Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, Nov. 10, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world.
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US COVID-19 hospitalizations reach record high
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States hit an all-time high of 61,964 on Tuesday, as the raging pandemic continued to shatter record after record and strain medical facilities.
The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus, tallied by the COVID Tracking Project, has more than doubled since September, and now exceeds the peak reached early in the pandemic, when 59,940 hospitalized patients were reported on April 15. A second peak in the summer fell just short of matching that record, with 59,718 hospitalizations on July 23.
Those spikes in April and July lasted only a few days and quickly subsided, but as winter approaches experts do not expect that this time. New cases are setting records in much of the United States, and rates of hospitalizations and deaths are following them upward.
The United States surpassed 10 million known cases on Sunday, and is averaging more than 111,000 new cases a day, a record.
While the number of patients continues to climb, a shortage of nurses and other medical personnel is limiting the ability to add more hospital beds to care for them.
New type of test developed by Seattle firm may better discern immunity to the coronavirus
A new type of test can detect a person’s immune response to the coronavirus better than a widely used antibody test, according to research released on Tuesday.
The test, if authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, would be the first commercial product to detect the response of a T cell — a type of immune cell — to the virus. Antibodies have dominated the conversation on immunity since the start of the pandemic, but scientists believe that T cells may be just as important in preventing reinfection.
The test was developed by a Seattle-based company, Adaptive Biotechnologies, which used small blood samples from 1,000 people across 25 metropolitan areas in the United States as well as another 3,500 participants from Europe, to create a test that can detect a recent or past infection of the coronavirus.
The company’s data have not yet been reviewed for publication in a scientific journal, but experts say the work is promising for assessing T cells’ role in the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Exposure to a pathogen rouses multiple arms of the immune system: antibodies, but also immune cells that can marshal the fight against the intruder.
1 patient dead, 8 more infected after outbreak of coronavirus at Auburn Medical Center
One patient has died, eight additional patients have become infected and at least five staffers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, after an outbreak on a fourth floor unit at Auburn Medical Center, the MultiCare hospital system said in a news release Tuesday.
A patient’s positive test “late last week” triggered a process for investigating, testing and notifying patients and staffers, the news release said.
MultiCare — the latest of several King County hospitals to report outbreaks — tested all 40 patients in the unit, according to the news release, and 212 staffers who had worked there in the two weeks before the first positive test.
MultiCare said it has received results from all of the patients and 156 of those staffers. It was not immediately clear from the news release if some potentially exposed staff members were awaiting testing or results. The five infected staffers are recovering at home, the hospital system said in the news release.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), as of Oct. 24, has counted 350 outbreaks in health care settings, including hospitals. An additional 706 outbreaks were counted at long-term care facilities during a similar time period, according to a statewide outbreak report published Oct. 29.
Returnee from US is Vanuatu’s 1st virus case
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Vanuatu has recorded its first case of the coronavirus after a citizen who had been repatriated from the United States tested positive while in quarantine.
The Pacific nation had been among the last few countries to have avoided the virus altogether.
Health authorities say the 23-year-old man was asymptomatic when he returned on Nov. 4 and his infection was confirmed Tuesday after routine day 5 testing.
Authorities say they plan to keep everyone from the same flight in quarantine and to trace the man’s close contacts but don’t need to impose any broader measures in the nation of 300,000 people.
Emerald City Comic Con plans announced for 2021
ReedPop, the folks who bring you Emerald City Comic Con in any normal sort of year, have announced what they hope will be their first post-coronavirus in-person event, and it will be held in a very familiar place.
The entertainment company on Tuesday announced its plans for ECCC to return to live operations Dec. 2-5, 2021, at the Washington State Convention Center. It will be followed by C2E2 in Chicago the next week. No other in-person conventions have been scheduled yet.
ReedPop initially postponed the 2020 version of ECCC on the fly last spring as the first round of COVID-19 created societal gridlock around the world; the event was eventually canceled. Organizers moved the event and a number of other conventions online and will continue to host online gatherings with their digital Metaverse events, which bring celebrities, creators and fans together in a similar, though less communal, fashion, through next summer.
Randy’s is closing — goodbye to the Boeing Field diner decked out with airplanes
Out on the edge of Boeing Field, Randy’s is the kind of classic American diner that was endangered in the Seattle area even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time I went there, on a cold night this past February, the coffee was hot and the refills came along at exactly the right moment, with the regular sitting at the counter getting one more cup just in time to catch his bus. The grilled cheese at Randy’s looked like a picture you’d take of a grilled cheese to show someone who’d never had that most basic, beautiful pleasure. When a plate of fish ’n’ chips got polished off but the 3-D confetti of peas, corn kernels and carrot cubes remained, the server observed, entirely amiably, “Nobody’s eaten their vegetables.”
And as it had for decades, Randy’s still went far above and beyond the call of dream-diner duty — the interior of the circa-1970 former Denny’s was filled to its pitched rafters with hanging model planes, while cabinets and cases and walls held more aeronautical memorabilia than could be believed. Randy’s was still open 24 hours then, and a late supper in an orange-and-pink-upholstered booth felt like a cinematic special occasion, so simple, specific and good.
Now, after Nov. 15, Randy’s will be closed forever. “Not that we want to … ” co-owner Lucia Roadenizer said Monday. “We lasted as long as we could.”
Seattle taking applications from small businesses for next round of $10,000 COVID-relief grants
Seattle has begun accepting applications from small businesses for its next round of $10,000 COVID-19 relief grants, with $4 million in grants available, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this week.
The city’s Small Business Stabilization Fund provided 469 companies with grants in application rounds earlier this year. That didn’t come close to meeting the demand, as 9,000 applications were initially submitted.
Business owners who applied for grants previously must reapply, because the criteria for the new round are different, according to the Durkan administration.
The grants in the prior rounds were funded with federal dollars and were limited to business owners with five or fewer employees and business owners at or below 80% of the area’s median income. The grants in the next round will be funded from the city’s emergency reserves, according to a deal between Durkan and the City Council over the summer, and will be available to a somewhat wider range of businesses.
In a statement, Durkan called small businesses “the backbone of Seattle,” said too many neighborhood favorites have closed during the pandemic, and urged Congress to provide additional help. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said the city’s grants will keep businesses open and workers employed.
Seahawks announce no fans will be allowed at CenturyLink Field for their next home game Nov. 19 against the Cardinals
Seahawks fans hoping for a chance to see their team in person at CenturyLink Field this season will have to wait a little longer.
The team announced Tuesday afternoon that there will be no fans allowed for Seattle’s next home game on Nov. 19 against Arizona. The team is, for now, making decisions on a game-by-game basis.
It will be the fifth game at CenturyLink this year without fans. Seattle has three more home games scheduled following the Arizona game, all in December, against the Giants (Dec. 6), Jets (Dec. 13) and Rams (Dec. 27).
“Through ongoing collaboration with local public health and government officials, we have decided we will continue without fans in attendance at our home game on November 19 vs. Arizona,” the Seahawks said in a statement Tuesday. “Should they determine conditions have improved enough for us to host fans in a limited capacity in December, we will announce those plans at a later date.”
Oregon health officials warn about nearing hospital capacity as coronavirus infections rise
SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon health officials warned Tuesday of the capacity challenges facing hospitals as COVID-19 case counts continue to spike in the state.
The Oregon Health Authority confirmed a record 285 COVID-19 patients in hospitals Tuesday — a 57% increase in just the past week and an 83% increase in the past four weeks.
“There are limitations to what Oregon’s health care system can handle,” said Dana Hargunani, the health authority’s chief medical officer. “Even with regional planning and the hard work of all of our hospital partners, we cannot handle ever-growing high daily case counts and widespread hospitalizations.”
Out of Oregon’s 703 listed intensive-care unit beds, 27% now are available and about 18% of non-ICU adult hospital beds in the state are available, based on data on from the health authority’s website.
The previous record for hospitalizations in the state, outside of November, was 179 in October. Before the end of October, the record of COVID-19-related hospitalizations was 165 in July.
Dire warnings from health officials as coronavirus runs wild in Washington: ‘Any in-person gathering is risky’
As COVID-19 levels reach record highs in Washington, health officials from around the state warned Tuesday afternoon that “any in-person gathering is risky,” including Thanksgiving dinners.
The message at Tuesday’s joint briefing: Unless people change their behavior — limiting gatherings, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance — the recent spike in infections could continue and could be followed by more hospitalizations and deaths.
Another stay-home order also appeared to not be off the table, although multiple health officials stressed a desire to avoid that option.
WWU to provide free COVID-19 testing, ends fall in-person classes
Western Washington University (WWU) will provide free COVID testing to WWU students in the Bellingham area the week before Thanksgiving, and to WWU students and families during the holiday break.
The expanded, voluntary testing program will begin Monday, Nov. 16 at Fraser Hall on a first-come, first-served basis. Students wishing to be tested must make an appointment at the MyWesternHealth patient portal, according to a letter sent to the university community by Dr. Sislena Ledbetter, the executive director of WWU Health and Wellness.
WWU’s COVID-19 testing clinic will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19; and on Nov. 23 and 24. Space is limited, and students must have an appointment to be tested.
Following Thanksgiving break, all fall quarter classes will be offered remotely for the remainder of the term including those few classes being offered on campus in a face-to-face format, Ledbetter said.
Campus residence halls and apartments will remain open throughout fall quarter, and will be open for continuing residents during winter break. At the beginning of winter quarter 2021, students living or attending class on campus, and/or those who are on campus for other reasons such as athletics or employment must have a COVID-19 test conducted on campus.
Winter Quarter will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. However, all classes will be held remotely for the first week of Winter Quarter classes to allow time for students to get tested in Fraser Hall before face-to-face instruction begins on Monday, Jan. 11 for the handful of approved in-person classes.
COVID-19 test results obtained outside of the university’s testing program will not be accepted.
“We believe testing when students return to campus will greatly assist in maintaining our low positive test rate on campus, which is well below our county or other parts of the state,” Ledbetter said. “Our primary goal is to identify positive tests early and to isolate/quarantine those affected as quickly as possible upon return to an on-campus presence.”
State confirms 1,441 new COVID-19 cases -- 311 in King County -- and 22 new deaths
The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,441 new COVID-19 cases as of Monday, and 22 new deaths.
In King County, the state’s most populous, 311 new cases were reported.
The update brings the state’s totals to 120,011 cases and 2,482 deaths, meaning that 2.1% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Monday.
The DOH also reported that 9.092 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus-- 61 new hospitalizations since Monday.
Statewide, 2,644,425 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Monday.
In King County, state health officials have confirmed a total of 31,497 COVID-19 diagnoses and 829 deaths.
No. 1 Alabama-LSU, No. 5 Texas A&M-Tennessee postponed
No. 1 Alabama at LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee will not be played Saturday because of COVID-19 issues, raising the number of Southeastern Conference games postponed this week to three.
The SEC said Tuesday that the Aggies and Volunteers will be rescheduled for Dec. 12, but the Crimson Tide’s game against the defending national champion Tigers is in danger of not being played at all after COVID-19 cases in LSU’s program.
Both teams are coming off their open dates and LSU already has a game against No. 6 Florida scheduled for Dec. 12 that had to be postponed last month. The SEC said it would consider using Dec. 19, the day of the conference championship game in Atlanta, to make up regular-season games not involving teams playing for the title.
Texas A&M said it has three active COVID-19 cases, including two people who traveled with the team to South Carolina last week.
On Monday, No. 24 Auburn’s game at Mississippi State was postponed because of COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing within the Bulldogs’ program.
In the American Athletic Conference, Navy’s game at Memphis on Saturday was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests at the Naval Academy.
These venues are high-risk areas for spreading the coronavirus, model suggests
Restaurants, gyms and coffee shops rank high among locations where the coronavirus is most likely to spread outside the home. That’s according to a newly published report based on data from millions of Americans, tracked by their phones as they went about daily life during the pandemic’s first wave.
The study provides statistical support for a strategy built around limiting capacity at indoor venues – such as capping crowds at 20% – while allowing those locations to remain open. The researchers contend that such a strategy can make a huge dent in the infection rate while causing a far more modest drop in the total number of visits to those venues.
Researchers superimposed the cellphone mobility data and pressed play on simulated viral spread, said Northwestern University epidemiologist Jaline Gerardin. The predicted infections largely matched actual coronavirus caseloads in the studied regions, as tallied by the New York Times.
Norway gives quarantine exemption to 2020 Nobel winners
The Norwegian government has granted an exemption from its two-week quarantine requirement for arriving visitors so representatives from the winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize – the World Food Program – can attend the Dec. 10 award ceremony in Oslo.
“The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize is an important event of great national and international interest,” Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoeie said Tuesday. “We want to make it easy for the prize winner to be physically present this year as well. It is important that the event is carried out in a good infection-control manner.”
The government’s decision came at the recommendation of Norway’s Directorate of Health and National Institute of Public Health, which “consider that the risk of infection is very small” from granting the quarantine waiver, Hoeie said.
Entire Portland metro area placed on ‘pause’ as coronavirus spreads, Gov. Kate Brown announces
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extended a two-week “pause” on social activities to the entire Portland metro area, announcing Monday that coronavirus infections in the suburbs have spiraled too quickly.
Brown’s directive, which takes effect Wednesday, reduces restaurant capacity and indoor sporting activities to 50 people and blocks indoor visitations at long-term care facilities. The governor also encouraged working from home and asked Oregonians to limit social gatherings to six people.
Oregon set a slew of coronavirus records Monday, reaching new highs in average daily cases, active hospitalizations and test positivity rates. Those figures have nearly doubled in the past two weeks as Oregon, like the rest of the country, experiences a record-setting wave of infection.
Brown and public health officials said more social and business restrictions may be necessary without improvement by Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, when the pause period is tentatively set to end.
28 election employees in 1 Missouri county have coronavirus
Twenty-eight employees of the election board in one of Missouri’s largest counties have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks, and a director believes they most likely got infected from voters.
The Jackson County Election Board’s Republican director, Tammy Brown, said Tuesday that eight full-time and 20 part-time employees tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the past 2 1/2 weeks. Most are doing well and recovering at home, but two part-time workers are hospitalized, including one in intensive care, Brown said.
Jackson County is Missouri’s second-largest county, behind St. Louis County. While Kansas City is part of Jackson County, the city has its own election board. The Jackson County board handled votes cast by nearly 200,000 people.
Iran, Lebanon to impose lockdowns, curfews as virus surges
Iran imposed a nightly curfew on businesses in Tehran and other cities on Tuesday while Lebanon was preparing for a two-week nationwide lockdown later this week as both countries battle a major surge in coronavirus infections.
Restaurants and nonessential businesses in Tehran and 30 other cities were ordered to close at 6 p.m. for one month, to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to slow the worsening outbreak, which has killed more than 39,000 — the highest toll in the Middle East. Iran has set single-day death records 10 times over the past month, a sign of how quickly the virus is spreading.
The announcement of new limits on Tehran’s bustling cafes and shops, the strictest since a brief nationwide business shutdown in April, reflects the growing sense of urgency among officials. In a first, Iranians’ phones lit up on Monday with a personal appeal from Saeed Namaki, the health minister.
“Do not leave your house for as long as you can and stay away from any crowded places,” his text read. “Coronavirus is no joke.”
In Lebanon, people are preparing to enter a two-week lockdown.
Anchorage schools delay plan to bring students back to class
The Anchorage School District has delayed a plan to phase students back into classrooms because of the ongoing increase in coronavirus cases in the community.
Superintendent Deena Bishop announced Sunday that the district indefinitely postponed the start of in-person schooling for younger and higher-needs special education students that was scheduled to start on Nov. 16.
Bishop wrote emails to parents and staff citing the increasing spread of the coronavirus and rising demands on the health care system in Alaska’s largest city.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Alaska has surged in recent weeks. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Saturday reported that the state hit a daily record in newly confirmed coronavirus cases.
Report: Children lose basic skills under virus restrictions
Some young children have forgotten how to eat with a knife and fork and others have regressed back into diapers as the coronavirus pandemic and related school closures take a toll on young peoples’ learning, the U.K. education watchdog said Tuesday.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills., known as Ofsted, published five reports based on findings from more than 900 visits to education and social care providers across England since September. Some of the children most affected by the disruption of the pandemic were those in their earliest years of education with working parents, who “experienced the double whammy of less time with parents and less time with other children,” chief inspector Amanda Spielman said.
She said teachers reported some toilet-trained students needing to use diapers again and “others who had forgotten some basic skills they had mastered, such as eating with a knife and fork – not to mention the loss of early progress in words and numbers.”
Among older children, some had fallen behind in math, struggled with literacy and concentration or lost physical fitness, the report said. Others showed signs of mental distress, which showed up in increased eating disorders and self-harm.
While most children have lost ground in their learning to various degrees since March, others have coped well because they spent quality time with parents and caregivers, Spielman said.
Alaska Tlingits hold memorial ceremony online amid pandemic
When a Tlingit elder dies, leaders from the Alaska Native tribe’s two houses, the Raven and Eagle clans, typically come together along with family and well-wishers for a memorial ceremony featuring displays of traditional tribal regalia.
After elder, tribal leader and college professor David Katzeek died last month, the tribe scrambled to find a way to observe their sacred traditions while keeping everyone safe during the pandemic, with coronavirus cases surging in the state.
Katzeek, 77, died on Oct. 28, according to the Juneau-based institute, an Alaska Native nonprofit that promotes Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.
The first president of what has since become the institute, Katzeek is credited with helping revive Alaska Native culture in the state’s southeast, encouraging oral histories and efforts to preserve the Tlingit language.
To honor him safely, the institute turned to the same technologies that people across the world have employed to remain connected in the coronavirus age, using Zoom video conferencing to bring people together while broadcasting live on its YouTube channel.
Doctors may be better equipped to handle latest virus surge
The latest surge in U.S. coronavirus cases appears to be much larger than the two previous ones, and it is all but certain to get worse — a lot worse. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time.
Newly confirmed infections in the U.S. are running at all-time highs of well over 100,000 per day, pushing the running total this week to more than 10 million. Deaths — a lagging indicator, since it takes time for people to get sick and die — are climbing again, reaching an average of more than 930 a day.
Hospitals are getting slammed. And unlike the earlier outbreaks, this one is not confined to a region or two. Cases are on the rise in 49 states.
But there is also some good news.
Doctors now better know how to treat severe cases, meaning higher percentages of the COVID-19 patients who go into intensive care units are coming out alive. Patients have the benefit of new treatments, namely remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone, and an antibody drug that won emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Monday.
There's also a vaccine that appears to be on the horizon, perhaps around the end of the year, and a pending change in the White House that experts say includes the kind of measures that will be necessary to bring the surge under control.
EU to buy up to 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
The European Commission will sign a deal to secure up to 300 million doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU’s executive arm, said the commission will authorize the deal on Wednesday after “working tirelessly to secure doses of potential vaccines” in recent months.
“This is the most promising vaccine so far,” von der Leyen said. “Once this vaccine becomes available, our plan is to deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe.”
Pfizer said Monday that early results from the vaccine suggests the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
The European Commission had already secured three other deals with pharmaceutical companies allowing its 27 member states to buy nearly one billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Do masks with antiviral coating offer more protection?
Do masks with antiviral coating offer more protection?
It’s an intriguing idea, but there haven’t been enough rigorous independent studies to establish whether antiviral masks are better at protecting wearers or preventing the spread of the virus.
Their specifics vary, but many antiviral masks are supposed to be made or coated with materials that have extra virus-fighting properties, such as copper.
Websites for several antiviral masks do not provide detailed information about how researchers tested their safety or effectiveness, said Hyo-Jick Choi, a materials science expert at the University of Alberta.
But it usually takes years to design and test new mask technology, said Choi, who is part of a group that has been developing a different type of antiviral mask since before the pandemic. He said a simpler, cheaper way to boost the effectiveness of the masks you’re already using is to ensure you’re putting them on, wearing them and taking them off correctly.
Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok tests positive for coronavirus
Health authorities in Thailand said Tuesday that a Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is believed to have become infected through contact with his country’s foreign minister, who tested positive last week during an abortive official visit.
Cambodian officials had said Monday that Hungary’s ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam had tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of a one-day visit to Cambodia by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Szijjarto was found to be infected when he was tested last Tuesday on arrival in Thailand from Cambodia.
The unnamed 53-year-old Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok is the only locally transmitted case in Thailand so far to be linked to Szijjarto. He was described as asymptomatic but tested positive on Monday, and was sent to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok’s northern suburbs for treatment. Szijjarto had been sent to the same facility before flying back to Hungary.
Should college students go home for the holidays? Think carefully about COVID-19 risks first
Thanksgiving is traditionally an intimate gathering of family and friends. And, for college students, the fall break in the semester is an opportunity to travel home to see the family for a few days. With COVID-19 cases increasing at a high rate in some parts of the U.S., that trek home might need to be reconsidered.
“If you’re only going to be coming home for Thanksgiving holiday and then going straight back to school, this may not be a year to make that trip,” says Dr. John O’Horo, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist. “If your school is in the middle of an outbreak, it becomes all the more important to really weigh what you can do.”
Catch up on the past 24 hours
The FDA has given emergency approval to a COVID-19 antibody treatment. Eli Lilly's treatment is seen as a valuable tool — but it's not for everyone, and questions immediately arose about who will get access.
“Please, I implore you, wear a mask.” Biden began his fight against the coronavirus with a direct appeal to all Americans yesterday as he promised a cohesive national strategy and began reaching out to states.
Another White House superspreader event? At least three more top Trump officials have tested positive after attending an election night watch party in the East Room, and the administration is increasingly secretive about outbreaks.
Lines of ambulances with patients wait outside hospitals, but there are no beds. Soon, Italy may not have enough doctors either. The COVID-19 surge is swamping European hospitals.
WSU's football team has one active case of COVID-19, and its coach won't talk about whether the virus is linked to the absence of 32 players last weekend. At UW, coach Jimmy Lake says he's bracing for more surprises after the virus nixed the Huskies' season opener against Cal.
A socially distant entertainment park has opened its doors, offering live performances, cinema and more. Take a look.
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