Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Wednesday, April 15, as the events unfolded. Click here to find the latest extended coverage of the outbreak of the 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.

While distancing orders are still in place in many states and the new coronavirus continues to spread, a team of federal officials is working on a public health plan for how to reopen parts of the country. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he’s halting funding to the World Health Organization, accusing the organization of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading.

In Washington state, new modeling from a Bellevue research institute shows transmission of the virus has slowed more than expected in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, though the progress remains precarious. The number of confirmed infections and deaths in Washington is still rising, although at a generally slower pace in recent days. The state Department of Health confirmed an additional 89 diagnoses and 26 deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 10,783 cases and 567 deaths.

Throughout today, on this page, we’ll be posting updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Tuesday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

The following graphic includes the most recent numbers from the Washington State Department of Health, released Wednesday evening.

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Live updates:

Another sign the curve is bending: Positive coronavirus tests at UW peaked March 28

A new analysis of tests conducted at the UW Medicine Virology lab adds to the evidence that Washington is bending the curve on the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The percentage of specimens positive for the virus appears to have peaked on March 28 and has been trending downward ever since. If the trend continues, the rate of positive tests could drop below 2% by late April and – potentially – below 1% percent by mid-May. But reaching such low levels is dependent on maintaining the current level of social distancing.

“Our data indicate a true bending of the curve in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the Seattle area and the state of Washington,” says the report from researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Read the full story here.

—Sandi Doughton
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Coronavirus has cost more than 100,000 people around Seattle their jobs. So why aren’t rents going down?

As the novel coronavirus ravages the region’s economy, resulting in the fastest pace of layoffs on record, Seattle-area rents are continuing to rise, surprising new data shows.

The information arrives at the same time local leaders are calling for rent and mortgage freezes in the face of widespread economic fallout, and complaints about rent increases have drawn the attention of the state attorney general.

Though rent increases are not prohibited by any of the local or state eviction moratoriums prompted by the crisis, the state Attorney General’s Office has said its lawyers are paying close attention to increases that might run afoul of state consumer protection law during the pandemic.

Read the full story here.

—Sydney Brownstone and Katherine K. Long

Trump’s critique of WHO may be a diversion, but it resonates beyond the White House

President Donald Trump is not happy with the World Health Organization. He is not the only one.

On Tuesday, in the middle of a global pandemic, Trump announced that he is freezing funding to the United Nations agency, pending a review of its novel coronavirus response. The decision shocked even some who have been critical of the organization’s handling of the crisis, particularly in relation to China.

To many, Trump’s allegations sound like an opportunistic effort to divert attention from his own early plaudits of China and the WHO and to deflect criticism of his sluggish response to the virus – even after the WHO eventually declared a pandemic.

But criticism of how the WHO handled China is resonating well beyond the White House.

—The Washington Post

Referendum-proof Seattle tax for coronavirus relief, housing, would impact multiple business sectors

Amazon and other retail, transportation and warehousing companies could pay about a third of a proposed Seattle tax on big businesses, various white-collar companies could pay another third and the tax could be immune from referendum.

Those are some of the details emerging about the legislation introduced last week by City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales. They say the measure could immediately underwrite coronavirus relief payments, were Seattle to initially borrow money from existing sources. Critics say businesses need assistance, not a tax.

The crisis could boost support for the tax among those who want City Hall to do more to help people who are struggling with rent, mortgage payments and everyday expenses.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman
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Gates Foundation boosts funding for coronavirus response to $250 million

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is more than doubling its funding for the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle-based philanthropy, which had already committed $100 million, announced Wednesday it will add an additional $150 million to speed development of drugs and vaccines and strengthen health systems in Africa and South Asia.

The announcement comes a day after President Donald Trump announced he would cut funding for the World Health Organization.

Read the full story here.

—Sandi Doughton

What problems have you seen with the coronavirus stimulus funding?

Since Congress approved the $2.3 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in late March, money has started to flow to individuals, small businesses and others.

One of the main lifelines for small businesses was meant to be the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion package administered by the Small Business Administration. But it has been plagued by technical problems, legal questions and a deluge of applications that has already drained the first round of funding.

We want to know what issues you’re seeing with this and other stimulus programs. Share your observations here, and we may be in touch for one of our upcoming stories.

—Mike Reicher

To speed gig workers’ unemployment claims, Washington state asks companies for tightly held income data

The state Employment Security Department (ESD) wants companies like Uber and Lyft, which rely on gig workers, to provide data on wages and hours worked to more quickly provide workers with unemployment assistance.

In a letter this week to companies that classify workers as independent contractors, the state asked app-based ride-hailing and delivery businesses to provide 15 months of income information for each gig worker who is requesting benefits.

But it’s not clear whether companies will comply with the request for data, and state officials say not getting it could further delay unemployment benefits to a broad category of workers hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts and Michelle Baruchman
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Trump threatens to adjourn Congress to get his nominees through

President Donald Trump threatened to shut down both chambers of Congress to allow him to fill vacancies in his administration without Senate approval.

He spent several minutes of his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday blaming Senate Democrats for blocking his nominations, even though most of the vacancies in the federal government are because Trump hasn’t selected anyone to fill them. Several of his nominees haven’t been given a confirmation hearing yet in the Republican-led Senate.

Trump cited a never-exercised power the Constitution grants the president to adjourn Congress if leaders of the House and Senate can’t agree on whether to adjourn.

—The Washington Post

Inslee says Washington’s economy will likely reopen in phases, not all at once, amid coronavirus crisis

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday said Washington’s economy will likely reopen in phases once state officials believe society can safely function amid the new coronavirus.

That plan could look something like a reverse process of how the state shut down in March in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, the governor said in a news conference on the virus.

He described reopening the economy as “a phased approach” wherein some of the first things shut down during the outbreak — like large gatherings — could be the last to reopen.

Read the full story here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

New survey data from state hospitals show number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is declining

Washington hospital survey data indicates the numbers of patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease has declined during the past week.

As of Monday, Washington hospitals had 836 patients confirmed or suspected with COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, according to survey information from the Washington State Hospital Association that includes 89 of the 92 state facilities providing acute care.

That compares to 1,000 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 reported by 86 state hospitals on April 8.

Washington hospitals’ capacity to care for COVID-19 patients has emerged as a key measure of the overall state response to the pandemic. And, the survey provides a detailed look at the numbers of patients with confirmed or suspected illness caused by the novel coronavirus as well as the statewide availability of beds.

The Monday report indicates that 213 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of the COVID-19 disease were occupying beds in Washington intensive care units. A far greater number of ICU beds — 510 — were open. The survey also noted that another 431 “surge ICU beds” could be made available should there be a sudden expansion of COVID-19 patients.

The Washington State Hospital Association survey results indicate a much higher number of available ICU beds than is currently being reported by a model developed by the UW Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. That model shows that when 241 ICU beds are needed for COVID-19 patients, only 100 additional ICU beds are available. But the model does not include recent efforts that the hospitals have made to free up ICU capacity, according to an institute spokesman.

—Hal Bernton
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State's COVID-19 totals up to 10,783 cases and 567 deaths

State health officials announced Wednesday an additional 89 cases and 26 deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

The new numbers bring Washington’s count of COVID-19 cases to 10,783, including 567 deaths.

The bulk of the cases remains in King County, which is reporting 4,676 cases and 312 deaths. New deaths were also reported in Benton, Douglas, Franklin, Pierce, Snohomish and Yakima counties.

The state released its total testing numbers for the first time in several days, confirming 91% — or 113,500 — of its patient samples have returned negative.

—Elise Takahama

City expands another tiny house village in Lake Union

Lake Union Village, a tiny house village in the South Lake Union neighborhood, has expanded by 20 units and is now accepting new residents, bringing its total capacity to 42 units. This announcement from the city follows an early announcement today that another village in Cherry Hill is open, with 25 units.

People coming into the village will most likely be from Seattle’s unsanctioned encampments, which are currently being allowed to remain, for the most part, by the city’s Navigation Team of police and outreach workers who remove camps and try to persuade their residents to move into local shelters.

This tiny house village expansion was announced in March, when Mayor Durkan exercised her emergency powers to open more shelter for homeless people.

Lake Union Village was established in 2018 and is operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and services open to its residents include housing case management from LIHI and behavioral health support provided by LifeLong.

While the city has created hundreds of larger spaces for existing shelter clients to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it hasn’t been able to open a fraction of the new shelter units experts say are needed to bring new people, who aren’t already living in shelters, inside.

—Scott Greenstone

Pandemic reveals another shortfall in preparation: Scattershot, chaotic research for treatments

In a desperate bid to find treatments for people sickened by coronavirus, doctors and drug companies have launched more than 100 human experiments in the United States, investigating experimental drugs, a decades-old malaria medicine and cutting-edge therapies that have worked for other conditions such as HIV and rheumatoid arthritis.

Development of effective treatments for COVID-19 would be one of the most significant milestones in returning the United States to normalcy. But the massive effort is disorganized and scattershot, harming its prospects for success, according to multiple researchers and health experts.

Researchers working round-the-clock describe a lack of a centralized national strategy, overlapping efforts, an array of small-scale trials that will not lead to definitive answers and no standards for how to prioritize efforts, what data to collect or how to share it to get to answers faster.

Read full article here.

—The Washington Post
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UW Virology Lab working to validate coronavirus tests for clinical research

The University of Washington's Virology Lab, which began coronavirus testing in early March, said Wednesday that its first set of validation experiments look "very good."

The laboratory might be able to start clinical testing for thousands of patient samples per day as early as next week, the UW department said on Twitter.

The lab will tentatively have more information about the testing Thursday, a UW spokeswoman said.

—Elise Takahama

U District and Ballard farmers markets will reopen this weekend, but with new rules

In a step toward normalcy, two popular Seattle farmers markets — the University District and Ballard markets — will reopen this weekend, but with new rules, and a request that shoppers take an oath.

The markets, which had been closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The reopenings are part of a partnership among the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA), Public Health Seattle-King County, the city of Seattle, and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office.

“Our shared concern is for everyone’s health and safety during COVID-19, and we need you to do your part while supporting our local farmers,” the NFMA said in a statement. “The highest priority is everyone’s ability to practice and enforce social distancing and ensure 100% compliance by NFM staff, vendors and shoppers on all fronts.

“We are in this together.”

Read the full story here.

—Nicole Brodeur

New York orders residents to wear masks in public

Imposing a stricter measure to control the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he would start requiring people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public whenever social distancing was not possible.

The order will take effect Saturday and will apply to people who cannot keep 6 feet apart from others in public settings, such as on a bus or subway, a crowded sidewalk or inside a grocery store.

“Stopping the spread is everything,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany. “How can you not wear a mask when you’re going to come close to a person?”

The new requirements are bound to make face coverings an inescapable and perhaps jarring sight in New York City for the foreseeable future. They could also introduce a level of mutual obligation and civic duty about wearing masks in public that is more firmly established in Asia than in the West.

Cuomo said local governments would enforce the order, but he noted that the failure to wear a face covering would not lead to people being ordered out of public transit. He said the state would consider issuing civil penalties to people who failed to abide by the order, but not criminal penalties.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times
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Feds under pressure to publicly track nursing home outbreaks

Federal health officials are coming under increasing pressure to start publicly tracking coronavirus infections and deaths in nursing homes amid criticism they have not been transparent about the scope of outbreaks across the country that have already claimed thousands of lives.

Experts say the lack of tracking and transparency has been a major blind spot, and that publicizing outbreaks as they happen could not only alert nearby communities and anguished relatives but also help officials see where to focus testing and other safety measures.

“This is basic public health — you track this, you study it, and you learn from it,” said David Grabowski, who specializes in health care policy at Harvard Medical School. He said it’s difficult to have confidence in officials’ ability to contain the virus if they aren’t tracking where it has struck and why.

Such an action by the agencies that oversee the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes is seen as long overdue, coming more than a month after a nursing home in Washington state became the first COVID-19 hot spot in the U.S. with an outbreak that ultimately killed 43 people and a near-daily drumbeat of new cases that in some cases has forced entire homes to be evacuated.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Seattle deploys six new 24/7 hygiene facilities for homeless populations without bathrooms

Amid twin outbreaks of hepatitis A and COVID-19 in the homeless community, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday the city would deploy six new 24/7 hygiene facilities in Seattle.

As businesses have shut their public restrooms and homeless day centers reduced hours to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (which at last announcement had infected 27 homeless people), homeless advocates have been clamoring for the city to open more places for homeless people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of hepatitis A (which in March infected 14 homeless Ballard campers).

These facilities will be located at Victor Steinbrueck Park, Waterfront Park, 45th Avenue and I-5, St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, University Heights Center and Bell Street Park in Seattle.

“With the closure of public facilities and so many of our businesses, we’ve needed to add more hygiene resources to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and Hepatitis A,” said Mayor Durkan in a press release. “From the Navigation Team to our Parks employees staffing shelters and cleaning our facilities, our City workforce is continually working to serve the most vulnerable. In this challenging moment, we will continue to evaluate additional resources to address this public health emergency.”

Read more about how Seattle's homeless efforts stack up against other cities' here.

—Scott Greenstone

A Washington state doctor's idea: Coronavirus testing from inside a personal greenhouse

Anubhav Kanwar, an infectious disease specialist at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston, Washington, had the idea to reverse engineer a greenhouse designed to work with germs into a modified COVID-19 testing cabin. (Courtesy of Anubhav Kanwar)
Anubhav Kanwar, an infectious disease specialist at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston, Washington, had the idea to reverse engineer a greenhouse designed to work with germs into a modified COVID-19 testing cabin. (Courtesy of Anubhav Kanwar)

While completing his medical fellowship at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland a few years ago, Anubhav Kanwar studied anaerobic bacteria that were contained inside an oxygen-free chamber.

“Basically, you would put your hands in the gloves and work inside that environment,” he said. “There’s no risk. No exposure at all.”

A few weeks ago, Kanwar, an infectious disease specialist at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston, Washington, came up with idea to reverse engineer the chamber designed to work with germs into a modified COVID-19 testing cabin.

Anubhav Kanwar, an infectious disease specialist at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston, came up with idea to reverse engineer a greenhouse designed to work with germs into a modified COVID-19 testing cabin. (Courtesy of Anubhav Kanwar)

“This is basically the same idea, but it is the other way around,” he said. “Now the health care worker is standing on the inside safe and protected while the patient is outside.”

Read the full story here.

—Percy Allen
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March cargo shipping volumes plummet in Seattle and Tacoma

Containerized cargo imports fell 28.2% in March at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, compared to the same month last year, and containerized exports also fell by nearly 9%, year-over-year.

Officials at the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), which oversees cargo shipping operations at the two ports, blamed the dip in volume on vessel cancellations due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Nineteen vessels that would normally call at either Seattle or Tacoma cancelled their sailings in March, NWSA executive John Wolfe said in a briefing Wednesday, a roughly 20% reduction over last year.

Domestic trade, though, has been less affected. Overall year-to-date container volumes decreased 0.9%, buoyed by strong demand in Alaska for essentials like groceries.

The NWSA anticipates second-quarter cargo volumes will continue to be "soft," Wolfe said, citing continued closure of businesses and the likelihood of decreased consumer demand.

The group anticipates another 19 vessel cancellations through the end of June.

In recent weeks, some Seattle terminals have briefly closed as longshore workers clashed with marine-terminal operators over sanitation issues.

"Our industry is experiencing an unprecedented disruption due to the coronavirus," Wolfe said.

Nevertheless, he said, "We are committed to keeping this gateway open and operational."

—Katherine Khashimova Long

Sen. Patty Murray and other Senate Democrats push White House for broad coronavirus testing

Democrats in the United States Senate, led in part by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, have drawn up a road map for how to implement broad COVID-19 testing across the nation.

Without widespread testing, it’s impossible to fully comprehend how widely the virus has spread. But tests have been hard to come by for many Americans as the materials needed for it have been in short supply, and in some areas, only people meeting certain criteria can get tested. Testing has been riddled with problems from the start, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched a nationwide rollout of test kits to public health labs.

The lack of a federal strategy to extensively test and support public health infrastructure will make it impossible to safely ease social distancing and stay-home orders, said Sen. Patty Murray.

“We need testing to be fast, free and everywhere,” Murray said during a telephone press briefing with other Democratic senators on Wednesday.

The senators are pushing for the roadmap and a national testing strategy to be included in the next round of congressional funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re asking for $30 billion in emergency funding to allow testing to be scaled up quickly and different types of tests to be developed.

Read the full story here.

—Ryan Blethen

Tiny house village at Cherry Hill church opens more than a month after city’s announcement

More than a month after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced she would use emergency powers to open a tiny house village for homeless residents on Cherry Hill, the village will open today.

“Spirit Village,” sponsored and named after the Christ Spirit Church and located on the church’s property, brings the total of city-sponsored villages to eight, although other church-sponsored villages exist.

The village will take people from the city’s many unsanctioned encampments via a team of police and outreach workers called the Navigation Team. The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will operate this village, helping to provide hygiene facilities like showers, case management, a kitchen, and connections to housing.

The village will be in place for at least two years, a city blog post said.

City spokesperson Will Lemke said in an email the city has been working "around the clock" to open shelters at Exhibition Hall, Garfield Community Center, Fisher Pavilion, and others.

“Historically it can take months to open up a village, shelter, or enhanced shelter," city spokesperson Will Lemke wrote in an email. "City staff that help design these programs have also been deployed to operate these shelters 24/7 because service providers are stretched thin to operate and launch programs. The fact that all of these resources have been stood up in less than 50 days — in the middle of a global health crisis impacting every aspect of society — is without precedent."

But while the city has created hundreds of larger spaces for existing shelter clients to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it hasn’t been able to open a fraction of the new shelter units experts say are needed to bring people who aren’t already living in shelters inside.

—Scott Greenstone
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Not just lungs: Coronavirus may also attack kidneys, heart, liver, more

The new coronavirus kills by inflaming and clogging the tiny air sacs in the lungs, choking off the body’s oxygen supply until it shuts down the organs essential for life.

But clinicians around the world are seeing evidence that suggests the virus also may be causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems.

Almost half the people hospitalized because of COVID-19 have blood or protein in their urine, indicating early damage to their kidneys, said Alan Kliger, a Yale University School of Medicine nephrologist who co-chairs a task force assisting dialysis patients who have COVID-19.

Even more alarming, he added, is early data that shows 14 to 30 percent of intensive-care patients in New York and Wuhan, China — birthplace of the pandemic — have lost kidney function and require dialysis, or its in-hospital cousin, continuous renal replacement therapy. New York intensive care units are treating so much kidney failure, he said, they need more personnel who can perform dialysis and have issued an urgent call for volunteers from other parts of the country. They also are running dangerously short of the sterile fluids used to deliver that therapy, he said.

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post

WWII veteran, age 99, raises millions for UK health service

A 99-year-old British army veteran who started walking laps in his garden as part of a fundraiser for the National Health Service has surprised himself by generating millions of pounds.

Tom Moore’s family used social media to help him get donations to support health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to thank the doctors and nurses who took care of him when he broke his hip.

Moore, who uses a walker while putting in his paces, aimed to complete 100 laps of his 25-meter garden before he turns 100 on April 30.

His family thought it would be a stretch to reach the 1,000-pound fundraising goal set for Moore’s campaign last week. But the drive clearly captured the public mood at a time of national crisis. Within days, the cause attracted more than 250,000 supporters pledging more than 6 million pounds ($7.5 million).

The response, he said, was “completely out of this world.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Gates rebukes Trump, says cutting WHO funding during pandemic ‘as dangerous as it sounds’

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend funding to the World Health Organization as “dangerous,” saying the payments should continue particularly during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” Gates tweeted early Wednesday. “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”

The U.S., the organization’s largest donor, has committed to provide the WHO with $893 million during its two-year funding period, a State Department spokesperson said.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the family’s giant philanthropy based in Seattle, is the next biggest donor to WHO after the U.S., accounting for close to 10% of the United Nations agency’s funding.

The president said on Tuesday that the halt in U.S. funding would continue for a period of 60 to 90 days “while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role and severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

“We have not been treated properly,” Trump said at the Tuesday press briefing. He added, “The WHO pushed China’s misinformation about the virus.”

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post
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School zone speed limits still in effect during some hours, but ticket cameras are off

Even though Seattle schools are closed, drivers traveling nearby should remember to go slowly because there may be families in the area picking up food, the city said this week.

Speed limits of 20 mph will be in effect and yellow lights will flash near 16 schools from 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. through June, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) said.

The city will not turn on the cameras that issue tickets for speeding in school zones, despite an “uptick” in traveling speeds since Gov. Jay Inslee issued a stay-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, SDOT said.

For some students, school can be a critical source of food. At Seattle Public Schools, 32% of students are from low-income families and 4% of students are homeless. More than two dozen schools are providing food for pickup on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The fine for speeding in a school zone is $237. The city last year issued about 54,500 tickets with school-zone cameras, according to municipal court data.

SDOT said it will "consider other speed reduction measures" if speed increases continue.

—Heidi Groover

Please don't come to the San Juans, visitors bureau says

The San Juan Islands love their visitors, and depend on them, but please, don't visit, don't come to your second home and don't moor your boat nearby, the islands' tourism bureau pleaded in a statement on its website.

"The health and safety of our island communities is our highest priority," the statement reads. "In light of concerns about the COVID-19 virus, the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau is requesting visitors postpone all travel to the San Juans, including day trips, to limit the potential spread of the virus."

This advisory includes boaters who wish to anchor out or pick up a mooring buoy and people whose primary home is somewhere other than the San Juan Islands, the bureau said.

"Please help us manage the potential spread of the virus, and prevent overloading our limited health care and emergency care infrastructure by staying at your primary residence."

Going to the islands may provide some social distancing peace of mind, the statement says, but you will be jeopardizing a community with limited essential supplies and limited response resources.

The request is based on the San Juan County Health Officer’s directive to suspend all nonessential travel to and from the islands and close all lodgings to vacationers through May 4.

—Christine Clarridge

Quarantine Corner: Making it easier to be stuck at home

Get lost in a detective novel. Here are three gumshoes whose stories are worth devouring.

Neighborhood Eats headed to Bothell for takeout. Among our top picks there: tasty tacos, a big smoky burger and a delicious Thai soup.

A new streaming service has arrived. Pop the popcorn while we preview what you'll find this week on Peacock and other services.

“Happy weird birthday to you …” Check out how Seattle-area families are getting sweetly creative about celebrating kids' birthdays under lockdown.

Hannah Bruno waves to her friends taking part in a car parade to wish her happy birthday last month. (Courtesy of Carrie Bruno)
Hannah Bruno waves to her friends taking part in a car parade to wish her happy birthday last month. (Courtesy of Carrie Bruno)

—Kris Higginson
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The race to save restaurants: Will a $10,000 relief grant go far enough?

Hood Famous Cafe + Bar co-owner Chera Amlag and cafe manager Anton Coleman package ube cookies for delivery.  Hood Famous was one of the small businesses awarded a $10,000 coronavirus relief grant from the city of Seattle. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)
Hood Famous Cafe + Bar co-owner Chera Amlag and cafe manager Anton Coleman package ube cookies for delivery. Hood Famous was one of the small businesses awarded a $10,000 coronavirus relief grant from the city of Seattle. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

Hood Famous Cafe + Bar, in Seattle's Chinatown International District, is among 250 small businesses that got a $10,000 coronavirus relief grant from the city. Co-owners Chera Amlag and Geo Quibuyen are using the money to pay rent at two locations and save three jobs as they chase an "ambitious, stressful" plan to survive. Here's how the payouts are making a difference at other local eateries.

—Tan Vinh

Taking more walks during the pandemic? Watch out

Like everyone else, Garry and Joyce Lingerfelt want very much to get out of their Shoreline condo and walk with their dog, Hillary.  But where they live is also like a lot of neighborhoods that lack sidewalks to move safely along. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Like everyone else, Garry and Joyce Lingerfelt want very much to get out of their Shoreline condo and walk with their dog, Hillary. But where they live is also like a lot of neighborhoods that lack sidewalks to move safely along. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Many more of us are walking these days — and getting an up-close view of just how dicey local routes can be for pedestrians. Garry and Joyce Lingerfelt, above, are wishing for sidewalks and crosswalks in their Shoreline neighborhood, and others are calling on cities to turn some streets over to walkers and bicyclists. Here's what walkers say could be improved around our region.

—Michelle Baruchman

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Hammocks help maintain social distance at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus in King County has remained steady for nearly two weeks, it was announced Tuesday.  (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Hammocks help maintain social distance at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus in King County has remained steady for nearly two weeks, it was announced Tuesday. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Coronavirus transmission has slowed in the greater Seattle area and may have reached a critical threshold, new modeling suggests. But progress remains precarious, as leaders weigh how long to leave distancing orders in place.

Washington's young adults are getting slammed hardest financially by the pandemic, according to a new survey. FYI Guy digs into the data on how each generation is being affected.

The CDC and FEMA have a roadmap to reopen America. A draft gets down to the details on schools, summer camps, parks, restaurants and more. But "we're not there yet," the top U.S. infections disease expert says, calling President Donald Trump's May 1 target "a bit overly optimistic."

Trump says he's cutting off U.S. payments to the World Health Organization because "we have not been treated properly." The president accuses the WHO of failing to stop the virus' spread.

Don't stand so close to me in the store: Seattle-area grocery workers are getting overwhelmed as they try to enforce new safety measures. Shoppers — some trying to avoid each other, some not — are wandering in confusion and crashing their carts together.

Customers are lined up outside the Trader Joe’s in Ballard on Monday morning. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Customers are lined up outside the Trader Joe’s in Ballard on Monday morning. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Washington's small and midsize cities fear they'll be shut out of the federal stimulus package. The rules have leaders of cities like hard-hit Kirkland worrying "the whole system is going to break down." Sizable checks are going to Alaska Airlines and Sea-Tac Airport.

Six days. That's how long China's leaders waited to tell the public that a pandemic was likely brewing, newly obtained documents show. The virus spread silently as Wuhan hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people, and millions began traveling for Lunar New Year celebrations.

Which prisoners will go free? Gov. Jay Inslee's plan to release as many as 950 of them is drawing big concerns from people on all sides, ranging from sexual assault survivors to prison advocates.

What it’s like to face down the coronavirus when you’re 96: Seattle's James Thompson has no shortage of survival tales. Now he can add the COVID-19 story of how he "crawled through broken glass with this thing, alone." If he can come out the other side, then so can we, columnist Danny Westneat writes.

How to spend that stimulus check: Many Americans are using it for food, early evidence shows. But four recent Washington college grads are building up steam with their plan to boost local small businesses with the checks. Here's what you should know about the relief — which has people hurrying to catch up on filing their tax returns.

—Kris Higginson
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