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Less traffic in Puget Sound after people told to stay home amid coronavirus concerns

Several big companies in and around Seattle have offered or ordered employees to work remotely to help lower the risk of spreading coronavirus.

SEATTLE — Rush hour was not much of a rush at all Thursday morning and evening on stretches of freeway running through Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue. That's likely due to more people being ordered, or offered, to work remotely from home due to coronavirus concerns. 

“This is typically what you would see at like 12 o'clock in the afternoon, or off peak, this is very light traffic conditions,” said Trevor Reed, a transportation analyst at INRIX in Kirkland, which monitors traffic in cities around the world. 

Reed pointed to a map of the area roadways and freeways that show traffic congestion. Nearly all of the roads were green Thursday around 8 a.m., not the usual red or orange indicating high traffic volumes. 

Boeing became the latest big company Thursday to offer employees the ability to work from home if it makes sense for their jobs and their managers approve. 

The Seattle-based cancer research center Fred Hutch imposed a mandatory work from home policy earlier this week following King County Government's recommendations to let employees work remotely if possible to limit the spread of the virus. 

Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks also encouraged employees to work from home for the rest of the month. 

As of Thursday, March 5, 11 people have died from COVID-19 and 59 others have tested positive for the virus. 

Local health officials recommend good health hygiene as the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. That means washing your hands often with soap and water, using hand sanitizers, avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, and most importantly staying home if you're sick. 

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