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5 things you need to know this Wednesday

Washington fully reopens Wednesday; Revitalizing downtown Seattle; King County heat-related deaths; Bird die off in Seattle due to heat wave; Bloodworks NW in need.

Washington reopens Wednesday, ending more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions

Washington state fully reopened Wednesday following more than a year of closures and limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means all businesses will be able to return to normal capacity and operations. The state will continue to follow mask guidance put out by the CDC.

The only limitation that will still apply after Wednesday's reopening applies to large indoor events, which are defined as any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an enclosed space. The state will still restrict these events to 75% capacity unless all attendees are vaccinated. Read more

Durkan proposes loosening rules for new downtown Seattle businesses to help recovery

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday a proposal she hopes will help the downtown recover faster from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Durkan’s proposal to the Seattle City Council consists of loosening some limitations and restrictions on new businesses in an effort to fill the hundreds of storefronts that remain empty because of the pandemic.

The proposal is that for one year, the city would allow permit applications for new businesses that offer services and activities not typically considered for storefront space downtown, such as medical offices, gyms and art installations. Read more

Two die in King County from heat-related illnesses during historic heat wave

Two people in King County died from heat-related illnesses during western Washington's historic heat wave, and a third person drowned, according to the King County Medical Examiner's Office on Tuesday.

Monday was the hottest day of the heat wave, with Seattle setting a new all-time record high temperature of 108 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

On Monday, there were 223 emergency department visits for heat-related illness among King County residents, which represented about 10% of all emergency department visits for that day, health officials reported. Read more

Mass bird death event in Seattle attributed to record heat Monday

State wildlife officials are monitoring a colony of Caspian Terns on an industrial building in Seattle, after extreme heat appears to have prompted the death of dozens of the seabirds.

Investigators with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) believe Monday’s record high temperatures led dozens of juvenile terns to flee rooftop nests for cooler shelter. But since the young birds can’t yet fly, they plunged to the pavement below, risking injury or death. Read more

Bloodworks Northwest in dire need after donors cancel appointments in heat wave

The excessive heat this week has led the blood supply in western Washington to drop to emergency levels.

“We lost about 25% of our expected donations in just 24 hours due to the heat and that really puts us in a tough situation," said Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, the chief medical officer for Bloodworks Northwest.

Blood shortages can lead to the cancellation or postponement of surgeries and transplants. Bloodworks Northwest is now asking for anyone who is able to consider making a donation. Read more

Also see: Seattle local forecast

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