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Coronavirus in Washington: Updates from June 11-14

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 11-14, 2020.

Click here for the latest updates from KING 5.

Key facts:

  • Ten of Washington's 39 counties are in Phase 3 of reopening.
  • 4 new deaths among 296 new cases reported Sunday in Washington.
  • TOTAL: 1,217 deaths among 25,834 overall cases in Washington state.
  • 462,602 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.6% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

VIEW | More coronavirus coverage from KING 5

Sunday, June 14:

New coronavirus cases 

Four new deaths among 296 new cases reported Sunday in Washington.  

A total of 1,217 deaths among 25,834 overall cases were reported in the state. 

462,602 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.6% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

There have been 3,856 hospitalizations, according to the DOH.

Lyme disease symptoms can be mistaken for COVID-19

With more people outside enjoying nature and possibly exposing themselves to ticks, health experts are warning of possible overlap between the symptoms of COVID-19 and Lyme Disease.

But can you get diagnosed with COVID-19 instead of Lyme disease and vice versa?

Experts say, yes, you could, as both have similar symptoms. Evidence and experts suggest patients should get tested for other conditions when presenting any of the symptoms. The experts that the VERIFY team contacted said getting the correct diagnosis in a timely manner is important as Lyme Disease can have serious effects if it's not caught early on.

A spokesperson with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained to the VERIFY team that Lyme disease shares some general “flu-like” symptoms with COVID-19 including "fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and headaches"

“But," they added, "there are key symptoms of Lyme disease that help distinguish it from other illnesses, most commonly the erythema migrans rash (commonly known as a bull’s-eye rash) which occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of people with Lyme disease.” 

The CDC representative explained that other Lyme Disease symptoms include facial palsy, arthritis in large joints and irregular heartbeat. “Tick-born diseases are not likely to cause the type of respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as cough, congestion, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell,” they wrote. 

According to Dr. John Aucott, Director of the John Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, the overlap of Lyme Disease season with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could lead people to self-diagnose incorrectly. “We’re currently on tick season," he said, "which means that Lyme being also a seasonal disease is currently overlapping COVID-19. Testing is fundamental, especially when Lyme usually tests positive later than the incubation period for COVID-19.”

While some COVID-19 cases can be mild, it's important to get checked out if you think there's a chance it could be Lyme Disease instead.

Saturday, June 13:

Over 100 COVID-19 cases reported at Washington state prison

The Washington State Department of Corrections says a prison is restricting movement at its medium-security unit after more than 100 officers and inmates tested positive for COVID-19. 

Coyote Ridge Corrections Center has confirmed more than half of its inmates at the facility are in quarantine because of potential exposure. Department officials say the announcement came after 30 corrections officers and 71 inmates tested positive. Another 33 people exhibited potential symptoms. 

The Connell-based prison has minimum and medium-security units but only the medium-security unit is on restricted movement.

The latest coronavirus numbers for Washington state

The Washington Department of Health reported 9 new deaths from coronavirus among 367 new cases as of Saturday. It brings the total to 1,213 deaths among 25,538 overall cases statewide. 

A total of 450,146 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.7% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

New report shows COVID-19 activity increasing in Washington state

New data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shows COVID-19 infections are increasing in the state, particularly in eastern Washington and with a possible uptick in western Washington.

The latest statewide situation report released Saturday says there is a concern for Benton, Franklin, Spokane, and Yakima counties. All those counties are still in Phase 1 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, except for Spokane, which is in Phase 2.

According to the report, experts estimate COVID-19 could spread dramatically in those areas.

“Current transmission levels will likely lead to increasingly explosive growth in cases and deaths if not contained, and local prevalence will likely soon exceed the peak reached in King County in late March,” the report said.

Gov. Inslee addressed the new report on Saturday, saying this is a reminder that the coronavirus remains in our state and Washingtonians need to stay vigilant.

“To continue tackling this virus, we must increase testing and mask-wearing, and maintain physical distancing and hospital capacity, as well as target interventions for high-risk populations such as long-term care facilities and indoors, including close proximity workplace operations, such as food processing and agricultural housing,” said Gov. Inslee in a statement. “This is not the time to give up on efforts to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are still in the middle of a pandemic that is continuing to infect and kill Washingtonians.”

While eastern Washington remains of greater concern for COVID-19 activity, according to the report, experts are now seeing small increases in western Washington as well.

The report findings include possible transmission increases over Memorial Day weekend for western Washington but does not include increases that may have occurred following recent protests.

State and local health officials have encouraged anyone who has participated in large protests over the last few weeks to get tested for COVID-19, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.

RELATED: Seattle opens 2 new free coronavirus testing sites

Whatcom County investigates COVID-19 spread after large private gatherings 

The Whatcom County Health Department is investigating a series of coronavirus cases related to large private and recreational social gatherings in late May. 

These events took place in Whatcom County during Gov. Inslee's 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' order and while Whatcom County was still in Phase 1 of reopening, which had no allowances for gatherings. 

According to the Whatcom County Health Department, "Attendees of these gatherings in public places and parties hosted at private residences have since been diagnosed with COVID-19. Preliminary investigations have determined close contacts of party-goers have also become infected with the illness. Disease investigations are ongoing."

Health officials did not report how many cases of COVID-19 stemmed from these gatherings, but they defined an outbreak as, "Two or more cases of COVID-19 among individuals who were exposed to the virus from the same source, such as at a workplace or informal gathering."

Friday, June 12:

Grays Harbor applies for Phase 3 of reopening 

Health officials in Grays Harbor submitted an application Friday to apply for Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee's 'Safe Start' plan to reopen Washington. 

Ten of Washington's 39 counties have already entered Phase 3. 

In Phase 3, group sizes can expand to 50 people or fewer. Non-essential travel may resume. Restaurants could increase capacity to 75% capacity and bars can open to 25%. Gyms, recreational facilities, like pools, and movie theaters could reopen at 50% capacity. Libraries, museums, and government buildings could also reopen.

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

New Washington cases on Friday June 12

  • 10 new deaths among 392 new cases reported Friday in Washington.
  • TOTAL: 1,204 deaths among 25,171 overall cases in Washington state.
  • 439,862 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.7% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

Gyms that defied stay home order resolve cases with state, agree to abide by the order

Northwest Fitness of Puyallup and Power Alley Fitness of Arlington have resolved their lawsuits filed against them by Attorney General Bob Ferguson's after they opened their gyms despite the state's stay home order, Ferguson's office announced Friday.

The two gyms signed legally binding agreements to only operate their gyms in full compliance with the governor’s proclamations, according to the announcement.

The agreement for Northwest Fitness can be found here. The agreement for Power Alley Fitness can be found here

When he opened, PA Fitness owner Michael Jellison told KING 5 that gyms should be considered an "essential service." 

“Health, fitness, mental health is important. It’s essential,” said Jellison. “Regardless of what anybody says, it’s essential. The president of the United States stated that it was essential in one of his briefings, Phase 1. We were disregarded in the state, even though we have one of four states in the United States that have the ability to open.” 

RELATED: Arlington, Puyallup gyms close after facing lawsuit for defying Washington's stay-home orders

RELATED: Arlington gym opens in protest of Washington’s stay-home order

RELATED: Puyallup gym protests stay-home order, invites members to work out and 'exercise your rights'

Poll: Americans maintain virus precautions as states reopen

Most Americans say they are wearing masks. They are still by and large avoiding restaurants. And the vast majority are still staying at least six feet from others. A new poll finds most Americans aren't ready to abandon precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus, even as states and metropolitan areas relax restrictions.

The findings come from the third COVID Impact Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the Data Foundation. The survey finds 90% of Americans report wearing a mask, and most are postponing social activities, avoiding crowds and avoiding contact with high-risk people.

But Americans weren't as committed to the idea of using an app or website to help identify or track infections. Public health officials say it’s important to remain vigilant.

Health officials ask protesters to wear masks

Public Health - Seattle & King County is asking protesters to wear a masks that fully covers their nose, mouth, and chin to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The county says people older than 60 and anyone with an underlying health condition should consider avoiding protests and take action in other ways.

Though healthcare workers have warned against large gatherings due to the potential spread of coronavirus. Even though many protesters wear face masks, maintaining a six-foot “social distance” in a crowd is impossible at times.

Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, the Public Health officer for Seattle King County Public Health, responded to KING 5 questions via email about the spread and protests. He said, in part, “It is not possible to predict precisely what the risk would be at a protest march where the participants don’t resemble the underlying population or necessarily come from King County.”

Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines, are considered to be particularly vulnerable to the pandemic's economic shockwaves with lockdowns severely curtailing activity.

“The pandemic is fast becoming an economic crisis for developing countries,” said Andy Sumner, a professor of international development at King’s College London and one of the report's co-authors.

Because millions of people live just above the poverty line, they are in a precarious position as the economic shock of the pandemic plays out. In a worst case scenario, the number of people in extreme poverty - defined as earning under $1.90 a day - is forecast to rise from about 700 million to 1.1 billion, according to the report, which was published by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research.

Global poverty surging 

Global poverty is set to rise above 1 billion people once again as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which is reducing the income of the world's poorest by $500 million a day, according to new research published Friday.

The research by King's College London and the Australian National University points to poverty increasing dramatically in middle-income developing countries, where millions of people live just above the poverty line.

New model predicts powerful second wave of COVID-19 in September

Experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington are predicting a powerful second wave of the coronavirus that could lead to tens of thousands of new deaths from COVID-19. 

The IHME predicts the second wave will start September 15. 

The predictions estimate nationwide deaths will reach 169,890 by October 1, which is an increase of about 60,000 from today. The prediction has a possible range between 133,201 and 290,222 deaths. 

"Deaths nationwide are predicted to remain fairly level through August and begin to rise again in the fourth week of August with a more pronounced increase during September, although some states will see the increase earlier due to increased mobility and relaxation of social distancing mandates," according to a release from IHME.

In Washington state, experts predict about 1,400 total deaths, which is about 300 more than the state has right now.

See previous coronavirus updates for Washington state here

Thursday, June 11:

The latest coronavirus numbers in Washington state

The Washington Department of Health reported 4 new deaths among 137 new cases Thursday in Washington. It brings to the total to 1,194 deaths among 24,779 overall cases statewide. 

A total of 425,212 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.8% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits continue to drop

During the week of May 31 to June 6, the number of initial regular unemployment claims dropped by 4.8% when compared to the previous week. 

There were 29,713 initial claims, and 729,053 total claims for all benefit categories, a decrease of 45,906 from the previous week, according to the state Employment Security Department (ESD).

The ESD believes the continued decline is due to a variety of reasons, including fraud prevention and more people going back to work as counties reopen some industry sectors.

ESD said over $545.3 million was paid out for 420,772 individual claims.

1.5 million more laid-off workers seek unemployment benefits

About 1.5 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that many Americans are still losing their jobs even as the economy appears to be slowly recovering with more businesses partially reopening.

The latest figure from the Labor Department marked the 10th straight weekly decline in applications for jobless aid since they peaked in mid-March when the coronavirus hit hard. Still, the pace of layoffs remains historically high.

The total number of people who are receiving unemployment aid fell slightly, a sign that some people who were laid off when restaurants, retail chains, and small businesses suddenly shut down have been recalled to work.

RELATED: 1.5 million more laid-off workers seek unemployment benefits

Three counties move into next phases of 'Safe Start Washington' reopening plan

Chelan and Douglas counties are approved to move into a modified version of Phase 1 and Asotin County is approved to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3, according to the state Department of Health.

A total of three counties are in Phase 1, three counties are in a modified version of Phase 1, 24 counties are in Phase 2 and nine counties are in Phase 3.

Benton and Franklin counties have applied to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and Skamania County has applied to move from Phase 2 to 3. These applications are currently under review by the department. 

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

US expands virus testing of detained migrants amid criticism

U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement said it's expanding coronavirus testing at detention facilities. The move follows weeks of criticism that the agency's response to the outbreak has been inadequate.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Wednesday that it now offers voluntary COVID-19 tests to people held at detention facilities in Tacoma, Washington, and Aurora, Colorado.

It has tested 80% of the 570 people held at the Washington facility and one person tested positive.

Members of Congress and immigrant advocates have criticized the agency for insufficient measures to test and control the virus among detainees. The agency reports 788 active cases among the nearly 25,000 people it has in custody in about 200 facilities.

Coronavirus: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

See previous coronavirus updates for Washington state here