that more than a third of people infected live with someone who had it as well. Workplaces account for another third of transmissions.

People aged 20-29 were the age group found to be getting sick at the highest rates. Eight percent of people needed to be hospitalized, but nearly twice that number report no symptoms at all.

9:55am – The pandemic will have most K-12 students at Everett Public Schools out of the classroom until at least next year. Superintendent Dr. Ian Saltzman said Tuesday it was not an easy decision, but with a growing spike in COVID-19 cases in Snohomish County, it was necessary.

The earliest younger students can return is now Jan. 11, 2021, and then only if it is safe. This does not apply to the Developmental Kindergarten, Development Pre-K, Life Skills and Strive students the district plans to have return to the classroom on Nov. 16, two weeks later than the original plan.

8:31am – Gov. Inslee issued a “Stay Safe – Vote Safe” proclamation Tuesday that temporarily suspends any coronavirus orders that could interfere with voting. It applies to any measure that could be interpreted to restrict access to voting centers and student engagement hubs by persons intending to register to vote, obtain or deposit a ballot, receive assistance with a ballot, or other voting services. The online registration date for Washington has passed, so the only way to register to vote now is in person.

The governor’s release added that elections personnel are essential workers, elections offices are essential facilities, and voting “whether by mail or in person” is an essential activity.

Even though Gov. Inslee is suspending any rule that could get in the way of voting, he says his proclamation is not an excuse to ignore physical distancing or the use of face coverings.

6:22am – Many families are rethinking trick-or-treating this Halloween as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat. Dr. Gaetan Habekoss, clinic chief at UW Medicine’s Ravenna Clinic, does not recommend trick-or-treating this year. He says house-to-house candy gathering is considered a high-risk activity for transmitting the coronavirus.

Habekoss suggests celebrating Halloween with alternative activities, like a candy scavenger hunt in the yard, a Halloween movie night, or a virtual costume contest. He says it’s best to celebrate only with members of your own family or COVID pod. If you do gather candy from strangers, Habekoss recommends that the candy should be quarantined for at least a week.

Tuesday, Oct. 27

5:31pm – With many losing their jobs to the ongoing pandemic, Seattleites have pivoted to brand new careers in order to make ends meet. Read more

4:46pm – Health officials report there have been 104,027 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 2,337 deaths. The state reports 2,362,595 tests have been conducted since the outbreak began.

4:10pm – Pierce County is expanding an upcoming program that will give diners a discount at select local restaurants.

The program will take 30% off your bill and restaurants will be reimbursed for this with money from the CARES act. It’s aimed at helping restaurants struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

It originally only covered in-person dining, but after a recommendation from the county health department and a unanimous vote by the county council it will include take-out.

More than 250 restaurants have already applied to be a part of the program, with $7.5 million dollars set aside for it.

The program which lasts from November 8 through November 19 — excluding Fridays and Saturdays.

2:37pmThe latest data from UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation indicates that mask usage in Washington is continuing to rise statewide.

After mask usage in public decreased to the 40 to 49% range in mid September, it’s since climbed up to the 70 to 94% bracket, and has held steady there since the first week of October. That’s consistent with a trend up and down the West Coast, with California and Oregon seeing similar levels of mask wearing.

1:26pm – With coronavirus cases rising nationwide and locally, members of the medical community are recommending that families avoid big holiday gatherings this year, including Thanksgiving. Read more

12:07pm – South King County is seeing “disturbingly high rates” of COVID, underlining the need for the public’s continued vigilance. In the past week, while positive testing results have remained around 3% for most of King County, the Auburn testing site and other south King County locations have seen positive return rates of nearly 13%.

11:45am – Gov. Inslee announced Tuesday that Washington state has joined a pact with Oregon, California, Colorado, and Nevada to review the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines once approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Read more.

10:11am – Gov. Inslee is holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. to provide an update on the state’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He will be joined by State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. Tune in to KIRO Radio for the latest, or watch live on TVW here.

8:16am – Idaho has the fourth highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the nation and Gov. Brad Little is ordering new restrictions, though he’s not setting a statewide mask mandate. That’s prompted Coeur D’Alene, just across the border from Spokane, to pass a citywide mask mandate that will last 90 days, despite opposition from the public.

6:09am – After just one month of in-person learning, the Peninsula School District is reluctantly sending all students home again. Assistant Superintendent Dan Gregory told KIRO 7 TV the decision was made because of the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Pierce County.

Peninsula has had no confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to its schools. Still, the county’s health department says kids should only do remote learning at this time.

Monday, Oct. 26

4:40pm – Health officials say there have been 103,500 cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and there have been 2,321 deaths. The state reports 2,372,596 tests have been conducted since the outbreak started.

3:55pm – Snohomish County said the preliminary rate of COVID-19 cases is 121.9 per 100,000 population ending the two-week period on Oct. 24.  The Health District said this new number is close to the highest rate the county has seen during the pandemic. The highest was 129.1 in late March.

According the state’s Decision Tree that schools are using as guidelines for reopening, a rate of 75 per 100,000 is considered high risk.

King County is at 93.3 cases per 100,000 and Pierce County is 132.8.

2:59pm – Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in practically every state. Average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Read more from the AP.

12:14pm – As Halloween approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there have been a number of creative solutions proposed to celebrate the spooky holiday while still being safe and socially distant. In Seattle, neighbors can apply for a “Trick or Street Block” and host a Halloween block party by closing their street to vehicles. Read more.

9:08am – A Seattle startup says its spray treatment could make cloth masks more effective against COVID-19. Membrion tells The Seattle Times the spray coating uses minute electrical charges to capture viral particles and prevent them from passing through the fibers.

The approach has not been thoroughly vetted and some mask experts are skeptical, but the National Science Foundation gave the company a $256,000 grant for initial development and testing.

7:26am – Anyone who has had close contact with a person who is infected with COVID-19 has been asked to get tested and self-quarantine for 14 days, but what exactly is a “close contact?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the criteria for a close contact to include someone who spent a total of 15 minutes near (less than six feet away from) a person who is infected, over the course of 24 hours. Previously, close contact was defined as 15 consecutive minutes, whereas now it is cumulative time in a day, meaning three 5-minute close interactions, for example, would be considered a “close contact.” Read more from Public Health — Seattle & King County here.

5:52am – Nurses at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma are concerned for their own safety and their families after two patients and an employee tested positive for COVID-19, and flu season is on the way.

There have been outbreaks in the last several months in sister facilities, including one that affected dozens of staff members at St. Michael Medical Center in Kitsap County. St. Joseph says it’s been following all public health recommendations and has implemented enhanced safety and personal protective measures.

Read updates from last week.

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