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What you need to know about coronavirus Friday, July 31

Find developments on the coronavirus pandemic and the plan for recovery in the U.S. and Washington state.
  • 818 new cases reported Wednesday, along with 9 new deaths, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Total: 1,564 deaths among 55,803 overall cases in Washington state.
  • 973,654 people in Washington have taken a coronavirus test, and 5.7% of those tests were positive.

Department of Health statistics delayed by outage

A reporting system outage means the Department of Health's coronavirus case reports and updates to its data dashboard will be delayed, the agency reported.

The agency also said it anticipated that negative test reports will be behind for a few days, impacting the positive test data. Data dashboard visualizations will be impacted for a short time.

Reporting is expected to be back to normal by early next week.

Some downtown Seattle businesses struggle as major companies extend working-from-home

Over the past few weeks, a number of Seattle companies announced extended periods of working from home because of COVID-19. The change is having an impact on small businesses in downtown Seattle.

Olga Sagan owns Piroshky Piroshky Bakery with locations downtown where the commercial core has been pretty quiet.

"It definitely feels harder every single day to go out there and turn on the lights," Sagan said.

Companies like Amazon are offering a work from home option for eligible employees until next year. Some King County employees can telework until 2021. Google is extending a work-from-home option until next summer.

Zillow, with its headquarters in Seattle, is offering most employees the flexibility to work from home indefinitely, saying their teams have found creative ways to work together remotely.

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'Unclear' how long pandemic lasts

There’s no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top government health experts will tell Congress on Friday.

“While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time,” Fauci, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir say in prepared testimony for a special House panel investigating the pandemic.

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Coronavirus stimulus checks sent to dead people need to be returned, IRS says

If you happened to get a coronavirus stimulus check made out to a deceased relative, the government expects that money back. 

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that those who got money on behalf of a person who has died should return the funds to the IRS. 

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US invests another $2.1 billion into a potential COVID-19 vaccine

Pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur have announced they will supply 100 million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to the United States as governments buy up supplies in hopes something will work.

The United States will pay up to $2.1 billion “for development including clinical trials, manufacturing, scale-up and delivery of its vaccine,'' the companies said in a statement. Sanofi will get the bulk of the funds.

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Washington community of Point Roberts faces unique isolation as US/Canada border closure continues

Point Roberts has the distinction of being the only part of Washington state that is reachable only by land through Canada.

But the border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic has isolated this community from the rest of Whatcom County and Washington state, as residents have to face two border crossings to get basic needs met, such as medical care.

Local, state and federal leaders had been looking into a plane or a ferry to connect the enclave to the rest of Washington state, but those talks fell through.

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