- 175 coronavirus deaths among at least 3,700 overall cases in Washington.
- President Donald Trump signed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package Friday that will send checks to most Americans.
- 49,015 people (93% of tests) have tested negative for the virus the state reported.
- Track the statewide outbreak with this map of Washington counties.
A married couple behind the popular Kona Kitchen locations have both passed away from coronavirus.
Liz Mar, 72, and Robert Mar, 78, would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August.
The couple died at the same hospital two days apart, at the exact same time of day: 1:35 a.m.
Washington State Ferries will operate on a reduced service plan as part of the state’s coronavirus response and low ridership. The reductions will be in effect Sunday, March 29 through at least Saturday, April 25.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will convert the CenturyLink Field Event Center into a temporary field hospital for non-coronavirus patients, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced.
"300 soldiers from the 627th Army Hospital from Fort Carson, Colorado have deployed to Seattle to staff the hospital, which is expected to create at least 150 hospital beds for non-COVID-19 cases," the mayor's office said Friday.
The Washington Department of Health confirmed a total of 175 people have died from the coronavirus as of Friday, March 27 among 3,700 total cases. King County has the highest number of deaths at 125. There are 1,760 confirmed cases of coronavirus in King County alone.
In Washington, 49,015 people (93% of tests) have tested negative for the virus the state health department reported.
President Donald Trump has signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress this week. The package will support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.
As he signed the bill Friday, Trump declared it “will deliver urgently needed relief.” He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans “first.”
The House passed the legislation earlier Friday by voice vote.
The legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks.
A Community Transit worker has reportedly died of coronavirus.
Kathleen Custer, the president of labor union ATU 1576, notified members Thursday of the death of Scott Ryan, 41.
"This is real," Custer wrote in a Facebook post. "All ATU locals across the country- keep pushing your agencies to ensure they are keeping everyone safe."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected to sign an emergency order Friday to allow the city to fund child care for essential workers, including first responders, health care workers and grocery store employees.
Under the plan, the city would implement 75 emergency child care classrooms at five locations near hospitals and 22 other preschool sites. The classrooms would serve more than 700 kids.
The proposal taps more than $1 million per month from the city's Families, Education, Preschool and Promise funding.
Eligible children will begin to be identified Monday.
The first trailer of personal protection equipment from FEMA arrived in Snohomish County Friday, officials announced during a press conference.
Additionally, hundreds of hospital beds are on the way to increase the number available to patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus test kits remain in short supply.
There are between 80 and 100 new cases being reported per day.
Seven long-term care facilities have cases.
The House has approved a $2.2 trillion rescue package, rushing it to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The measure tosses a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.
The House approved the sweeping measure by a voice vote, as strong majorities of both parties lined up behind the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history.
It will ship payments of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans, bolster unemployment benefits, and offer loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses large and small.
It also will flush billions more to states, local governments and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system.
Researchers with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation say deaths related to coronavirus in Washington state could persist into July, even if people adhere to social distancing measures and other precautions.
Based on observed death rates, approximately 81,000 people could die from the virus over the next four months.
Based on the analysis, 41 states will need more ICU beds than they have and 11 states may need to increase their ICU beds by 50%.
The number of Washington state residents who die per day from coronavirus is, according to the observations, expected to peak by mid-to-late April. As many as 27 could die per day by then.
The Bellevue Police Department launched a new tool that allows people to report others who may be violating Gov. Jay Inslee's "stay home" order, including illegal gatherings and business activity.
The app allows officers to see hot spots throughout the city and respond if they are available. The department says arrests are not going to be made. Instead, officers will educate people about the governor's mandate.
Though he said there is a "glimmer of hope" after seeing the rate of infection slowing in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee reminded residents that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.
"We are nowhere near declaring victory," he tweeted Friday morning.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has partnered with Gov. Inslee to request resources from the federal government to bring "field hospital capacity to our region."
"A field hospital will be critical to helping relieve some of the stress on our health system," she wrote.
According to Durkan, state and city emergency management and other city departments have been working to secure a site "to get a full staffed and equipped military field hospital set up quickly in Seattle."
Congress hopes to move quickly on delivering massive, unprecedented legislation to speed help to individuals and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy and a health care system straining to keep up.
The House is set to pass the sprawling, $2.2 trillion measure on Friday morning after an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. President Donald Trump is eager to sign it into law.
The relief can hardly come soon enough. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economy “may well be in recession” already and the government has reported a 3.3 million burst of weekly jobless claims, more than four times the previous record.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus. He made the announcement early Friday on Twitter.
"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," he wrote. "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."
A commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Seattle's CenturyLink Field could be converted into a temporary hospital.
Lt. General Todd Semonite appeared on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night and said the Seattle stadium was their next assignment for a field hospital.
KING 5 reached out to the offices of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and the Joint Information Center at Camp Murray for confirmation. None of the Washington agencies have confirmed what Semonite said on TV.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced new proclamations on Thursday night that waives some healthcare licensing and childcare background check requirements.
U.S. Army medical personnel will be en route to the Seattle area Friday to provide routine and emergency medical support to local healthcare staff as they make efforts to treat patients who may have COVID-19, according to a press release from the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office in Colorado.
The medical personnel are from the 627th Hospital Center in Fort Carson. Their support will allow local medical teams to focus on the treatment of patients potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Seattle Public Schools will open five child care sites that prioritize the children of nurses, doctors, EMTs and others who directly aid coronavirus patients.
Seattle Public Schools is working directly with hospitals and first responders to enroll students into the program. The sites will serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade and will open April 6.
Seattle Public Schools also will open several other child care centers that prioritize families of medical providers and first responders, as well the children of others who have been put on the front lines in the struggle to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. These child care centers also will accept children whose families qualify for free and reduced lunch programs and children whose families are experiencing homelessness.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday a new parking permit program to allow health care workers to park for free on streets surrounding the major hospitals.
The new Hospital Staff Parking Permits will initially be available to staff at Harborview Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Children's Hospital, Swedish Medical Center (Cherry Hill and First Hill campuses), and Virginia Mason Medical Center.
The temporary parking zones for health care employees will begin Monday, March 30. The permits will initially be good for 30 days. Employers will work to distribute these permits to their employees.
When Graham-Kapowsin High School's wind ensemble concert was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, band teacher David Stewart got creative. Click here to watch their social distancing concert.
Seattle's new NHL team announced Thursday that work will continue on the construction of the New Arena at Seattle Center. It will also halt construction on the new team facilities, and training center at Northgate.
The project managers have been carefully monitoring Gov. Inslee's guidance, who had issued a "Stay Home" mandate on Tuesday, limiting commercial construction. But late Wednesday, he clarified those conditions.
In a memo, Inslee wrote projects were allowed if:
A) Construction-related to essential activities as described in the order;
B) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
C) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.
The city of Seattle wants all Seattleites to come together Thursday evening in a show of support for health care workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. sharp, the city is calling on everyone to open their windows, stand on their balcony/porch/yard and "make a joyful noise" in celebration of health care workers.
Similar acts of joyfulness have been done in European countries while residents have been under a stay-at-home order.
People can share their joyful noise on social media using the hashtags #MakeAJoyfulNoise and #SeattleTogether
The Washington Department of Health is reporting 147 deaths from coronavirus among 3,207 total cases as of Thursday afternoon. The number of deaths is up by 15 people since the previous day.
King County remains the county with the highest number of deaths at 109.
The Bellevue Police Department has created a way for residents to report violators of Gov. Jay Inslee's statewide stay-at-home order.
Residents can now report incidents electronically through the MyBellevue app or online here. Police stressed not to call 911 to report these incidents, but rather do it through the app and it will show officers hotspots throughout the city. Officers will investigate the reports as they are available.
Under the stay-at-home order, only essential businesses are allowed to operate and public and private gatherings of people are prohibited. People are encouraged to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Pierce Transit announced starting Monday, March 30 weekday bus service will be reduced by about 28% due to low ridership because of coronavirus concerns. Officials said Pierce Transit’s ridership is down 57% compared to this time last year.
Under the reduced schedule, weekday routes will start and end around the same time as a normal weekday, but buses will run less frequently. Routes will remain normal on the weekends.
During the new schedule, riders can find out when their next bus is coming by:
- Checking their routes on PierceTransit.org/Pierce-Transit-Routes. Updated weekday schedules will be posted March 29, with an updated Route and Schedule book posted to that webpage later today.
- Texting 253.533.7084 from their bus stop and entering the bus stop number found on the pole.
- Using a bus locator app, such as Transit or One Bus Away.
Beginning March 27, riders can also use the agency’s Trip Planner, and sign up for route text alerts by visiting PierceTransit.org/StayConnected
Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday morning that the infection rate from the coronavirus in Washington state is slowing, at least to some degree.
However, he's heard from some residents who don't believe the actions taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including the stay-at-home order, are necessary. But, he said, the virus is still spreading across the state.
"We are only in first 2 weeks and people need to understand that order may need to be extended," he said.
The Navy says an outbreak of COVID-19 infections aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific has forced it to divert to Guam so that all 5,000 aboard will undergo testing.
The acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, told reporters that the carrier remains “operationally capable.” Even so, other officials said the number of infected sailors has risen sharply, from three reported initially to “dozens” as of Thursday.
Modly said the carrier, which is the first U.S. Navy ship to have a reported outbreak while at sea, had about 800 COVID-19 test kits aboard and more were being delivered. He said the initially reported cases were sailors with relatively mild symptoms.
The Navy said earlier this week that the Theodore Roosevelt’s most recent port call was in Vietnam.
More than 133,000 people in Washington filed for unemployment benefits last week as government-ordered shutdowns to slow the coronavirus outbreak hit the state's economy.
The state received 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits during the week of March 15-21, 2020, which is an increase of 119,310 new claims from the previous week.
Spokane County saw the highest increase in claims of 455 to 8,766, an increase of 1,826% from the previous week. King County saw new claims increase from 5,834 to 37,296 during the week of March 15-21, which is an increase of nearly 540%.
New claims in Pierce County increased from 1,559 to 14,730, up 845% from the previous week, and Snohomish County saw new claims increase from 1,386 to 13,692, which is up 888% from the week before.
Sounds Transit will be reducing service on additional ST Express routes starting Monday, March 30, 2020. Sound Transit said ridership on buses and trains is down by an estimated 83% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Riders should anticipate reduced service on nearly all ST Express routes, and on Link and Sounder trains.
Below is a list of the additional reduced routes announced by Sound Transit on Thursday:
Reductions to ST Express routes operated by Community Transit
- Routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 532 and 535 will run on a reduced weekday schedule that will preserve the overall span of service but at a reduced frequency for select trips.
- Reductions to ST Express routes operated by Pierce Transit
- Routes 544, 560, 566, 574, 578, 580, 590, 594, 595 and 596 will run at reduced frequency similar to typical Saturday schedules, with some enhancements. Due to continuing availability of service on other similar routes, there will be no service on Routes 567, 586, and 592.
ST Express routes operated by King County Metro
- Routes 522, 541, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555 and 556 are operating with less frequent service.
Previously announced service reductions from Sound Transit include:
Link light rail - Trains are running every 14 minutes.
Sounder trains - Sounder South weekday service is reduced from 13 round trips to eight round trips. The northbound trips being canceled are the 1502, 1506, and 1508 departures from Lakewood and the 1516 and 1522 departures from Tacoma. The canceled southbound trips are the 1503, 1509, 1517, 1519, and 1523 departures from Seattle. Sounder North weekday service is reduced from four round trips to two round trips, with the cancellation of the 1701 and 1705 departures from Everett and the 1700 and 1704 departures from Seattle.
ST Express routes operated by King County Metro - Routes 522, 541, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555 and 556 are operating with less frequent service.
The Washington State Department of Commerce announced an additional $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grants will be distributed to 17 rural counties in Washington state to assist people and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The funds will be awarded through the Economic Opportunity Grant program and can be used at the discretion of county authorities to meet community needs, such as providing food and rental assistance, small business support, and health services.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan raised a flag that reads "We Got This Seattle" on top of the Space Needle.
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is further reducing foot traffic from the public at its Community Services Office (CSO) in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive and help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The DSHS said online options are still available for people who need cash or food assistance. Customers can continue to drop off paperwork in drop boxes where available. The paperwork will be picked up daily.
The DSHS said a few in-person services are available in CSO lobbies for a limited number of customers to pick up, including:
- An EBT card, when the individual has general delivery mail services only and for certain expedited food recipients. All other EBT cards will be mailed from the vendor or through a local office mail process. Clients may contact EBT Customer Service at 888-328-9271 for EBT card replacements.
- Emergency support services, when mailing those services is not an option.
Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. Read more.
Five workers and two patients at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.
In the last week, state health officials said that one Western State Hospital employee and two patients were positive for COVID-19, but on Wednesday, officials reported four more employees had the disease.
Workers fear it will get worse due to conditions at the sprawling facility and the administration's policies. A union representative for the staff said they continue to report to work because they care deeply about the patients, but they're concerned about management’s failure to be proactive with health guidance.
U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus have topped 1,000, with New York City being the hotspot for most cases and deaths.
A makeshift morgue was set up outside a New York City hospital, and the city's police were told to patrol nearly empty streets to enforce social distancing. New York State alone accounted for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.
The Senate passed an unparalleled $2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 96-0. The bill now heads to the House, which is not likely to vote until Friday at the earliest.
It includes one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000.
The Washington Department of Health reported 132 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday evening among 2,580 total cases statewide. That's up nine deaths from the day before. There have also been at least 31,712 (or 93%) people who have tested negative for the virus as of Monday, which was the last day that the state updated that figure.
The King County Department of Health announced a new number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday. These numbers apply to King County only:
- 1359 confirmed positive cases (up 82 from yesterday)
- 100 confirmed deaths (up 6 from yesterday)
Alaska Airlines cuts 70% of flights for April and May because of drop in demand due to coronavirus pandemic
Alaska Airlines today announced plans to reduce its flight schedule through May due to the drop in travel domestically and worldwide caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Seattle-based airline posted on its blog that it normally has 1,300 daily flights. The cut will mean 900 fewer flights a day.
State launches site to clarify ‘essential’ businesses under stay-home order
Washington state launched an online form so businesses can get clarification on what qualifies as essential under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. The order goes into effect at the end of the day on Wednesday, forcing “non-essential” businesses to shut down for two weeks.
Senate leaders raced to unravel last-minute snags Wednesday and win passage of an unparalleled $2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure is the largest economic relief bill in history, and both parties' leaders were desperate for quick passage of a bill aimed at a virus that is costing lives and jobs by the hour.
But the drive by leaders to speed the bill through the Senate was slowed as four conservative Republican senators demanded changes, saying the legislation as written “incentivizes layoffs" and should be altered to ensure employees don't earn more money if they're laid off than if they're working.
King County is closing its parks in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The gates for the parking lots and trailheads will be locked and restrooms will be closed.
However, the officials also said the county lacks enforcement resources, and will rely on the public to abide by the closures and public health guidelines to keep physical distance from other people. County officials also reminded the public to obey local parking laws near the parks and to not block the gates.
The county had closed picnic areas, ballfields and play areas last week.
Thurston County announced it has moved to an "essential services model" following Gov. Inslee's stay-at-home order.
The term ‘essential services’ refers to Thurston County work and staff that are essential for public health and safety, as outlined in the Governor’s Order. Including:
- Office of the Board of County Commissioners
- Public Health
- Dispatch, Law Enforcement, Corrections, Courts and Justice systems
- Emergency Management
- Coroner’s Office
- Certain Public Works functions
- Building and Land Use Permitting
- Information Technology
- Payroll and Financial Support
- Central Services to Support Essential Services
- Other Offices as identified in their Non-Essential Plans
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is reducing the service of Amtrak Cascades trains due to the coronavirus and “severe drops in ridership.” The only Cascades trains that will continue to operate in Washington state are two daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland.
The Seattle-Portland trains that will continue to operate include trains 500, 501, 504, and 505.
The WSDOT said the trains carried, on average, between 2,300 and 3,600 people each day. Recent ridership logs recorded less than 300 people per day, which is more than an 85% reduction in passengers.
The Coast Starlight, the Amtrak long-distance train, will continue to connect Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and other cities in between through one daily roundtrip.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is closing all public lands that it manages through at least April 8.
Commissioner of Public Lands HiIlary Franz issued the following statement:
"This was not an easy decision. We treasure our forests and trails and beaches as places of rejuvenation and refuge from the chaos of daily life. But, I cannot ignore the unfortunate reality of what we saw this weekend: crowded trails, people shoulder to shoulder, and large gatherings. This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making in order to adhere to social distancing. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting epidemic.
“This behavior also makes clear that, while we have taken drastic measures, we have not done enough when it comes to closing areas where large crowds gather and communicating the importance of staying at home and avoiding physical contact with others.
“The disruptions we are experiencing are difficult and challenging – and unprecedented in our lifetimes. But they are necessary. We must bend the curve. And if we all do our part, these temporary disruptions will save countless lives.”
Medical staffers based at Colorado's Fort Carson are being deployed to Washington State to back up doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in one of the nation's hardest hit areas.
The Army post near Colorado Springs said more than 300 members of the 627th Hospital Center will head to Washington to provide supplemental routine and emergency medical care. It says that will help free up Washington providers to focus on detecting and treating patients believed to have been exposed to COVID-19.
The Gazette of Colorado Springs reports the unit is capable of establishing a 148-bed full-service hospital even in the most austere conditions in tents or repurposed civilian buildings.
Community Transit announced five more of its employees have tested positive for coronavirus.
They last worked between March 5-17.
An additional eight employees notified the transit agency that they have tests that are pending and are self-quarantining. None of those people have worked since March 17.
"Public health officials have advised the agency that given the high number of cases in our region, it is challenging to know whether or not infections occurred in the community or on the job," a statement from Community Transit reads.
All of Washington's state-run parks, wildlife areas, and water access areas are closed for at least two weeks.
Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation land is closed through April 30.
A group of inmates in Washington prisons are asking the state Supreme Court to order the release of prisoners at high risk from the coronavirus.
Columbia Legal Services, a nonprofit that advocates for social and economic justice, filed a petition on behalf of the inmates with the high court Tuesday.
The petition warns that virus outbreaks in the prisons would be devastating and says all inmates over 50, those with underlying medical conditions, and those who are due to be released within 18 months should be freed now to reduce the risk of an outbreak.
Gov. Jay Inslee's office said he is aware of the issue and takes it seriously.
With Gov. Jay Inslee's "stay-at-home" order going into effect, only "essential businesses" will remain open.
What is an essential business?
The state classifies grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors offices, to-go restaurants, gas stations, childcare, marijuana dispensaries and many more to be "essential."
Starbucks announced it is giving free coffee away to first responders and frontline workers supporting the healthcare system until May 3.
Crater Lake National Park, Mount Rainier, and several other national park sites across the Pacific Northwest have temporarily closed to the public because of the coronavirus outbreak. Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, and Olympic national parks announced their closures Tuesday.
Park officials said rangers will remain at the parks to enforce the closure and protect the parks. Other park closures in Oregon include the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and John Day Fossil Beds. In Washington, North Cascades National Park shut campgrounds and facilities, as well as some trailheads and access roads.
Washington state officials also temporarily closed all state-managed parks, wildlife areas, and water access areas for at least two weeks.
Alaska has recorded its first death from the coronavirus, state officials said. Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said the older person in a high risk group contracted the virus and died in Washington state.
Zink said the death counts under the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for Alaska since the person was an Alaska resident. The death did not appear in Washington state totals. No other details about the person was made available.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy also said there were six additional positive cases in Alaska reported Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 42.
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his office said Wednesday.
The 71-year-old is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and is self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland, his Clarence House office said. It said his wife Camilla, 72, has tested negative.
“The Prince of Wales has tested positive for Coronavirus,’’ Clarence House said. “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.’’
The tests were carried out by the National Health Service in Scotland.