Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from March 30 - April 1, 2020.
- 247 coronavirus deaths among 5,984 cases in Washington
- A total of 74,798 people have taken a coronavirus test in Washington. 8% of those tests have been positive, according to state Department of Health.
- The Washington National Guard has been deployed to local communities to help with processing, packaging, and distributing meals.
Wednesday, April 1:
Overall crime is down during Washington's coronavirus outbreak, but domestic violence calls are up. Click below for resources to help victims of domestic violence.
The Seattle Great Wheel is lighting up nightly with a special light show dedicated to all emergency workers and other essential business workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. You can catch the heartbeat light show from 7-10 p.m. on the Seattle waterfront.
- There are now 247 coronavirus deaths among 5,984 cases in Washington, the state Department of Health reported Wednesday.
- A total of 74,798 people have taken a coronavirus test in Washington. 8% of those tests have been positive.
- See more data from the Washington State Department of Health
While schools and childcare facilities are closed due to coronavirus, some are finding ways to help those in the medical community. Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool in Seattle announced it's offering child care to the children of health care workers, caregivers, and first responders.
There is only space for 40 children at the organization's Pioneer Square center. You can learn more and apply here.
The program is possible through Bright Horizon's partnership with #FirstRespondersFirst, Thrive Global, CAA, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is weighing grounding domestic flights between coronavirus hot spots as he ramps up efforts to try to contain the pandemic's spread.
“We're thinking about doing that," Trump told reporters at a White House briefing, a day after he warned the nation to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks,” with 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths projected, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.
Limited flights continue to run between cities like New York and Detroit, though passenger counts have plummeted across the nation. The Transportation Security Administration screened just 146,348 passengers Tuesday, down from 2,026,256 the same day last year.
Starting this week, the Washington National Guard will be helping local communities with processing, packaging, and distributing meals. The National Guard will not be utilized in any law enforcement capacity to enforce restrictions put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Guardsmen will be sent to local food banks in Chelan, Franklin, King, Pierce, and Walla Walla counties.
Recalling Washington’s manufacturing efforts in World War II, Gov. Jay Inslee called for the state’s manufacturers to volunteer to help create more equipment, including testing and medical gear, to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
He called for companies to step up to augment the 1 million pieces of equipment already supplied by the state and federal government, and hospitals and medical clinics.
"We know this, what we have done so far is not enough. We rather urgently need to increase the stocks of personal protective equipment," he said.
Inslee said that the state has requested equipment from the federal government.
“The federal government has not been able to supply them to us fast enough to meet the need,” he said.
He said not only does the state need surgical masks, face shields and gowns, but also testing equipment such as swabs, testing medium and vials.
He said that the need is almost "infinite," given how many nurses, doctors, medical staff, firefighters and police officers need personal protective equipment, as well as people working in other essential services such as grocery store workers, transit workers and others who come into contact with the public.
“The fact of the matter is, we need to seize our own destiny,” he said, recalling the manufacturing of aircraft and other equipment during World War II.
"We have to put pedal to the metal on a voluntary basis in the state of Washington," Inslee said.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival officially canceled this year, but Brent Roozen with Roozengaarde & Tulips says that hasn't stopped tourists from making the trek.
"Lots of cars and people last (weekend)," Roozen said. "Everyone still wants to see the flowers. A lot of people – probably more than ever – looking for an excuse to get out."
Although tulip growers and event organizers have urged people to stay home and enjoy the tulips virtually, Roozen said he was "a bit concerned" for the upcoming weekend.
"It’s likely gonna make a tough spring even more challenging," Roozen said.
Carnival cruise line will cancel all Alaska sailings through June 30. Customers whose cruise was canceled can choose either a full refund or full cruise credit with an onboard credit per stateroom.
UW Medicine and Bloodworks Northwest are looking for volunteers who have recovered from a documented coronavirus infection to donate plasma.
Donated plasma can be used to make medicine containing antibodies to treat those who are fighting infection or can't make antibodies on their own.
It is unclear if antibodies in plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus can help with an active infection.
Those interested can email their name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.520.4212 to leave a message.
A nationwide approach to shutting down the country. Stepping up coronavirus testing. Develop treatments and a vaccine using a data-based approach.
This is the three-step process Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said the U.S. needs to take to slow the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Northshore School District was among the first to transition to remote learning when the coronavirus outbreak hit.
Now, it is working on a "2.0" version of remote learning.
District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid says they are rethinking how they are approaching remote learning, removing a more rigorous model for a more sustainable approach. That includes taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off so teachers can have remote meetings with students and have more focused learning.
Town & Country Markets is implementing a new system to increase social distancing within its grocery stores in Ballard and Winslow on Bainbridge Island.
Customers are now being asked to join a waitlist on their phones and wait in their vehicles before it is their turn to shop.
Both stores are trying to limit the number of customers to about 35 people at a time.
The Washington State Department of Health says it is experiencing technical difficulties with its disease reporting system that is being used to track coronavirus cases.
Outside a pandemic, the Washington Disease Reporting System is used to report positive results only. The tool is now tracking negative results for coronavirus, which is overwhelming the system.
The department is working to fix the issue, as well as alternatives such as a separate reporting tool for negative cases.
"DOH will share additional updates if this problem persists. We cannot provide an estimate for the next release of numbers, but are working diligently toward that goal," the department said in a statement.
Snohomish County will open a coronavirus isolation and quarantine site at the Angela of the Winds Arena in downtown Everett on Wednesday. It is the first isolation and quarantine facility created by Snohomish County.
The facility will be capable of housing up to 100 people without shelter and could be expanded to accommodate more patients.
Snohomish County said it will be a secure facility and residents there will be directed to stay until released under orders issued by the Snohomish Health District.
Tuesday, March 31:
Rent is due this week and stress is mounting for renters, landlords, and property owners with mortgages.
Options for economic relief are being explored, but some groups say much more needs to be done.
Gov. Inslee signed a proclamation Tuesday that "allows retired employees to return to work for essential jobs, including in medical, public health, law enforcement and other critical positions. It also allows experienced employees in essential positions who are nearing retirement to remain in their positions."
The proclamation does not extend to retired recreational workers, such as fishing as golf.
The IRS launched a program called the Employee Retention Credit which is designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by the coronavirus.
To see if you qualify or to learn more about the Employee Retention Credit, click here.
19 West Pierce Fire & Rescue employees were placed into quarantine after one firefighter tested positive for the coronavirus. It appears the firefighter was exposed while off duty.
Employees who don’t show any symptoms will be able to return to work on April 10. Staffing has been adjusted in order to maintain a full response out of all six West Pierce fire stations.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Tammy J. Morales will announce the acceleration of legislative plans to provide emergency city relief for low-income households, seniors and workers who are struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, Sawant and Morales announced a tax proposal (“Amazon Tax”) to fund a massive expansion of social housing and the Green New Deal. On Wednesday, they will announce a proposal to accelerate their legislation, with the first-year proceeds going to provide monthly emergency cash assistance up to 100,000 households and individuals impacted by the social and economic consequences resulting from this pandemic.
Gov. Jay Inslee will be hosting a coronavirus Twitter Q&A on Thursday, April 2 at noon. If you have a question, you can tweet @GovInslee using the hashtag #AskGovInslee
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson called out specific Amazon sellers in Washington state that he accuses of price gouging on health and safety products such as N95 masks that have been in high demand nationwide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The first five cease and desist letters were sent to sellers in Issaquah, Mill Creek, Gig Harbor, Seattle and Spokane, and his office said he expects to send more.
According to Ferguson's office one seller in Spokane raised the price of an 8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer from $3.50 to $25 a bottle.
According to the letters, price gouging is a violation of the state's Consumer Protection Act.
Dr. Kathy Lofy, the State Health Officer of Washington State Department of Health said that COVID-19 is still on the rise in Washington, but social distancing efforts seem to be having an effect on blunting the state's coronavirus outbreak.
"COVID-19 appears to be increasing in our state, but it doesn’t appear to be spreading exponentially in our state," Lofy said."We believe our social distancing measures are having some impact."
But Lofy warned that social distancing measures still had to continue to be effective, even though it is "not easy." While early cases were concentrated in the Puget Sound metro area, that is no longer the case.
"COVID activity was focused on King and Snohomish Counties, but we are now detecting COVID-19 all over the state," Lofy said.
Three Washington campgrounds and recreation facilities will be closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Yakima River Canyon (Umtanum, Big Pines, Lmuma, and Roza recreation areas), Liberty Recreation Site in Cle Elum, and Chopaka Lake Campground will be closed effective today. The federal agency did not announce a date for the reopening of the recreational facilities.
Washington state Teacher of the Year Amy Campbell will host a webinar at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday about teaching and supporting students and parents during the coronavirus pandemic.
The webinar is free, and Campbell will answer your questions during the presentation. Campbell also asked her fellow 2020 Teachers of the Year from other states for their strategies and will incorporate them into the webinar.
Click here to register. If you are unable to watch the webinar live, you can still register and a link to the recording will be sent to you so you can watch later.
The presentation will be moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.
Snohomish County will open a coronavirus isolation and quarantine site in downtown Everett.
The site, located at the Angel of the Winds Arena, will be a temporary location for those who are unable to recover from the virus in their own home, or who are among the county’s homeless population.
Snohomish County said the facility will be secure and residents will be required to stay until released “under orders issued by the Snohomish County Health Department.” The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will oversee security at the facility 24/7.
“Isolating those who are considered infectious and quarantining those who have been exposed and may become infectious will reduce transmission, which is essential to avoid overwhelming our medical system and ultimately limiting care for everyone,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, former Health Officer for Snohomish County and one of the medical officers who will oversee medical aspects of the operation of the facility. Click here for more information.
Firefighters and first responders in Washington state are seeking donations of protective gear. They're also asking the public to be honest about their symptoms when they call for help so that they can prepare.
People are sometimes lying about their condition and failing to report a fever or cough when they call 911, fearing the medics won't come.
Eastside Fire and Rescue in Issaquah is conducting a message campaign to let people know they will respond to calls for help regardless of the person's symptoms, Capt. Steve Johnson said Monday.
At least 12 workers and four patients at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital have tested positive for the new coronavirus and one patient has died from the disease. The 85-year-old Western State Hospital patient tested positive on March 21 and died last Thursday, according to the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.
The other patient who tested positive has since fully recovered, they said. The hospital is monitoring all patients for COVID-19 symptoms and is limiting movement of patients on wards, as a precaution, they said.
Western state workers have been critical of the administration's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Public health officials and researchers say that social distancing appears to be helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Seattle area, where many of the first U.S. deaths occurred.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said that the public still needs to be prepared for the state's current two-week stay-at-home order to be extended. Inslee issued a stay-at-home order last week that is in effect through April 6, and ordered all non-essential businesses to close through at least April 8.
The latest orders expanded previous actions taken by Inslee that ordered the statewide closure of bars, dine-in restaurants, and entertainment and recreation facilities and banned large gatherings.
Monday, March 30:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delivered a statewide press conference on Monday and announced a new way to report violators of the 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' mandate.
It is likely the governor will extend Washington's stay-at-home order, but no official extension has been announced, KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen reported Monday.
On Sunday, President Trump said the federal guidelines to stay home would extend through April. And the country may start to recover from the pandemic by June. Read more
Washington state has purchased a former Seattle nursing home, once considered to be one of the worst in the country. The site will be transformed into a hospital to relieve local hospitals overwhelmed with treating coronavirus patients.
Two deaths and 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus are linked to one choir practice in Skagit Valley on March 10.
Hate crimes have no place in our community. See this important message from Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and retired KING 5 News anchor Lori Matsukawa.
Snohomish County has extended the payment deadline for individual property taxpayers to June 1, 2020.
The U.S. Army has started converting Seattle's CenturyLink Field Event Center into a field hospital. It's one of 8 planned field hospitals for Washington state.
The Seattle location will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients to take some strain off hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Retroactive unemployment payments planned for eligible Washington residents.
According to the Washington State Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine, "The federal CARES Act expands unemployment assistance to those not currently eligible who have been impacted by COVID-19, and provides an additional $600 per week to all unemployment recipients through July 31, 2020. I shared recently that we are working hard to have our systems updated to reflect these changes by mid-April. We will then be able to make retroactive payments for both the weekly benefit amount owed as well as the additional $600 per week."
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking Gov. Inslee and the Trump administration to put an immediate hold on residential and commercial rent and mortgage payments.
Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, South Seattle and the CID) introduced the resolution, which is part of a nationwide movement calling for relief for renters, landlords and homeowners with mortgages.
"As elected leaders, we must be bold in fighting for the economic futures of renters, homeowners, property owners, and business owners,” said Morales.
The request will now be sent to state and federal lawmakers.
All Washington driver licensing offices will temporarily close to the public beginning Tuesday, March 31.
Most Washington residents can now renew their licenses, IDs, or vehicle registration online. No future appointments are being accepted at this time.
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor will not retire in April, as planned.
"Essential services provided by local law enforcement in general & Pierce Co Sheriff’s Dept in particular will need to help lead this effort. In the face of these circumstances I have decided to withdraw my announcement of retirement for the foreseeable future." Sheriff Pastor said on the department's Twitter account.
Here's the direct link to report violators of Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new website for people to report businesses that are in violation of the stay-at-home order. The site will be available through the state's coronavirus response site at coronavirus.wa.gov. The governor asked people not to call 911 to report incidents.
Inslee said at the press conference that since the stay-at-home order was mandated last week, the state has been getting calls from residents concerned about businesses that are not essential that are continuing to operate.
The state last week announced a stay-at-home order, asking residents to only leave their homes for necessary errands, such as grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, going to the doctor or caring for a family member or friend. People may also go outside to walk, ride a bike or walk a dog, if they are observing social distancing guidelines.
The order also closed businesses that are open to the public, except for those that are "essential." Essential businesses include grocery stores, cannabis stores, agriculture companies, media, child care, and more.
The governor was joined by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, as well as Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett and Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl over video.
The speakers said that options for enforcing the order on businesses include citations, business license revocations and civil and criminal proceedings.
"Please don't confuse our request for voluntary compliance as optional compliance," Meidl said.
Watch the entire briefing here:
Western State Hospital reports that 12 workers and four patients have tested positive for the coronavirus, and an 85-year-old patient has died. According to the Associated Press, the state psychiatric hospital is monitoring all patients for COVID-19 symptoms. Staff have criticized Western State Hospital's response to the pandemic.
Gov. Jay Inslee wiill give a live update on Washington state's coronavirus response. Watch live here on KING5.com.
The Washington State Department of Health said it expects eight field hospitals to be set up around the state to help local hospitals handle the growing number of coronavirus patients.
King County, Pierce County and Thurston County are extending the first half of this year's property tax deadline to June 1. The order applies to residential and commercial taxpayers.
"Many homeowners are facing extraordinary financial challenges during this public health emergency," said King County Executive Constantine. "My order provides short-term relief for individual taxpayers who own residential or commercial property, while allowing the state, county, cities and special purpose districts to continue meeting community needs as we all pull together to get through this unprecedented crisis."
Kitsap County will keep its April 30 property tax deadline, but the business tax deadline has been extended to May 31.
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau said it is too early to call this a lost school year due to the coronavirus outbreak as remote learning is just beginning for many Washington schools.
“I think that we can actually maintain some sort of learning and some structure with families,” Juneau said. “Our big thing is that we want to make sure families have the support they need… to make sure some sort of learning is happening.”
Juneau said teachers have been reaching out to parents to help prepare them with at-home lesson plans. Taking care of high school seniors getting ready to graduate is another priority for the district.
“We know this is a huge milestone for [seniors] so we want to make sure they stay on track. So, we are reviewing the technology that we’ve had going out to seniors. We are making sure they are all going to have technology and are working with teachers and councilors to deliver instruction that way.”
Trails, campgrounds, and day use areas within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest are temporarily closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“We are following CDC and departmental guidelines regarding COVID-19, are closely monitoring the situation and will evaluate potential impacts to the Forest and respond as needed.” said Jamie Kingsbury, Forest Supervisor with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
The closure order is in effect through September 30 unless rescinded earlier.
Sound Transit is reducing service on additional ST Express routes starting Monday, March 30. Sound Transit said ridership on buses and trains is down by an estimated 83% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Riders should anticipate reduced service on nearly all ST Express routes, and on Link and Sounder trains.
Below is a list of the additional reduced routes announced by Sound Transit on Thursday:
Reductions to ST Express routes operated by Community Transit
- Routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 532 and 535 will run on a reduced weekday schedule that will preserve the overall span of service but at a reduced frequency for select trips.
- Reductions to ST Express routes operated by Pierce Transit
- Routes 544, 560, 566, 574, 578, 580, 590, 594, 595 and 596 will run at reduced frequency similar to typical Saturday schedules, with some enhancements. Due to continuing availability of service on other similar routes, there will be no service on Routes 567, 586, and 592.
ST Express routes operated by King County Metro
- Routes 522, 541, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555 and 556 are operating with less frequent service.
Previously announced service reductions from Sound Transit include:
Link light rail - Trains are running every 14 minutes.
Sounder trains - Sounder South weekday service is reduced from 13 round trips to eight round trips. The northbound trips being canceled are the 1502, 1506, and 1508 departures from Lakewood and the 1516 and 1522 departures from Tacoma. The canceled southbound trips are the 1503, 1509, 1517, 1519, and 1523 departures from Seattle. Sounder North weekday service is reduced from four round trips to two round trips, with the cancellation of the 1701 and 1705 departures from Everett and the 1700 and 1704 departures from Seattle.
ST Express routes operated by King County Metro - Routes 522, 541, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555 and 556 are operating with less frequent service.
The City of Seattle is rolling out a new tool and database to help people find small businesses and takeout food during the state mandated closure period.
The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.
Last week, the IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Washington schools have been closed since mid-March and will remain closed until at least April 24.
While most Washington school districts have already begun engaging students and families in at-home learning of some sort, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction expects educational services for all students to start by Monday, March 30.
Some educators are waiting on districts for guidelines on how to proceed with remote teaching.
There are 143,055 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4:35 a.m. PDT Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,500 people in the U.S. have died and 4,865 have recovered.
Worldwide, at least 735,560 have been infected with more than 34,600 deaths and more than 156,000 recovered.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorizations (EUA) for two anti-malarial drugs on coronavirus patients which President Donald Trump has touted as potential game-changers. The drugs have yet to be approved by the FDA as treatments for COVID-19 and are undergoing clinical trials.
The EUA allows hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be given to hospitalized teen and adult patients if a clinical trial is not available to them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Patients will be given the option of whether to take the drugs.
HHS said it has accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate from Sandoz and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate from Bayer to add to the Strategic National Stockpile.
Sunday, March 29
President Donald Trump is extending the voluntary national shutdown for a month as sickness and death from the coronavirus pandemic rise in the U.S.
The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic.
Instead, he decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he'd been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.
On CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Gov. Jay Inslee said he would not lift the state-wide stay-home order if President Donald Trump issued an order to allow areas that aren't heavily hit to return back to work.
Inslee said he is making "decisions based on science and reality."
"There are some very hard realities that we have to understand. Unless we continue a very vigorous social-distancing program in my state, this is gonna continue to spread like wildfire to every single corner of my state. That is an inevitable, scientific fact.
Inslee also said the Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative will likely have to be extended.
The old Issaquah Motel (1801 12th Ave NW, Issaquah, WA) is now officially open as a King County coronavirus quarantine site. The motel will be used as an isolation and recovery site.
The U.S. government's foremost infection disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the U.S. will certainly have “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 deaths.
As the U.S. tops the world in reported infections from the new coronavirus, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases predicts 100,000-200,000 deaths from the outbreak in the U.S.
Fauci was speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union” as the federal government is discussing rolling back guidelines on social distancing in areas that have not been hard-hit by the outbreak.