Live updates: Coronavirus in Seattle area (March 2-6)
This post will be updated periodically with information about the coronavirus. Scroll down for older information. Top line information:
*11 total COVID-19 related deaths reported as of Thursday morning, March 5 in Washington state (12 nationwide with one reported in California). The dead are male and female, and range in age from 40s to 80s.
*70 confirmed cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Washington state, according to King County officials. They are all in King, Snohomish, and Grant counties.
*231 people are under public health supervision.
*At least 10 workers from the Centers for Disease Control flew into Seattle over last weekend. They went to a nursing home where there has been an outbreak. At least 50 people were reported sick at that location.
*Public health officials urge people to not go to the emergency room if they have symptoms, unless it is essential.
*If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, or are a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact King County's novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. People can also call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127.
FRIDAY, MARCH 6
8 a.m. -- Classes at the University of Washington will no longer meet in person, starting on Monday, March 9. Classes will not meet through the end of winter quarter, March 20. "This is to support social-distancing steps the region is taking to fight #COVID19" the university wrote in a tweet.
5:58 p.m. — Vice President Mike Pence said during a press conference that federal officials expect coronavirus testing capacity will be able to accommodate 1.2 million Americans by the end of next week.
The tests are being produced by a commerical test manufacturer called Integrated DNA Technologies and will be distributed across the country.
Pence also said that the Trump administration had raised standards for nursing homes in the U.S., via guidelines for preventing the spread of infectious disease.
2:25 p.m. -- Businesses in Seattle's International District report that there has been less traffic to the neighborhood. Some say business has been down about 50% since news of COVID-19 began in the area, even before cases were reported in the region.
2:15 p.m. -- Family members of residents at the Life Care Center in Kirkland held a press conference Thursday afternoon, complaining that information from the facility, the public health department, and the CDC has been poor. The center has been quarantined for COVID-19 -- family members called it a "Petri dish."
Nine out of the 11 COVID-19 deaths in Washington state are connected to the care center. Family members argue that residents were not being tested for COVID-19 unless they showed symptoms.
"If you guys can help us get this story out ... our families are dying," said Kevin Connolly whose father-in-law is quarantined at the Life Care Center.
Connolly says he was told that it would be up to 10 business days before he could know if his father-in-law could even be tested for COVID-19. He further says that at the rate the virus is killing people, that will be too late.
"I want mike Pence to come and sit with my father in law if it is so safe …. If this facility is safe enough for my father in law, I want Mike Pence in this facility. I want Dow Constantine," he said.
“They keep saying they are quarantined, they are not quarantined,” Connolly added, saying that the staff at the facility are not trained for such an outbreak and that residents are not being confined to their rooms. “This is not quarantined. There is no quarantine here .... Where are the CDC? Where are the trained professionals? They are not here.”
Pat Herrick's mother Elaine lived at the center. Pat was informed that her mother had passed away at the center around 3 a.m. Thursday morning. Later, she received another call from a staff member saying that her mom was showing no symptoms and doing well. When Pat told the staff member that her mother was actually dead, the staff member said that the chart had not been updated.
“She wasn’t sick, she had been living well … I was surprised," Pat said. "The nurse that called me was exceptional … I think this is such a bigger picture. I think it’s tragic that they didn’t have the support here ... I think it’s a lager issue with the CDC. I think it’s a larger issue with Mike Pence."
"I want to say that this is tragic," she added. "I am so sorry for everybody involved. I am so sorry for us as a country and we need to get on top of this. This is so much bigger, this has to get some support."
12:50 p.m. -- Sammamish's interim city manager issued a proclamation of local emergency Thursday. The city released the following statement:
Interim City Manager David L. Rudat, has issued a proclamation of local emergency for the City of Sammamish, WA, to support the City’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the public health impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The emergency declaration supports measure to be taken to protect public health, safety and welfare within the City. This declaration will go before the City Council for adoption at their March 10 meeting.
12:30 p.m. -- The number of confirmed deaths associated with COVID-19 was raised to 11 from 10 in Washington state.
There have been 10 deaths in King County, and 1 death in Snohomish County.
Also, Thursday, there has been one case of COVID-19 detected in Grant County, indicating that the virus has passed over the Cascade Mountains.
11:20 a.m. -- Gov. Jay Inslee said he is encouraging organizers to "pause" large events over the next few weeks, but he is not banning large gatherings himself. Under the state's emergency proclamation, he does have the authority to do so.
The governor said officials are "still evaluating the efficacy" of canceling events. He evoked the situation in Wuhan, China when urging organizers to cancel their plans.
“For those who think that delaying or pausing this activity is premature or an undue thing to think about, we just need to think about Wuhan and what it meant for their society …" he said. "We are asking people to look ahead a few weeks and not be in the position of Wuhan, China. Everyone can be a leader in their family, city, county in this regard."
Gov. Inslee said “there could come a time” when he makes decision to halt such events.
The Seattle Sounders have a home game at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, March 7.
Emerald City Comic Con is also slated for March 12-15 the following week -- tens of thousands are expected to attend that event at the Washington State Convention Center. Though, many artists and vendors have pulled out of that event.
Inslee also said he is referring the decision to cancel classes to local school districts.
10:53 a.m. -- Washington state officials announced an updated number of COVID-19 cases, indicating that the virus has now crossed over the Cascade Mountains into Grant County.
- There are now 70 COVID-19 cases in Washington, up from 39 one day ago.
- 51 cases in King County; 18 in Snohomish County; and now one new case in Grant County.
- The number of COVID-19 deaths remains at 10.
"We need to accept a medical reality here," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "This disease is going to spread across county lines ... as this virus spreads we have to recognize that is a reality. It should not cause us to run, panicking in the streets. It should cause us to double our efforts."
10:46 a.m. -- Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a briefing on COVID-19 that people who are uninsured will still be able to get testing for the coronavirus -- the state has the "intention" of covering the costs.
He emphasized that most people will experience mild symptoms if they have the novel virus, and that the advice for people with and without the virus is the same -- wash your hands, stay home, avoid crowds.
Washington State's Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced that he is instructing insurance companies to cover testing without copays, and without any requirement from insurance for prior authorization. Also, insurance companies should cover one refill on prescriptions.
10:26 a.m. -- Speaking at a Thursday-morning briefing on COVID-19, an official with the Snohomish County Health Department said that the virus will continue to spread and they are expecting more cases to emerge in the days ahead.
This is partially because testing has been largely unavailable and limited until now, so they have not been able to determine which cases are COVID-19.
10:20 a.m. -- Snohomish County now reports 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
They are also reporting:
- 2 probable cases
- 37 cases waiting test results
- 14 test results negative
- 66 total cases investigated
At a Thursday-morning briefing, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said that the county is implementing a work-from-home policy when possible. They are also making sure employees are sent home if they feel sick.
The City of Everett is temporarily closing its senior center and canceling large city-sponsored events. It is also encouraging the closure of other large gatherings. The city is also setting up sanitization stations in its buildings, and is asking workers who can work remotely to do so.
Snohomish County Health Department officials said that they are not recommending the closure of schools.
They also reaffirmed what people should be doing to decrease the impact and better protect against COVID-19:
- Wash your hands, frequently, for 20 seconds
- Stay away from large crowds, such as movie theaters or sporting events.
- Don't go to a health care facility if you are feeling ill. Call first. This could overwhelm health care facilities in the region.
- Stay home if you feel ill.
9:57 a.m. -- Just as a reminder, the EPA has released a list of cleaners and chemicals that can kill the COVID-19 coronavirus. It includes common brand names such as Clorox and Lysol, but also many others.
Read that list here.
9:44 a.m. -- Michelle Reid, superintendent of the Northshore School District sent a letter to parents announcing that all schools in the district will be closed starting March 5.
According to Reid's statement:
"All schools in the Northshore School District will be closing Thursday, March 5 for up to 14 days while we continue to monitor the situation and health department recommendations. Today and tomorrow we will communicate plans to transition instruction from classroom to cloud (online learning) beginning Monday, March 9."
Other companies reportedly implementing a work-from-home program for employees who can are: Zillow, Amazon, Microsoft, Redfin, Fred Hutch, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
6:36 p.m. -- The first clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine will take place in Seattle. Kaiser Permanente said it received federal permission to start testing a vaccine developed in Boston.
-- Carolyn Adolph
5:16 p.m. — State health officials are dismantling a quarantine site for infected coronavirus patients in Shoreline and moving rented RVs to the lawn of a former juvenile detention facility near Grand Mound in rural Thurston County. The site is intended to house people who need to be in quarantine, but can't be isolated at home because they're homeless or live with someone who's immunocompromised.
The previous quarantine site on the backlot of the state health lab in Shoreline, Washington, temporarily housed one person before its RVs were moved south, according to Nathan Weed from the Washington State Department of Health.
The state Emergency Management Department is hunting for additional quarantine locations to serve other geographic regions of Washington.
Meanwhile, King County, Washington, is in the process of buying an Econo Lodge motel in Kent to use for similar quarantine purposes. A King County spokesperson says that deal is expected to be finalized in the coming days.
4:55 p.m. —School administrators at Greenwood Elementary notify families that a student who was possibly exposed to the coronavirus has been asked to stay home until further notice. The school will remain open on Thursday, March 5 but will be disinfected before students return tomorrow.
Greenwood is the fifth Seattle school to be cleaned in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Others include Highland Park and Kimball Elementary schools, Denny International Middle School, and Chief Sealth International High School.
4:40 p.m. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to provide $2,750,000 in aid to Washington state to support efforts to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
3:35 p.m. — Snohomish County declares a state of emergency "out of an abundance of caution over the spread of COVID-19." There are currently eight known coronavirus cases in the county, including one death.
2:40 p.m. — King County officials announced Wednesday that the purchase of a motel in Kent has been completed. The motel has 85 beds and will be used to isolate and house people in recovery from COVID-19.
Officials note that the motel has hard surfaces, seamless floors, and independent heating and cooling for each room which are apt for this use.
2 p.m. — King County metro presented its new cleaning procedures, aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus across its fleet. The efforts include more frequent cleaning of buses using a bleach solution to disinfect high-touch surfaces.
1:50 p.m. — While Emerald City Comic Con is still planned to take place March 12-15, parent company ReedPop is now offering fans the option of ticket refunds.
The announcement Wednesday comes after Dark Horse Comics, a prominent Northwest publisher, pulled out of the convention this week due to COVID-19 concerns.
1:22 p.m. — At an update Wednesday afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine said that all non-essential county meetings will be canceled through March. In addition to that, county employees who can telecommute will be encouraged to do so for the next three weeks.
Constantine also provided the following updates:
- In addition to the modular unit already placed in White Center (where the county owns property), two more modular units will be placed in Seattle's Interbay neighborhood and in North Seattle. These units will be used for people under observation for COVID-19.
- The county finalized the purchase of a motel in Kent. They expect to have it operational "within days" and will be used to observe people with COVID-19.
- People who are at higher risk of illness, such as people above the ages of 60 or pregnant women, should avoid crowds.
- The community should avoid large gatherings (groups of more than 10 people).
Patty Hayes, director of Public Health Seattle-King County, also addressed the conoravirus outbreak Wednesday. She notes that children have not been shown to be a high-risk group. The public health agency is not recommending the closure of schools at this time.
1:15 p.m. -- At an update Wednesday, Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health Seattle-King County called the situation in the region an “unprecedented outbreak that is facing our community.”
He said that a new team is being developed to assist with the outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland. Duchin also said that every person at the facility will now be tested.
"For many of us, the disease is mild and moderate, the vast majority of people do not require hospitalization, or medical care," he said. "... please do not overload our area health care facilities, please don't go to the emergency room. If you are worried about your health, call your health care provider."
1:09 p.m. — The University of Washington's Virology Lab has developed its own diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 , the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Lab officials expect to be able to conduct 1,000 tests daily, adding to the state's previous capacity for just 200 tests per day.
The test had been in development since January. University of Washington virology division head Keith Jerome said during a press conference that the lab's testing developments could "change the trajectory of this infection in the United States," pointing to the accelerated build out of the test.
12:40 p.m. — Public health agencies in the Seattle area got a $5 million rush of funding Wednesday morning after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was donating to the response effort.
The funding is slated to help officials in King and Snohomish Counties detect COVID-19.
“Early detection plays an essential role in helping public health authorities identify and treat people with COVID-19, take steps to safely isolate them and reduce transmission within the community,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman in a statement. “The Gates Foundation deeply appreciates the efforts that local, state, and federal public health authorities have invested in responding to this outbreak, and we are eager to contribute our knowledge and resources to the effort.”
Also, according to the statement from the foundation: "Part of this effort will explore how the resources of the Seattle Flu Study could be pivoted toward emergency efforts to monitor and respond to COVID-19."
The Seattle Flu study was launched in 2018 and already received $20 million in funding from Bill Gates.
In addition to the $5 million in local funding announced Wednesday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $100 million to the global response to COVID-19 in February. That funding includes efforts to develop vaccines and treatments for the novel coronavirus as soon as possible.
Bill Gates has previously remarked that COVID-19 is "behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we've been worried about."
12:02 p.m. — Six residents in Kitsap County are being tested for COVID-19, according to Kitsap Public Health. Their tests are being run through a laboratory in Shoreline and could take 48-72 hours to complete.
Not cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Kitsap County so far.
“We know the spread of COVID-19 in our region is concerning for community members, especially those who are at higher risk for serious illness,” Kitsap Public Health District Health Officer Dr. Susan Turner said. “We are asking the public to stay calm, stay informed and take steps to protect their health and the health of those around them. It's important to know that most people who have COVID-19 experience mild illness."
11:39 a.m. — The Washington State Department of Health reported Wednesday morning that there is has been another confirmed death attributed to COVID-19.
The death happened in King County, raising the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Washington state to 10, and 11 nationally after California reported its first death earlier Wednesday.
- Snohomish County - 8 cases, including 1 death
- King - 31 cases, including 9 deaths
- 231 people under supervision
- READ: 10 COVID-19 deaths now reported in Washington state, 11 dead nationwide
- — Liz Brazile
11:30 a.m. — Gov. Jay Inslee spoke from Camp Murray, a National Guard base near JBLM, saying that he was able to get the federal government to allow the expansion of coronavirus testing today.
— Dyer Oxley
11:20 a.m. -- The Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday that "Criteria for evaluation of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) were expanded to a wider group of symptomatic patients."
According to the CDC's website:
As availability of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 increases, clinicians will be able to access laboratory tests for diagnosing COVID-19 through clinical laboratories performing tests authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Clinicians will also be able to access laboratory testing through public health laboratories in their jurisdictions.
This expands testing to a wider group of symptomatic patients. Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.
Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.
10:30 a.m. -- Vice President Mike Pence will visit Olympia Thursday. Little details are available about the specifics of the visit, but a tweet from the VP references the "health and well-being" of Americans.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee stated in late February that he has previously spoken with the vice president about the coronavirus issue.
— Dyer Oxley
10 a.m. -- Woodmoor Elementary School in the Northshore School District will be closed Thursday, March 5 for a deep disinfecting after a parent/volunteer tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.
According to the district's website, the volunteer was diagnosed with a different illness in February, but officials decided to test for COVID-19 this week.
The person was reportedly at an art walk last Friday and volunteered in a classroom at the school on Monday.
According to a letter sent to Woodmoor families:
I was just notified by a member of our parent/volunteer community at Woodmoor that they have tested presumptive positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus after having been diagnosed and hospitalized with a different illness in February. This is brand new information and students are already on their way to school, so we are taking the following steps immediately to minimize any further exposure to our school community:
Students who may have been exposed in the classroom are going to be contained as soon as they come off the bus and parents will be contacted to pick them up.
Parents of all students can pick up at any time by coming to the front office and checking them out. This is especially recommended for any medically fragile students.
Staff who are considered immune compromised or medically fragile should work with the administration to leave.
We have contacted Public Health Seattle & King County and will keep you informed as this is a rapidly changing situation.
Woodmoor Elementary will be closed on Thursday, March 5 for deep disinfecting.
The parent/volunteer was at the Art Walk on Friday and volunteered in the classroom on Monday.
9 a.m. -- Some Seattle-area food banks are finding it difficult to maintain staffing amid coronavirus concerns. Many are staffed by senior citizens who are among a high-risk group.
—Ruby de Luna
8:45 a.m. -- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in south Seattle remains closed after potential exposure to COVID-19. Many people seeking immigration services or scheduled to pick up their passports did not get word of the closure and are being turned away at the entrance.
— Esmy Jimenez
8:30 a.m. -- As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, some businesses are taking precautionary steps.
Ascend Hospitality Group owns 14 restaurants in Washington, Oregon and Utah. It has about 700 employees and is one such business attempting to get word out about COVID-19. They are urging employees to stay home if they are sick, and stressing the importance of hand washing.
“Taking care of yourself is taking care of the general public because you’re not exposing people if you’re feeling poorly,” said Elaine Herber with Ascend Hospitality Group.
—Ruby de Luna
8 a.m. —A total of 25 staff members at Harborview Medical Center are getting screened for coronavirus after they came into contact with a patient who died from the disease. The patient was transferred to Harborview last week from a nursing home in Kirkland at the center of a coronavirus outbreak. Each staff member is being screened twice a day. They are still at work and are not in quarantine.
7 a.m. -- Twenty-six Kirkland firefighters remain quarantined today after being exposed to the coronavirus, and 19 of them are showing symptoms of the illness, according to Evan Hurley, a Kirkland firefighter and union representative.
One of the firefighters in isolation includes a member whose wife is expecting their third child this week. Union President Bryan Vadney says those 26 quarantined firefighters represent about a quarter of Kirkland Fire Department's active work force.
-- Kim Malcolm
TUESDAY, MARCH 3
9:18 p.m. — State health officials provided an update announcing the Washington State Department of Health is working with the University of Washington's Virology Lab to ramp up coronavirus testing capacity. The department asserted that "we recognize that more should be done to increase our ability to test people in Western Washington, due to the increase in community spread."
Local health agencies will be able to access testing data coming from the state's testing labs in Shoreline and Seattle via the Washington Disease Reporting System, an electronic surveillance system that will provide daily reports to start and eventually weekly reports.
The criteria for coronavirus testing, which are set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has expanded in the past week to include "people who are hospitalized with symptoms that are otherwise unexplained." The previous criteria was limited to people who had exposure to known cases and who had a travel history to an affected area —Liz Brazile
5:45 p.m. — An Amazon employee has tested positive for coronavirus.
From Amazon: "There is a confirmed case of an employee with COVID-19 who is based out of our Brazil (SEA53) building in Seattle. The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since that time. We received the news today that this employee tested positive for COVID-19. The affected employee remains in quarantine and we are supporting them as they recover.
We notified the employees who we know were in close contact with this employee. Close contact is defined as being closer than 6 feet/2 meters over a prolonged period of time."
5:15 p.m. — A proposal to boost funding for public health took a big step forward on Tuesday. The Washington House voted to dip into the state’s rainy day fund to combat the growing coronavirus outbreak. In a unanimous vote Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers approved $100 million in emergency spending.
“Our state is facing a rather large outbreak of coronavirus. I am glad to say, though, that as a state we are going to work together to overcome this," said Democrat Eileen Cody, chair of the House Healthcare Committee.
The vote comes just one day after Washington’s Secretary of Health requested $100 million in state money to fund the public health response. It also comes as the death toll in Washington climbs to nine. The spending measure now goes to the Washington Senate. —Austin Jenkins
5 p.m. — An employee from UW Valley Medical Center in Renton has tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, 26 firefighters and first responders are being quarantined after their contact with the Life Care nursing facility. —Ashley Hiruko, Isolde Raftery
4:53 p.m. — Seattle Public Schools directed principals to set up isolation rooms for students who are showing symptoms of illness, such as coughing or fever until the children can be picked up by parents or guardians.
Principals were also directed not to send sick students home via buses or public transit, eliciting concerns about how students whose parents are unavailable to pick them up mid-day might fare. —Ann Dornfeld
4:30 p.m. — The Wuhan Shake. Washing-hands-ington. Coronavirus memes take off. —Juan Chiquiza
3:54 p.m. — The Snohomish Health District reported two new cases of coronavirus. They include: A male in his 40s, isolated at home, who worked at LifeCare in Kirkland, and a female in her 60s, hospitalized with underlying health conditions.
3:48 p.m. — Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a Proclamation of Civil Emergency. It grants her the ability to exercise emergency authority to address any immediate dangers to the public as a result of COVID-19.
3:30 p.m. — King County moved the first of 14 available modular housing units to a temporary site in White Center for people to recover from the coronavirus in isolation. Each unit has four individual living spaces, and each living space has two twin beds, a closet, a sink, and a small bathroom with a toilet and shower. —Kate Walters
The photos of first responders and nursing care workers in Kirkland show that some of the CDC recommendations are followed, although not all. —Ashley Hiruko
1:35 p.m. — King County officials announced that they are moving a modular unit to a location in White Center for COVID-19 treatment and isolation.
This is the first of 18 such units. The county is looking to identify other locations for the additional modular units.
The county has had the units in storage. They are being cleaned and are expected to be available for use by the end of the week. —Kate Walters
1:30 p.m. — Dark Horse Comics is pulling out of Emerald City Comic Con. "It is with the safety and well-being of our staff and creators in mind that we have come to this decision." Read more about the Emerald City Comic Con here. —Dyer Oxley
12:15 p.m. — Public health officials in North Carolina announced the first presumed coronavirus case in the state, potentially linked to the Life Care Center of Kirkland.
11:45 a.m. —The Washington State Department of Health has updated the total number of deaths related to coronavirus to nine — eight in King County and one in Snohomish County.
11:30 a.m. — Public Health Seattle-King County revealed three more COVID-19 deaths and seven new cases of coronavirus. This brings the death toll to nine, including eight King County deaths and one Snohomish County death. The new information indicates the first U.S. COVID-19 death happened earlier than officials previously thought.—Liz Brazile
The health department states: What we have seen with the level of community spread has raised the level of concern about the immediate threat of COVID-19. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more confirmed cases of COVID-19, but if we can all follow health recommendations now, we can blunt the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
While previous patients were mostly older, new cases involved people in their 20s.
Seven new cases:
- A female in her 40s, worked at LifeCare, never hospitalized and is recovering at home
- A female in her 60s, family member of a confirmed case of COVID-19, not hospitalized
- A male in his 70s, a frequent visitor of LifeCare, hospitalization status unknown currently
- A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
- A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
- A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
- A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on 2/26/20
Public Health previously reported 14 other cases:
- A male in his 50s, hospitalized at Highline Hospital. No known exposures. He is in stable but critical condition. He had no underlying health conditions
- A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
- A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
- A female in her 80s, a resident of LifeCare, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She is in critical condition. · A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. This person died on 3/1/20
- A female in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
- A male in his 70s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
- A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20.
- A man in his 60s, hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton
- A man in 60s, hospitalized at Virginia Mason Medical Center
- A woman in her 50s, who had traveled to South Korea; recovering at home
- A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on 3/2/20
- A woman in her 40s, employed by LifeCare, who is hospitalized at Overlake Medical Center
- A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died 2/28/20 at EvergreenHealth
11:10 a.m. — Harboview Medical Center confirms an additional death attributed to COVID-19.
Some intensive care staff at Harborivew Medical Center may have been exposed to the virus while tending to the patient last week. They are being monitored daily. A hospital spokesperson estimates that about 25 staff were exposed.
Harborview released this statement:
We have received notice from Public Health - Seattle & King County that a presumptive positive coronavirus case has been detected in a patient who was admitted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Feb. 24 and died Feb. 26, 2020. This patient, with underlying medical conditions, had been transferred to Harborview from Life Care Center of Kirkland.
10:51 a.m. — Sen. Patty Murray said in Washington D.C. Tuesday morning that testing, so far, has been inadequate in Washington state. She argued that the coronavirus response needs to ramp up.
"This is not likely going to end anytime soon," Murray said. "We are already seeing some of the challenges that will come next, like the strain this will put on our health care system. We are seeing that in Washington state."
Murray noted that a Department of Homeland Security location in Washington state has had to close due to coronavirus.
10:30 a.m. — Two more patients have been transferred to a local hospital via ambulance from the Life Care Center in Kirkland. One patient is an older male, the other is an older female.
8:10 a.m. — Emerald City Comic Con, scheduled for March 12-15, will continue as planned. Officials say they will implement "enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show, including adhering to recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA's Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the COVID-19 virus." —Dyer Oxley
7:30 a.m. — The Northshore School District is closing all of its schools Tuesday. District staff will be trained on how to teach classes online, in case there is a long-term school closure.
How to make your own hand sanitizer —Isolde Raftery
So far, no Seattle public schools have closed due to coronavirus. District officials say they plan to increase efforts to sanitize classrooms. Schools may change schedules so students get more time to wash their hands.
Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health Seattle & King County says there's no single guideline for when to close schools — or for how long.
"You know, we can't expect people to go for months and months without school and without being able to go to work," he said. "So we want to make sure that what we do is reasonable. That's is something acceptable to the public. That they feel it's worth it to keep our community healthy."
MONDAY, MARCH 2
4:30 p.m. — Don't lick your ballots, please.
Washington state elections officials are asking voters to NOT lick their envelopes when they mail in their presidential primary ballots. Also, voters CAN'T change votes if their preferred candidates have withdrawn. Not even those who didn't pick a party affiliation. —Paige Browning
3:45 p.m. — King County officials discuss steps being taken to prepare homeless service providers and people experiencing homelessness amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The county’s priorities are making sure providers know how to minimize the spread of the virus, strengthening the current shelter system, and adding capacity for on-site isolation, said Leo Flor, head of the King County Department of Community and Human Services.
King County is also working to set up modular housing units for people who don't have a home to recover in isolation if they fall ill with the coronavirus.
“Many [people experiencing homelessness] have underlying health conditions, homelessness is rough on a person’s health in the first place, many spend a lot of time in congregate settings,” Flor said.
However, he noted that none of the known cases so far have been within the county's homeless population. He added that the county is trying to secure access to large stockpiles of things like hand sanitizer, soap and wipes to provide to people in camps.
Additionally, King County is setting up a hotline for people to call if they encounter someone experiencing coronavirus symptoms and get guidance on the most appropriate next steps.
King County is working in tandem with the City of Seattle to prepare human services providers amid the coronavirus outbreak. —Kate Walters
3:36 p.m. —Workers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are here.
Gov. Jay Inslee said during a press conference Monday that a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was on the ground in King County, helping local health officials investigate the outbreak. Although he hasn't formally requested the cancellation of large events in Washington state, Inslee said this could happen in the future.
Inslee said that state officials have asked the federal government to release a variety of medical equipment from its stockpile and asserted that he was “reasonably confident that those requests will be honored.”
State officials are also in the process of evaluating surge capacity in Washington's health care system, and are reviewing multiple locations to serve as quarantine sites that provide medical care to individuals affected by coronavirus.
3:32 p.m. Snohomish County announces a new coronavirus case, a woman in her 40s, bringing the cases in that county to four total.
A man in his 40s, a resident of Snohomish County, died at EvergreenHealth community hospital. He had an underlying medical condition. He did not work at Life Care nursing facility, where there has been an apparently outbreak.
1:20 p.m. —Trevor Bedford, a scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle, just posted the latest research on the coronavirus strain that has hit the Seattle area.
On Twitter he wrote that the research indicates that there could be a few hundred current infections in the Seattle area. He wrote: “We estimate the number of current infections in this transmission chain on March 1 to be 570 with an 90% uncertainty interval of between 80 and 1500.”
Bedford said the research suggests that the Seattle area outbreak stems from the first Washington state patient, who was diagnosed on January 21 in Snohomish County. That patient, a man in his 30s who had traveled to China, was kept in isolation.
On Saturday, Bedford wrote that the Seattle Flu Study had sequenced the genome for the coronavirus case of a high school student whose positive results returned on Friday.
The student’s strain of coronavirus was related to the first case reported in Washington state. “There are some enormous implications here,” Bedford wrote on Saturday. The student and the first case were both in Snohomish County.
Bedford wrote that this suggests that coronavirus has therefore been spreading in the area for the last six weeks.
The outbreak was not detected however, he wrote, because the Centers for Disease Control was not testing people who had not traveled to China.
That means that coronavirus was spreading, but no one knew, because people who had not traveled, but who appeared to have coronavirus, were not being tested until last week.
“Please consider this to be a preliminary analysis,” Bedford wrote. “We are actively working on this and will continue to update our numbers.”