Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Wednesday, April 22, as the events unfolded. Click here to see updates from Thursday, April 23. And 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.
Some parts of Washington’s stay-home order might be extended past May 4, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a televised public address Tuesday as he shared his three-part road map for reopening the state’s economy once the new coronavirus is under control. If the number of new daily cases continues to drop, he said, elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and some construction could restart in the near future.
In the other Washington, the U.S. Senate passed a $483 billion coronavirus aid package Tuesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to replenish a small-business payroll fund and provide new money for hospitals. President Donald Trump, who’s urging the House to pass the bill as well, continues to clash with some states over the best approach to deal with the crisis. Attorney General William Barr confirmed Tuesday the Justice Department is considering taking legal action against governors who continue to impose stringent stay-home orders, with the intention of giving businesses more freedom to operate as long as they do so in a safe way.
Throughout Wednesday, on this page, we’ll be posting updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the pandemic 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.
Boeing workers’ return after coronavirus closure is a test case for industrial recovery
When Boeing workers returned en masse Tuesday to the airplane factories in the Puget Sound region after a four-week shutdown, they found a changed workplace, cleaner and with a series of safety protocols in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Even as Boeing faces a drastic collapse in its business due to the near disappearance of air travel, management instructed about 27,000 factory employees to return to work this week. Yet with the coronavirus still threatening lives nationwide, the first to return came back with varying levels of unease.
In interviews Wednesday, some employees said Boeing had significantly stepped up its protections for the workforce. A mechanic on the 767 program in Everett, who had been very unhappy at the lax safety protocols in Everett before last month’s shutdown, said Wednesday that “Boeing has definitely put in an effort to make things better.”
Boeing said it has deep-cleaned more than 1,500 restrooms, deployed thousands of gallons of sanitizer and procured hundreds of thousands of surgical-type masks and face coverings as well as hundreds of cleaning kits.
Coronavirus-vaccine chief ousted; he says he questioned drug that Trump praised
The doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Donald Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration has put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”
Dr. Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and removed as deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. He was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health.
In a scorching statement, Bright assailed the leadership at the health department, saying he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and repeatedly described by the president as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the virus.
Republican leaders begin to push back on Inslee’s ‘stay home’ order, seek easing of some restrictions
Republican leaders began to increase their pushback to Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay-home” order on Wednesday, even as public health officials continue to say that social-distancing measures are crucial to keeping the spread of the novel coronavirus under control.
On Wednesday, the Republican leader in the state House of Representatives, who’s been supportive of Inslee throughout the crisis, announced his frustration and said he would begin objecting, in some instances, to Inslee’s executive orders. Meantime, the GOP-backed sheriff of Snohomish County announced he would not enforce Inslee’s stay-home directive. A Republican candidate for governor sued Inslee in federal court, arguing the order violates First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom, assembly and free speech.
And a Republican representative who had talked about “starting a rebellion” against parts of Inslee’s order drew objections from law enforcement.
Coronavirus cash, housing, green upgrades: Seattle council spotlights potential uses for big-business tax
The Seattle City Council began deliberating a new proposal to tax big businesses Wednesday by spotlighting how the measure could be used to combat crises in public health, unemployment and housing that Councilmember Kshama Sawant labeled a “triple emergency.”
The plan championed by Sawant and Councilmember Tammy Morales could possibly underwrite coronavirus-relief cash payments totaling $2,000 each to about 100,000 lower-income households this year, were the city to initially borrow $200 million, council staff said at a budget-committee meeting held remotely. From 2021 through 2025, the payroll tax could raise more than $500 million annually, create 5,600 units of affordable housing and convert even more existing homes to electric heat, the staff said.
A coronavirus death in early February was ‘probably the tip of an iceberg’
Weeks before there was evidence that the coronavirus was spreading in U.S. communities, a 57-year-old woman developed flulike symptoms and abruptly died in her San Jose kitchen, triggering a search for what had killed her. Flu tests were negative. The coroner was baffled. It appeared that the woman had suffered a massive heart attack.
But tissue samples from the woman, who died on Feb. 6, have now shown that she was infected with the coronavirus — a startling discovery that has rewritten the timeline of the virus’ early spread in the United States and suggests that the optimistic assumptions that drove federal policies over the early weeks of the outbreak were misplaced.
The unexpected new finding makes clear that the virus was circulating in the Bay Area of California as early as January, even before the federal government began restricting travel from China on Feb. 2. It also raises new questions about where else the virus might have been spreading undetected.
How to get a small-business loan under the new $484 billion coronavirus aid package
A $484 billion coronavirus aid deal finalized Tuesday promises to breathe new life into two small-business loan programs that are designed to combat the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus.
In recent weeks, the Small Business Administration and thousands of its affiliated banks were overwhelmed by an unprecedented crush of applications, forcing a temporary halt to some lending activities. Although the programs succeeded in quickly pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into an economically devastated business community, many small companies are still awaiting funds.
The bipartisan deal finalized Tuesday includes $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, a new federal loan program that allows qualified banks to offer low-interest loans that can later be forgiven. It also provides $60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, a parallel program operated by the SBA.
If the deal survives a vote in the House of Representatives and receives the president’s signature, struggling small businesses who were left out of the initial round of funding will get another shot.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed sues Inslee over coronavirus ban on religious gatherings
Republican gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed sued Gov. Jay Inslee in federal court on Wednesday, challenging the state’s ban on religious gatherings issued as part of the governor’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The 12-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, contends the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom, assembly and free speech.
Freed’s lawsuit says Inslee’s order prohibiting in-person spiritual meetings overstepped his authority, and ignored less burdensome alternative restrictions.
“Prohibiting or punishing Plaintiff’s religious speech does not serve any legitimate, rational, substantial, or compelling governmental interest,” the lawsuit states.
Seattle business leaders support governor’s cautious reopening strategy after coronavirus lockdown
Seattle’s business leaders voiced support Wednesday for Gov. Jay Inslee’s cautious approach to reopening the state’s economy, while saying the business community should play a key role in crafting policies.
Inslee, in televised remarks Tuesday, unveiled a roadmap that soon could allow return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and certain construction projects, as long as progress continues in the fight against COVID-19. Jon Scholes, president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, endorsed these moves.
“We should look at allowing specific sectors that pose minimal health and safety risks to move forward with clear guidelines,” Scholes said, adding that this will mean fewer people will need unemployment benefits and economic activity will increase.
But Scholes cautioned against developing tailored requirements for every industry and work environment.
Washington prison inmates and families, dreading coronavirus spread, taking fight to state Supreme Court
The last time Lisa Dunlap spoke with her son, 28-year-old Todd Sloan, he was terrified of catching the novel coronavirus spreading through Monroe Correctional Complex.
Sloan had recently transferred to the Snohomish County prison’s minimum-security section, where several men were already infected. He suffers from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other medical problems that already had caused him to shed 60 pounds and required hospitalizations.
Eleven days later, prison staff told Dunlap her son had tested positive for COVID-19. As of Wednesday, Dunlap says she had not been able to speak with him for more than two weeks, as he is cut off from phones.
Dunlap’s worries echo those of inmates and their families across the state. There have been a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the approximately 19,000 persons held by the state Department of Corrections (DOC), all associated with the Monroe prison. But inmates, family members and advocates say the system is ripe for a wave of infections.
In interviews over the past two weeks, many told The Seattle Times of a slow and uneven rollout of safety measures, including a lack of hand sanitizer and soap and failure by some staff to consistently wear masks.
No failing grades for high-school students during coronavirus closures, Reykdal says
A new grading policy framework released by state schools superintendent Chris Reykdal Tuesday gives school districts broad latitude on how to assign grades to high-school students in the remaining eight weeks of the school year, at a time students are being taught remotely because of the COVID-19 health crisis.
The policy requires districts to use letter grades, but does not allow them to fail any student. A student’s grade as of March 17 will serve as a baseline, and every student will get a chance to improve that grade. Students who normally wouldn’t pass a class will get an incomplete.
All high-school students will get a mark on their transcripts indicating this semester’s grades were affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, but Reykdal said he did not think the grading decision would hurt college-bound students because every school district in the country is in the same boat.
City of Seattle clears encampment in Chinatown-ID area as homeless coronavirus cases rise
Seattle officials removed an encampment of roughly 20 tents and structures Wednesday morning in the stairwell next to the city’s Navigation Center, an enhanced, 24-7 homeless shelter modeled after San Francisco’s shelter of the same name.
Seattle’s Navigation Team, a group of police officers and social workers tasked with tent removals and shelter referrals, gave campers at the Chinatown-International District site 24-hour notice of the removal, after the encampment was deemed a hazard by the city.
Removals that don’t require 72-hour notice, such as hazards and obstructions, typically make up the bulk of the Navigation Team’s work, but on March 17, the city said it would only remove encampments under extreme circumstances because of the novel coronavirus.
Out of nine people encountered at the site this morning, three accepted referrals to shelter, Lemke said, including two referrals to new tiny houses created by the city during the pandemic.
More Washington farmworkers test positive for coronavirus
Thirty-six people at a Chelan County farmworker housing site have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement released by Stemilt Ag Services, a major grower that sought last weekend to determine the prevalence of coronavirus disease in its workforce.
All the workers were described as not showing symptoms. They represented just over the half of the 71 workers who were tested in coordination with Confluence Health, according to the statement.
The workers who tested positive are now in isolation, and are being monitored daily.
“We are doing all that we can to ensure our team members are well cared for while in isolation,” said West Mathison, Stemilt’s president.
A Stemilt spokesman said that those who tested positive were a mix of H-2A workers, recruited from outside the U.S. on temporary work visas, and domestic workers.
The test results come amid growing concern in Washington about the spread of the coronavirus among farmworkers, fruit-packing workers and meat-packing workers. A lawsuit filed last week by two farmworker unions in Skagit County Superior Court seeks to require the state to develop stronger emergency workplace rules for the pandemic.
Other cases of COVID-19 in farmworkers have been identified in Grant County, as well as Yakima County, where more than 70 workers in the agriculture and fruit-packing industries have tested positive, according to Lilian Bravo, of the Yakima Health District.
In Walla Walla County, five workers at FirstFruit Farms have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Meghan Debolt, director of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health.
Inslee: Violations of stay-home order jeopardize public health
During a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said that violations of the state’s stay-home order could negatively impact efforts to contain the outbreak of COVId-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
The statement came on the heels of a protest in Olympia in opposition to the governor’s order, and the news that Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney said that he did not intend to enforce the order.
Inslee said that it was not appropriate for law enforcement officers to “arbitrarily decide” what measures to enforce, and that legal action against those who violate the state’s stay home order would be employed as “a last resort.”
Illegal activity in violation of the stay-home order puts public health in jeopardy, said Inslee, but so far “millions of Washingtonians” had been complying with public health recommendations.
State confirms 12,494 COVID-19 cases
State health officials reported another 212 cases — 8% of all tests conducted within the last day — and 10 deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.
The new numbers bring Washington's total number of coronavirus infections to 12,494, including 692 deaths.
Ninety-two percent of tests within the last day returned negative, according to the state Department of Health.
New deaths were reported in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Yakima counties.
Amazon taps contract drivers to make food bank deliveries
Amazon's contract delivery drivers are shuttling groceries directly from food banks to homebound people in need under a new program the company says will deliver about 6 million meals through the end of June.
The company said 427,000 pounds of shelf-stable groceries have been delivered through the program already in Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Amazon plans to expand the program to serve 25 markets in the U.S. and internationally.
Food banks themselves provide the food, which Amazon Flex drivers deliver using their own vehicles. Flex drivers use an app to sign up for delivery blocks, which pay a set amount based on demand and typically begin from Amazon facilities.
In Seattle, Amazon began a program last month to feed seniors and people with disabilities in public housing, paying one of its catering contractors, Gourmondo, to prepare meals.
Friday is the deadline to register for tech help for AP classes
High-school students who need a computer or internet access to finish taking an Advanced Placement class, or take the exam online, have a Friday deadline to ask for free assistance.
The College Board, which administers the AP program, is offering to find technology for students who need it to finish a class or take one of the exams, which will be administered in May. The student must be able to get online by Friday to fill out a form requesting help. The form is located at https://collegeboard.tfaforms.net/74
The 2020 AP exams have been shortened to about 45 minutes, and each subject will be taken on the same day and same time worldwide. They’ve been designed so they can be taken on a computer, tablet or smartphone, and students can also write responses by hand and submit a photo of their work via cellphone.
About 20 percent of Washington high-school students take an AP class, and a high score on the national exam is accepted at many schools for college credit.
Pierce Transit buses will provide free Wi-Fi to students to complete schoolwork
Pierce Transit buses will double as free Wi-Fi hotspots for students working on school assignments who do not have reliable Internet access.
Students and their caregivers will be able to drive to Lakewood Towne Center, behind Target and Barnes & Noble, and the Roy “Y” Park & Ride to access internet service beginning Thursday.
The service comes after Gov. Jay Inslee on April 6 ordered Washington K-12 public, private and charter schools to close through the end of the school year.
The pilot program will run through at least May 1 but may be extended.
Locations were selected by the agency in collaboration with Pierce County Emergency Management, and more may be added depending upon need.
Wi-Fi range on Pierce Transit buses extends about 100 feet and will be available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Pierce Transit buses not only carry people, but also serve as resources during disasters and situations such as this, when they can play another important role,” said Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier in a news release.
If you participate in this service, we would like to hear about it. Email Michelle Baruchman at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experience.
Tyson Foods idles largest pork plant as virus slams industry
Tyson Foods suspended operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is critical to the nation’s pork supply but was blamed for fueling a massive coronavirus outbreak in the region.
The Arkansas-based company said the closure of the plant in Waterloo would deny a vital market to hog farmers and further disrupt U.S. meat supply. Tyson had kept the facility, its largest pork plant, open in recent days over the objections of alarmed local officials.
The plant can process 19,500 hogs per day, accounting for 3.9% of U.S. pork processing capacity, according to the National Pork Board.
More than 180 infections have been linked to the plant and officials expect that number to dramatically rise.
With nation’s big spelling bee canceled, teen ex-spellers launch their own
With this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, an online spelling bee launched by two Texas teenagers is offering a consolation prize of sorts, with competitors nationwide including many of the kids who were considered favorites for the Scripps title.
The SpellPundit Online National Spelling Bee will be contested the same week as the Scripps bee was scheduled this year, concluding on May 28, with a similar format of a written spelling and vocabulary test followed by oral spelling. The champion will receive $2,500 — far short of Scripps’ $50,000, but clearly worth a middle-schooler’s time and effort.
More than 200 spellers have already registered, including the majority of still-eligible spellers from last year’s top 50 at Scripps. And the creators are confident that, unlike Scripps last year, they’ll end up with a single champion.
Administration offers plan to cover COVID-19 care for uninsured
The Trump administration announced a plan Wednesday to start paying hospitals and doctors who care for uninsured patients with COVID-19, but Democratic lawmakers and health industry groups are likely to press for more.
Under the approach detailed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, hospitals and doctors would submit their bills directly to the government and they would get paid at Medicare rates.
Uninsured people would not be liable for costs, and health care providers would not have to ask any questions about a patient’s immigration status, an issue that’s been cited as a barrier to care in communities with many foreign-born residents.
The money will come from a pot of $100 billion that Congress has approved to provide relief for the health care system, which is trying to cope with the high cost of coronavirus care while facing a cash crunch because elective surgeries and procedures have been put on hold.
Kshama Sawant to hold organizing event, “car caravan protest” in support of rent strike
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who earlier this month held a virtual town hall in support of a rent strike, will hold a planning conference Saturday to prepare for the strike set to begin May 1 with a socially distant protest. The details were shared on a Facebook event page hosted by the councilmember.
“We are organizing our neighbors and neighborhoods now to take collective action in a rent strike, please join the Rent Strike Organizing Conference on April 25th at 2pm to prepare for the May 1st Rent Strike,” it reads. According to the Facebook event page, the May 1 rent strike will begin with “a social-distancing car caravan protest.”
Sawant is demanding Gov. Jay Inslee suspend rent and mortgage payments and instate a rent freeze due to the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Rainier Beach mobile coronavirus testing site opens to reach underserved populations
A new mobile coronavirus testing site opened in Rainier Beach on Wednesday to reach underserved populations that might not have access to other testing options. The University of Washington Medicine and Harborview Medical Center testing site allows drive-thru testing as well as walk-up testing for those without access to cars.
Testing is available for:
- Those who have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and don’t have a doctor or other access to testing
- Those who have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath who can't isolate, are pregnant, are over 60 or have a chronic health condition
- Asymptomatic health care workers, first responders and professional caregivers who have been exposed to the virus
The testing site will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Atlantic City boat ramp across from Rainier Beach High School (8702 Seward Park Ave. S., Seattle; 206-520-2285).
Cora Howard, 23-year Seattle teacher and mother of Garfield principal, dies of COVID-19
Cora Howard, a 23-year teacher in the Seattle Public Schools and the mother of Garfield High School principal Ted Howard, passed away from the novel coronavirus on April 3, according to a note sent Wednesday to the Garfield community. She was 77.
Mrs Howard, a native of Lufkin, Texas, moved to Seattle in 1965 and worked as a keypunch operator at SeaFirst Bank while attending evening classes at Seattle Central Community College. She received a B.A. in Education from Seattle University in 1986.
“Cora loved elementary teaching and helped influence students with achieving their education goals,” the family said on a statement. She retired in 2009.
She has been a member of First AME Church since 1977.
No services are scheduled at this time.
'Coach Full, Sorry.' Metro will limit passengers on buses for better social distancing
Starting Wednesday, King County Metro bus drivers will begin passing up stops once a certain number of riders are on board, an attempt to strengthen social distancing on buses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The “temporary optimal/ideal” passenger limits are 12 riders on a 40-foot bus and 18 on a 60-foot bus, according to a bulletin to drivers from Tim Flanagan, Metro director of bus operations.
Once those limits are reached, drivers should pass up other customers and the digital signs on the front of buses will read “Coach Full, Sorry.” At other times, bus signs should read, “Essential trips only,” the bulletin said.
Metro has designated bus drivers “first responders” who should continue working unless they show symptoms. Since March, the union representing Metro employees has called for passenger limits, along with better protective equipment for bus drivers.
Snohomish County sheriff says he won't enforce stay-at-home order
Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney said he thinks Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order is unconstitutional and he won't enforce it.
In a post on his Facebook page Tuesday night, Fortney said he was worried about the economy and residents' ability to make a living.
"I believe that preventing business owners to operate their businesses and provide for their families intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he wrote, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence. "As your elected Sheriff I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion."
Fortney argued that the stay-home order, which aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus by barring people from gathering, violates Washingtonians' First Amendment rights to religious exercise and peaceable assembly.
The post, Fortney wrote, was prompted by a Tuesday evening news conference in which Inslee laid out a road map for reopening Washington’s economy that could soon allow the return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and construction projects.
Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond also came out against the stay-home order, as have the commissioners of Franklin County, where 207 people have been infected with the coronavirus and four have died.
It isn’t the first time Raymond has refused to enforce a state law he saw as unconstitutional. He and at least a dozen other sheriffs in Washington took a similar stance against Initiative 1639, a gun-safety measure approved by voters in November 2018.
Read the story here.
Pop star Post Malone to livestream Nirvana tribute benefiting COVID-19 relief efforts
On Wednesday morning, pop star Post Malone announced plans to livestream a Nirvana tribute set.
During the online performance, which starts at 3 p.m. Seattle time on Friday on Malone's YouTube page, the singer will solicit donations for the U.N. Foundation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.
Malone is apparently a big Nirvana fan.
Read more here.
Seattle will allow U District and Ballard farmers markets to open again this coming weekend
Two popular Seattle farmers markets that reopened last weekend with new, coronavirus-related rules will be allowed to open again this coming weekend.
The University District Farmers Market on Saturday and the Ballard Farmers Market on Sunday were able to operate safely, said Kelsey Nyland, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jenny Durkan. The markets need city permits to do their business in the public right of way.
“Last weekend’s trial opening of the Ballard and U District farmers markets went well,” Nyland said in an email, describing the markets as “collaborative and responsive” partners with the city. “We saw vendors and customers alike largely following physical distancing guidelines … We will reissue permits for the Ballard and U District farmers markets again this weekend.”
Durkan initially shut down all of the city’s farmers markets in mid-March, arguing the closures would help slow the spread of the virus. She kept the markets closed even after Gov. Jay Inslee described them as essential businesses when he issued a stay-at-home order for Washington.
That caused concern among market sellers, who noted that grocery stores were still open.
A week ago, the mayor announced she would allow the U District and Ballard markets to reopen as an experiment, under strict new rules of operation, such as modified layouts to ensure 6 feet to 10 feet between vendor booths, limited entrances to control crowds, along with bans on prepared foods and entertainment. Shoppers were warned not to touch the products.
At the U District market on University Way Northeast, only 62 shoppers were allowed to occupy a two-block area at any given time, and they were told to walk in one direction, rather than back and forth. Soon after the market opened Saturday morning, there was a long line to enter.
At the Ballard market, the city made a last-minute change, Nyland said. Initially, the plan was to allow three shoppers to visit each vendor at any given time. But as business began, “we realized that customer-vendor ratio caused too much gathering,” she said.
“In real time, we worked with the farmers market to implement a two-customer limit,” Nyland said. “We found that ratio helped ensure physical distancing between customers and vendors.”
First two COVID-19 deaths were in California, not Washington
Health officials say two people died with the coronavirus in California weeks before the first reported death in Washington state from the disease.
Santa Clara County officials said Tuesday the two people died at their homes Feb. 6 and Feb. 17.
Before this, the first U.S. death from the virus had been reported on Feb. 29 in Kirkland.
The Medical Examiner-Coroner received confirmation Tuesday that tissue samples sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested positive for the virus, officials said.
The announcement came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom promised a “deep dive” update of the state’s ability to test for the coronavirus and to track and isolate people who have it, one of the six indicators key to lifting his stay-at-home order.
Read the story here.
All-day happy hour for many remote workers, surveys find
Millions of Americans are drinking on the job as they work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to multiple worker surveys.
Beer is their drink of choice over cocktails, according to Alcohol.org, but that’s probably little consolation to corporate bigwigs.
One survey, released Monday, found 42% of nearly 13,000 workers were drinking on the clock at home, according to Fishbowl, a social network “for verified employees.”
“Advertising and marketing agency employees had the highest percentage of employees answering with ‘Yes’, with 49.14%,” Fishbowl reported.
More than half of those surveyed said they feared layoffs due to the pandemic and 60% said COVID-19 “had caused clients to pause or cancel work,” the survey said.
None of the surveys reported asking how much people were drinking, but Americans began stockpiling alcohol as cities, counties and states started announcing stay-at-home orders and restricting travel for the virus.
Read the story here.
Seattle will reopen 5 library bathrooms during coronavirus pandemic
Seattle will reopen five library bathrooms to better meet some of the hygiene needs of the more than 3,500 people living unsheltered in the city during the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced Tuesday.
Restrooms at the Ballard, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, University and Central Library branches will be open for public use everyday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Ballard and Beacon Hill branches will open Thursday, and the other sites will reopen Monday, according to the city. No services other than the restrooms at the libraries will be available.
“Equity is an important value to the Library and I believe we have an opportunity to support our most vulnerable neighbors by providing restroom access during the COVID-19 crisis,” chief librarian Marcellus Turner said in a statement.
Read the story here.
Quarantine Corner: Making it easier to be stuck at home
Have some fun with your next video call: Download one of these 25 gorgeous, Pacific Northwest-themed pictures from Seattle Times photographers and use it as your virtual background to spice up your Zoom conferences.
What to watch: Two animated features debut on streaming services this week, along with some decidedly grown-up shows. Check out the top streams of the week.
Turn your kids into happy campers: Here are three ways you can set up your own camp-out in the living room or back yard, ranging from simple fun to all-out crafty Martha Stewart in a tent.
Downtown Seattle’s streets nearly empty, except for homeless people and those who help them
Seattle's urban core has long been home to shelters, day centers and social service agencies. But the coronavirus has forced nonprofits to hobble their services. Paired with the closure of public spaces, that means the options have swiftly evaporated for people who have no homes.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Gov. Jay Inslee has laid out a road map for reopening Washington’s economy that could soon allow the return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and construction projects. But that, and the length of his stay-home order, will depend on the state's progress on key public-health indicators.
One state's reopening has outraged many of its mayors and left some residents feeling "like you are putting us out as the guinea pigs to see what’s going to happen." But there's pressure to reopen: The Justice Department says it may act against governors who keep strict limits in place too long. And conservative groups — some with close White House connections — are nurturing protests and applying pressure to end stay-home orders.
A second wave of coronavirus this winter may be far more deadly because it's likely to collide with flu season, the CDC's director is warning.
President Donald Trump's immigration freeze will block green-card recipients for 60 days but still allow some workers into the country. Senior officials haven't been able to answer basic questions about the details on this, though. What will come next? That's a big worry in the Seattle-area tech community, where workers from other countries fill "super critical" jobs.
The crisis could blow a $300 million hole in Seattle's budget. Mayor Jenny Durkan outlined worsening projections as city leaders look at how to soften the hit to basic services.
Seattle’s FareStart is massively upping its game to feed those in need. Here's the incredible story of how the nonprofit has provided close to 197,000 meals at 70 locations during the crisis, with a relatively small staff to prep, cook and deliver everything.
Boeing is shrinking its top leadership team, saying it's preparing for a smaller "industry footprint" after the pandemic.
The first U.S. coronavirus death was not in Kirkland, as previously thought. Two people with the virus died in California weeks before the Feb. 29 Kirkland death was reported, health officials have learned.
Giving A's to every student is the most Seattle thing ever. It's a cover for the school district's own poor marks in this crisis, columnist Danny Westneat writes. What exactly is required of teachers statewide? Education Lab steps through that in its Q&A on this wild time in K-12 education.
Millions of Americans are likely drinking on the job as they work from home during the pandemic, according to surveys that lay out which workers are drinking and where.
How is this outbreak 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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