Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Saturday, June 20, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

Although individual countries may be at differing phases in the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said Friday the global spread of the virus is accelerating overall. On Thursday, the world recorded about 150,000 new cases, the largest rise yet in a single day.

However, states continue to reopen. In Washington, King County is now in Phase 2 of the state’s four-phase plan to ease off coronavirus-induced restrictions, meaning restaurants and taverns can open at half capacity, with certain other limitations.

Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post 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 Friday 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 Saturday.

Resources to help you track the pandemic and get through it more easily

Live updates:

Trump suggests U.S. slow virus testing to avoid bad statistics

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday he has asked his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because robust testing turns up too many cases of COVID-19.

Trump told supporters at his campaign rally that the U.S. has tested 25 million people, far more than any other country. The “bad part,” Trump said, is that widespread testing leads to logging more cases of the virus.

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’ They test and they test.”

Trump opted to hold his first rally in 110 days despite concerns from local health officials that it could lead to further spread of the virus in Tulsa. Most of those in attendance declined to wear a mask.

Read the full story here.


As athletes return to campus, what are they signing up for?

Ohio State calls it the Buckeye Acknowledgment and Pledge, a two-page document the school asked its athletes to sign before they could begin using team facilities during the pandemic.

The document Southern Methodist University is requiring its athletes to sign is much more direct: Acknowledgment of Risk for COVID-19 Summer 2020.

Across the country, universities have begun the process of getting ready to play through a public health crisis. As athletes return to campus, what are they signing up for?

Read the full story here.

150 cannery workers hired by Seattle-based North Pacific Seafoods forced into hotel quarantine without pay

LOS ANGELES — About 150 seasonal workers hired by a salmon cannery in Alaska are being forced to quarantine without pay at a hotel in Los Angeles after three of them tested positive for the coronavirus, a lawsuit claims.

The workers, most of them from Mexico and Southern California, were hired June 2 by Seattle-based North Pacific Seafoods to work at its Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, Alaska, through August, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Instead, they have been stuck at the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel since June 10, attorney Jonathan Davis said.

Leauri Moore, vice president of human resources for North Pacific Seafoods, told the newspaper in an email that she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Trump comeback rally features empty seats, staff infections

At his comeback rally Saturday, President Donald Trump unleashed months of pent-up grievances about the coronavirus, which he dubbed the “Kung flu,” a racist term for COVID-19 that originated from China. He also tried to defend his handling of the pandemic, even as cases continue to surge in many states, including Oklahoma.

He complained that robust coronavirus testing was making his record look bad — and suggested the testing effort should slow down.

“Here’s the bad part. When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more cases,” he said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down.’ They test and they test.”

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

State DOH confirms 28,255 total COVID-19 cases in Washington

Another 624 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of cases to 28,225, including 1,265 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.

So far, 466,069 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 6.1% have come back positive. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Friday.

The state has confirmed 9,254 diagnoses and 601 deaths in King County, the state's most populous, accounting for a little less than half of the state's death toll.

Correction: This update previously gave an incorrect total for the number of coronavirus cases.

—Melissa Hellmann

CDC coronavirus test kits were likely contaminated

The test kits for detecting the nation’s earliest cases of the novel coronavirus failed because of “likely” contamination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose scientists did not thoroughly check the kits despite “anomalies” during manufacturing, according to a new federal review.

The review is the first confirmation by the Trump administration that the original test kits were likely contaminated, and that the problem appeared to have occurred in late January within the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

Inslee to order masks to be worn in Yakima County, where coronavirus is on runaway trajectory

Gov. Jay Inslee said Saturday he would order Yakima County residents to wear masks while shopping or in other public places, a move that reflects what he termed an “existential threat” posed by soaring case counts of the virus there.

Inslee said the proclamation will be issued in the next several days and be a legal requirement that will order businesses not to sell products to customers who don’t wear face coverings.

The total positive case count in Yakima County, as of Friday, was 6,270. The county has seen 118 deaths from the virus, according to the Yakima Health District.

Read the full story here.

—Hal Bernton

6 staffers setting up for Trump rally positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump’s campaign says six staff members helping set up for his Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have tested positive for coronavirus.

The campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said in a statement that “quarantine procedures” were immediately initiated and no staff member who tested positive would attend the event. He said no one who had immediate contact with those staffers would attend, either.

The rally was expected to be the largest indoor gathering in the world during the pandemic.

Tulsa has seen cases of COVID-19 spike in the past week, and the local health department director asked that the rally be postponed. But Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said it would be safe. The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday denied a request that everyone attending the indoor rally wear a mask, and few in the crowd outside Saturday were wearing them.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Inslee to hold news conference on Yakima coronavirus outbreak

Gov. Jay Inslee is set to hold a news conference at noon to discuss the state response to Yakima County’s coronavirus outbreak.

Inslee is to be joined by Tanny Davenport, a physician executive from Virginia Mason Memorial, state Health Secretary John Wiesman and Vice Admiral Dr. Raquel Bono, director of the state COVID-19 response, according to a news statement from the governor’s office.

Saturday’s news conference comes as Yakima County has increasingly become the epicenter of the state’s outbreak.

The county now has more than 5,900 total cases, according to the Department of Health, second only to King County.

That surge led Yakima’s Virginia Mason Memorial hospital, which has more than 200 beds, to run out of available space Thursday night, according to a Yakima Health District news statement on Friday.

In light of that, at least 17 patients have been transferred to facilities in other counties, according to the statement.

—Mike Carter

Questions raised about possible animal transmissions of the coronavirus

There are new questions about the ability of transmitting COVID-19 from household pets to humans after mink farmers in the Netherlands apparently gave coronavirus to their animals, and then the animals passed it back to people.

It was the world’s first report of animal-to-human transmission since the pandemic began. While some researchers say the chances of that happening are slim, the implications could be grave.

“We know that these viruses are capable of mutating,” said Peter Rabinowitz, a physician who directs the University of Washington Center for One Health Research, told the Washington Post.

The center is studying the virus in household pets. “There could be changes in the virus, and these human-animal transmission events could play more of a role in the future, and we have to be more vigilant.”

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post