The coronavirus crisis response, Thursday edition
Officials in the Seattle area continue to ask people to stay at home as much as possible.
Coronavirus cases are increasing each day, and public health officials believe we are not close to the peak yet.
KUOW's Paige Browning is here again to walk through what to know today. First off, what's the latest?
As of today, no dental or medical procedures are allowed in Washington State unless they are urgent. This is ordered by Governor Jay Inslee just this afternoon.
A patient at Washington's largest psychiatric hospital, Western State, has COVID-19.
We've also learned that three Department of Corrections workers in Washington have COVID-19. Our reporters are keeping track of these because they involve locations where a lot of people are in close, restricted quarters.
Here in the University District, an abrupt move-out week has started. Many students are leaving the campus residence halls now that UW announced this whole quarter is going to happen online.
The Cannes Film Festival in France has announced it's canceled until a later date. The Seattle International Film Festival is also canceled this year, with staff furloughed.
Paige, we now have data on how many people have lost their jobs in our region. What are we seeing?
About 420,000 people in the greater Seattle-region are expected to see immediate impacts to their income. This is according to a report commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It's really sobering. Reading directly from the report it says:
"Some industries may be able to cope through at-home working and new routines, but all industries will be negatively affected through 2020."
And we’re just in March. What else is in the report?
It says the people at immediate risk of losing income are primarily in King County, with another 70,000 people in Pierce County, and 60,000 people in Snohomish County.
The people in this category include retail sales people, the food service industry, bartenders, dishwashers and people in those categories.
We've touched on this lingering question befor: Will Washingtonians be ordered to shelter in place?
That's still not clear. Mayor Jenny Durkan says we are virtually already there. She spoke on KUOW's The Record today:
“The orders that the governor and King County put out are essentially the same things that San Francisco is doing. If you have an essential job, you’ve got to get to and from that job in a safe and responsible way. If you are over 60 or have underlying health conditions, you need to stay home as much as possible.”
She says we’re basically there, however, Governor Inslee acknowledges there are more steps the state can take about shelter-in-place, and the latest he's says is that "We can’t just try to speculate.” I’ll be watching his schedule for any announcements.
The coronavirus outbreak is becoming visible in some neighborhoods in a new way. Government workers are installing pop-up hospital wards and isolation units. What's the latest in our region?
As we've reported, a make-shift hospital is going up in Shoreline, on Shoreline B Soccer Field. It will hold 200 hospital beds. That's just the beginning. King County says it needs 3,000 additional medical beds in this county alone. Mayor Durkan says they’re working on opening more quarantine sites as well:
“We’re trying to do it as rapidly as we can. I talked to the governor again yesterday about the need to have the states and the federal government step in with resources so we have the capacity to do mass sheltering.”
As for quarantine sites, there are at least four facilities now: a motel in Kent, a motel in Issaquah, a tent in the Eastgate Parking Lot, and at Boeing Field.
Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.