Although Halloween looks a little different this year — with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging against traditional trick-or-treating to risk the spread of the coronavirus — local health officials are promising there’s still ways to have fun. Here are some creative ideas on how to celebrate the spooky holiday during a pandemic.

Meanwhile, Washington has recorded its highest jump in daily cases since mid-July. Health officials, after confirming 1,016 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, declared that the fall surge has arrived.

Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Friday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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State DOH confirms 928 new COVID-19 cases in Washington

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 928 new COVID-19 cases in the state Friday afternoon. The agency does not report coronavirus deaths on weekends.

The update brings the state’s coronavirus totals to 107,501 cases and 2,366 deaths, meaning 2.2% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, per the DOH data dashboard. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Friday.

The DOH reported that 8,571 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus, and a total of 2,450,122 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Friday night.

In King County, state health officials have confirmed a total of 27,735 COVID-19 diagnoses. That represents an additional 382 confirmed cases in King County over the last 24 hours.

—Katherine K. Long
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A very COVID-19 Halloween

Like with everything else this year, the pandemic also left its mark on Halloween. In the Seattle area, trick-or-treating won't start for another several hours -- but in the rest of the country, celebrations, such as they are, are already well underway.

While parades, parties and haunted houses were canceled due to bans on large gatherings and concerns that spooky celebrations could spread the coronavirus, parents and costumed kids are finding ways to preseve the essence of the holiday Saturday while also observing the rules of social distancing -- including with candy chutes, a virtual puppet parade and plenty of hand sanitizer.

Read the rest of the spooky story here.

—Denise Lavoie, Associated Press

How the coronavirus slowed the booming wind energy business

Completed wind turbines are seen at a wind farm under construction in Milligan, Neb., on June 8. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed deliveries and disrupted construction of the wind project being built by EDF, a French energy company. (Walker Pickering/The New York Times)
Completed wind turbines are seen at a wind farm under construction in Milligan, Neb., on June 8. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed deliveries and disrupted construction of the wind project being built by EDF, a French energy company. (Walker Pickering/The New York Times)

The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and imperiled tens of billions of dollars of investments and millions of jobs, with retail stores and oil and gas companies among those hit hardest. But the pandemic has also walloped even thriving industries like renewable energy.

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the economic fallout could threaten a total of $35 billion in investment and about 35,000 jobs this year. The losses could grow if the coronavirus continues to disrupt the economy well into next year.

“Every part of the supply chain has been hit by this,” said John Hensley, the wind association’s vice president of research and analytics. “Certainly if we see major delays, it can take a major economic toll.”

The wind energy business was growing about 10% a year before the pandemic. But industry officials now fear that projects under construction might be postponed or canceled because of the pandemic. The industry had hoped Congress might provide aid to renewable energy, but it got little from the stimulus bills passed in the spring.

Read the entire story here.

—The New York Times

England faces new lockdown as UK virus cases pass 1 million

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020 where he announced new restrictions to help combat a coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, Pool)
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020 where he announced new restrictions to help combat a coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, Pool)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new month-long lockdown for England after being warned that without tough action a resurgent coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm hospitals in weeks.

On the day the U.K. passed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Johnson made a sudden about-face and confirmed that stringent restrictions on business and daily life would begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.

He said at a televised news conference that “no responsible prime minister” could ignore the grim figures.

“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day,” said Johnson, who was hospitalized earlier this year for a serious case of COVID-19.

Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants can only offer take-out, non-essential shops must close and people will only be able to leave home for a short list of reasons including exercise. Activities ranging from haircuts to foreign holidays must once again be put on hold.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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Alaska to require masks and COVID-19 screens at Capitol

FILE – This April 2, 2012, file photo shows the front entrance of the Alaska state Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska.  (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
FILE – This April 2, 2012, file photo shows the front entrance of the Alaska state Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

The Alaska Legislative Council approved a measure that requires lawmakers, employees and reporters to be screened for the coronavirus when entering the Capitol and to wear masks or face coverings in the building and other legislative offices.

The council also voted on Thursday to keep the Capitol building closed to the public until at least January, when the next Legislature convenes. Legislative staff and reporters will still be allowed into the building, KTOO Public Media reported.

The council’s chair, Sen. Gary Stevens, said that while the Legislature in January could change the policies, he anticipates they will not as long as the pandemic persists.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep tests positive for COVID-19

FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, Romania’s Simona Halep plays a shot against Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France.  Simona Halep said Saturday Oct. 31, 2020, that she has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE)
FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, Romania’s Simona Halep plays a shot against Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. Simona Halep said Saturday Oct. 31, 2020, that she has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE)

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has tested positive for COVID-19 and said Saturday that she is “recovering well from mild symptoms.”

The 29-year-old Halep, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, had skipped the U.S. Open due to fears of catching the coronavirus. She said in August that she preferred to stay and train in Europe.

The Romanian player announced her test result Saturday.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Senior communities get creative to help residents vote safely during a pandemic

Every Friday, Ann Peterson and other residents of retirement community Aljoya Thornton Place encourage people to vote and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Every Friday, Ann Peterson and other residents of retirement community Aljoya Thornton Place encourage people to vote and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

The 65-and-older population has long been a civically involved group that politicians can count on as consistent voters. But the group is also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and the pandemic has necessitated restrictions at retirement communities and other long-term care facilities, including months-long lockdowns.

Washington’s mail-in voting system eliminates many of the obstacles other states might face, but the pandemic changed how some senior communities have navigated the election cycle. Newsletters have replaced big gatherings in lounges for residents to learn more about down-ballot candidates. Residents who used to count on family members to help them fill out their ballots now have to get their questions answered through a video session or a staff member.

Those differences don’t appear to have affected turnout. In King County, 75% of registered voters 65 and older had returned ballots as of Thursday — 10 percentage points higher than overall turnout, according to King County Elections spokesperson Halei Watkins.

Read the full story here.

—Paige Cornwell
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Pandemic reinvents holiday hiring for retailers

An employee, left, rings up customer purchases at a Target store in October in New York. The coronavirus pandemic is transforming holiday hiring this year, with companies starting hiring earlier and offering extra safety protocols. Target said it expects to hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday season. (The Associated Press / Bebeto Matthews)
An employee, left, rings up customer purchases at a Target store in October in New York. The coronavirus pandemic is transforming holiday hiring this year, with companies starting hiring earlier and offering extra safety protocols. Target said it expects to hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday season. (The Associated Press / Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK — Wanted this holiday shopping season: Cart sanitizers, curbside delivery workers and mask enforcers.

The push to hire temporary workers has begun in earnest this holiday season — in some cases, weeks earlier than last year. But the pandemic has reshaped the kinds of jobs retailers are recruiting for.

As more shoppers shy away from stores and shift their purchases online during the pandemic, retailers have stepped up the pace of hiring at warehouses. At the same time, they are looking for workers who can handle new tasks like checking temperatures and booking store appointments for shoppers who still want the in-store experience but are jittery about exposure to the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

COVID-19: Oregon hospitals could reach capacity by December

SALEM, Ore. — Last week Oregon health officials delivered a concerning message: If the state remains on the path it is now with increasing daily COVID-19 cases hospitals in Oregon could reach capacity by mid-December.

Out of Oregon’s 721 listed intensive care unit beds, 24% were available, based on data on from the health authority’s website Thursday. Out of the non-ICU adult hospital beds in the state, 14% were available.

As of Thursday afternoon there were 156 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals. However there have been days in months past, such as July and August, where the number has surpassed 165.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Is the COVID-19 risk on airplanes really that low? Here’s what experts say

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant prepares a virtually empty plane bound for Orlando, Fla., for takeoff at Kansas City International Airport in May. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press) Less
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant prepares a virtually empty plane bound for Orlando, Fla., for takeoff at Kansas City International Airport in May. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press) Less

With the demand for air travel still in a slump, the airline industry is promoting studies that suggest the risk of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low.

Although healthcare experts say the air filtration system in most commercial planes helps reduce the risk of being infected, they point out that the studies have limitations and the results are not all definitive.

Delta Air Lines and two of the world’s largest airline-industry trade groups have promoted the recent studies as they seek to ease the fear of flying during a pandemic that has killed more than a million people worldwide.

Read the full story here.

—The Los Angeles Times
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