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Coronavirus in Washington state: Updates from April 8-10

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state as we work together to separate facts from fear.

Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from April 8-10, 2020.

Click here for the real-time updates April 10-12. 

Key facts:

  • 475 coronavirus deaths among 9,887 cases in Washington.
  • At least 88,006 people in Washington have been tested for coronavirus as of April 3, and 8.6% of the cases tested positive.
  • 15 major parks and beaches in Seattle will be closed to the public this weekend to help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

Look back at previous updates at this link.

Friday, April 10:

New coronavirus numbers for Washington state

The Washington State Department of Health is reporting 475 deaths from coronavirus as of Friday among 9,887 total cases. That's 29 new deaths since April 9. 

A total of 88,006 people have been tested for the virus and of that 8.6 % were positive. 

Washington state and local officials urge people to stay home and stay away from tourism spots

Gov. Jay Inslee and several local officials urged people to stay home and stay away from Washington's popular tourist locations and to avoid family get together events this holiday weekend to continue to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"It’s a time that we would like to have comfort physically being with them in the middle of Passover, on Good Friday, with our kids and grandkids wanting to have an Easter egg hunt. We understand those things. But this is really a moment for all of us to redouble our efforts and our commitments to our families and our communities to stay safe, stay home and stay healthy," he said.

The governor was joined by Crystal Dingler, mayor of Ocean Shores, Victoria Compton, executive director of the San Juan Economic Development Council, Patricia Byers, mayor of Yakima and Jeff Lambert, executive director of Dishman Hills Conservancy in Spokane.

Dingler said Grays Harbor County doesn't have the medical resources of larger areas to handle a surge of COVID-19 cases.

"In March we had two. Now we have 10. That’s a frightening number for us in rural America. I urge people to stay home and stay healthy," she said.

Dingler urged residents and visitors to continue social distancing and stay home, despite the city's dependency on tourism. The city closed hotels, beach approaches and has imposed a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. to discourage visitors.

"Don’t come to Grays Harbor county where we are struggling. We have limited resources. We love you, come back and see us in the summer when things are better. But this is not the time," she said.

Inslee said so far most people appear to be willing to comply with the stay at home order, but also added that businesses can face penalties for not complying.

"This is actually a misdemeanor if you finally don’t cooperate with this rule, but we don’t want to have to get to that point," he said.

The video of the briefing is posted on this page and can be viewed on YouTube.

Boeing 3D-printing face shields for COVID-19 response

The Boeing Company delivered a shipment of 2,300 reusable 3D-printed face shields to the Department of Health and Human Services Friday morning. The first shipment of face shields will be delivered to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, an alternative care site setup to treat COVID-19 patients. 

The company said it will produce thousands of face shields a week at sites across the country to meet the growing need for personal protection equipment (PPE).

A spokesperson said Friday that Boeing sites in Auburn, Everett, Renton, and Tukwila “have been added to the cause and are now 3D-printing masks for future donations to hospitals and frontline medical professionals, in coordination with FEMA.”

"Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time," said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. "History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government's response to this global pandemic."

WWU will have virtual commencement, summer quarter will be online

Western Washington University's spring commencement will move to a virtual commencement to curb the spread of coronavirus.

"I know that our students and their families were looking forward to this important lifetime milestone, and we share your disappointment," WWU President Sabah Randhawa said in a letter to students. "Nothing can truly take the place of crossing the stage in front of your family and friends, but we will do our very best to make the virtual graduation experience meaningful and truly Western."

Winter and spring 2020 graduates are welcome back to any commencement ceremonies next year, according to WWU.

Summer quarter classes will also be completely online, and summer study abroad is canceled.

Bainbridge police officer with coronavirus-like symptoms dies

Bainbridge Island Police Officer Kurt Enget died Friday morning after being treated at Harrison Medical Center for symptoms that presented similarly to COVID-19.

The city of Bainbridge said it did not have information about the official cause of death, which will be determined by the Kitsap County Coroner's Office.

Enget was a five-year veteran of the Bainbridge Island Police Department. Before joining the Bainbridge force, he served with Suquamish Police.

Rent assistance for King County residents

United Way of King County, the City of Seattle, and King County announced a partnership to expand the United Way’s Home Base program to help provide rental assistance to King County households.

An initial investment of $5 million in public and private funds will go to qualifying residents who lost all or part of their income due to the pandemic. The funds are estimated to help around 2,000 families stay in their homes.

The money is intended to help provide April rent that has not yet been paid. King County residents can apply if they are behind on rent, are economically impacted by COVID-19, and have a monthly household income below 50% of the area median income.

RELATED: United Way program providing $5 million in rental assistance to King County residents

Seattle closing parks, beaches this weekend

City of Seattle officials are closing over a dozen parks this weekend amid concerns that more people will gather in the warmer weather and spread the coronavirus.

City leaders including Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city will close 15 parks at 11 p.m. Friday and keep them closed until Monday morning.

Parks closing include: Alki, Arboretum, Cal Anderson, Carkeek, Discovery, Gas Works, Green Lake, Golden Gardens, Kubota Garden, Lincoln, Magnuson, Seward, Volunteer, West Seattle Stadium, and Woodland.

Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will be at the parks to remind people of the closure and to encourage social distancing.

RELATED: Seattle closing 15 major parks for Easter weekend to help slow spread of coronavirus

Dr. Fauci says antibody tests expected next week in US

Dr. Anthony Fauci says at the last White House coronavirus task force meeting, the people responsible for developing, validating and disseminating the tests were saying “a rather large number of tests” will be available within a week.

Fauci told CNN on Friday he’s ”certain that that’s going to happen.”

An antibody test could show whether a person was recently exposed to the coronavirus. Fauci says the test would say “that you were infected and if you’re feeling well you very likely recovered.”

Fauci says medical experts could then try to determine how deeply the virus “has penetrated the society” and whether previously infected people would be vulnerable to reinfection, which is particularly “important for health care workers.”

Fauci says testing for an antibody doesn’t mean medical experts are shifting away from testing for the virus to see who’s infected. He says, “those things are done in parallel.”

Washington inmates seek help from court in coronavirus case

Inmates at a Washington prison are hoping the state Supreme Court will step in and order the release of some offenders after almost some inmates there test positive for the new coronavirus.

At least six inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex have the disease. Officials said they're awaiting results on 54 other cases.

Department of Corrections Secretary Stephen Sinclair said five workers at the facility also tested positive for COVID-19. The inmates filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking it to order the release of older inmates, those with underlying health conditions, and those who are close to their release date.

RELATED: Families frustrated with conditions at Monroe Correctional Complex after inmates test positive for coronavirus

COVID-19 cases in the US

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States is 465,750 as of midnight ET Friday morning. There have been 16,684 deaths in the U.S. and 25,960 recoveries.

The state of New York alone has 161,807 confirmed cases. That more than Spain, the country with the second-most cases in the world behind the U.S.

Worldwide, there are 1.6 million confirmed cases with 95,718 deaths and nearly 355,000 recoveries.

White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC's TODAY show Thursday that he now believes the U.S. death toll will be around 60,000, not the 100,000 - 240,000 predicted a few weeks ago. He cites social distancing and changes to people's behavior.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, and the vast majority survive. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia or death.

Malaria drug maker donating 100 million doses

Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi says it is donating 100 million doses of a malaria drug being tested for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.

In a statement Friday, the company said the hydroxychloroquine doses will be given to 50 countries. The company said it also is ramping up production, aiming to quadruple is capacity to manufacture the drug.

Sanofi said it “will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.”

But the company also cautioned that hydroxychloroquine has “several serious known side effects” and tests are so far inconclusive over its safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19.

President Donald Trump has been among the drug’s proponents, tweeting that hydroxychloroquine plus an antibiotic could be “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” and should “be put in use immediately.”

RELATED: Malaria drug maker donating 100 million doses to treat coronavirus

Thursday, April 9:

Washington state pays $150 million in unemployment due to coronavirus impact

Since March 16, when the first wave of job losses due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, Washington has paid $150 million in unemployment benefits, according to the Employment Security Department.

The week of March 29 to April 4, the state received more than 170,000 new claims, bringing the total of new claims to more than 500,000 since mid-March.

New coronavirus cases in Washington 

  • 446 coronavirus deaths among 9,608 cases in Washington 
  • That's 25 more deaths and 511 more positive cases since Wednesday.

The Washington State Department of Health released the new case numbers at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. 

At least 88,044 people in Washington have been tested for coronavirus as of April 3, and 8.7% of the cases tested positive. 

City of Seattle to close 15 of the largest parks to help stop the spread of coronavirus 

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Parks and Recreation announced that 15 of the city's largest and most popular parks will be closed this weekend to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The closure will be in effect Friday, April 10 from 11 p.m. to Monday, April 13 at 4:30 a.m. 

These are the 15 parks that will be closed: Alki, Arboretum, Cal Anderson, Carkeek, Discovery, Gas Works, Green Lake, Golden Gardens, Kubota Garden, Lincoln, Magnuson, Seward, Volunteer, West Seattle Stadium, Woodland.

“These are the beautiful weather days we crave all winter, but we are living in unprecedented times and the Governor’s order isn’t stay out – it’s stay home," said Mayor Durkan in a statement Thursday. "Seattle’s frontline medical workers, vulnerable residents, and displaced workers need you to stay home. While Seattle is expecting near perfect weather, friends and families should not have family or friend outings, picnics or gatherings in parks. Stay home unless you need to go to an essential job or business. If you need to take a walk in your neighborhood, be smart and don’t help create a crowded place."

Mayor Durkan said the 15 parks were chosen because they are the ones where social distancing guidelines have been ignored. 

Stan Sayres, Magnuson, Don Armeni, and Atlantic St boat launches are also closed. Trails at Lake Washington Boulevard will remain open, but group gatherings will be prohibited. Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail will remain closed.

Neighborhood parks will remain open, however, the city will consider closing them or making temporary closures long term if visitors can't follow safety guidelines, according to a city statement. 

Department of Corrections looking into early release for some inmates to allow for easier social distancing

Gov. Jay Inslee, joined by Secretary of the Department of Corrections Steve Sinclair, provided an update Thursday after several inmates caused a disturbance at the Monroe Corrections Complex Wednesday evening. 

The Complex has reported a handful of inmates and staff testing positive for coronavirus in recent weeks. 

Sinclair said the DOC is looking at early release for some non-violent inmates in order to reduce the population to enable easier social distancing practices for inmates and staff. 

"Non-violent drug offenders and people like that within 60 days of release that we could potentially move out sooner. We are working on options for that. We are taking all the steps that we can possibly take,” Sinclair said. 

Aside from the Monroe Corrections Complex update, Gov. Inslee went on to discuss more on the state’s coronavirus response.

Inslee emphasized that while western Washington has seen a stretch of gorgeous weather and that’s expected to continue through the weekend, that does not mean people should forgo social distancing and staying home. 

“Any refusal to respect this stay home, stay healthy order means more people are going to lose their lives in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. 

Thousands of coronavirus test kits donated to King County

Thousands of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits are being provided to Public Health—Seattle & King County to distribute to communities in need.

Health officials announced Thursday that UW Medicine, Seattle Flu Study, and the Washington State Department of Health are donating the test kits.

UW Medicine is contributing 20,000 test kits, which will be prioritized for first responders, health care workers and people living in at-risk communities, such as long-term care facilities and shelters.

The Seattle Flu Study (SFS) is making 2,000 self-swab test kits available for health care workers in long-term care facilities. These tests are being provided as part of a study by SFS to understand coronavirus prevalence among health care workers, according to health officials. SFS will also continue to offer testing to approximately 100 homeless shelter residents each week.

Finally, the state department of health is donating another 1,000 test kits to emergency medical providers. 

King County remains the county with the highest number of deaths from coronavirus across the state. As of Thursday morning, there have been 242 deaths from coronavirus among 3,668 cases in King County alone. 

Unemployment benefit claims in Washington state

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in Washington state last week decreased 6.5% from the previous week, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

The latest numbers released by the ESD showed that 170,063 initial claims for unemployment were filed for the week of March 29-April 4. While the number of claims decreased from the previous week, the ESD said the number of initial claims filed was a 2,627% increase year-over-year.

During the week of March 29-April 4, the ESD said $79.4 million was paid to over 180,000 people across Washington. The state has paid out nearly $150 million in benefits to Washingtonians in the past three weeks.

"Although the number of initial claims is down slightly from last week, we need to be cautious that this does not yet depict a trend,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “As our ESD team works round the clock to make it easier for Washingtonians to apply for unemployment benefits in addition to implementing the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program which will increase the number of workers who are eligible for unemployment benefits, we expect to see a new surge of claims in the coming weeks.”

Click here to see the weekly unemployment initial claims charts.

Capitol Hill Block Party 2020 canceled

Organizers of this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party said the event is “unable to move forward as planned” due to COVID-19. Next year’s event will take place from July 23-25, 2021.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our community, artists, and attendees,” a post on the Capitol Hill Block Party Facebook page said.

Organizers said tickets for this year’s event will be honored next year, or you can contact Eventbrite and request a full refund.

Dr. Fauci: Don't expect virus to fade during warm weather 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says don’t assume the coronavirus will fade during warm weather.

Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” there’s precedent with other infections like influenza that “when the virus gets warmer that the virus goes down in its ability to replicate, to spread.”

But Fauci added “having said that, one should not assume that we are going to be rescued by a change in the weather. You must assume that the virus will continue to do its thing. If we get some help from the weather, so be it, fine. But I don’t think we need to assume that.”

He was asked about the New York Times story that research indicates the coronavirus that began circulating in New York in mid-February came mainly from Europe, not Asia.

“I think that’s probably correct,” Fauci said. He notes that “Europe became the epicenter pretty quickly after China really exploded with their cases.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation spring programs canceled

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) programs and activities scheduled between May 4 through June 20 have been canceled.

SPR said all rentals and permitted events remain canceled. All community centers, pools, environmental learning centers, and all other recreation facilities are closed to the public until at least May 4.

“We know that these continued facility closures and program cancellations create a significant burden to the many families who rely on SPR for places to gather and connect with friends, family, and community around health, wellness, educational, athletic, recreational, and environmental offerings,” said SPR Superintendent Jesús Aguirre.

Registration for summer programs and camps is still planned but may change if stay-at-home orders are extended.

Click here for more information.

Seattle University reschedules commencement

Seattle University announced that commencement weekend activities for the class of 2020 have been rescheduled to in-person events on October 9-11. Commencement weekend was originally scheduled for June 12-14. Specific times and locations have not been announced.

The university said the decision to postpone commencement was based on a survey sent to the last of 2020.

Rescheduling commencement will not impact students’ status as Seattle University graduates. The university said diplomas will be mailed to students.

“While we are all disappointed about the need for this year’s ceremony to take place a little later than any of us could have imagined, I appreciate your understanding and look forward to celebrating this wonderful moment with you,” said President Stephen V. Sundborg, SJ, in a letter to students.   

Seattle University also announced that all summer undergraduate courses will be held online. Summer graduate and intersession course decisions will be announced at a later date.

The School of Law, which is on a semester calendar, courses will be held online and begin June 1. The university said decisions relating to instruction in Law School courses beginning after June 15 will be made at a later date.

Washington State Parks reschedule April free days

Two Washington State Parks free days in April have been postponed due to coronavirus-related park closures. Two make up days for the missed April 11 and 22 free days will be announced later this year.

Washington state parks will remain closed through at least May 4 due to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

The remaining 2020 State Parks free days are:

  • Saturday, June 6 — National Trails Day
  • Sunday, June 7 — Free Fishing Day
  • Saturday, June 13 — National Get Outdoors Day
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
  • Friday, Nov. 27 — Autumn free day

Coronavirus likely to affect more Navy ships, general says

A top U.S. military leader said the Navy aircraft carrier sidelined in the Pacific with more than 400 crew members infected with coronavirus is unlikely to be the only deployed ship affected by the outbreak.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference that one sailor has been hospitalized in intensive care in Guam, where the USS Teddy Roosevelt has been docked for more than a week.

Hyten said another carrier, the USS Nimitz, which is in a U.S. port preparing for overseas deployment, has reported “a very small number” of cases on board.

The USS Nimitz is the oldest American aircraft carrier in active service and homeported at Naval Base Kitsap.

Lt. Rochelle Rieger of the 3rd Fleet told KING 5 there are no positive cases of COVID-19 onboard the USS Nimitz at this time. A sailor who was on leave in another state over two weeks ago tested positive for the virus, he has been in self-quarantine ever since and has not been back on the ship, Lt. Rieger said. 

Another sailor at the same time showed symptoms and was immediately removed from the ship. That sailor's test results came back "inconclusive," Lt. Rieger said, but as a precaution was treated as presumptively positive and has remained off the ship in self-quarantine.

Rieger said since April 1, no one on board the ship has shown symptoms. 

Over 16 million have sought US jobless aid since virus

With a startling 6.6 million people seeking jobless benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: Roughly one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks.

The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. They paint a picture of a job market that is quickly unraveling as businesses have shut down across the country because of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 20 million Americans may lose jobs this month.

All told, in the past three weeks, at least 16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid.

RELATED: Record 16.6 million have sought US jobless aid since virus

Bellevue doctor says COVID-19 cases leveling off

The director of emergency operations at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, the center of the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. six weeks ago, said it appears the crisis is leveling off.

"The initial tsunami came, and we kept looking for that next wave. And we keep looking each day. But each day you don’t see it," said Dr. Eric Shipley. "Three to four weeks ago I was 'cautiously optimistic.' Today, I am much more optimistic."

Dr. Shipley said ER visits are down 30%, and currently, there is plenty of room for other patients with non-coronavirus related ailments who appear to be avoiding the hospital for fear of COVID-19.

RELATED: Bellevue ER doctor: Coronavirus cases are leveling off

27 COVID-19 cases at King County homeless shelters

Homeless shelters in King County are reporting 27 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Human services is working to move anyone who needs to be quarantined out of the shelters and into hotels purchased or rented by King County.

As of Wednesday, 47 people were staying in King County isolation and quarantine facilities.  

Model: US projected peak to come Sunday 

There are 432,438 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 5 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 14,808 deaths and 24,125 recoveries.

A forecast model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which has been cited by the White House, now predicts the U.S. peak will come sooner and with fewer deaths.

IHME now predicts the highest number of deaths in one day in the U.S. will happen Sunday with a projected 2,212. But there are factors of uncertainty that could put that number as high as 5,000, and the model assumes social distancing measures continue to be practiced.

As recently as Monday, IHME predicted the peak day would come on April 16 with a number of deaths above 3,000.

The model still projects that the peak need for beds, ICU beds and ventilators will extend into next early next week, but the numbers are lower than previously forecast.

Worldwide, there are nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases with 88,538 deaths and 329,876 recoveries.

For most people, the new 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 and can lead to death.

Health officials warn: Don't let up on Easter 

World leaders and health experts are warning that hard-won gains in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing practices during Easter

 A spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and in India’s congested cities make it clear that the battle is far from over.

The warnings come even as the U.S. and some of the hardest-hit European countries are considering when to start easing restrictions.

The sharp rise in Japan is worrisome since it has the world’s oldest population. India is already under a lockdown but it took a further step to seal hot spots and not allow residents to leave.  

Wednesday, April 8:

Jobless claims report

The government is set to report another shocking level of unemployment claims Thursday even after nearly 10 million people applied for benefits in the previous two weeks because of business shutdowns from the coronavirus. 

The number will likely keep increasing, in part because many states are still clearing out backlogs of applications for unemployment aid. And with more companies running through their cash cushions as the virus-related shutdowns persist, they are resorting to layoffs to save money.

New rules adopted for graduating high school seniors 

The State Board of Education is implementing new rules to make sure high school seniors graduate on time this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this difficult time, our state’s students come first,” said State Board of Education Chair Peter Maier. “By adopting these rules, we considered the many high school students who otherwise would face great limitations due to this historic pandemic. These new rules give flexibility to let school districts support students now, while honoring the student work done before school buildings closed.”

The new rules allow public school districts, charter schools, and tribal compact schools approved by the Board to waive certain state graduation requirements for individual students. To be approved, districts must prove they made a “good faith effort” to give students ways to complete the credits they need for graduation. This waiver is supposed to act as an extra tool to make sure students are able to graduate.

Applications for the waiver should be available by April 15 and the board plans to have a special meeting on April 21 to review the first round of applications, according to a release from the State Board of Education.

New number to call for coronavirus information

The Washington State Department of Health has established a new number people can call to get the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus outbreak.

People can now call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. The call center will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. 

The state health department is partnering with Washington 211 to better assist people. Washington 211 service includes trained professionals who will be able to answer questions about COVID-19 symptoms, how to get tested, how to prevent the spread of the virus, who to contact for medical help, and forms to fill out if a person meets the exposure criteria and needs testing. 

Washington 211 will be replacing the health department's novel coronavirus call center. Callers can continue to dial 1-800-525-0127 and press # to be transferred to Washington 211. 

Coronavirus deaths increase in Washington state

The Washington State Department of Health confirmed Wednesday there have been 421 deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among 9,097 cases statewide. 

King County alone has reported 242 deaths from coronavirus among 3,668 cases. The county with the second-highest number of deaths is Snohomish County at 162 deaths among 1,651 total cases. 

UW 2020 commencement canceled amid coronavirus concerns

University of Washington students expected to graduate this summer won't be able to do it in person due to coronavirus concerns. 

In a letter to students and staff on Wednesday, President Ana Cauce said, "We all look forward each year to celebrating our graduates’ achievements and the great promise they bring to the world. Despite all our hopes to the contrary, it is now clear that in-person campus ceremonies in June won’t be possible."

Instead, UW plans to hold an interactive webcast on June 13, 2020, to honor graduates. All three UW campuses will participate in the webcast. UW is also inviting students from this year's commencement to take part and receive recognition at the 2021 commencement exercises for all three campuses. 

TSA airport screenings hit record low

The travel and airline industry took a massive economic hit due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as people across the country stick closer to home.

Sea-Tac International Airport spokesperson Perry Cooper said Wednesday this is normally a busy time of the year with spring break travel, but this year has seen a significant drop in passengers.

CenturyLink Event Center hospital being torn down 

The Army field hospital at the CenturyLink Field Event Center is being deployed to another state. 

After consulting with other officials, Gov. Jay Inslee's office announced the hospital is being returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so it can be used in a state with a more "significant need."

The field hospital was set to open this week in Seattle. Around 500 military medical personnel were assigned to the 250-bed field hospital that was meant to help treat non-coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and free up beds at area hospitals. 

Inslee's office points out that the state continues to bolster resources throughout the hospital and medical systems, which includes purchasing equipment in the event there is a surge in positive cases. 

“Don’t let this decision give you the impression that we are out of the woods. We have to keep our guard up and continue to stay home unless conducting essential activities to keep everyone healthy," Inslee said. "We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded with COVID-19 cases. But we haven’t beat this virus yet, and until we do, it has the potential to spread rapidly if we don’t continue the measures we’ve put in place."

16,000 apply for food stamps 

A total of 16,017 people submitted applications for food assistance during the week of March 30 across Washington state.

That's an increase of 2,419 over the previous week, when 13,598 applications were submitted - a decrease of 956 over the previous week.

The number of applications for food stamps has more than doubled since the beginning of March. There were a total of 7,777 applications submitted in the first week of the month.

Drive-up COVID-19 test site opening in Bremerton 

A drive-up site to test people for coronavirus is opening in Bremerton.

The initial priority is testing health care workers and first responders who are experiencing symptoms. 

Officials will reassess resources later this week and look to test people with symptoms who are 65 or older or have underlying medical conditions.

To be tested you must be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – typically a fever of at least 99.6 degrees, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. An online registration form must be completed.

“We are thankful that Kitsap County is receiving federal assets and expertise to increase our access to testing for individuals at highest risk for contracting COVID-19”, said Lis Klute, Director of Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management and member of Kitsap County’s multi-agency unified command for the local response to COVID-19. “We are working alongside the Kitsap Public Health District and our local, state and federal partners to make this happen.”  

The testing site is located at the Washington National Guard Armory (1211 Carver Street, in Bremerton) and opens at 10 a.m. Testing continues through Friday with appointments between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  

Redfin employees furloughed until Sept. 1 

Forty-one percent of Redfin agents are being furloughed along with other employees until Sept. 1., company CEO Glenn Kelman wrote in a blog post.

Additionally, some, including new hires, are being laid off.

The company's programmers are largely safe from the furlough, though there are a "small number of departures." Salaries are being cut by up to 15%.

Bonuses are being cancelled. 

Agents still working will receive a higher base salary this spring.

About 75% of those being furloughed will earn more from unemployment insurance than from Redfin as the number of people buying and selling homes drops. The estimate assumes each state opts into the CARES Act, and doesn't account for people who may not qualify. 

"The pandemic will end. Redfin, and our whole-hearted but still imperfect efforts to care for our employees, will endure. To those who have been asked to leave Redfin today, thank you. I can’t imagine the grief we’ve caused you. I’m sorry we let you down. We’ll fight like wild animals to bring everyone on furlough back," Kelman concluded. 

Care center opening in Tacoma 

A vacant motel in Tacoma will temporarily house people who have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19 and cannot self-quarantine or isolate in their own homes. 

The center opened Wednesday, April 8.

Guests must also meet further requirements. They must be able to perform daily activities without assistance; be deemed stable; and need a referral form from a physician, the health department, or first responders.

Community Transit reducing service further 

Beginning Monday, April 13, Community Transit in Snohomish County will further reduce service.

The new schedule will represent a reduction of about 30% of regular service. 

Last week, ridership was down 71% compared to a month prior. 

Changes include:

  • All trips on Route 247 (Stanwood to Boeing) will be canceled due to several days of no ridership.
  • The following routes will reduce to one trip in each direction due to very low ridership: Routes 107, 227, 412, 435 & 821.
  • Commuter service to downtown Seattle (Community Transit 400-series routes and all ST routes) will remain at current levels, except for Routes 412 and 435 mentioned above.
  • Commuter service to the University of Washington (Community Transit 800-series routes) will have substantial trip cuts due to low ridership.
  • Across routes, the span of service hours and frequency of trips will be reduced. There will be longer gaps between trips but the reduced service schedule should cut down on the number of unplanned daily canceled trips related to staffing levels.
  • Buses remain on regular schedule Saturday & Sunday.
  • In accordance with the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy emergency order, transit should be used for essential trips only.
  • Passengers should board and exit Community Transit buses through the rear doors only. The front door will remain accessible for ADA customers only. The front 10 feet of all buses will be available for bus drivers and ADA customers only.
  • Community Transit has suspended the collection of fares through April 30.

Further changes are expected and will be released here.

UW Medicine seeks volunteers for virus outbreak prediction app 

As the U.S. deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers are being sought nationwide to test a smartphone app with the hopes of turning it into a personal screener that could predict viral outbreaks. 

UW Medicine in Seattle is recruiting 25,000 people across the country to download and use the Health and Injury Prediction and Prevention Using Complex Reasoning and Analytic Techniques Integrated on a Cellphone (HIPPOCRATIC) App. A three-year study into the app was initially started to track the outbreak of the flu.

The app will collect information from four groups of participants over two years. UW Medicine says people will be recruited for 12 weeks at a time and asked to record their symptoms daily. The study says questions may include:

  • How difficult was it to fall and stay asleep last night?
  • What best describes your activity level yesterday?
  • Do you have a sore throat?

Those who are interested can enroll here.

RELATED: Smartphone app aimed at predicting virus outbreaks seeks volunteers

Washington spends $120 million budgeted for pandemic 

The state has distributed $120 million of the $200 million emergency coronavirus response money the state legislature approved earlier this year. 

The spending so far is as follows:

Gov. Jay Inslee said that lawmakers will “probably” be called back to Olympia if more money is needed before next January, when the next legislative session starts.

The latest COVID-19 numbers 

The U.S. will likely reach 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning was 399,929, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were 12,911 deaths, an increase of more than 1,900 than JHU reported a day earlier. There have been 22,539 recoveries.

For perspective, the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 20 in Snohomish County. It took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases on March 27. Five days later, the U.S. had 200,000 cases on April 1. It took three more days to reach 300,000 on April 4. Four days later, it's expected to reach 400,000.

Worldwide, JHU reports 1.44 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 82,992 deaths and 307,819 recoveries.

For most people, the new 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 death.


CDC may change guidelines for some exposed to virus 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.

The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, is considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday.

Under the proposed guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected would be allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said a person familiar with the proposal under consideration. The person described the proposal on the condition of anonymity because the draft had not been finalized.

RELATED: CDC looks at changing guidelines to get asymptomatic people back to work

Tuesday, April 7: 

More inmates test positive for COVID-19

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.

Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown

The last restrictions on movement have been lifted in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began. People are going outdoors and by the thousands boarded the first trains and planes leaving Wuhan.

Its unprecedented, 11-week lockdown has been a model for countries trying to stop the coronavirus.

Wuhan now begins another experiment: resuming business and ordinary life while preventing more illnesses. The city that had most of China's 82,000 cases still has measures in place like social distancing and temperature checks. And people leaving the city will face hurdles elsewhere, like 14-day quarantines at their destinations.

RELATED: Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown brought on by coronavirus pandemic

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