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Coronavirus in Washington state: Updates from April 5-7

Facts not fear: Find updates on the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from April 5-7, 2020.

Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from April 5-7, 2020.

Click here for real-time updates for April 8-10, 2020.

Key facts:

  • 394 coronavirus deaths among 8,682 cases in Washington
  • At least 87,818 people in Washington have tested for coronavirus as of April 3, and 8.6% of the cases tested positive.
  • Gov. Inslee announced increased economic aid for Washington workers and small businesses.

Read previous daily coronavirus updates here.

Tuesday, April 7:

9:30 p.m.

The Washington State Department of Corrections confirmed that two additional incarcerated men housed within the Monroe Correctional Complex have tested positive for coronavirus. The men are ages 68 and 28.

The 111 incarcerated men who remain in the Minimum Security Unit are on protective isolation or quarantine as a preventative measure. Additionally, the facility has made housing moves within the unit to further protect the most vulnerable individuals. 

So far, those who were in the same housing as the two men are not showing symptoms of coronavirus. 

All transfers in and out of the Monroe Correctional Complex have stopped as of this morning.

4:31 p.m.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the City of Seattle will require contractors and employees working on public works projects in the city to suspend work until Saturday, April 11. 

The projects are permitted under Gov. Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, but the two-day suspension will allow contractors and staff to implement rigorous social distancing requirements and update health and safety plans.

All city contractors are required to operate with a city-approved Health and Safety Plan.

3:52 p.m.

The Washington State Department of Health reported that there have been 8,682 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington, including 394 people who have died.

At least 87,818 people in Washington have tested for coronavirus as of April 3, the most recent complete data available, and 8.6% of those cases tested positive, the health department reported.

The complete set of data is available at the Washington Department of Health.

2 p.m.

Washington state's head of coronavirus response Vice Admiral Raquel Bono gave an update at a live briefing over a teleconference at 2:30 p.m. She was joined by John Wiesman, Washington state's secretary of health, and Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer.

Lofy said that while data on social distancing has been encouraging, officials do not know whether the state has hit the peak of coronavirus infections.

"We do not know if there is a peak until we see a two- to three-week decline," Lofy said. "If we let up on social distancing practices, we will see an increase in COVID activity."

1:30 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced several new programs to assist people and small businesses that have been hit economically by the coronavirus crisis.

Inslee announced the following for businesses:

  • Emergency $5 million grant program to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and the stay home order. Busineses with fewer than 10 employees may qualify for $10,000.
  • A business resiliency program partnering with multiple groups throughout the state. The groups are providing different types of support to businesses, including translation services. 
  • Help businesses access federal assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

"We know we have a long economic recovery ahead of us," he said. "We are going to roll out every tool at our disposal."

More information on the state programs is available at the state's coronavirus response page: coronavirus.wa.gov. Information on the SBA loans is on the Small Business Administration page.

He also said that the state and leading nonprofits launched a new fund to help the state's food banks. He said that 1.6 million Washingtonians will seek help from food banks, doubling demand from past years.

He also said that the state has disbursed $120 million of the $200 million emergency coronavirus response spending that the state legislature approved earlier this year, and that lawmakers may be called back to Olympia if more money is needed before next January.

Inslee was joined by state Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Commission of Asian Pacific American Affairs Executive Director Toshiko Hasegawa via WebEx. 

9:30 a.m.

Health officials said Tuesday morning there are now 1,706 cases of COVID-19 in Snohomish County, including 58 deaths. Tuesday marked 78 days since the first COVID-19 case in Snohomish County.

Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said things are improving in the county and social distancing measures are having an impact on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The peak in reports appears to have occurred one to two weeks ago. The peak in the onset of illness among those cases reported, which you would imagine would be prior to the peak in reporting because it takes a few days to get sick and get tested, that peak it looks like was two to three weeks ago,” said Dr. Spitters. “There appears to be a sustained decline since mid to late March in the number of cases whose onset is recorded.  

However, Dr. Spitters emphasized the public needs to “keep the big picture in mind” and “remain steadfast in our concerted efforts to slow the spread of the virus.”   

Watch the press conference below: 

9 a.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee, local nonprofits and philanthropic groups have launched WA Food Fund, which is a new relief fund to help needy Washingtonians.

Donations will be directed to Northwest Harvest, Food Lifeline and Second Harvest, which deliver supplies to food banks across Washington state.

The fund was driven by exponential demand for food assistance as food banks struggle to make ends meet or in some cases are forced to close.

You can make a donation at wafoodfund.org.

7:40 a.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee took action to allow the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) to temporarily extend the expiration dates of driver licenses.

The DOL said letters will be sent to residents whose driver license expired after March 1 and have not already renewed, and to residents whose licenses will expire before June 30. Driver licenses that expire between these dates will be extended by 90 days.

The extended expiration date will appear on your driving record if it is pulled up by law enforcement. The DOL said drivers will not receive a new card.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also granted an extension for commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner’s permits (CLP) that were valid on Feb. 29 and expire on or after March 1, 2020. The DOL said letters will be sent to impacted CDL and CLP holders notifying them their license is extended to June 30, 2020.

DOL driver licensing offices are temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most Washington residents can renew their driver licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registration online.

Click here for more information. 

7:05 a.m.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced the cancellation of the spring sports season after Governor Jay Inslee announced that the rest of the school year would be carried out through distance learning.

The WIAA announced the cancellation after previously stating that it was seeking clarification from Gov. Inslee.

"The WIAA has received clarification that the order issued by Governor Inslee on Monday includes the cancellation of all in-person extracurricular athletics and activities through the end of the school year," a statement from the WIAA reads.

RELATED: WIAA cancels spring sports season after Inslee's school closure

6:30 a.m.

Ohio-based company Battelle donated one of its Critical Care Decontamination Systems to Washington state. The system can sanitize around 80,000 N95 respirator masks per day so they can be reused by health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the system is being installed at Camp Murray near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County, the sanitized masks will be distributed statewide.

Washington state is just the third location across the nation to receive the new technology.

RELATED: New system installed in Pierce County can sterilize 80,000 N95 masks a day

4:25 a.m.

REI said it will keep its 162 retail locations closed and furlough some of its roughly 14,000 employees without pay for 90 days as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to halt much of the retail industry.

CEO Eric Artz announced the decision Monday in a blog post. He said he and the board of the company based in Washington state will go without compensation for six months. Other senior executives and corporate staff will see their pay cut.

The company said furloughed employees will continue to receive health benefits during the 90 days.

On March 15, REI announced it was closing retail locations and putting employees on paid leave through April 15. 

Monday, April 6:

10:15 p.m.

A new fund launched Monday designed to give immediate financial assistance to restaurant workers in King County.

The Plate Fund hopes to provide as many restaurant workers as possible with a payment of $500 as they await federal stimulus payments expected to be distributed in the coming weeks.

The Plate Fund estimates there are roughly 100,000 restaurant workers in Seattle are impacted

8:20 p.m. 

On Monday, Whatcom County signed a contract with owners of Motel 6, on Byron Avenue in Bellingham, for use of the motel as an isolation and quarantine facility. The motel is currently vacant and for sale, according to county officials. 

8:15 p.m. 

Starbucks will require its employees to wear non-medical facial coverings at work, the coffee chain announced on Monday.

Starbucks already had closed all its cafés in the U.S. and is operating on a drive-thru and delivery basis only due to coronavirus concerns. Starbucks shops in or around hospitals and other health care centers will remain open to support workers and first-responders. 

6:55 p.m. 

There are now 372 coronavirus deaths among 8,384 cases in Washington as of April 6. 

87,902 people in Washington have tested for coronavirus. That means 8.6% of the cases tested positive.

The previous update on April 4 showed 338 people had died among 7,984 cases in Washington. 

5:55 p.m. 

The Washington State Department of Health posted an interactive map of coronavirus deaths and cases by county: 

5:50 p.m. 

The Seattle Fire Department released new information about team members impacted by coronavirus. 

  • Members currently in quarantine or isolation: 29 members
  • Total number of SFD personnel impacted since the beginning of tracking COVID-19: 88 members
  • Total number of SFD personnel who have completed their 14-day quarantine and returned to work: 59 members

Testing:  
This includes those who have received testing at the site designated for first responders and those who have shared their results from testing conducted at a private physician. 

  • Total number of known SFD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19: 16 members
  • Total number of SFD personnel with a negative test results at first responder testing site: 58 members
  • Total number of SFD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered: 1 member

4:40 p.m.

San Juan County urged visitors to stay away from the islands, and also urged island residents to stay home and avoid going to mainland Washington unless it is necessary.

“First off, we want to very strongly discourage anyone from thinking about coming to the islands as an 'escape,'" said Rick Hughes, chair of the San Juan County Council. "Don’t willfully break the Governor’s order in order to come here. We also want to urge all islanders to rethink plans to go off island unless it is vital and necessary. Please reschedule appointments and stay home.”

County officials also strongly recommended that islander residents self-impose a 14-day quarantine after return to ensure COVID-19 containment.

3:30 p.m.

Kitsap Public Health District has confirmed the first death associated with COVID-19 in Kitsap County. The Kitsap resident who died was an older adult who had tested positive for COVID-19 and had underlying health conditions, according the county. As of April 6, 111 positive cases had been reported.

Tacoma-Pierce County also today reported the first two coronavirus-related deaths in Tacoma-area care facilities. 

2:30 p.m.

Washington in-person classes will be closed through the end of the school year, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Monday.

But schools will continue distance learning through the end of the school year, he added.

Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal joined Inslee to give an update on the school closures.

Reykdal said that it would be too disruptive to classes to return to in-class instruction before the crisis has passed.

“We do not want that curve to suddenly spike up because we acted too quickly to come back,” he said.

Districts statewide have already started distance learning, some online and others through packets sent home.

Reykdal said that the state is preparing for the start of the 2020-21 school year in the fall.

The state is preparing for “both traditionally a face to face model if we get the right science in our favor, but also we know we have to be significantly better at the distance model in case we find ourselves in that reality,” Reykdal said.

Reykdal also said that equity is an issue because not all families throughout the state have equal access to computers and internet access.

He said the moment called for “complete innovation and connectivity for families.”

“This is our moment to connect every family,” Reykdal said.

Last month, the state had ordered schools statewide to close March 17 to April 24, with the earliest opening date of April 27.

Last week, the governor extended the statewide stay-at-home order that closed businesses except for "essential" business to May 4. Residents were also asked to restrict leaving their homes except for necessary errands. However, schools were not specifically included in that extension.

Reykdal had said last week in a Facebook video that it was possible that students will not return to school for the remainder of the school year in an effort to further reduce the spread of coronavirus, but it would be up to the governor to make that call.

Watch the briefing live:

1:15 p.m.

Several area supermarkets have announced that they will start limiting the number of customers inside the stores in order to encourage physical distancing in stores.

Kroger, the parent company of QFC and Fred Meyer, said the stores will limit the number to 50% of the building capacity starting on April 7 and some stores will have one-way aisles.

Safeway and Albertsons announced that they will limit the number of customers to 30% of the stores capacities and implement one-way aisles by the end of this week.

9:30 a.m.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported the first coronavirus-related deaths in Tacoma-area care facilities.

A Tacoma woman in her 90s and Key Peninsula man in his 80s both had underlying health conditions. 

The Tacoma woman was a resident of Heartwood Extended Health Care. The man was being cared for at Avamere Puget Sound Transitional Care.

“These unfortunate deaths are likely not to be the last within a long-term care facility. Facilities need to continue to work proactively with their local health departments to reduce COVID-19 spread,” said Doug Richardson, Chair, Pierce County Council and Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health member. “We all need to do our part to keep our community healthy. This means staying home if you’re sick, maintaining social distancing, and washing your hands. Our community is stronger when we work together.”

9 a.m.

All people on Department of Defense property, installations, and facilities are now required to wear cloth face coverings in circumstances where they can't maintain six feet of social distance.

7:15 a.m.

An incarcerated man housed in the Monroe Correctional Complex tested positive for coronavirus, the Washington State Department of Corrections confirmed. 

On Sunday, the man was taken to a local hospital, tested positive, and transferred back to the correctional facility in an isolation unit. 

The unit he was previously in was placed on quarantine. There are approximately 119 people housed in the unit.

7 a.m.

An Army field hospital being at CenturyLink Field in Seattle is expected to open this week. The 250-bed hospital is meant to help treat non-COVID-19 patients and free up space at area hospitals.

Army Lt. Col. Jason Hughes, commander of the 10th Field Hospital, said the facility will include 48 intensive care unit beds, an emergency room, operating suites, a lab, a microbiology unit, blood banking capability, X-ray capability, and services for mental and spiritual health.

Around 500 military medical personnel from multiple units are assigned to the field hospital. 

5:15 a.m.

Several transit agencies in the Puget Sound region will begin reduced or modified route changes starting Monday.

King County Metro and Sound Transit will be reducing bus, light rail, and water taxi services Monday. The revised reduced schedule identifies routes that will operate with fewer trips and hours. King County Metro said the updated schedule will “maintain vital lifelines for access to critical supplies, services, and worksites across the region.”

Metro said it “will operate with approximately 37% fewer buses, 30% fewer transit operators, and 19% fewer service trips than typical weekday service. Water taxi and Link light rail service reductions also will be made.”

Find more information about King County Metro’s reduced schedule route list, canceled trip details, and how to ride if your route is canceled.

Pierce Transit will also move to a modified Sunday service on Monday until further notice. The changes “take into consideration lower ridership and staffing levels, while also allowing room for social distancing between customers on buses.”

Click here for more information about Pierce Transit’s changes.

4:45 a.m.

The confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has reached 337,620 as of midnight ET Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's more than double the cases of the next-closest country, Spain. There have been 9,643 deaths in the U.S. -- nearly 1/3 of which are in New York City -- and 17,530 people recovered.

Worldwide, there are 1.27 million cases with nearly 70,000 deaths and more than 260,000 recovered.

For most people, coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Sunday, April 5:

9:35 p.m.

Starting Monday, April 6, King County Metro and Sound Transit will be reducing bus, light rail, and water taxi services.

The revised reduced schedule identifies routes that will operate with fewer trips and hours.

Overall, Metro will operate with approximately 37% fewer buses, 30% fewer transit operators, and 19% fewer service trips than typical weekday service. Water taxi and Link light rail service reductions also will be made.

Find more information on the reduced schedule route list, canceled trip details and how to ride if your route is canceled

5:04 p.m.

The Washington State Department of Health confirmed that there have been 338 deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) statewide among 7,984 total cases.

The city of Tacoma confirmed its first coronavirus death today.

2 p.m.

Boeing is extending the temporary suspension of production operations at all Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice. 

The volunteers who have been supporting essential site and services work should continue to report to their assigned shifts. Puget Sound area and Moses Lake employees who can work from home should continue to do so.

"As the suspension of operations continues, Boeing will monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and associated impact on all company operations. Boeing sites that remain open are being monitored and assessed on a daily basis," Boeing said in a statement.

12 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state of Washington will return more than 400 ventilators received from the Strategic National Stockpile to the SNS inventory to help states facing higher numbers of coronavirus cases.

Those ventilators will go to New York and other states hit the hardest. 

Washington state continues to prepare for increased hospitalizations and the necessary treatment of serious cases of COVID-19. The state recently purchased more than 750 ventilators, which are expected to arrive over the next several weeks when Washington may need them most.

6 a.m.

Sunday morning, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, ".. this is ludicrous that we do not have a national effort" against the coronavirus. Inslee made the statement on NBC's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. Inslee added that the country needs to nationally mobilize using the Defense Production Act, to get companies to start making test kits and other products to fight the pandemic.

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