Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Friday as the events unfolded. Extended coverage of the outbreak of a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2; the illness it causes, COVID-19; and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world can be found here.
Newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, continue to pop up around the Puget Sound region. In total, 15 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease.
Throughout Friday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Thursday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
First COVID-19 case reported in Clark County
A man in Clark County has tested positive for COVID-19, public health officials said Friday night. The case is the first in the southwestern Washington county.
The man, who is in his 70s, has been in isolation, according to Clark County Public Health. Seven other people in Clark County are awaiting test results and five more are recent travelers who are under public health supervision.
Parent of Shoreline elementary school student tests positive for COVID-19
The Shoreline School District announced Friday evening that an Echo Lake Elementary School parent tested positive for COVID-19.
The parent visited the elementary school on Tuesday for parent-teacher conferences and met with two teachers, according to an email sent to the Shoreline public school community. Both teachers have been notified and asked to stay home for the next two weeks.
Facilities teams cleaned Echo Lake on Tuesday evening. The school will be closed Monday for additional cleaning, though all other Shoreline public schools will stay open, the email said.
The affected parent also briefly entered the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center on Tuesday during pick-up and drop-off, though the school district's statement said it doesn't appear the parent was in close contact with anyone there.
Staff also cleaned Edwin Pratt on Friday evening. The center will be open and on its regular schedule Monday.
Seattle health care providers scramble to ration medical supplies as coronavirus cases climb
Less than a week after cases of COVID-19 took off in the Seattle area, health care providers say some supplies are growing scarce, threatening to further stress a system already scrambling to control the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The supply shortages highlight what health experts identify as COVID-19’s threat: That regional surges of medical needs stress a nationwide medical system that experts say operates close to capacity even when there’s not a crisis.
Read the full story here.
Coronavirus costs Washington State Convention Center three major events
The coronavirus outbreak has now cost Seattle three major events that had been scheduled for the Washington State Convention Center.
Friday afternoon, center officials announced the cancellations of annual meetings for both the Academy of Osseointegration, scheduled for March 18-21, and the Society of Interventional Radiology, scheduled for March 28-April 2. Both organizations cited concerns over potential transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus.
Friday’s cancellations came just hours after organizers of Emerald City Comic Con postponed the annual comic book and pop culture gathering, which was slated to run March 12-15, amid similar concerns.
The cancellations and postponement represent a significant economic loss for the downtown hospitality sector, which has already been hit by a wave of cancellations since the deaths last week of Seattle-area residents from the coronavirus outbreak, the first in the U.S.
ECCC was expected to bring some $12 million in business to 15 area hotels, along with restaurants and other business, said Tom Norwalk, president and CEO of Visit Seattle, which promotes the city. The Society of Interventional Radiology Society meeting was expected to brings $13 million in business, said Norwalk, adding that he expects more cancellations “as more cases are diagnosed.” Seattle’s tourism business, he said, “is in for a tough time.”
Florida Department of Health confirms two coronavirus deaths
Two people in Florida have died from COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health announced Friday. Both people who died were in their 70s and had traveled internationally.
The two deaths are the United States' first outside Washington and California.
Clinical trials for a new coronavirus vaccine approved at a Seattle research institute
The clinical trial for a novel coronavirus vaccine at a Seattle research facility has been approved, and people are being recruited to register as test subjects.
Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute were cleared on Monday to begin a clinical trial and have begun recruiting potential trial volunteers.
Researchers are looking for 45 people between the ages of 18 and 55.
Read the full story here.
Court denies Kent’s attempt to block coronavirus quarantine site
KENT — A King County court commissioner denied the City of Kent’s attempt late Friday to block King County from using a vacant motel here as an emergency quarantine facility for people exposed to or potentially infected with novel coronavirus.
Superior Court Commissioner Mark Hillman’s ruling clears the way for 10 potentially infected Kirkland firefighters to move into the Econo Lodge on Central Avenue immediately and stay there until Wednesday.
Read the full story here.
Starbucks announces first employee case of COVID-19
Starbucks closed its 1st & University store in downtown Seattle on Thursday after learning that one of the store's 13 employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the company announced Friday. It's the first COVID-19 diagnosis of a Starbucks employee in the United States and the first coronavirus-related closure of an American Starbucks, a spokesperson said Friday.
The 1st & University location, a Starbucks "reserve" store near the Seattle Art Museum, was subjected to a deep cleaning overnight and is scheduled to reopen Sunday with staff from other Starbucks locations "who have no known impact from COVID-19," said Reggie Borges, a company spokesperson.
All 13 employees have been placed on 14-day paid quarantines as recommended under guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Seattle and King County public health authorities, Borges said. Each employee's quarantine period is based on their date of exposure, he said.
The store's staff faced a higher risk because of prolonged exposure "with that particular partner," said Borges, adding that any customers of the location who had concerns or had experienced symptoms "should follow those guidelines from King County public health and go to a medical professional."
In a Friday post, Starbucks said the closure and cleaning were all conducted under guidelines from the City of Seattle and King County public health authorities. The company said city and county officials "encouraged us to reopen the store after further preventative cleaning, which we have already conducted."
Could coronavirus force the Mariners to play their season-opening homestand outside Seattle?
The Mariners open the 2020 season March 26 against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park. With each day of new confirmed cases in the area and the increased measures to stop the spread, it seems like playing that game might be in jeopardy.
The Mariners released a statement this week saying they expect to play baseball March 26:
“The health and well-being of our fans and employees is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with local public health authorities. Right now, public health officials are not advising the postponement or cancellation of public events. We fully expect to play baseball at T-Mobile Park beginning March 26. Currently, we are following guidance from public health authorities and our medical staff to provide training and resources to safeguard the health and well-being of our staff and provide a safe and sanitary facility for the start of the season in four weeks. This is an evolving situation and we’ll continue to keep fans updated by email, social media and our website.”
Read the full story here.
Here's how Northshore and Edmonds school districts are handling sports schedules amid outbreak
With all Northshore School District facilities closed through at least March 19, what about high-school spring sports, which began practicing Monday?
‘Luckily, spring sports is primarily an outside endeavor," Northshore communications director Lisa Youngblood Hall said in a statement Friday.
The Edmonds School District announced Friday that it is canceling all high-school sporting events through April 12. Teams will continue to practice.
Read the full story here.
Nursing home, retirement community in Seattle area each report new coronavirus cases
A nursing home and a retirement community in the Seattle area announced on Friday cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, which is particularly dangerous for older patients.
Ida Culver House Ravenna, a retirement community in Northeast Seattle, and Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility, each said a single resident had been hospitalized and that access to their campuses was restricted as a precaution.
Read the full story here.
How Seattle area senior centers are coping with the novel coronavirus outbreak
As officials seek to control the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, facilities that primarily serve people over the age of 60 — who public health leaders say are particularly vulnerable — are taking special caution.
- The Northshore Senior Center in Bothell has closed its facilities until further notice.
- The Senior Center of West Seattle is closing for all “non-essential programs.”
- The International Drop-in Center in Beacon Hill is closing for one week, and will re-evaluate next Friday.
- The Ballard NW Senior Center is canceling some programs.
- The Southeast Seattle Senior Center in Rainier Valley is modifying some services and "forgoing hugs."
But for the Pike Market Senior Center, closing their doors could affect members who rely on the center for what could be their only nutritious meal of the day.
“It’s really hard to strike the right balance,” said Mason Lowe, the center's deputy director. “We can tell people to stay home if you’re not feeling well, but for homeless older adults, that’s not really an option. You might be asking them to go somewhere that’s less safe or just outside.”
Read the full story here.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department sees first presumptive positive case of COVID-19
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced the county's first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 Friday evening.
The patient is a man in his 50s, who's in stable condition at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, according to a statement from the county health department.
The man, who has underlying health conditions and was diagnosed with pneumonia, first went to the hospital Tuesday. He had not traveled outside the country, the statement said.
"We have expected this. We have planned for this. We have coordinated with partner agencies to monitor for the disease in the county," the statement said.
Officials are still investigating where the man might have been exposed to the virus.
How to talk to kids about the novel coronavirus -- in four languages
You can now read Education Lab's resource on how to talk to children about coronavirus in four languages: English, Somali, Spanish and Tagalog.
Read the full story here.
Seattle City Council recommended canceling all committee meetings until further notice
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Seattle City Council leaders have advised the council’s committee chairs to cancel all committee meetings until further notice.
Also, the council will seek to hold its weekly full council meetings and any special meetings remotely, “utilizing appropriate technology in accordance” with Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act, Council President Pro Tem Teresa Mosqueda and Council President M. Lorena González said in a news release.
Mosqueda and Gonzalez said members of the public will be able to follow full council and special meetings by watching the Seattle Channel’s online live stream or by calling the council’s listen line at 206-684-8566. Full council meetings are held at 2 p.m. on Mondays.
King County Library System cancels events for rest of March
The King County Library System has canceled all events that staff estimate are "regularly attended by 10 or more people" through the rest of the month, according to a Friday statement from the library.
All locations remain open and are operating on a normal schedule, and meeting rooms booked by the public will still be available.
Snoqualmie mayor signs proclamation of emergency
The Snoqualmie mayor signed a proclamation of emergency Friday evening, according to a statement from the city.
There are no known COVID-19 cases in Snoqualmie, Mayor Matt Larson said in the statement, but the proclamation allows the city to "quickly procure services and supplies if someone is diagnosed with coronavirus."
The Monday City Council meeting will go on as planned, the statement said, but the city is encouraging residents to watch online. Anyone who would like to publicly comment should submit written questions via email to email@example.com.
City facilities cancel events, including at Seattle Center, public library
Several Seattle public programs are canceling events and programming as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.
The Seattle Public Library announced Friday afternoon that it will cancel all remaining March events and programs, both private and public.
The change will take effect Saturday, according to a statement from the library. The central location in downtown Seattle and 26 neighborhood branches will continue to operate with standard hours, the statement said.
“We are committed to protecting the health of our patrons and staff, while still offering essential Library services, including our many wonderful digital resources,” said chief librarian Marcellus Turner in the statement.
The library is also canceling all Bookmobile services in March, though the Books By Mail service will continue. All external meetings scheduled in library rooms are also canceled, the statement said.
"The Library continues to follow best sanitation practices for workplaces, and has made several changes to reduce exposure, including adding sanitation stations to locations and pulling toys and loose playthings from children’s areas," the statement said.
None of Seattle’s 197 child-care sites and 84 preschool sites with city contracts are currently shut down, though three had one-day closures for deep cleaning “out of an abundance of caution,” according to an update Friday from Mayor Jenny Durkan's office.
The department that handles Seattle’s facilities is placing hand-washing reminders in all city buildings. Bulk orders of hygiene kits “are arriving for distribution” by Seattle’s homeless Navigation Team to people living without shelter, according to the update.
Seattle Center is operating on its regular schedule, but some events in Seattle Center venues have been canceled or rescheduled.
No Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities have shut down, though the Lifelong Recreation programs for seniors has been canceled through the end of March.
King County urges people to access as many services as possible online
Need to pay your property taxes, get a replacement ballot or pay a bill? King County would like you to do it online or over the phone. The county is urging residents to access services without an in-person visit as much as possible, as it works to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
If you think you need to do business in person, the county wrote in a news release, call first to see if you can get service in another way.
Seattle Presbytery leadership suggests regular worship be canceled
The leadership of Seattle Presbytery, the organization of area Presbyterian churches, has suggested regular worship be canceled.
The decision was made after considering Public Health - Seattle & King County’s recommendation that large gatherings be postponed, wrote the group’s co-executive directors Eliana Maxim and Scott Lumsden.
“We believe the more prudent path is to cancel worship until further notice,” they wrote. “We do not know how long churches should do this.”
The Seattle Presbytery includes 45 Presbyterian churches in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, the Eastside, South King County and the Kitsap Peninsula.
DSHS to screen visitors to some of its facilities
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Social and health Services (DSHS) has begun screening visitors to some of its facilities, such as Western State Hospital, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Visitors will be asked if they have had shortness of breath, coughing, a fever or contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or if they have traveled internationally in the past two weeks, according to a DSHS news statement. Potential visitors will have their temperature taken, and anyone who answers yes to the questions or who is running a temperature won’t be allowed in.
“Of course anyone who is not feeling well should postpone visiting any of our facilities or offices,” Dr. Brian Waiblinger, chief medical officer for DSHS, said in the statement. “Screening of all visitors at our 24/7 facilities is just one of many ways we are working to keep the spread of COVID-19 from our clients and further into our communities.”
This screenings will continue “until the risk of coronavirus ceases,” according to the statement.
Here’s a list of the locations that will screen all visitors:
•Western State Hospital
•Eastern State Hospital
•Child Study and Treatment Center
•Fort Steilacoom Competency Restoration Program
•Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program
•The Special Commitment Center
•Yakima Valley School
President Trump calls Inslee a ‘snake’ after governor and Pence meet
OLYMPIA — President Donald Trump Friday called Gov. Jay Inslee a “snake,” puncturing the feeling of bipartisanship in the wake of the vice president’s visit to Washington in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Vice President Mike Pence flew to Washington Thursday, to meet with Inslee and Washington’s congressional delegation to discuss the response to the virus.
Thursday’s roundtable, news briefing and public statements featured praise by Pence, who thanked Inslee, health officials and others for their response to the outbreak. The governor, in return, was cordial and welcoming to Pence.
That good-spirited collaboration apparently proved too much for Trump, who on Friday toured the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Read the full story here.
Durkan: Comments about avoiding Seattle are 'irresponsible'
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued a statement Friday addressing remarks earlier in the day by President Donald Trump adviser Larry Kudlow, who said on television that Americans should avoid traveling to Seattle because of the area’s coronavirus outbreak, and by the president himself, who called Gov. Jay Inslee a snake during a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tour in Atlanta.
“The city of Seattle, King County, Washington State and public health officials are taking thoughtful and precautionary steps to stop the spread of the virus,” Durkan said. “We rely on our federal partners for the steadfast support every American deserves. This administration is name-calling and making inaccurate off-the-cuff comments – it's simply irresponsible and has serious consequences for our residents and businesses.”
Seattle’s economy relies in part on tourism and hospitality, the mayor noted.
“Actions like this have the potential to devastate our local economy,” she said. “Instead of public health and economic support, irresponsible comments hurt our local economy, cause our businesses to shutter, and jobs to be lost. So many of these businesses are family-owned and are already skating on a thin profit margin.”
Durkan struck a different tone with respect to Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Camp Murray in Pierce County and met with Inslee on Thursday.
“Just yesterday, I told Vice President Pence that one of the most important things the federal government can do for Seattle is to keep our small businesses and workers at the forefront of our assistance and relief,” she said. “I wholeheartedly appreciated his stated commitment in promising relief.”
Seattle Pacific University will complete classes online
Seattle Pacific University is the latest local university to announce remote instruction.
On Friday, the school said it would complete its winter quarter classes and finals online, from March 9 through March 19. The announcement said that there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases on the campus.
Resident at Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center tests positive for COVID-19
A resident at Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has tested positive for COVID-19 and the skilled-nursing facility has been quarantined.
The resident was taken to a hospital on Tuesday and remains hospitalized as of Friday afternoon. No other cases have been reported there.
Three Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters who responded there have been quarantined “out of abundance of caution” and aren’t showing any symptoms, Deputy Chief Rich Burke said.
A sign taped to the front door says no visitors allowed and that the facility does not “have any confirmed COVID-19 currently in our building.” The facility has about 100 residents, and staff members are working to contact residents’ family members, administrator Lisa Stubenrauch said outside the building Friday afternoon.
21 people on cruise ship off California test positive for virus
Twenty-one people aboard a mammoth cruise ship off San Francisco have tested positive for the new coronavirus, including 19 crew members, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday. Friday’s test results come amid evidence the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of at least 10 cases during its previous voyage.
Read the full story here.
Private school on Capitol Hill will close for six weeks
Seattle Academy, a private school on Capitol Hill, is going into "extended closure" for the next six weeks, until April 20, as it tries to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The school, which serves about 940 middle and high school students, has no confirmed cases of students, faculty or staff with the virus, Head of School Rob Phillips wrote in a letter to parents.
But, Phillips wrote, he believes it would be forced to close down at some point.
"And I don’t see the benefit in waiting until that happens, and then reacting," he wrote. "There comes a point where the best way to deal with the mounting variables is to begin to take control of the situation when and where we can."
Phillips wrote that specifics of the closure plan would be forthcoming. The state is tracking school closures here.
Austin cancels March SXSW events
The city of Austin has canceled the March events for SXSW and SXSW EDU, according to organizers of the popular arts and music festival in Texas.
"We are devastated to share this news with you," organizers said on the event's webpage Friday. “ 'The show must go on' is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."
Organizers said they are exploring options to reschedule the event and potentially provide a virtual SXSW experience online. Read more from the Associated Press here.
Confirmed coronavirus case at Ida Culver House retirement community in Seattle
Ida Culver House Ravenna, a retirement community in northeast Seattle, announced Friday afternoon that one of its residents had tested positive for COVID-19.
The resident has been in the hospital since Wednesday and will remain in quarantine off-site for at least two weeks, according to an email to residents. Center management said they believe it is an isolated case.
“Following the news of the first death related to COVID-19 in our area, we moved swiftly to add additional measures on top of existing plans and infection control protocols related to preventing the spread of communicable disease,” the email said.
The facility began screening visitors, increasing cleaning, canceling events and giving residents the option to have meals delivered to their apartments.
“We are vigilantly working with local public health officials, residents, and staff to prevent this from leading to an outbreak in our retirement communities and beyond,” the center said. “Our hearts are with our sick resident and his or her family. We hope for positive news regarding his or her recovery soon.”
Coronavirus threat closes U.S. District Court
The chief judge for U.S. District Court's Western Washington District, Ricardo Martinez, issued an order Friday postponing all in-person hearings in Seattle and Tacoma and all grand jury proceedings in the district until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For criminal matters, "the time period of the continuances implemented by this general order will be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, as the Court specifically finds that the ends of justice served by ordering the continuances outweigh the best interests of the public and any defendant's right to a speedy trial," Martinez wrote.
Western Washington U cancels March 21 winter commencement
Western Washington University has canceled its March 21 winter commencement because of coronavirus concerns, officials at the Bellingham campus announced Friday.
Students scheduled to graduate at the conclusion of winter quarter, which ends March 20, will be incorporated into larger June commencement ceremonies, officials said.
Administrators added that other “large-scale events” scheduled for the next three weeks also are likely to be canceled. Read the full story here.
Bellevue College is going remote for the rest of the quarter
Bellevue College has moved its classes online for the remainder of the quarter, according to a news release from the school. The school informed students via email on Thursday.
“Students – instruction will continue for the remainder of the quarter,” read the email, in part, “and every effort will be made for you to finish winter quarter classes. Your instructors will contact you regarding plans for your classes.”
The public college, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 students, is open, with some caveats.
Among them: Supervisors are encouraged to allow their employees to work remotely through March 27; “non-essential events” on campus with more than 10 participants are canceled through that date; a computer lab will remain open for students who need to access to those services; the cafeteria will slow operations over the next several days and close for the winter quarter starting March 9. Other places to eat on campus will have limited hours.
UW officials expect in-person classes to resume March 30
University of Washington officials said Friday they expect to resume in-person classes by March 30 in time for next semester. But UW President Ana Mari Cauce cautioned she doesn’t have a “crystal ball and can’t say where we are going to be with COVID-19 three weeks from now.”
In the meantime, the university has doubled the amount of cleaning and sanitizing happening on campus. They're transitioning some food-service items from self-serve to grab-and-go, officials said at a news conference on Friday.
Geoffrey Gottlieb, a professor with the division of allergy and infectious diseases, said the university is taking the potential threat very seriously as it has surpassed both SARS and MERS in terms of deaths and illnesses worldwide. “The scale of this epidemic is unprecedented,” he said.
Officials said four students with possible exposure were tested in late January and early February, but came back negative. One staff member – who works in Roosevelt Commons East, a building about four blocks away from campus – recently tested presumptive positive for the virus, but the results haven’t been confirmed by the state Department of Health.
Edmonds School District will keep schools open, but postpone travel, games and preformances
On Friday, Edmonds School District administrators sent a note to families saying that there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19, and that the Snohomish Health District continues to recommend that schools without confirmed cases continue to operate in person.
However, the district said it was suspending "community use" of district facilities from March 12 to April 12 because the district wants to provide "extra time to complete the additional cleaning currently needed in our buildings to again, maintain normal educational operations for as long as possible."
The district also said it is postponing or canceling sporting competitions, dances, concerts, information nights and plays during the same period. Practices, though, will continue. All field trips — local, national or international — will be canceled through April 12, too.
If you're curious about other districts, the state continues to update this list of school closures.
Seattle Humane is temporarily closing to the public
Seattle Humane announced Friday it was temporarily closing to the public starting Saturday. The group of shelters anticipates reopening Sunday, March 15.
"Our commitment to providing comfort and care to vulnerable animals remains as strong as ever," Interim Chief Executive Officer Paula Littlewood said in a statement. "Be assured that the dogs, cats, and small critters entrusted to us will continue to receive the affection and attention they deserve."
Before the closure, Seattle Humane said it was "proactively managing its intake to maintain a lower animal population." The group expects placing most of the 75 pets currently in its care among its foster volunteers. Staff will continue to care for pets that don't move into foster homes.
Amazon to keep paying its hourly service workers in Seattle area amid coronavirus outbreak
Amazon pledged to continue paying all hourly employees – some 10,000 people – who serve its Seattle and Bellevue buildings, which are largely empty since the company directed all employees to work from home if they can amid the coronavirus outbreak.
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Friday it would also subsidize a month of rent “for the local small businesses that operate inside our owned buildings to help support them during this period.”
Read the full story here.
Fishing fleet prepares for coronavirus
The north Pacific Ocean’s fishing fleets already take to sea for weeks at a time with crews who work long hours and bunk in close quarters that can make it easy for a virus to spread.
Now industry officials are ramping up their guard against a new outbreak that could lay low some of their workforce.
On Wednesday, many dialed into a teleconference with Alaska and Washington public-health officials to get updates on how to prepare for the emerging risks of the coronavirus.
“The protocols on cleaning and how to prevent a virus are already part of the procedures that we follow,” said Chad See, executive director of the Freezer Longline Coalition. “But the sense was that this is an issue we need to be on top of.”
Mercer Island half-marathon called off
Mercer Island Half-Marathon events will not take place March 22 as the city tries to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Race officials told participants in an email Friday that they’re “working closely with the City of Mercer Island to develop a plan for the event moving forward.” The annual half-marathon, 5K, 10K and kids dash draw thousands of athletes.
Toyota of Kirkland closed until Monday after employee tests positive for coronavirus
An employee at Toyota of Kirkland tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the dealership will close until Monday for cleaning, according to the Kirkland Reporter.
The dealership reportedly sent letters to customers who may have been at the business between Feb. 18 and March 3 to inform them of the test result.
Seattle University cancels in-person classes for 2 weeks
Seattle University has joined the University of Washington in cancelling in-person classes for the next two weeks to try to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The school, with about 5,000 students, said it has no confirmed cases of the virus, and its campus would remain open.
12th patient has died at EvergreenHealth
EvergreenHealth Medical Center has announced a 12th COVID-19 death.
This comes hours after the Kirkland hospital confirmed three additional deaths on Friday morning.
The midday Friday announcement brings the state's total number of confirmed deaths to 15.
Families may soon be able to take Life Care residents home
The families of some residents at Life Care Center of Kirkland may soon be able to take their loved ones home, King County Executive Dow Constantine said at a Friday press conference.
Not all residents will be able to leave the nursing home, which has been linked to dozens of coronavirus cases, including at least ten deaths.
Constantine said 15 Life Care residents were taken to the hospital in the past 24 hours, and others who need hospitalization will soon be transported.
All residents and staff at the facility have been or will soon be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, Constantine said.
Gina Norton said her 72-year-old mother was tested at the nursing home yesterday. Norton, like other residents’ family members, has called for her mother to be tested since the first coronavirus cases at the nursing home were confirmed Saturday.
The state is setting up an incident-command system to work with nursing homes that experience outbreaks, including Life Care, to make sure they have proper staffing and equipment and that they are communicating with residents’ families.
King County officials said they are frustrated with the lack of communication Life Care Centers of America has had with families.
“I’m starting to lose my patience, but we want to continue to work with them,” Constanine said.
But officials said they want to reassure families. The county sent a medical professional from the University of Washington into the nursing home Thursday. The professional had high praise for the facility, saying in his assessment that it appeared well-staffed and that patients were receiving proper care, but that he did see some clear signs of stress, according to county officials.
Department of Health reports new confirmed cases
The state Department of Health on Friday morning confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19 in Washington state.
There are now 58 confirmed cases in King County, 19 in Snohomish County, one in Grant County and one in Jefferson County.
The department did not include an update to the number of deaths in its 11 a.m. information release.
Department of Health call center is down
The state Department of Health call center for COVID-19 is "experiencing high traffic and may be temporarily unavailable," according to a post on the state website.
Comic Con postponed till summer due to coronavirus concerns
Emerald City Comic Con has been postponed until summer due to coronavirus concerns.
Organizers announced the decision to move the four-day celebration of pop culture to this summer because of the outbreak in Seattle.
The event was scheduled for March 12-15 at Washington State Convention Center. Last year’s event drew 98,000 people.
The company made the announcement in a statement on their website Friday morning. It said a more detailed announcement with date and other details will be released later.
After many hours of conversation internally & consultation with local government officials and the tourism bureau, we have decided to move next week’s Emerald City Comic Con to Summer 2020 with date & detail announcement forthcoming. Read more at https://t.co/ahL1TOmHLF #ECCC2020 pic.twitter.com/qq3ZnDPXWb
— Emerald City Comic Con (@emeraldcitycon) March 6, 2020
Trump signs $8.3B bill to combat coronavirus outbreak in US
President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure that was passed by the Senate Thursday to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
According to U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, Washington will get $11.5 million of that.
The legislation provides federal public-health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare for and respond to the threat.
The measure is intended to accelerate the government's response to the virus that has upended routine, help tackle the outbreak and reassure a fearful public.
Trump had planned to sign the bill during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. But he told reporters Friday that concerns were raised about “one person who was potentially infected” who worked at the CDC. Trump said the person has since tested negative for the new virus, and the CDC was added to his schedule on Friday.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said at a news conference in King County on Friday, "I'm pleased the U.S. Congress is sending more than their thoughts and prayers."
Trump adviser Kudlow says to avoid Seattle due to virus outbreak
President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Americans should avoid traveling to Seattle after an outbreak of coronavirus that has so far seen 14 confirmed deaths in Washington state.
“That would be a place you would avoid for now,” Kudlow said Friday in an interview on CNBC, as he also urged Americans not to overreact to the virus.
The number of infections in the U.S. has topped 200, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Lighter than usual transit ridership on Friday
Passengers are reporting lower transit ridership on buses and light-rail trains during the Friday morning commute.
Several large employers, including Microsoft and Amazon, encouraged employees to work remotely rather than go into the office in light of concerns over COVID-19.
Christina O’Claire, King County Metro mobility division manager, confirmed Wednesday that fewer people than usual are riding the bus during typical commute times, likely because more people are working from home.
Northeastern University urges Seattle faculty to stay home
Northeastern University is urging its Seattle campus faculty to stay home and says that by Monday, the campus will move to online teaching.
The university is based in Boston but employs about 80 faculty and staff at its satellite campus in Seattle; about 1,135 students are enrolled in courses here.
Visit Northeastern's website for more updates.
Seattle Womxn's March canceled
A Womxn's March that was planned for this Sunday in Seattle has been canceled in light of public health officials' advice to avoid large gatherings.
The march was postponed earlier this year.
Dick's Drive-In asking customers not to pay in cash
Dick's Drive-In is asking customers to pay with debit or credit cards so workers don't have to touch cash that might have the virus on it.
The local burger chain is still accepting cash at all locations but is telling customers that cards are preferred.
"Our employees have extra sanitization procedures for all orders that involve cash," Dick's wrote on its social media accounts Friday morning.
UW closes building after staff member gets presumptive positive COVID-19 test
A University of Washington staff member has received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, university officials announced Friday morning.
The staff member, who works in Roosevelt Commons East, an office space west of campus in the 4300 block of 11th Avenue Northeast, was last in the building on Feb. 24, 27 and 28. The person is now isolating themselves at home, officials said.
University officials said they’ve notified people who were in close contact with the staff member and are encouraging those people to stay at home for 14 days. But university officials said they believe risk of spreading the disease to the rest of campus is low.
UW classes going all online
Starting Monday, March 9, classes at the University of Washington won't be held in person.
"For the remainder of the quarter, instructors are asked to conduct classes and/or exams remotely, as possible, until the quarter concludes on March 20," university President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in an email to the campus community Friday morning. "In some cases, when the nature of a class is not suited for remote delivery, other options, including submitting grades based on work conducted to this point, may be used."
Campus facilities will remain open.
Starting Monday, March 9, classes at UW campuses will no longer be meeting in person thru the end of winter quarter March 20. Campuses will remain OPEN. This action is to support social-distancing steps the region is taking to fight #COVID19. More here: https://t.co/Gr0eGivlWG
— University of Washington (@UW) March 6, 2020
Number of confirmed deaths in Washington state is now 14
Three more people are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 at EvergreenHealth, bringing the total deaths at the Kirkland hospital to 11.
In total, as of Friday morning, 14 people in Washington state are known to have died after being infected with the new coronavirus: 13 in King County and one in Snohomish County.
The state Department of Health is so far confirming only 11 deaths in Washington, but a spokesperson for EvergreenHealth told The Seattle Times on Friday morning that three more people have died there since the DOH's numbers were last updated.
Catch up on major developments over the past 24 hours
- The feds have sent in a response team and an investigation is underway, but why did it take nearly a week? Read the Times Watchdog story.
- Vice President Mike Pence visited the state yesterday to pledge that the U.S. government is "here to help" — though some local lawmakers sharply dispute its helpfulness.
- People with family members at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing home at the center of Washington's outbreak, are decrying government agencies' response and demanding clear information. One woman was told her mother had died in the coronavirus outbreak at a Kirkland nursing home, then wrongly told hours later that she was alive and well.
- "Press 3 for coronavirus": Even a woman at the outbreak's epicenter couldn't cut through red tape to get tested, columnist Danny Westneat writes.
- You might not have a co-pay or deductible for coronavirus testing and related doctor visits under a new emergency order. And the state aims to help pay for tests for uninsured people.
- Seattle is expanding shelter space for homeless people as Mayor Jenny Durkan acts with her broad new emergency powers.
- Will the internet break as legions of us work from home? Probably not, but there will be disruptions.
- Seattle is no "ghost town," despite what NBC News declared this week. The beat goes on for music fans, and the Sounders play tomorrow, although other sports events could soon be affected. Houses of worship are skipping services and finding creative ways to pray, and senior centers are taking special caution.
How is the pandemic affecting you?What has changed about your daily life? What kinds of discussions are you having with family members and friends? Are you a health care worker who's on the front lines of the response? Are you a COVID-19 patient or do you know one? Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible. If you're using a mobile device and can't see the form on this page, click here.
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