Editor’s note: This was a live account of updates from Monday, March 30, as events unfolded. Click here to see updates from Tuesday, March 31. 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.

Bowing to public health warnings that the U.S. could top 100,000 coronavirus deaths, President Donald Trump has extended a voluntary national shutdown of normal life and business activities through April. At a news conference Sunday, the president claimed such a death toll would be a “horrible number” but heaped praise on his administration’s handling of the crisis. Trump used the White House news conference to take shots at Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whom he called “a nasty person” and “a failed presidential candidate.”

COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Washington, although not as quickly. The state Department of Health announced 586 new cases on Sunday, bringing the state total to 4,896. The state’s confirmed death toll rose to 195, up six from Saturday. The health department has started showing new graphs and and charts on its COVID-19 information page to give the public a better understanding of the spread of the disease.

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 Sunday 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 night.

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Live updates:

When coronavirus hits, but the water is shut off

Signs at the Forest Hollow Mobile Home Community in Beaumont, Texas, advise residents to wash their hands. That simple act is the first line of defense against the infection that sickens victims of the coronavirus.

But when Amy Yancy, 39 and unemployed, left the hospital this month after suffering a miscarriage, she was unable to follow the instructions.

The water at the trailer park had been shut off.

Yancy’s predicament is shared by Americans throughout the country, as the escalating outbreak exposes how uneven access is to resources like water — resources allowing private individuals unable to protect themselves as public institutions stumble. As many as 15 million Americans experience a water shut-off each year, according to one 2016 estimate. That leaves them unable to clean themselves and flush the toilet, all because of nonpayment, compounded by spiraling late fees.

—The Washington Post
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Confusion, uncertainty on first day of state-mandated remote learning for Washington school districts

Laura Strand, visual arts teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary,  set up an iPhone and microphone near the window of her apartment to create lessons, and records and edits to her laptop so she send out lessons to her students while schools are closed. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Laura Strand, visual arts teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, set up an iPhone and microphone near the window of her apartment to create lessons, and records and edits to her laptop so she send out lessons to her students while schools are closed. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

It’s been two weeks since Seattle Public Schools shut down because of the coronavirus, and parent Jeniffer Trice said she was just barely holding on.

“I’m trying to keep my kids academically up-to-date,” Trice said. But “I need the tools and the materials to be able to do that.”

Across the Puget Sound region on Monday, teachers, parents and students told similar stories of confusion and uncertainty over how schoolwork would be handled during the unprecedented closure. After initially telling districts to avoid providing distance education because they couldn’t ensure equitable access to all families, the state reversed course last week, issuing loosely worded guidelines that left many school systems scrambling to figure out a way to keep kids learning outside of the classroom.

Districts had to assemble those plans after they were already ordered to shut down, so many teachers didn’t have a chance to brief students in-person about what may come next.

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

Hospitalizations for COVID-19-like illness declined last week in Washington, offering a glimmer of hope

Hospitalizations for patients with symptoms of COVID-19-like illnesses in Washington declined last week by more than 20%, a hopeful sign for the region and a nation gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state Department of Health (DOH) survey, covering the seven-day period that ended Saturday, tallied 193 admissions of patients with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, down from 251 the previous week. This also marks the end of a monthlong rise in these admissions, which dates back to the last week in February, when only 61 hospitalizations of COVID-19-like illness were counted in Washington state.

“It is a little bit of good news,” said Amy Reynolds, DOH spokeswoman.

Read the full story here.

—Hal Bernton

Inside the ‘incredibly challenging’ effort by GM and Ventec to make more ventilators for coronavirus fight

Moments into an initial conference call nearly two weeks ago, a proposed venture between Bothell-based Ventec Life Systems and General Motors to mass produce thousands of ventilators for the nation’s coronavirus fight appeared dead.

Ventec CEO Chris Kiple told GM’s global manufacturing chief, Gerald Johnson, that one of more than 700 components needed to build his company’s VOCSN ventilator was made by a factory in India where the entire region had been quarantined. While about 80% of VOCSN parts are made in the United States, that lone India holdup would derail any expanded production plans because the ventilator can’t work without that missing piece.

“GM literally sent people there that night to India to get boots on the ground to help us get that factory opened,” Kiple said Monday as the Project V venture between Ventec and GM continued feverishly. “It changed the conversation. We had to work with the government (in India), we had to work with GM. We had to understand what the issues were to get the factory back open.”

Read the full story here.

—Geoff Baker
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Whidbey Island nursing home reports 2 COVID-19 deaths, 42 other cases

Two residents of a Whidbey Island nursing home that has been the site of a COVID-19 outbreak have died, public health officials said Monday.

Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville has reported 44 positive cases among residents or employees, according to Island County Public Health. Neither the facility nor the health department specified how many of those who tested positive are residents and how many are staff members.

"Dealing with death is never easy, no matter how long you work in long term care," Careage Administrator Sean O'Neill said Monday. "Our residents become part of our family here at Careage. It is such a unique relationship and one that we all cherish."

Island County reported three deaths and a total 106 coronavirus cases Monday afternoon, an increase of 26 cases from Friday. The health department isn’t investigating any additional outbreaks associated with senior facilities other than Careage, Director Keith Higman said.

 

—Paige Cornwell

All state driver-licensing offices to temporarily close to the public starting Tuesday

OLYMPIA – Washington state’s driver-licensing lobbies will temporarily close starting Tuesday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).

“Sanitation products continue to be difficult to purchase and ensuring appropriate social distancing during in person transactions is difficult,” DOL director Teresa Berntsen said in a  statement Monday. “We appreciate patience and understanding as the Department of Licensing does its part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

With the temporary closure, DOL is canceling all scheduled appointments and isn’t taking new ones, according to a news release Monday by the agency.

Most Washington residents can already renew identification cards, driver’s licenses and vehicle-registration online, according to the statement, and “We strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of those services if at all possible.”

In the meantime, DOL is relaxing rules to accommodate people who might otherwise have to visit a licensing office. And mail-in options are also available for transactions.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had previously extended the deadline for complying with the federal REAL ID law. Adults in Washington now have until Oct. 1, 2021, to make sure their driver’s license is compliant, or make sure they have another acceptable form of identification — like a passport — that will be needed to fly within the United States.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

Seattle Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund donates $10.2 million in emergency grants to vulnerable workers and families

The Seattle Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund has raised nearly $10.2 million in grants for community organizations that support workers and families disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a Monday statement.

The foundation sent emergency assistance grants to 128 nonprofits last week -- including the Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Chief Seattle Club and Eastside Refugee & Immigrant Coalition. The money will be used for rent support, food security, health care and child care, among other things, the statement said.

The fund is prioritizing people who were "affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis." This includes low-income residents without health insurance, low-income workers in health care and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color and people experiencing homelessness.

“With the novel coronavirus, we know there are communities that are most negatively impacted — including people of color, immigrants and refugees, low-wage workers and older people — both in terms of the virus itself as well as the economic impact,” said Matías Valenzuela, equity director of Public Health — Seattle & King County, in the statement.

The COVID-19 Response Fund is planning to make multiple rounds of grants as the pandemic unfolds, the statement said. It's supported by more than 2,000 online donors and 45 business and government partners, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the City of Seattle, Macklemore, Microsoft and the Seattle Seahawks.

—Elise Takahama
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Tribal Journeys 2020 has been postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus

Tribal Journeys are hosted every summer by First Nations and tribes from around the Salish Sea and beyond. The canoe journeys are major cultural events that draw thousands of tribal members and their guests for days of feasting and protocol and ceremony at the culmination of journeys by canoe to the hosting nation.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation on the east coast of Vancouver Island, host for the journeys in 2020, has announced it is postponing its gathering until a later date because of the COVID-19 emergency health crisis.

The borders of the Snuneymuxw reserve are closed at this time because of the virus.

"Nations have not experienced a health crisis like this for generations, and we must do everything in our power to keep our people safe from the spread of Covid-19," Chief Mike Wyse wrote in a news release.

—Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle City Council passes resolution urging state, feds to cancel rent and mortgage payments

The Seattle City Council took the position Monday that all rent and mortgage payments should be canceled during the novel coronavirus pandemic, passing a resolution calling on Gov. Jay Inslee, Congress and President Donald Trump to use emergency powers and other means to make that happen.

Councilmember Tammy Morales sponsored the nonbinding resolution, saying many people have lost jobs and have seen their incomes reduced because of the outbreak. Monday’s vote was unanimous, 9-0.

The resolution is a lobbying maneuver; it doesn’t make any changes in law and doesn’t change conditions on the ground in Seattle. Councilmember Andrew Lewis said the move could help spur state and federal leaders to bail out working households with widespread rental assistance.

Instead, it asks Inslee to impose “an immediate moratorium on residential and commercial rent payments, such that no Seattleite should be required to pay rent during this health emergency or accumulate debt for unpaid rent.”

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman

Snohomish County extends deadline for individual property taxpayers

Snohomish County has extended the first-half 2020 property-tax deadline to support those experiencing financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the city said in a statement Monday.

The new deadline will be June 1, 2020. The order only applies to residents who pay their individual and commercial property taxes themselves, rather than through their mortgage lender, the statement said. Banks and other financial institutions that pay property taxes for their customers will still need to meet the April 30 deadline.

“We know COVID-19 has hit our economy particularly hard. And we want to provide relief,” said County Executive Dave Somers in the statement. “These are not ordinary times, and we want to help out those who are stretched financially during this pandemic.”

While the Snohomish County treasurer’s customer service center is closed to the public and isn't accepting in-person payments, the county encouraged residents to drop payments off in the ballot box at the corner of Wall Street and Rockefeller Avenue in Everett. People can also pay online or mail a check to the Snohomish County treasurer at 3000 Rockefeller Ave, MS501, Everett, WA 98201.

King County officials took similar action Monday.

—Elise Takahama
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Lizzo buys lunch for UW Medical Center emergency room staff

The world could use more fun surprises right now.

The staff at University of Washington Medical Center’s emergency room received one Monday courtesy of one the hottest stars in pop music. At a time when hospitals are being overwhelmed with potential COVID-19 patients, hard-twerking pop phenom Lizzo treated the ER staff to lunch, her publicist confirmed.

The rapper/singer apparently sent food to several hospitals.

Read the full story here.

—Michael Rietmulder

Students, how are coronavirus-related school closures affecting your mental health?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every student's mental health and well-being differently.

For some, it’s a chance to reflect. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Engrav, for example, used to get panic attacks when she was at school. Now, the forced school closures have offered a welcome break from the anxiety.

For others, it’s a cause of stress: Will I graduate on time? How do I stay motivated? Will my family be safe?

And for many students, it means a lack of access to the mental health resources they usually have through school — whether through in-school clinics, caring adults or social support networks. What happens when those go away?

K-12 students, we want to know how prolonged school closures are affecting your mental health so our news coverage can better reflect your experiences.

If you'd like to chat with a journalist, share your thoughts here.

—Anne Hillman

Inslee: Thousands are calling about stay-at-home violators; online complaint forms to fight coronavirus

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday detailed how state and local governments plan to enforce the emergency measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had thousands of calls coming” in with reports some businesses and individuals are not complying with the stay-at-home order, Inslee said in a news conference.

Inslee, joined by law enforcement representatives, said the state will start forcing compliance by reaching out to businesses and others asking them to voluntarily comply. If that doesn’t work, state regulators could impose penalties, for instance, against businesses.

And if those don’t work, the governor said cases could be referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for legal action.

Read the full story here.

—Joseph O’Sullivan
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As Inslee relaxes coronavirus order to ease home sales, brokers mix skepticism and celebration

It came as a surprise to some Seattle-area real estate brokers when Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday modified his statewide stay-at-home order to allow most real estate activity to continue unhindered — even in-person showings, provided proper social distance is maintained.

“When I saw the order, I was flabbergasted. I was really upset,” said Windermere broker Sol Villarreal. “When I think of essential business, I think of something that’s going to keep people alive right now. Real estate to me is not in that category.”

The change came as the result of a weeklong lobbying campaign by Washington Realtors, a statewide industry group with clout in Olympia, which told members that “our staff has been meeting two to three times a day with the governor’s liaison to plead our case.”

The new order says in-person showings can go ahead as long as no more than two people are touring a home at once, and it clarifies that home inspections, appraisals and final walk-throughs are allowed to proceed.

Read the full story here.

—Katherine Khashimova Long

Inslee 'shocked' to hear Trump dismiss testing concerns

Gov. Jay Inslee again pushed back on dubious statements from the White House on Monday, expressing disbelief President Donald Trump could say he hasn't heard anything recently about the need for testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Trump, on a Monday conference call with governors, said he “hasn’t heard about testing in weeks,” according to a recording obtained by The New York Times, suggesting the nationwide shortage of coronavirus testing capacity was no longer a problem.

"It would be shocking to me if anybody who had access to any newspaper, radio, social network or any other communication, would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits," Inslee said.

"The White House knows very well about this desperate need for test kits," he continued. "I was shocked when I heard him say that."

Trump last week had lashed out at Inslee, implying federal aid could be contingent on how he, personally, is treated. He said he'd advised Vice President Mike Pence not to call Inslee.

“They’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative of the Army Corps, they’re not appreciative to FEMA,” Trump said Friday. “I say ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting time with him.’ If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”

Inslee said he talked with Pence on Monday morning and added it was a productive call.

—David Gutman

King County extends property tax deadline for individual taxpayers over coronavirus concerns

King County has extended this spring’s property-tax deadline for individual taxpayers, because of coronavirus-related concerns.

The due date for property taxes from the first half of 2020 is April 30. But residential and commercial taxpayers who pay the taxes themselves, rather than through mortgage leaders, now will have until June 1, King County Executive Dow Constantine said Monday, issuing an emergency order.

The county won’t charge interest for individual taxpayers who pay by June 1, Constantine said in a news release.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman
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Delta Dental of Washington pledges $10 million in grants to network providers

In response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s order halting all nonemergency dental procedures for two months, Delta Dental of Washington is pledging $10 million in grants and advance payments for its in-network dentists and their staffs to ease financial hardships.

“Dentists are a critical part of our healthcare system and many are independent small business owners, employing thousands of hygienists, dental assistants and office staff statewide,” said Delta Dental of Washington CEO Mark Mitchke. “During this unprecedented time we need to help dental practices in Washington by doing everything we can to ensure these critical healthcare providers can hit the ground running once statewide practice restrictions are lifted. “

The grants are available to the 5,000 dentists in its network and are available through two programs.

The first, called the Dental Dental Independent Dental Practice Assistance Fund, will provide up to $15,000 per practice. It is available to those who may be hardest hit by COVID-19-related closures, including rural, startup and recently expanded practices, and dentists and staff with recent dental-education debt.

The second program, called Delta Dental Independent Dental Practice Reimbursement Advance Program, provides advance payments of up to 25% of the practice’s average historical reimbursement levels for an eight-week period, up to a total of $25,000 per practice.

“As we continue to see the escalation of COVID-19, we recognize its impact is being felt by all dental practices across the state, and that we have an important role to play,” said Mitchke. “It’s our hope these steps will help our network dentists who have the greatest need.”

Additional details on both programs and application information will be available by Monday, March 30, at www.DeltaDentalWA.com/provider.

—Nicole Brodeur

Outdoor Research to make medical masks, ramping up to nearly 200,000 a day in Seattle

Seattle’s Outdoor Research, an outdoor apparel and gear company, plans to convert its manufacturing facility in Seattle to produce personal protective equipment for use by health care workers, according to a news release.

The news release says the company has already invested in new manufacturing equipment and training for employees.

Outdoor Research will begin manufacturing surgical masks over the next two months and ramp up to make 140,000 masks a day. The company will begin making N95 respirator masks in May or June and plans to make 50,000 a day. The company is also beginning to make fabric face masks now and will make thousands of those each day.

“Our entire company is fully committed to ensuring that doctors, nurses, health-care workers and first responders have the personal protective equipment they require to effectively care for their patients,” said CEO Dan Nordstrom in the news release. “We are working with state and local officials to better protect our employees in this environment as we ramp up production in the following days and weeks.”

—Evan Bush

Fuzzy feeling: Seattle neighborhoods create teddy bear scavenger hunt during coronavirus isolation

Mackenzie Lakes, 4, stands at her parent’s West Seattle home with teddy bears in the window.  (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
Mackenzie Lakes, 4, stands at her parent’s West Seattle home with teddy bears in the window. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

If you take a walk on a residential street around town these days, you might find some unexpected new neighbors: stuffed bears, or other animals, gazing out from windows all over the neighborhood; bringing comfort, as teddy bears do.

“We’ve got two in the window right now — one huge one and one small one,” said Karen Wrang, who lives in Highland Park in West Seattle. “Hopefully they will make somebody smile.”

The bears (and penguins and gorillas and tigers) are part of an impromptu worldwide project, intended to delight squirrelly children taking neighborhood walks during the coronavirus pandemic. The idea spread rapidly on social media in recent weeks, from postings on the community forum website Nextdoor (as was the case in West Seattle) and Facebook groups, suggesting families should put teddy bears in their windows to encourage socially distant fun.

Read the full story here.

—Moira Macdonald
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Trump administration rules gun shops ‘essential’ amid virus outbreak

Despite protests that the policy puts profits over public health, the Trump administration clarified that gun shops are “essential” businesses that should remain open as other businesses are closed to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

In the past several weeks, various states and municipalities have offered different interpretations of whether gun stores should be allowed to remain open as Americans stay at home to avoid spreading the virus.

In Los Angeles, for example, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has twice ordered gun shops in his territory to close, leading to legal challenges from gun rights advocates.

But after days of lobbying by the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and other gun groups, the Department of Homeland Security this weekend issued an advisory declaring that firearms dealers should be considered essential services — just like grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals — and allowed to remain open.

The agency said its ruling was not a mandate but merely guidance for cities, towns and states as they weigh how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Moscow goes into lockdown

The Russian capital, Moscow, on Monday woke up to a lockdown obliging most of its 13 million residents to stay home to stem the spread of the new coronavirus and many other regions of the vast country followed suit.

President Vladimir Putin warned his envoys in Russia’s remote regions that they will be personally responsible for the availability of beds, ventilators and other key equipment.

“We have managed to win time and slow down an explosive spread of the disease in the previous weeks, and we need to use that time reserve to the full,” Putin said.

Russia so far has been relatively spared by the outbreak, with 1,836 confirmed cases and nine deaths, but the number of people testing positive has risen quickly in recent days and authorities are bracing for the worst.

Read the story here.

—Associated Press

Singer-songwriter John Prine in stable condition with COVID-19 symptoms

Influential folk and country musician John Prine is in stable condition after being placed on a ventilator while being treated for COVID-19-type symptoms, his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, said Monday.

The 73-year-old singer-songwriter’s family said Sunday that John Prine was critically ill. Fiona Prine’s message Monday on social media suggested his condition had improved overnight. He remains hospitalized.

“Please continue to send your amazing love and prayers,” she said on Twitter. “Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.”

Fiona Prine earlier in March tested positive for coronavirus and said the couple was quarantined and isolated from each other.

—Associated Press
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Cruise ship where 4 died clears Panama Canal, heads to Florida

The Holland America Line ship where four people have died, two have tested positive for covid-19 and 189 report flu-like symptoms made it through the Panama Canal on Monday morning after days of uncertainty.

Next question is whether it will be allowed to dock at Port Everglades, the cruise port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it is headed.

The Holland America Line ship Zaandam and sister ship Rotterdam, where nonsymptomatic passengers have been moved, are expected to take about three days to arrive in South Florida after getting through the canal.

In a statement early Monday, the cruise line thanked officials in Panama, who had initially denied the crossing, for their “humanitarian consideration and the compassion.”

“We are still finalizing the details for where and when our guests will disembark,” the company said, “and are asking for the same compassion and humanity to be extended for our arrival.”

Tweets from the official Port Everglades account Sunday afternoon said the cruise line had not received official approval to enter and that Holland America would have to submit a plan “that addresses a long list” of requirements from local, state and federal officials.

Read the story here.

—Hannah Sampson, The Washington Post

What's a locked-down nation to do? Home haircuts and DIY beauty treatments

As coronavirus sends more people into isolation and trips to salons and barbershops are put on hold, some cut their own bangs and turn to over-the-counter color for the first time while others are letting nature take its course.

Memes and real-life stories are flying about on social media, detailing cuts gone bad, the onslaught of gray hair, out-of-control eyebrows, sad lash extensions and overdue nail work.

While such things seem frivolous in the sad and desperate crush of the pandemic, many people are reaching for rituals as emotional relief and connection to their longstanding way of life.

Read the story here.

—Associated Press

Second confirmed COVID-19 case at Seattle's Horizon House

A resident of a Seattle retirement community has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19, as has an employee at the First Hill facility, according to a statement posted by Horizon House.

The resident is being treated at UW Medical Center and will remain there, and the employee is recovering at home, the statement says.

Horizon House residents are now in quarantine and staff is being screened upon entry, Horizon House said.

—Christine Clarridge
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State Supreme Court agrees to speedy review of lawsuit seeking release of prisoners due to coronavirus concerns

The Washington State Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit seeking the release of thousands of people incarcerated in state prisons to protect them from the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

In an order signed Friday, the court said it will grant "accelerated review" of the case, with briefings due by mid-April.

The petition to the court was filed last week by Columbia Legal Services, on behalf of five inmates in Washington prisons who have medical conditions that could make them especially vulnerable if the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through crowded cellblocks.

The lawsuit requests an emergency order to force the release of people in Department of Corrections custody who are 50 years or older, as well as any who have serious health problems, and anyone with scheduled early release dates within the next 18 months.

"We are pleased that the Court agreed to hear this important case, and on an expedited basis,” said Nick Allen, deputy director of advocacy with Columbia Legal Services, in a statement Monday. “We continue to hear ongoing concerns from family members of people who are inside prisons that DOC is not taking any steps to immediately reduce the prison population to prevent the spread of the virus.”

DOC officials have said they're taking precautions against the virus at state prisons, including extra cleaning and physical separation of anyone showing possible symptoms.

The agency says the first inmate in the state tested positive for the virus last week:  an inmate at Monroe Correctional Complex who is now under medical care at an undisclosed medical center in Snohomish County. Four corrections employees and one contractor also have tested positive.

—Jim Brunner

Macy's, its stores closed, furloughs majority of its 130,000 employees

Macy’s, which closed its more than 500 stores this month, will furlough a majority of its 130,000 workers.

The company on Monday said it is transitioning to the "absolute minimum workforce” it needs to maintain operations.

Online operations won’t be hit as hard.

Employees who are enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage with the company covering 100% of the premium.

“We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered basis as business resumes,” the company said.

—Associated Press

2 dead and 45 sick among 60 who attended choir practice in Mt. Vernon

When a Skagit County choir decided to go ahead with chorale practice on March 10 at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, there had been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.

Of the 121 singers told by email of the practice, 60 showed up, the Times reported, and no one had any sign of illness. People refrained from handshakes and hugs.

But now, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of coronavirus, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

Read the full story here.

—Christine Clarridge
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Grief, compassion and ingenuity: A goodbye in the coronavirus era

After Hoang Dinh Nguyen fell ill with COVID-19 in his nursing home, his family could not be with him or each other. Still, they found ways to connect — and sustain each other — despite keeping physical distance. (Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times)

Hoang Dinh Nguyen survived war in Vietnam, a harrowing escape by boat, two strokes and cancer. But he could not survive COVID-19. For his family, the complications brought by the virus never seemed to stop, even after death. This is the story of a goodbye that took everyone into new territory, and a "fearless" nurse who embraced extraordinary roles.

—Nina Shapiro

Catch up on the past 24 hours

The United States' death toll could top 100,000, with millions more infected, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert. President Donald Trump said Sunday that Americans must continue social distancing through April. The president mangled some facts on the way to this stark shift, fact-checkers say. Trump also attacked Gov. Jay Inslee and said he wouldn't call him.

Amazon said it would begin screening employees for elevated temperatures each day, starting at sites in Seattle and New York City.

A Seattle pilot’s primary care clinic said he tested negative for coronavirus. He broke quarantine and went shopping. Then he got a shocking call.

The termination of a doctor who publicly criticized a Bellingham hospital is causing an uproar. Dr. Ming Lin became a voice for frustrated health professionals nationwide when he described how the hospital's coronavirus response was putting workers and patients at risk. Around the globe, nurses are dying, doctors are falling sick and panic is rising on the front lines.

"Home isn't safe for everyone ... the message to stay home can be terrifying." The crisis is isolating domestic-violence victims and leading to an increase in 911 calls, police say. And advocates are worried about people who are less able to reach out for help.

"The kind thing to do is the right thing to do." Longtime tenants of a North Seattle mobile-home park knew Yacov Sinai wasn't the typical landlord, but they were still stunned by his gift of extreme kindness in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Spain has surpassed China in infections, even though its population is much smaller. Meanwhile, Moscow went into lockdown today. Here's what's happening around the world.

Coronavirus shows everyone what people with disabilities have known all along. Long-ignored priorities for disabled and sick people — remote work, telemedicine and more — have now become priorities for everyone. We don't have to go back to business as usual after this, columnist Naomi Ishisaka writes.

Here's help

Getting tested for coronavirus: We've been updating this list of where the tests are happening and who qualifies.

​​​How can you build an emergency fund in the middle of an emergency? "The answer can't be to do nothing," one financial expert says. Here are the steps he and others recommend. And government relief checks are coming, but not for weeks. Take stock of your finances now so you're ready to make the most of your check.

Keep your home free of coronavirus with these cleaning and disinfecting tips — and don't forget to banish germs from your phone (carefully).

Can you get a refund on your Airbnb because of the pandemic? Companies are loosening their refund policies, but it's still important to read the fine print carefully, Travel Troubleshooter says.

—Kris Higginson & Diana Samuels

Coronavirus resources

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