Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from June 26-29, 2020.
- Masks are now required in public in Washington state.
- No new deaths and 348 new cases reported Sunday in Washington.
- TOTAL: 1,310 deaths among 31,752 overall cases in Washington state.
- 534,443 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.
Sunday, June 28:
Latest Washington coronavirus cases
No new deaths were reported on Sunday, but 348 new cases were reported throughout the state.
There have been a total of 1,310 deaths among 31,752 overall cases in Washington state.
534,443 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.
Coronavirus global death toll passes 500,000; over 10 million cases
Confirmed coronavirus infections have surpassed the 10 million mark worldwide.
A tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University registered the grim milestone Sunday, after India and Russia added thousands of new cases. The United States has confirmed more than 2.5 million infections, the most in the world.
Globally, the Hopkins tally has reported over 500,000 deaths.
While Hopkins reports only confirmed coronavirus cases, experts believe the true number of people who have been infected could be as much as 10 times that figure, given that so many people can’t get tested or may have the virus without showing any symptoms.
US health officials believe 20 million Americans have had coronavirus
U.S. officials believe as many as 20 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, suggesting millions had the virus and never knew it.
That’s nearly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed and comes as the Trump administration works to tamp down nationwide concern about the COVID-19 pandemic as about a dozen states are seeing worrisome increases in cases.
The administration also looks to get its scientific experts back before the public more as it tries to allay anxieties about the pandemic while states begin reopening. Since mid-May, when the government began stressing the need to get the economy moving again, the panel’s public health experts have been far less visible than in the pandemic's early weeks.
Twenty million infections would mean about 6% of the nation’s 331 million people have been infected, leaving a majority of the population still susceptible to the virus. Previously, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that as many as 25% of infected people might not have symptoms.
The new estimate is based on CDC studies of blood samples collected nationwide. Many infections were not caught in early testing, when supplies were limited and federal officials prioritized testing for those with symptoms.
Administration officials are pointing to the new data to allay public anxieties, claiming that while there have been significant spikes, they have the outbreaks well in hand.
Inslee calls out Trump for not wearing a mask
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says President Donald Trump’s “unique” circumstances are why he doesn’t wear a mask even as the government is urging people to do so.
Gov. Jay Inslee says Trump should spend more time tweeting about wearing masks instead of monuments.
Inslee told CBS: “We need a president who will care more about living Americans and less about dead Confederates.”
Addressing spikes in reported coronavirus cases in some states, Azar said people “have to take ownership” of their own behaviors by social distancing and wearing masks if possible.
He says Trump doesn’t have to follow his own administration’s guidance because as a leader of the free world he’s tested regularly and is in “very different circumstances than the rest of us.”
Azar declined to say whether he’s ever asked Trump to wear a mask. He told CNN and NBC that his own message to the people is to take precautions for “public health.”
Saturday, June 27:
Gov. Inslee pauses counties moving to Phase 4 of reopening due to rise in coronavirus cases
Washington counties looking to move to Phase 4 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan will have to wait a little longer.
Gov. Inslee and Secretary John Wiesman announced Saturday the Department of Health is putting a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 due to rising coronavirus cases across the state and increased concern about the virus' spread, according to a news release.
Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause.
"Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state," Inslee said. "We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data."
Washington surpassed 30,000 coronavirus cases this week, and there are currently 1,304 confirmed deaths from the virus.
Gov. Inslee issued an order, which took effect Friday, requiring face masks to be worn in public to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Sec. Wiesman said wearing face masks and socially distancing will continue to help reduce the spread.
"The best thing Washingtonians can do to slow the spread of the virus and save lives is to wear facial coverings, continue to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices," Wiesman said. "Now that testing supplies are available, it is critical to get a test if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19."
New coronavirus cases in Washington Saturday
- 6 new deaths and 549 new cases reported Saturday in Washington.
- TOTAL: 1,310 deaths among 31,404 overall cases in Washington state.
- 525,802 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 6.0% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.
Reporter at President Trump's Tulsa rally tests positive for COVID-19
A journalist who attended President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa last week said he has tested positive for COVID-19. Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies said he was notified Friday of his positive diagnosis.
“I’m pretty surprised," Monies wrote on Twitter. “I have zero symptoms (so far) and I feel fine. In fact, I ran 5 miles this morning."
Monies said he was inside the rally for about 6 hours on Saturday at the BOK Center and that he wore a mask and mostly practiced social distancing, except for when he went to the concourse to get a snack. He said he was never close to the president.
An epidemiologist at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department who notified Monies of his positive result said it's difficult to determine if he contracted the coronavirus at the rally.
Fishermen now qualify for federal loan amid economic downturn
Fishers are now able to count their crew as part of their employee payroll to qualify for federal loans intended to help businesses following economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal rule change was published Thursday after captains discovered crew members could not be included in the first federal relief aid program. Fishers have been contending with poor markets as restaurants closed or reduced service to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Paycheck Protection Program loans may be forgiven if certain conditions are met, including spending a large portion of the money to retain employees.
Friday, June 26:
Snohomish health officials trying to find guests of large Stanwood house party attended by COVID-19 patient
The Snohomish County Health District says it is looking for guests who attended a large party in Stanwood where one person later tested positive for COVID-19.
The county health district said that not all of the 40 to 70 attendees of the party in Stanwood on Friday June 19 have been identified or contacted.
The health district requested all individuals promptly seek COVID-19 testing if they attended the large house party in Stanwood on Friday, June 19.
The guests can either register for one of the community-based testing locations, or contact their healthcare provider or another testing facility. All attendees should remain quarantined at home through July 4, unless they develop symptoms and/or test positive.
If the person tests positive, they will be provided additional instructions by the Snohomish County Health District. If there are concerns or questions, people are encouraged to review this guidance for exposed people and contact their healthcare provider.
The health district is also encouraging people who attended large graduation parties or Father’s Day celebrations to get tested as a precaution.
Large parties could become so-called "super-spreader" events that can infect a large number of people and spread the virus, the health district said.
New Washington cases for Friday, June 26
- 4 new deaths and 488 new cases reported Friday in Washington.
- TOTAL: 1,304 deaths among 30,855 overall cases in Washington state.
- 514,428 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 6.0% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.
Pierce County health officer to recommend loosening restrictions for a 'modified Phase 2'
Pierce County Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen will recommend a loosening some restrictions, but not applying for Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan.
He said in a prepared statement that progress is being made in the fight to slow coronavirus, but not enough to get to Phase 3.
The county proposes allowing larger outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people for social and recreational purposes. However, the new phase would not allow recreational activities such as team sports and public swimming pools where respiratory droplets are highly likely to be released.
According to a county press release, a modified Phase 2 would limit indoor gatherings to 5 people per week outside the household. Libraries and museums would be permitted with physical distancing and Phase 3 safety plans. All other businesses and religious services would remain under Phase 2 requirements.
Earlier this week, Chen warned if the trend of increasing cases continues, it could lead to the county backsliding from Phase 2 and into Phase 1 restrictions.
Snohomish County not ready to move to Phase 3
Snohomish County leaders decided not to submit a Phase 3 application yet as the county experienced a “concerning” uptick in coronavirus cases.
Snohomish County moved to Phase 2 on June 5, and it needed to stay in that phase for at least three weeks. Friday was the earliest the county could apply to move on to the next phase.
Seventy-seven new cases were reported Monday – a sharp increase from 20 or fewer daily cases the week before. Snohomish County Health Officer Chris Spitters also said the health department received reports of large gatherings over the weekend making it “quite risky” to proceed to Phase 3.
“We need a week or two to assess and control the current situation, monitor the trend in new daily case reports, and track COVID hospitalizations to know whether this was a blip or an early signal of more to come,” Spitters said in a statement.
As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, officials urged people to maintain social distancing, wear a mask and not meet in large groups of more than five people per week.
"Since we’ve made so much progress, now is not the time to backslide," Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in a statement.
COVID-19 cases rise among younger King County adults
Last week coronavirus cases increased 60% in King County over the previous week, partially driven by younger adults, according to Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Between June 14-20, King County saw 156 more coronavirus infections over the previous week.
“This is a worrisome trend obviously,” Duchin said. “No one wants to see increasing cases.”
Over the last two weeks, about half of those cases were in people between 20 and 39 years old, which Duchin called a “significant change.” To date, that age group has been responsible for about one-third of cases.
Although Duchin couldn’t point to a specific venue or activity that may be responsible for the spike, he said it was likely driven by all increased contact without taking precautions like wearing a mask.
American Airlines to resume full-capacity flights July 1
American Airlines will start booking flights to full capacity on July 1.
Starting Tuesday, the airline will ask customers during check-in to "certify they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days." Customers will go through a checklist of potential symptoms that was created in partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Since April, American Airlines has limited the number of passengers on flights in effort to space customers during the pandemic.
The move contrasts sharply with rivals including Delta that limit bookings to create space between passengers.
Durkan pitches new sidewalk café permits
The city of Seattle announced a proposal Friday for temporary street use permits that would let businesses and restaurants offer services on the sidewalk or in the curb space in front of their business.
City leaders hope the permits allow more businesses to reopen during coronavirus recovery.
The permits, which the Seattle Department of Transportation will begin accepting applications for immediately, would be available for six months. They would allow sidewalk cafes, merchandise displays and food and other vending.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected to transmit legislation on the permits “shortly” to the Seattle City Council. The legislation will be sponsored by Councilmembers Dan Strauss and Alex Pedersen.
COVID-19 is growing in Spokane, and Inslee says wear masks as state tops 30,000 cases
The rate of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spokane has doubled in the past week, and the state’s second-largest city is “on the edge of a cliff,″ according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday.
Inslee met with civic leaders on the Spokane campus of Washington State University. His visit drew a small crowd of protesters against his administration’s proclamation earlier this week requiring people to wear masks when in public.
Inslee, who wore a mask during his press conference, said the way to battle the spread of the coronavirus is simple. “You’ve just got to wear a little cloth on your face,” Inslee said.
The Washington State Department of Health reported seven new deaths and 498 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. There are now 1,300 deaths among 30,367 total cases of COVID-19 in Washington state.