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Coronavirus updates for Washington: June 19-21

Find developments on Washington's coronavirus outbreak and the state's plan for recovery.

Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from June 19-21, 2020.

Click here for the latest updates from KING 5.

Key facts:

  • Masks are now required when in public in Yakima County due to rising cases.
  • King County approved for Phase 2 of reopening.
  • 5 new deaths and 455 new cases reported Sunday in Washington.
  • TOTAL: 1,270 deaths among 28,680 overall cases in Washington state.
  • 474,938 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.

VIEW | More coronavirus coverage from KING 5

Sunday, June 21: 

2nd wave of virus cases? Experts say we're still in the 1st

Public health experts say the U.S. may not be experiencing a “second wave” of coronavirus cases, because the first wave isn't over yet. Scientists generally agree the nation is still in its first wave of coronavirus infections, albeit one that’s dipping in some parts of the country while rising in others. 

Many experts say a recent surge in cases and hospitalizations in the South and West is concerning. Some also are worried that a more substantial wave of cases may be looming in the fall or winter.  

--The Associated Press

Coronavirus pandemic impacting aviation industry jobs

Job losses in Washington state’s aviation sector are increasing as the coronavirus pandemic continues. 

The Seattle Times reports Swissport, which provides ground handling and fueling services for airlines, is laying off almost 300 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with 131 labeled as permanent. Toray Composites America announced 146 layoffs at its Frederickson plant near Tacoma, which has a workforce of roughly 600. The company supplies Boeing with the carbon fiber material for its composite airplane structures on the 787 and 777. 

Boeing plans to cut almost 10,000 jobs. While some of those cuts will be achieved through voluntary buyouts and retirements, the jet maker has issued July 31 layoff notices to 5,798 workers. 

--The Associated Press

New coronavirus numbers for Washington Sunday 

The Washington Department of Health reported five new deaths from coronavirus among 455 new cases as of Sunday. It brings to the total number of deaths to 1,270 out of 28,680 overall cases statewide. 

A total of 474,938 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.

Saturday, June 20: 

Governor Inslee to mandate face masks in public in Yakima County to help limit spread of COVID-19

Gov. Jay Inslee said he will mandate people in Yakima County to wear face masks to help limit the spread of coronavirus. Businesses will also be required to turn away customers who are not wearing masks. 

“This is a legal requirement, not just a suggestion,” said Gov. Inslee during a press briefing Saturday.

The governor’s order will be established in the coming days to give county leaders time to plan. The order is in response to Yakima County having the second-highest total of coronavirus cases in the state after the much larger King County. 

Yakima County has 250,000 residents and as of Saturday has recorded 5,915 cases of COVID-19 and 131 deaths. 

Gov. Inslee and health experts on Saturday said if changes are not made, they project the number of COVID-19 cases in Yakima County will double in the next two weeks. 

“This is a real threat and we need all leaders of every party to speak up against this and get in touch with the reality that we face,” said Gov. Inslee. 

Earlier this week, the governor said residents in Yakima County must do more to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

"Right now the valley is, unfortunately, the epicenter of this earthquake of this virus,” said Gov. Inslee during a press briefing this week.

On Friday, hospitals in Yakima County reported being beyond capacity with sick patients. 

Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima, which holds more than 200 beds, had none available as of Thursday night, intensive care or otherwise, the Yakima Health District said in a statement late Friday.

Gov. Inslee said Saturday some patients from Yakima County are now being transferred to Seattle-area hospitals for treatment. 

RELATED: Gov. Jay Inslee calls Yakima Valley 'epicenter' of state's current COVID-19 outbreak

New Washington coronavirus numbers Saturday 

The Washington Department of Health reported 10 new deaths from coronavirus among 624 new cases as of Saturday. It brings the total to 1,265 deaths among 28,225 overall cases statewide. 

A total of 466,069 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 6.1% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

New guidelines issued for weddings and funeral services during coronavirus pandemic 

Gov. Jay Inslee released new guidelines this week for weddings and funeral services during the coronavirus pandemic. They are similar to the guidelines set out for religious services.

Under Phase 2 guidelines of the state's Safe Start reopening plan, people are allowed to hold an indoor event at 25% capacity and everyone must be socially distancing.

For food at a wedding or funeral, venues must follow guidelines already in place for dine-in restaurants and bars, Inslee said.

For example, tables can have a maximum of five guests and must be spaced apart, and buffets and salad bars are not allowed.

Health care workers account for the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Washington 

The health care field was the most common industry associated with coronavirus cases, according to a report issued by the state Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Industries.

The state looked at more than 7,200 cases where occupations of the patients were known, according to the report. About 37% of those cases were health care workers and people who provide health care support. The second most common occupation was the manufacturing industry, according to the report.

The state report pointed out that the report reflects people's occupations, but not how or where the people were infected. Also, health care workers have been a priority testing group since the start of the pandemic, which could skew the numbers.

The report is available online.

Friday, June 19:

Yakima County cases exceed hospital capacity

Hospitals in Yakima County — which has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Washington state — are beyond capacity with sick patients.

Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima, which holds more than 200 beds, had none available as of Thursday night, intensive care or otherwise, the Yakima Health District said in a statement late Friday.

The Seattle Times reports at least 17 patients had already been transferred out of the county. That leaves a total of 61 individuals in hospital beds with positive COVID-19 diagnoses, the county’s highest to date.

Yakima County remains Washington state’s hot spot for the virus. The county now represents 22% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Washington (61 of 242 cases), a higher tally than King County.

New Washington coronavirus numbers Friday

The Washington State Department of Health reported 10 new deaths among 409 new coronavirus cases as of Friday. It brings the total to 1,255 deaths from coronavirus among 27,601 overall cases in Washington. 

A total of 455,941 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 6.1% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

Seattle Public Schools expected to release fall plan

Seattle Public Schools could announce today whether to continue with remote learning in the fall or have a mix of virtual and in-person classes.

SPS began a three-week project this week aiming to create an adaptable plan for the 2020-21 school year.

The project is called “Learning Plan – Returning to School Fall 2020” and is comprised of four engagement teams. The district said the teams will consider and discuss “a wide range of factors” over seven meetings between June 4-16.

SPS said the engagement teams explored the following three scenarios:

  • Pre-kindergarten to 5th-grade students attend school in-person full-time; students in grades 6-12 on an A/B schedule receive part in-person learning and part remote learning.
  • PK through 12th-grade students on an A/B schedule receive part in-person learning and part remote learning.
  • 100% remote learning.

King County moves to Phase 2 of reopening 

King County's application to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's "Safe Start" plan was approved Friday. 

Restaurants can have 50% occupancy. In-store retail is allowed, but customer occupancy there would be restricted to 30% of the building's capacity. Staffed indoor fitness studios can reopen with five participants or fewer. That's just a few of the examples of what Phase 2 brings.

RELATED: King County moves to Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery

The approval comes after King County began offering free or low-cost coronavirus testing and plans to distribute millions of face masks in the coming months.

In addition, Island, Lewis, and Mason counties have moved on to Phase 3. 

A total of three counties are in Phase 1, two are in a modified version of Phase 1, 19 are in Phase 2, and 15 are in Phase 3. 

RELATED: Reopening Washington: Look up the phase of your county

First Washington State Department of Corrections inmate dies of coronavirus

The Washington State Department of Corrections reported on Thursday that a 63-year-old male inmate died of coronavirus, the first state inmate to die from the virus.

According to the DOC, 63-year-old Victor Bueno died of coronavirus on Wednesday after initially being taken to a hospital on May 31. Bueno was an inmate at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, according to the department.

The DOC reports Bueno was most recently admitted to the state’s correctional system on Sept. 28, 2017 for a protection order violation out of Kitsap County. His estimated release date had been Sept. 19, 2020.

Coyote Ridge recently places its Medium Security Complex under restricted movement protocols as coronavirus cases topped 100 in total. As of today, there are 38 confirmed cases among staff and 91 among inmates.

The DOC said "access to outside medical resources in the community is limited to a team of volunteer EMS professionals and hospitals more than one hour away."

RELATED: First Washington State Department of Corrections inmate dies of coronavirus

Canada closes Peace Arch park, where international reunions dodged COVID border closure

British Columbia has temporarily closed a park where American and Canadian friends and families have been able to reunite despite the U.S.-Canada border closure, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities said Thursday that Peace Arch Provincial Park in Surrey, British Columbia, had become too crowded, raising concerns about traffic and public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

The park is adjacent to a similar park in Washington state. Visitors from both sides are allowed to cross the border without showing passports. With the border closed to nonessential travel due to coronavirus, the park has been one of the only options for separated friends and families to see each other. Some cross-border couples have even had their weddings there.

RELATED: Canada eases coronavirus border restriction, allows immediate family in

View previous coronavirus updates for Washington here