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5 things you need to know this Wednesday

Concerns over COVID cases; How to stay out of the hospital; Testing sites shut down; Sea-Tac delays continue; New Mary's Place shelter opens.

Health secretary worries winter weather could cause COVID case spike

Washington State Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shaw is concerned about what impact the recent winter storms might have on the state’s COVID-19 caseload.

Shah said as long as it’s safe, someone can drive out of their area to get a test if they are concerned about a recent exposure or symptoms.

Otherwise, Shah said, those concerned about possibly having COVID should isolate at home or at least wear masks around others.

“I think the weather has thrown a wrench into things. But remember, this weather is going to pass,” said Shah. “This is really important for us to just keep all those tools in mind, especially as we get to New Year's.” Read more

Test positive for COVID? Here’s how to stay out of the hospital

The COVID-19 omicron variant has burst into western Washington in the last few weeks, setting the region up to end the year with new daily case rate records.

The latest data from the Washington State Department of Health shows that the state hit a record number of new daily COVID-19 cases on Christmas Eve with 6,235. The previous record was 5,526 new cases on Dec. 7, 2020.

Here’s what health officials recommend to handle illness at home. Read more

COVID-19 testing sites shut down due to winter weather

Snow and frigid temperatures forced many COVID-19 testing sites to close and cancel hundreds of appointments in western Washington.

Public Health – Seattle & King County temporarily closed some COVID testing sites through at least December 28, citing winter weather conditions that made it unsafe for staff to get to those locations. The health department said nine testing sites were closed Tuesday due to winter weather. Read more

Delays, cancelations continue at Sea-Tac Airport amid holiday travel surge

Travelers continue to deal with flight delays and cancellations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as the region prepares for another winter storm.

There were at least 53 delays and 180 cancellations at Sea-Tac Airport by 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight data. On Monday, there were a total of 591 delays and 279 cancellations, and at least 251 cancellations Tuesday, according to FlightAware.

Kate Hudson, airport communications manager at Sea-Tac, said a combination of a surge in holiday travel, winter weather challenges and airline staffing issues are the main causes of the disruptions. Read more

Newest Mary's Place shelter opens amid cold snap

Seattle nonprofit Mary’s Place activated its latest of five emergency shelters in King County to keep more families together and inside when they have no place else to go.

The emergency shelter opened in Bellevue this week and is already home to several guests as volunteers work to set up the 90-plus rooms with new beds.

The shelter opened just in time amid a cold snap in the Pacific Northwest. Read more  

Also see: Seattle local forecast

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