- 284 coronavirus deaths among 6,966 cases in Washington.
- A total of 82,599 people have taken a coronavirus test in Washington. 8.4% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.
- Gov. Jay Inslee has extended his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order for another month through May 4 to help slow the spread of the virus.
Friday, April 3:
Some Washington gun shops are staying open in defiance of Gov. Inslee's order
Gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman collected signatures on a petition to allow gun shops to stay open.
Governor Jay Inslee is now mobilizing 200 Washington National Guard members to bring relief to food banks throughout the state.
Gov. Jay Inslee cut millions from the state budget over the next three years, as state revenue is expected to dip in the wake of of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Under normal circumstances I would not veto bills that are good policy and smart investments over time, but simply put these are not normal times,” Inslee said.
Amid national guidelines to wear a face-covering in public, you may be scrambling to find one. You can make your own without a sewing machine.
A cotton handkerchief or tea towel
Two rubber bands or hair ties
Optional: a sewing needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
Click below for directions:
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation that Americans wear face masks or some sort of face-covering while in public to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, officials with Public Health Seattle & King County are offering additional guidance.
“Medical masks are needed for healthcare workers who are caring for patients with COVID-19. We need our healthcare workers to be able to safely continue providing their services during this pandemic,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health—Seattle & King County. “For the general public, homemade fabric masks, especially if well-made and fit, may provide some benefit.”
Duchin said since there are few studies available about the effectiveness of masks against COVID-19, they don't know for sure how useful cloth or other face masks might be.
Overall, King County Metro will operate with about 37% fewer buses, 30% fewer transit operators, and 19% fewer service trips than typical weekday service, according to Metro officials.
Link light rail trains will run every 20 minutes versus every 14 minutes. Water taxi crews will operate one vessel for six roundtrip sailings per weekday and service on shuttles 773 and 775 are discontinued.
The Washington State Department of Health says a total of 284 people have died of coronavirus statewide as of Friday among 6,966 cases.
Gov. Jay Inslee has vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars of spending in hopes of making a dent in the loss of state revenues as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep the state’s economy largely shut down.
Inslee vetoed nearly two dozen bills in their entirety, and more than 140 separate budget items in the state supplemental budget.
“We cannot sleepwalk our way through this fiscal crisis,” said Gov. Inslee during a news conference about the budget Friday. “I want people to know I share the pain of those decisions.”
The total savings over the next three years is $445 million. All of the veto letters state that circumstances “have changed dramatically” since the budget was approved by the Legislature last month.
President Trump said Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising the use of non-medical cloth face coverings as a "voluntary" measure to help protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19).
The CDC said Friday according to recent studies, a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
CDC experts said this means the virus can be spread between people interacting in close proximity, such as speaking, coughing, or sneezing, even if those people are not showing symptoms.
For those reasons, the CDC said it's recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult, such as at the grocery store.
Dutch Bros. Coffee announced Friday it intends to donate all of its April profits to help medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) fight.
“We truly believe we’re all better together. Giving back to our customers and neighbors is part of our DNA,” said Travis Boersma, CEO of Dutch Bros. “We’re so thankful to be able to support and serve our communities during this unprecedented situation.”
The money will go directly to First Responders First, an initiative providing essential supplies and equipment to protect healthcare workers and their patients.
State mental health officials plan to release as many as 60 patients from Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital in order to reduce some of the stress that the new coronavirus has placed on staff at the 850-bed facility.
Sixteen workers and six patients at Western State Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 and one patient died.
Behavioral Health Assistant Secretary Sean Murphy says moving some civil-commitment patients to group homes or supported-living facilities will help relieve some of the strain on the system.
Certain models of the coronavirus progression estimate that UW Medicine clinicians may have to care for up to 750 more patients at its hospitals in the coming weeks.
"We are all in this together and it’s really important that we don’t let down our guard yet," said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine hospitals and clinics, referencing the continuation of physical distancing and hand hygiene.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission says despite parks across the state shutting down, many people "from all over are still flocking to Washington's ocean beaches.
"Visitors are overwhelming local communities' resources," a Facebook post reads. "Local cities and counties have put up barricades at ocean beach approaches to try to keep people from driving on the beach. But people are moving the barricades and going on the beach anyway."
Gov. Jay Inslee visited with National Guard soldiers at the Nourish Pierce County Warehouse, where Guardsmen are packaging and preparing food for delivery.
Members of the Guard will be located at food banks across the state to assist with food distribution.
Starting Monday, April 6, Pierce Transit is reducing its daily service until further notice.
The change follows a decrease in ridership by 64% this week when compared to this time last year.
Per Pierce Transit, the reduced schedule will run as follows:
Sundays – Regular Sunday schedule
Saturdays – Sunday schedule
Weekdays – Modified Sunday schedule. Routes on regular Sunday service except:
- Routes 1, 3, 500: Extended morning and evening trips, and additional trips during peak travel times
- Route 400: Does not typically run Sundays; limited trips will run during this new service
- Routes 13, 63, 102, 425, 497 and the JBLM Connector: Temporary discontinuation of these routes that currently have very low ridership
During the new schedule, riders can find out when their next bus is coming by:
- Checking their routes on PierceTransit.org/Change. Updated schedules will be posted on each route page Sunday, April 5.
- Texting 253.533.7084 from their bus stop and entering the bus stop number found on the pole.
- Using a bus locator app, such as Transit or One Bus Away.
- Calling the agency’s Customer Service Office at 253.581.8000, option 1, 1.
Passengers from an ill-fated cruise are being allowed to touch dry land for the first time in weeks.
They'll be disembarking in Fort Lauderdale all day Friday following the removal of 14 critically ill people, who were wheeled off to Florida hospitals bracing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients.
The exodus from the Zaandaam and Rotterdam will be followed by the Coral Princess, which arrives Saturday. Buses will be taking people healthy enough to travel directly to the airport, where they’ll board chartered flights home without going through the terminal. Hundreds of crew members will remain on dozens of cruise ships docked or waiting around Florida.
The number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 passed 6,000 early Friday morning, an increase of approximately 2,000 in the span of about 48 hours. That's according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University. More than 1/4 of those are in New York City.
The U.S. passed 4,000 early Wednesday morning. Before midnight Wednesday, it passed 5,000. The total reached 6,053 just before 1 a.m. ET Friday.
The U.S. has 245,540 cases as of midnight ET Friday morning and more than 9,100 recoveries. There are 262 deaths among 6,585 cases of COVID-19 in Washington, according to the state Department of Health.
The worldwide total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is just over 1 million with 53,000 deaths and 211,000 recoveries.
Thursday, April 2:
Self-employed in Washington? The process to get help has been stressful, but help is available. Click below for details:
Millions of small business owners will be turning to the government, seeking help for an individual and nationwide cataclysm, the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The government says it will begin disbursing loan money to company owners and freelancers Friday under the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the $2 trillion relief package signed into law last week. For many companies, it may be the quickest way to rebuild the lifeblood of any business: the cash flow that enables a company to pay its bills.
Virginia Mason Medical Center, one of the state's biggest health care providers, will begin furloughing employees because of the financial losses connected with the coronavirus, according to a company memo obtained by KING 5.
In the memo, top executives said the furloughs need to happen because of a 30% drop in revenue. Virginia Mason also plans to reduce salaries for some doctors and all managers and executives. Officials said these measures are temporary and no lay-offs are planned.
Governor Jay Inslee has extended his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order through May 4, 2020, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The science is clear, more people will die if we stop now," said Gov. Inslee in a news conference Thursday evening, referring to his initial stay-at-home order which was set to expire on April 6.
The order requires residents and non-essential business owners to remain home and only leave for "essential business," such as grocery shopping or work at an essential business.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations and restaurants offering takeout are among the essential businesses that are allowed to remain open.
Gov. Inslee also urged people to reduce domestic travel, and in-person contact with anyone outside of your immediate household to help slow the spread of the deadly virus.
He did say the order could be extended beyond May 4, but it will all depend on how social distancing and other measures impact the virus.
The Washington State Department of Health is reporting 262 deaths from coronavirus statewide as of Thursday, April 2 among 6,585 total cases.
King County remains the county with the highest number of deaths at 175 among 2,609 cases county-wide.
There have been 79,418 people tested for coronavirus across the state and 6,585 of them (or 8.3%) have come back positive. The other 72,833 (or 92%) people received negative test results, according to the department of health.
King County leaders have negotiated with three local hotels to serve as temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus crisis.
The hotels are not intended to be isolation or quarantine facilities, the people moving in are presumed to be healthy, health officials said Thursday. The intent is to "de-intensify" the concentration of people in shelters to help slow the spread of the virus.
The transition to the following hotel sites will happen early next week, according to officials with Public Health Seattle & King County.
- The Sophia Way is moving 100 people from a shelter site in Bellevue to a hotel in Bellevue, at 625 116th Avenue NE.
- Catholic Community Services is moving 90 people from shelter sites in Kent, Federal Way and Renton to a SeaTac hotel, at 2900 S. 192nd Street.
- Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is moving 200 people from its Seattle shelters to a hotel in Renton, at 1 South Grady Way.
King County is finalizing agreements with the three hotels. The hotels will not be open to other guests during this time.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning citizens to be on the lookout for scams relating to the upcoming distribution of the economic impact payments (or stimulus checks) as part of the coronavirus relief package.
"We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn't going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don't open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information."
The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
The IRS said in most cases, it will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on their tax returns.
Seattle-based Holland America Line has been granted permission to disembark hundreds of passengers at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades after an agreement was reached between its president and local officials.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis posted to Facebook Thursday, saying he spoke with the president of Holland America, who agreed there would be no contact between cruise ship passengers and local residents.
“The vast majority of passengers are not ill and have no symptoms,” Mayor Trantalis wrote. “They will be placed on private chartered buses, taken directly to the airport tarmac and board chartered flights out of our community. A small number of critically ill passengers will go to local hospitals. Others who are mildly ill or have symptoms will be quarantined at sea on the ships until they recover.”
About 10 critically ill passengers will be taken to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Four passengers died on the ships. Nine others tested positive for coronavirus and at least 179 more have flu-like symptoms, according to NBC News.
Holland America said on their website that there were 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam, and 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam.
Governor Jay Inslee is hosting a question and answer session on his Twitter about the coronavirus. You can ask him questions via Twitter here.
Life Care Center of Kirkland is facing a $611,325 fine after federal surveyors found "immediate jeopardy" situations during an inspection of the nursing home believed to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state.
That amount could be increased or decreased based on future inspections and compliance, according to a letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Additionally, Life Care Center may lose its Medicare provider agreement, among other penalties, if it is found out of compliance.
Washington state saw a 41% week-over-week increase in unemployment benefit claims last week.
Numbers released Thursday by the Washington State Employment Security Department show 181,975 new claims were filed for the week of March 22-28. The department said this is a 3,513% increase of new claims year-over-year, and seven times the peak week during the 2008-2009 recession.
“These numbers suggest two contrasting points 1) that more and more businesses and individuals are abiding by the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order – which is critical for the health of our fellow Washingtonians, and 2) this virus is having a profoundly negative impact on our economic health, and that Washington businesses and workers are hurting like never before,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine.
Nationally, more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier.
This year’s Northwest Folklife Festival has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The annual festival has taken place at the Seattle Center every Memorial Day Weekend for the past 48 years.
“This decision was not made lightly, but ultimately, we feel this is the best decision for our greater community,” organizers said in a letter on the festival’s website.
The 2020 Democratic National Convention has been pushed back one month to August 17 due to concerns about coronavirus, organizers announced Thursday morning.
The postponement comes just one day after Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said he thought his party's nominating convention would have to be pushed back from July into August because of the coronavirus threat.
Organizers said Thursday that the convention will be held the week of August 17th, "providing convention planners more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event."
Two ill-fated cruise ships were awaiting word about when the vessels would be allowed to dock at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades after a conditional agreement was reached between officials in South Florida and Carnival Cruise Line. Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine tweeted that a final document would be released Thursday.
Seattle-bases Holland America Line said in an email that they're awaiting confirmation to disembark passengers and “get the nearly 1,200 well guests home immediately," as long as they are fit for travel in accordance with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
About 10 critically ill passengers would be taken to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Four passengers died on the ships. Nine others tested positive for coronavirus and at least 179 more have flu-like symptoms, according to NBC News.
Holland America said on their website that there were 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam, and 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam.
The Boeing Company offered voluntary buyouts to eligible employees to try and reduce costs and adjust its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to employees, Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said eligible employees who want to exit the company will receive a pay and benefits package. Calhoun said the move "aims to reduce the need for other workforce actions."
“When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different. We will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come,” Calhoun wrote.
There are 71,829 Boeing employees in Washington state, according to the company's website.
At least 247 people have died from coronavirus among 5,984 cases in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. A total of 74,798 people have taken the coronavirus test in the state, 8% tested positive for the virus.
King County has the highest number of positive cases with 2,468, followed by Snohomish County with 1,221 positive cases.
Gov. Jay Inslee will host a COVID-19 Twitter Q&A Thursday at noon. Use #AskGovInslee to ask a question, and the governor said he will answer as many as he can.
The coronavirus pandemic is testing the resilience of millions who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Experts say it could threaten America’s progress against the opioid overdose crisis.
Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are meeting online because of bans on public gatherings. Therapists and doctors are working with patients by phone and trying to keep them in treatment.
One clinic for opioid addiction in Olympia, Washington, is meeting patients outside and giving them longer prescriptions of treatment medication to reduce visits.
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 email@example.com 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.