Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Thursday, April 9, as the events unfolded. Click here to see updates from Friday, April 10. 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 state authorities say Washington is starting to flatten the curve to avoid overwhelming the hospital system — Gov. Jay Inslee even had a field hospital dismantled before it ever saw patients — that trend can continue only if we continue physically distancing ourselves to keep the new coronavirus from rapidly spreading. And Washington has lagged behind many other states in reporting up-to-date COVID-19 hospitalization data.

Other worries abound: Hundreds have to wait for days after a test to find out whether they have COVID-19, leading to stress and sometimes financial hardships, and potentially blinding us to the virus’ spread. The University of Washington Medical Center’s food-service workers are demanding more protection from their employer. And many parents say they don’t feel safe returning their kids to school anytime soon.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Washington continues to grow, though at a slower rate. As of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the state has confirmed 9,608 people infected with the virus, including 446 who have died.

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 Wednesday 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 Thursday evening.

Live updates:

Seattle skyline turns blue to support frontline and essential workers

Seattle joined cities all over country Thursday evening in lighting its skyline up in blue to show support for frontline and essential workers at risk of infection during the coronavirus outbreak.

New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Baltimore and other major U.S. cities lit their bridges, skyscrapers, stadiums and airports in blue as part of the growing #LightItBlue campaign. In Seattle, the Space Needle and CenturyLink Field, along with other downtown buildings, joined in.

"Building off of the campaign’s inception in the UK, this volunteer initiative has been organized by a collective of leaders from the global events and entertainment industry to help show their appreciation to those on the frontline, and #LightItBlue is soon being launched around the world," the campaign said on its website.

—Elise Takahama

Can an old vaccine help to stop the new coronavirus?

A vaccine that was developed 100 years ago to fight the tuberculosis scourge in Europe is now being tested against the coronavirus by scientists eager to find a quick way to protect health care workers, among others.

The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine is still widely used in the developing world, where scientists have found that it does more than prevent TB. The vaccine prevents infant deaths from a variety of causes, and sharply reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.

Late last month, scientists in Melbourne, Australia, started administering the BCG vaccine or a placebo to thousands of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers — the first of several randomized controlled trials intended to test the vaccine’s effectiveness against the coronavirus.

—The New York Times

White House seeks easing of shutdown in May, but some fear second viral wave

The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among medical experts and economists of a possible COVID-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out.

Behind closed doors, President Donald Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said.

Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said.

—The Washington Post

Gov. Inslee scolds Monroe inmates involved in disturbance, says he’s considering allowing early release for some nonviolent offenders

Gov. Jay Inslee and Corrections Secretary Steve Sinclair on Thursday scolded inmates involved in a major disturbance at Monroe Correctional Complex prompted by coronavirus fears, but the governor said he may soon propose allowing some limited number of early releases of nonviolent offenders from prisons.

Inslee gave no details of the early release plan, saying those will come in a few days.

The vague pledge is unlikely to appease advocates for incarcerated people, who stepped up a legal fight Thursday seeking to force the state to drastically thin out prison populations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinclair and Inslee both expressed disappointment in the disturbance by Monroe inmates, saying they were reacting negatively to efforts to move people around to less desirable living areas to protect more vulnerable prisoners.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner, Mary Hudetz and Joseph O’Sullivan

What’s bringing you joy or keeping you grounded during the coronavirus pandemic?

How are you staying connected to a sense of normalcy during this pandemic? Tell us about something or someone that is bringing you joy or helping you feel grounded right now and why.

For example, what kinds of activities have you taken up? How have your relationships changed? What has become more important to you at this time?

Tell us below, and your story could become a part of a Seattle Times photo series.

—Amanda Snyder

Amazon, contemplating coronavirus tests for all employees, begins building its own testing lab

With an eye toward possibly testing all of its employees for coronavirus, Amazon said Thursday it is building a testing lab.

“A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills — from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers — have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative,” the Seattle-based company said in a corporate blog post. “We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon.”

Amazon, like other employers with lots of people still coming in to work, is scrambling to update its processes and procedures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus within its facilities.

Read the full story here.

—Benjamin Romano

Closed by the coronavirus pandemic, UW campus is so empty you can hear yourself think

—Alan Berner

Airlines are blocking off the middle seat as social distancing becomes a priority in the skies

For many industries across the country, the solution to abide by social-distancing guidelines implemented in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has been to shut down operations entirely.

But for airlines — deemed essential by the federal government — closing is not an option. So they’ve had to get creative while still allowing passengers to fly.

One of the ways is by blocking off an area of the plane loathed by fliers: the middle seat.

The airlines are being proactive, too. Flight attendants have the authority to map out safe seating assignments as travelers board. Airlines are also reducing the number of passengers who board and, ultimately, travel on each flight.

—The Washington Post

State says 163 long-term care facilities have cases, but acknowledges issues with its data

State officials said Thursday that 163 long-term care facilities in Washington has residents or staff test positive for COVID-19, but they also acknowledged previous errors in their data.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) provided a list of facilities with cases for the first time Wednesday, but has since determined that at least four facilities were wrongly included. DSHS was not able to say how many other facilities may have also been inaccurately placed on the list.

The Seattle Times published that list online Wednesday, but has since taken it down until DSHS further clarifies how it was compiled.

“The number of facilities with COVID-19 cases has more than doubled in the past week alone,” said spokesman Chris Wright. “DSHS is working diligently to track the numbers and we apologize to any long-term care facilities listed that were initially reported as having positive cases and that was later found to not be the case.”

The state Department of Health said Wednesday that at least 221 deaths from COVID-19 had been associated with long-term care facilities.

Read the full story here.

—Asia Fields and Paige Cornwell

Seattle mayor to distribute 60,000 pieces of donated PPE to community organizations

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday her plans to distribute 60,000 masks, eyewear and gloves to community partners working on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Nationwide, there is a huge need for gowns, gloves and masks," Durkan said in a statement. "Our Seattle community has come together like never before to provide urgently needed life-saving protective gear to our heroes on the front lines."

The supplies will go to organizations that are providing COVID-19 testing to at-risk populations or working with homeless shelters and long-term care providers, the statement said.

The city has received items from more than 100 individuals and community groups since March 20. The supply includes 49,700 masks, 14,500 pieces of eyewear and face shields, and 58,100 gloves.

"Individual donations range from a box of masks originally bought for forest fires, to donating items from a dentist office, to organizations donating thousands of masks from purchases overseas," the statement said.

Meanwhile, community groups -- including Seattle Rotary, Oak Tin Family Association, Seniors in Action Foundation, Little Masters Club and Seattle Youth Association of Jiangme -- have raised funds together to purchase large numbers of masks.

The city will make its first delivery to 16 organizations Friday. The next delivery will be on April 24 to locations based on need, the statement said.

—Elise Takahama

State announces an additional 511 cases and 25 deaths from COVID-19

Washington's number of positive COVID-19 cases has climbed to 9,608 statewide, including 446 deaths, according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Health.

The state's newly released numbers include an additional 511 cases and 25 deaths.

Benton, Clark, Pierce, Spokane, Whatcom and Yakima counties reported new deaths Thursday. The bulk of the cases remain in King County, which has confirmed 3,884 cases and 257 deaths, according to the state. Snohomish County has also reported a large number of cases, and it now has 1,702 infections and 62 deaths.

The Department of Health did not provide the most updated count of negative test results Thursday.

—Elise Takahama

Biden joins growing call for release of racial data on coronavirus

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is joining a growing call for the release of comprehensive racial data on the coronavirus pandemic, which he says has put a spotlight on inequity and the impact of “structural racism.”

In a Medium post published April 9, Biden said he is joining Democratic congressional members Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and others who have also called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to release more data.

Biden said he wants data released on income, too, to better help allocate resources to communities in need. Biden acknowledged this is an “anxious, difficult time” for all Americans, but he noted the disparate impact on black Americans and Latinos, saying the virus can “hit anyone, anywhere,” but it doesn’t affect every “community equally.”

An Associated Press analysis, which was based on data through April 8, found that Black Americans are disproportionately being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis found that of the 3,300 COVID-19 victims whose demographic data was publicly shared by officials, about 42% were Black. Black people account for roughly 21% of the total population in the areas covered by the analysis.

—The Associated Press

Judge orders Chicago jail to do more to halt spread of coronavirus

A federal judge in Chicago Thursday ordered one of the nation’s largest jails to take prompt action to stem the potentially catastrophic spread of the coronavirus, including by ensuring that its more than 4,000 detainees have access to adequate soap and sanitizer.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly also mandated that Chicago’s Cook County Jail test all inmates as soon as they show signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and that it suspend the use of small holding pens to process new inmates.

Kennelly said in his 37-page order that he appreciates the challenges of managing such a large, diverse inmate population, many of whom are dangerous. And that task is all the more difficult during a pandemic.

“This does not mean, however, that constitutional protections fall by the wayside,” he said.

Read more here.

—The Associated Press

Newsom assures Californians the state has enough ventilators in coronavirus fight

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday offered assurances that the state will have enough ventilators to “meet the needs” of Californians stricken by the novel coronavirus based on the state’s projections of the outbreak.

The governor said California hospitals reported that they are currently using only 31% of the ventilators they have, meaning 8,000 of the breathing machines are available for future COVID-19 patients who might need them. That number does not include the ventilators in the state stockpile, he said.

Newsom’s comments come after some officials from counties scrambling to procure ventilators expressed surprise over the governor’s decision earlier this week to lend 500 of the devices to New York, New Jersey, Illinois and other COVID-19 hot spots facing shortages.

The governor defended that decision, saying it was the “right thing to do” and emphasizing that the ventilators will be returned to California when needed.

Read more about California’s fight against the coronavirus here.

—Los Angeles Times

Washington State Ferries to reduce service on Anacortes-San Juan Islands route

Sailings on the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route will be reduced starting Friday. Washington State Ferries will provide a three-boat schedule during the weekday, down from four sailings, and offer a two-boat schedule on the weekends instead of three.

Service reductions that began March 29, as previously reported, will continue through at least April 25.

Those included cutting service on the Seattle-Bainbridge and Seattle-Bremerton routes by about half and reducing the Triangle route — Fauntleroy-Vashon, Fauntleroy-Southworth and Southworth-Vashon — by about one-third.

The last daily round trip on the Seattle-Bainbridge, Seattle-Bremerton and Mukilteo-Clinton routes has also been suspended since March 29.

—Michelle Baruchman

Washington University launches clinical trial on controversial drug to treat COVID-19

Washington University School of Medicine announced Thursday that it is launching a clinical trial to investigate the controversial drug chloroquine, among others, to treat the new coronavirus.

The trial will look at different combinations of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been used to treat malaria and some inflammatory conditions, but have not been proven as treatment for COVID-19.

President Donald Trump recommended hydroxychloroquine to treat the new coronavirus, causing an uproar last month among health officials across the world, who warned that drugs were unproven in this application. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned that the evidence in favor of the drugs has been anecdotal so far.

The goal of the Washington University trial is to determine if any of the medications decrease the severity or duration of respiratory symptoms associated with the new coronavirus.

—The Associated Press

Seattle cargo terminal on standby as workers face off with operator over sanitation

Dock workers have brought work to a halt at Seattle's Terminal 18, the largest container terminal in the Pacific Northwest, saying terminal operator SSA Marine is not doing enough to sanitize shared equipment to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The issue has gone to arbitration and parties are awaiting arbitrators' ruling.

The stoppage is the second time this week longshore union members have refused to work over health and safety concerns. Monday, eight gangs walked off the night shift after learning that an SSA Marine supervisor had been tested for COVID-19 the day before.

SSA Marine sanitized the office in which the supervisor worked. Wednesday, dock workers learned the supervisor had tested positive.

Disputes over proper sanitation of longshore equipment have been a persistent theme of how the crisis has played out on the docks. After weeks of negotiation, SSA entered into an agreement with the longshore union to employ machinists to clean equipment between shifts.

Late March, workers at the Louis Dreyfus Grain Terminal in Interbay also protested that company's sanitation policies by refusing to unload grain cars for a night.

—Katherine K. Long

Seattle to close major parks and beaches this weekend

Seattle is closing more than a dozen of the city’s largest and most popular parks for the weekend because officials are worried about people crowding into the parks to enjoy the pleasant spring weather and spreading the coronavirus to each other.

The city will close 14 parks Friday evening and keep them closed until early Monday morning, Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said Thursday in an online news conference with Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best.

The weekend closures will apply to these parks: Alki, Arboretum, Cal Anderson, Discovery, Gas Works, Green Lake, Golden Gardens, Kubota Garden, Lincoln, Magnuson, Seward, Volunteer, West Seattle Stadium and Woodland.

Parks with gates will be locked, and Seattle Parks and Recreation employees will be present in the closed parks. They’ll remind people who enter the parks without gates to leave and will be able to call the police if people don’t move along, Aguirre said.

The Seattle Police Department will have a number of officers prepared to respond, Best said. Officers will start by asking people to voluntarily comply with the closures, she said.

“That being said, we do have the potential to write a citation,” Best added. “Those details are being worked out with the City Attorney’s Office … That is the game plan so far.”

Read more here.

—Daniel Beekman

Saturday Night Live is back in business -- just 6 feet apart

Saturday Night Live will be back on the air this weekend with a show that abides by social-distancing rules.

The comedy sketch show will include a Weekend Update news segment and original content from SNL cast members, NBC said Thursday.

The material will be produced remotely, the network said, in compliance with efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Part of the pandemic’s fallout was a shutdown of movie and TV production that included Saturday Night Live. Its last original episode aired March 7.

SNL is known for its guest hosts and musical artists, but NBC didn’t immediately address whether anyone outside the show’s cast would be part of this Saturday’s episode, which will air at 11:30 p.m. EDT.

Saturday Night Live suffered a blow this week with the death of veteran producer and music supervisor Hal Willner. He had not been diagnosed with COVID-19, but his symptoms were consistent with those caused by the coronavirus.

—The Associated Press

Today could be Seattle area’s warmest day since September. Remember these guidelines if you go outside.

This beautiful spring day could turn out to be the warmest we’ve had since late September, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. If the high hits 65 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, it’ll be the first time in more than six months.

It’s OK to go outside as long as you stay far away from other people and don the proper gear. Otherwise, you risk infecting yourself or others — not to mention a potential social-media shaming, or a neighbor calling the authorities to report a COVID criminal.

—Christine Clarridge

Los Angeles, Miami mandate residents wear face coverings

Face masks, once thought of as an unnecessary precaution for healthy people during the novel coronavirus pandemic, are now required apparel in some U.S. cities, where residents caught maskless can be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed position on face coverings, issuing guidance that urges people to wear them in public places. President Donald Trump stopped short of saying it should be required, but some local officials have taken enforcement into their own hands.

Two such places are Los Angeles and Miami, which have mandated residents wear face coverings at grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses, as well as when entering ride-hail vehicles. Montgomery County, Maryland, is mooting similar regulations.

“The [CDC] suggestion is inadequate,” said Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer, one of the lead sponsors for the regulation. “Just suggesting that people use this option is not protecting the workers.”

No such order has been issued in Washington state.

Read more here.

Washington colleges, universities will receive millions in stimulus money

Washington’s public and private colleges and universities will receive tens of millions of dollars from the CARES Act, the federal stimulus plan to counteract the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a plan released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education.

The education department is requiring each higher-education institution to give at least half the money to students for emergency financial-aid grants, but is giving schools significant latitude on how to award the money.

The largest recipient, the University of Washington, will receive $39.7 million. Of that, about half — $19.9 million — will go to students.

In total, U.S. colleges and universities will receive $14 billion in federal stimulus money.

In a letter to college leaders, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote that schools could distribute funds to all students, or only to those who demonstrate significant need. She wrote that “the only statutory requirement is that the funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.”

All of Washington’s public and private colleges and universities are teaching classes online this spring, and some already have announced plans to teach the first term of summer classes online as well.

Here’s how much other Washington schools will receive (or see the complete list here):

Washington State University: $21.8 million.

Western Washington University: $11.6 million.

Eastern Washington University: $9.9 million.

Central Washington University: $7.7 million.

The Evergreen State College: $3.8 million.

Seattle University: $3.7 million.

Seattle Central College: $3.3 million.

Seattle Pacific University: $2.9 million.

South Seattle College: $1.9 million.

North Seattle College: $1.8 million.

—Katherine Long

Making the case for social distancing, in just 30 seconds

A new video making the case for continued social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus is pingponging around the web to accolades from health experts.

The public service announcement, from the Ohio Department of Health, likens large gatherings to a close-set field of mousetraps. Disturb one trap, and they're all likely to go off. But spread them far apart, and what happens to one mousetrap doesn't affect the others.

In other words: Stay 6 feet away from each other, humans!

Watch for yourself below:

—Katherine K. Long

Mariners to host blood drive at T-Mobile Park to aid medical community

For at least a few weeks starting Monday, T-Mobile Park — devoid of Mariners games that have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — won’t be shuttered and empty.

And that renewed activity will be for something bigger than baseball.

The Mariners, in conjunction with Bloodworks Northwest, will host a “Pop-up Blood Drive Experience” three times a week through May 2.

The three-week drive, according to a news release, is “to ensure blood needs are being met amid COVID-19 pandemic. Mariners fans, including those who’ve never donated blood before, are urged to make their one-hour donation appointment today as a safe and essential action to support local patients.”

Read more here.

—Ryan Divish

Public health will distribute 20,000 testing kits in King County

With donations from the state, University of Washington Medicine, and a local research project, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be distributing tens of thousands of tests to first responders, health care workers and homeless shelter residents.

UW Medicine is contributing 20,000 test kits to public health officials, and the Seattle Flu Study (SFS) — a research project from UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children's Hospital — will be making 2,000 self-swab kits available to health care workers in long-term care facilities.

These are part of a study to gauge the spread of coronavirus among health care workers.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Health is making 1,000 kits available in King County.

Many Washington residents have complained in the past month that it’s a struggle to get tested for COVID-19. The problems now seem to lie squarely on the front end — with doctors, hospitals and clinics that make judgment calls about who should be tested and when.

Even after getting tests, hundreds of Washington residents have been left to wait for days, even weeks, before finding out whether they’re infected with the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to interviews and data from The Seattle Times.

“These kits help address the urgency to increase testing for COVID-19 in King County. I thank our community partners who are helping to do the testing where it’s most needed at this time,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

—Scott Greenstone

Capitol Hill Block Party cancels 2020 festival, foreshadowing a quiet summer

As the plug continues to be pulled on marquee tours and festivals, Capitol Hill Block Party has become the latest Seattle event to throw the towel in on 2020. Organizers announced Thursday that the mid-summer classic will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — hardly an unexpected move but one that feels like a nail in the local festival-season coffin.

Read more here.

—Mike Rietmulder

Health care workers to protest Thursday over protective equipment

Health care workers in the Pacific Northwest will join a protest over personal protective equipment (PPE) Thursday afternoon, according to a news release from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, “hospitals have reacted to short stocks of PPE by rationing necessary equipment,” the news release says. “Unnecessary exposure to the novel coronavirus due to inadequate personal protection puts healthcare workers at risk of contracting COVID-19, becoming too ill to work and potentially spreading the virus on to others.”

Health care workers want the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to procure PPE, the news release says.

“They are also calling for healthcare coverage, paid sick time and paid leave for all frontline workers nationwide.”

In Washington, protests will take place at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw at 3:30 p.m., at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake at 3 p.m., at EvergreenHealth in Monroe at 1 p.m., at Swedish First Hill in Seattle at 3 p.m., and at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma at 3:30 p.m.

Most of the protests would involve workers holding signs outside their hospitals calling for PPE during shift changes or on breaks, said Amy Clark, an SEIU1199NW spokeswoman.

—Evan Bush

Quarantine corner: Things to do while you're stuck at home

"We would give our eyeteeth to go to a movie," our Dinner at a Movie writers say. Instead, they did the next best thing: Netflix, takeout, and watching the movie together, apart. Need movie ideas? We've found some great streaming films about heists and capers.

How to boost small businesses — and your kids, too: Here are some kid-friendly businesses that are getting creative about busting boredom.

If you're running out of books, we’ve got you covered with six new paperback picks.

A feast in a sack: Our food writers have picked three delicious family-style takeout meals.

—Kris Higginson

Watch Brandi Carlile’s touching John Prine tribute on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’

A hard year got a little harder for the music community when country-folk great John Prine died April 7. The 73-year-old had been hospitalized for more than a week, as news broke last month that Prine was being treated for COVID-19 symptoms.

Tributes to the revered singer-songwriter, whose imagistic storytelling and common-man wisdom has influenced generations of Americana artists, have been pouring in the past 36 hours, including from friend and collaborator Brandi Carlile. On Wednesday, Carlile appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to honor Prine by playing “Hello in There” from his 1971 debut album, delivered with a timely message. Read the full story and watch the tribute here.

—Michael Rietmulder

General says coronavirus likely to affect more Navy ships

Pentagon leaders anticipate that the coronavirus is likely to strike more Navy ships at sea after an outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific infected more than 400 sailors, a top general said Thursday.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said one member of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was hospitalized Thursday in intensive care on Guam, where the carrier has been docked for more than a week. He said 416 crew members are now infected and that 1,164 test results are pending. Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Seattle University postpones commencement to fall

Seattle University is postponing graduation ceremonies by four months, moving the mid-June celebration to Oct. 9-11 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s the latest Washington university to alter commencement plans. On Wednesday, the University of Washington announced it would hold a virtual ceremony online this spring.

Seattle U., a private Jesuit university, based its decision on a survey of the class of 2020. Overwhelmingly, students said they wanted to hold an in-person event, rather than a virtual one.

While the ceremony will be postponed, diplomas won’t be: They'll be delivered by mail at the end of spring quarter.

The university also announced it will hold all summer undergraduate and law school classes online, and will make a decision about how to teach summer graduate and intersession courses at a later date.

—Katherine Long

Remember the Flowbee? It's baaaack!

Yes, the Flowbee!

The 1980s TV commercials are no more, but "the precision home haircutting system" using your vacuum cleaner never went away.

With hair salons closed, sales are going crazy. We talk to a Ballard woman: a satisfied user!

Meet Jacque Coe, of Ballard, a longtime local public-relations specialist. She continues to work from home and does a lot of teleconferencing.

“You want your appearance to be professional,” she says.

Coe says she would visit her hair salon in Ballard every six or weeks or so, for a trim or full haircut, but obviously that's closed for now.

Luckily for Coe, she remembered the Flowbee revolutionary vacuum-cleaner haircutting system.

Read more here.


—Erik Lacitis

The virus' staggering toll on the economy

Roughly one in 10 U.S. workers has lost a job in the past three weeks, according to new numbers released this morning.

In Washington state, nearly 177,000 people filed new jobless claims last week, bringing the state total to more than half a million people out of work.

For some laid-off workers, unemployment benefits will exceed their wages, thanks to the federal relief package.

Catch up on the past 24 hours

The hospital inside CenturyLink Field Event Center stood ready to handle 250 non-coronavirus patients while medical centers dealt with the pandemic. Now, Gov. Jay Inslee is returning the beds to the federal government for harder-hit states to use. So how many COVID-19 cases are in Washington hospitals? Health officials have struggled to report that. A new tally found a sharply higher number of confirmed and suspected cases than earlier surveys had counted.

Police brought a large disturbance involving hundreds of inmates under control last night at Monroe Correctional Complex. The inmates, concerned about the prison’s COVID-19 outbreak, threatened to set fires and possibly take corrections officers hostage.

King County is facing two outbreaks at once as hepatitis A spreads amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 people, nearly half of them homeless, have been sickened by hepatitis A in King County this year. Coronavirus is also hitting hard for people who are homeless, with 27 people testing positive in King County shelters.

"Am I going to kill someone?" Hundreds of Washingtonians are stuck waiting days, even weeks, for coronavirus test results. The maddening delays are causing hardships and may be blinding officials to the virus' spread. And when it comes to drive-thru tests, there's a glaring gap for people who don't or can't drive. Here's our updating list of places to get tested.

Coronavirus spread to at least 137 long-term care facilities in Washington state, killing more than 200 people, state officials say. The number of facilities is likely far higher. The state's list indicates nearly one out of seven facilities has been hit by the pandemic.

New federal guidelines make it easier for essential workers who have been exposed to coronavirus to get back to work if they don't have symptoms.

"Kids in some dangerous places": The pandemic is transforming Washington's child welfare system, from investigating abuse reports to supporting children who are in state custody. Its chief talks about how workers are adapting to keep everyone safe and what his biggest worries are.

What use do skiers have for their goggles now that the season has been cut short? UW student Aaron Robertson dove into an effort to donate eyewear to health workers who need the protection, and local ski resorts and shops are chipping in.

Italy is looking to its super-old COVID-19 survivors for inspiration — including a 103-year-old woman who credits courage and faith.

Here's help

Americans are donning masks haltingly or not at all, days after the federal government advised everyone to wear them outside their homes. And many people aren't wearing them properly. Here's how to wear your mask the right way and how to clean it.

Working from home and feeling creaky? Here are eight important ergonomic tips.

—Kris Higginson

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.