Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Sunday, June 7, as the day unfolded. Click here to see updates from Monday, June 8. To find resources and the latest extended coverage of the pandemic, click here.
Public health officials have warned that the effects of pepper spray and tear gas could increase the spread of COVID-19. On Friday, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best announced a 30-day ban on most uses of tear gas, but said pepper spray would still be allowed. As protests against police brutality and racism continued Saturday, police used pepper spray to disperse a crowd in Capitol Hill.
Despite months of pleading for social distancing, public health officials have expressed their support for the protests, while leaders of the Seattle Black Lives Matters organization initially warned its members of coronavirus dangers and offered ways to show solidarity from home. On Saturday, the group announced plans to hold a general strike and march on Friday, June 12.
State health officials confirmed 287 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Sunday, as well as sixadditional deaths. The update brings the state’s totals to 23,729 cases and 1,159 deaths, according to the state Department of Health’s (DOH) data dashboard. The dashboard reports 3,669 hospitalizations in Washington.
Whitman County was approved on Saturday to move to the third stage of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-stage coronavirus recovery plan, joining seven other Eastern Washington counties that have received the OK to advance to the next reopening phase. Phase III of Inslee’s Safe Start Plan allows, among other changes, gatherings of up to 50 people, recreational facilities, such as gyms, to operate at 50% or less capacity, and restaurants up to 75% capacity. Residents can also resume nonessential travel.
Throughout Sunday 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 Saturday 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 Sunday.