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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: Demonstrators begin to gather at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has blasted President Donald Trump's calls to "liberate" parts of the country from stay-at-home and other orders that are designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Inslee says that Trump is fomenting a potentially deadly "insubordination" among his followers before the pandemic is contained. 
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Demonstrators begin to gather at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has blasted President Donald Trump's calls to "liberate" parts of the country from stay-at-home and other orders that are designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Inslee says that Trump is fomenting a potentially deadly "insubordination" among his followers before the pandemic is contained.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Updates: Coronavirus in Washington state (April 13-19)

This is an archived post. You can read the latest here.

This post will be updated periodically with information about the coronavirus. Scroll down for older information.

*624 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported by the Washington State Department of Health as of Saturday, April 18.

*11,802 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state as of April 18, according to state health officials. As of the same date, there is an 8.7% positive rate among those tested for the virus.

*King County has been struck the hardest with Covid-19 with 5,063 cases and 340 deaths. Snohomish County reports 2,143 cases and 93 deaths. Pierce County reports 1,164 cases and 29 deaths.

Versión en español aquí / Read KUOW's coronavirus coverage in Spanish


State officials recall 12,000 Covid-19 testing kits, citing possible contamination

1:35 p.m. — The Washington State Department of Health has recalled 12,000 Covid-19 testing kits sent to local and tribal governments, after being alerted that the kits may have a quality control issue.

The recall was issued on Saturday after the University of Washington notified state health officials that the coloring of the fluid that preserves a specimen during transport, known as viral transport media, appeared to be abnormal.

The state Department of Health says it's working to replace the testing kits as soon as possible.

Read more here.

— Liz Brazile

Hundreds protest social distancing orders at WA State Capitol

1:06 p.m. — Hundreds of protesters have descended on the state Capitol in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order. Under the measure, nonessential businesses must remain closed and gatherings of any size are prohibited until 11:59 p.m. on May 4.

Protestors are calling for Inslee allow businesses to resume their normal operations, despite widespread concerns that lifting social distancing measures too soon could result in a second wave of deadly Covid-19 infections.

Although organizers of the demonstration have encouraged protestors to keep the recommended social distance of six feet between them, many do not appear to be doing so.

caption: Hundreds of protestors gathered in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home orders at the Washington State Capitol on Sunday, April 19. The order bans gatherings of any size and compels nonessential businesses to remain closed until 11:59 p.m. on May 4.
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Hundreds of protestors gathered in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home orders at the Washington State Capitol on Sunday, April 19. The order bans gatherings of any size and compels nonessential businesses to remain closed until 11:59 p.m. on May 4.
Credit: Q13

— Liz Brazile


DSHS will designate nursing homes specifically for Covid patients

1:04 p.m. Officials with Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, which oversees the state’s nursing homes, said they are currently working on a plan to separate residents who test positive for the coronavirus from those who do not.

Bill Moss with the Aging and Long term Support Administration said, “We are looking at developing Covid-specific facilities, meaning we’d have facilities that are only serving residents who have tested positive with the virus. That is not happening today but we expect we’ll be getting there very soon,” he said.

Officials also said they are making progress on getting enough personal protective equipment to longterm care facilities, which has been “a challenge.” Candace Goehring, director of Residential Care Services, said they believe DSHS has “turned a corner” in getting adequate supplies of masks, gowns and other protective gear to facilities they oversee.

DSHS officials also offered some slightly more positive news on the spread of the coronavirus. They said the number of coronavirus cases in longterm care facilities continues to grow, but at a slower rate than two weeks ago. There’s also been a gradual decline in new facilities reporting positive cases.

Coronavirus antibody tests will soon be available to Washingtonians

11:30 a.m. The University of Washington's Virology Lab on Friday announced it will begin performing widespread testing to detect whether a person has previously been infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The tests are slated to be available to the public through one's health care provider sometime early next week.

The announcement comes as governments around the world face mounting pressure to make antibody testing widely available, in hopes that people with proven immunity can return to work.

These tests differ from Covid-19 diagnostic tests in that they detect coronavirus antibodies — the proteins created by the immune system in response to the presence of the virus — rather than the actual virus. Antibodies typically shield a person from being reinfected by the disease for which their immune system has produced them.

Read more here.

— Liz Brazile

Pilots fly supplies to Washington's rural hospitals

9:54 a.m. -- Washington state's rural hospitals are still desperate for supplies such as personal protective equipment. But one group is trying to fill the gaps with the help of volunteer pilots.

Small Cesna airplanes filled with surgical masks took off from Renton Municipal Airport Thursday. Troy Larson, a Boeing test pilot, is one such person flying across the state.

Larson is flying 25,000 masks to Northeastern Washington. He says it means a lot to be able to help front line workers.

“Without these supplies, it will make their job a lot more challenging," he said. "And so this will make their job easier and they can operate more efficiently and hopefully have people get better and save some lives.”

The masks are being sold at-cost by the Washington State Hospital Association, which usually doesn’t do this kind of thing.

The group is importing hundreds of thousands of masks and distributing them to hospitals and other organizations across Washington state -- from Forks on the Olympic Peninsula to Ferry County in the Northeast.

They’re also distributing in the Puget Sound Region to facilities serving homeless people.

-Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Protests against Stay-At-Home order in Washington

9:37 a.m. -- Groups are planning various protests against Washington's stay-at-home order.

One group called "Liberty, At All Hazards" is planning a protest at the state capitol in Olympia on Sunday, April 19. According to its Facebook page: "The Governor of Washington State, along with the Governors of various other States, has issued Executive Orders that restrict the fundamental and constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble under Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution of Washington State, and Amendment 1 to Constitution of the United States of America."

On April 16, the organizer of the event, Tyler Miller, went on two Seattle-based Conservative talk shows promoting the event.

Another protest is planned in Richland at the same time.

Tacoma police dance "The Step Off Six"

9:12 a.m. -- Have you heard of the new hit dance craze "The Step Off Six?" Well, the Tacoma Police Department has. Just as a reminder to keep your distance.

Seattle parks are open, but some streets will be closed

8:57 a.m. -- After an Easter weekend shutdown, Seattle is going to keep its largest parks open this weekend.

But the city will restrict traffic on streets in two neighborhoods to let people walk and bike more safely.

This pilot project will start with a stretch of Holly Street and High Point Drive Southwest in the Central District, along with parts of several streets in the West Seattle / High Point neighborhood.

The city said through traffic will not be allowed, but residents can still drive to their homes, and there will be access for emergency vehicles, garbage trucks and delivery services.

The city said it'll take a look at this weekend experiment and decide how to expand it to 15 miles of streets.

You can find maps on the city website here.


Wash. Gov. Inslee mostly on board with new federal guidance

5:31 p.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he's mostly on board with the federal guidelines announced Thursday for a three phased re-opening of the economy. But he warns Washington's coronavirus cases have only leveled out, and the state still have a ways to go.

"So, we need two things to move forward to the next phase. One, we have to have fewer number of infections. And two, we need a much more robust testing and contact tracing organization which we are making some progress on," he said during a press conference on Thursday.

Inslee warns Washington does not yet have a downward curve in new coronavirus infections, and he says social distancing needs to continue to prevent an uptick in illness and deaths.

-- John O'Brien

Volunteer pilots helping deliver PPE to far-flung hospitals

5:29 p.m. -- Small Cessna airplanes laden with surgical masks took off from Renton Municipal Airport Thursday to serve desperate needs for personal protective equipment at rural hospitals across Washington State.

Boeing test pilot Troy Larson flew 25,000 masks to frontline hospital workers in Northeastern Washington.

“Without these supplies it will make their job a lot more challenging,” he said. “This will make their job easier, and they can operate more efficiently and hopefully have people get better and save some lives.”

The masks are being sold at-cost by the Washington State Hospital Association, which usually doesn’t do this kind of thing.

The group is importing hundreds of thousands of masks and distributing them to hospitals and other organizations across the state – from Forks on the Olympic Peninsula to Ferry County in the Northeast.

They’re also distributing in the Puget Sound Region to facilities serving homeless people.

--Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Seattle area firefighters join efforts to manufacture protective medical equipment

1:57 p.m. -- The the firefighter-founded tech company LifeDoor has unveiled a new device, designed to protect health care workers and first responders on the front lines from coronavirus exposure.

The LifeBox is placed around a patient's head prior to intubation, a procedure in which a tube is inserted down one's trachea and attached to a ventilator to help them breathe. The device was created in partnership with the University of Washington.

Two Seattle farmers markets will re-open this weekend

11:45 a.m. --The U-District Farmers Market is re-opening this Saturday after being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The state’s stay-at-home order is still in place, but Neighborhood Farmers Markets, which runs the market, have worked out protocols with health officials.

So before you go, here’s what you need to know:

  • You will be asked to sign a shopper’s behavior oath.
  • There will be signs to help shoppers move through the market. Do not handle the products; vendors will help you instead.
  • Keep a six-foot distance and wear a face mask.

Ballard Farmers Marke, run by the Seattle Farmers Market Association, is also re-opening on Sunday.

-Ruby de Luna

Numbers show Washington's unemployment spike from coronavirus crisis

8:40 a.m. -- New numbers from Washington's Employment Security Department are shedding light on how hard the state economy was hit when the coronavirus outbreak started.

Anneliese Vance-Sherman, a regional economist with the security department, notes that the Seattle region has been severely hit.

"Seasonally adjusted, the state lost 11,100 jobs from February to March," she said. "However, of that, 10,700 -- so almost all of them --were shed in the Seattle metro area."

She says says Seattle's unemployment rate of 5.5% in March was actually higher than the state rate of 5.1%. And she warns the next round of numbers set to be released next month will be far worse.

New unemployment numbers shed light on impacts from coronavirus crisis

New unemployment numbers shed light on impacts from coronavirus crisis

-Angela King

French court ups pressure on Amazon over worker health

8:21 a.m. -- The coronavirus is handing Amazon both a crisis and an opportunity, as it faces a surge of demand from customers stuck at home. The company is also contending with rising scrutiny of the human cost of its delivery services.

Amazon closes warehouses in France after court ruling

Amazon closes warehouses in France after court ruling

A French court says Amazon must restrict deliveries until it can ensure warehouse workers are safe. In response, Amazon says it’s closing French warehouses while it considers what to do.

Amazon officials say the company is already taking safety measures: giving workers extra space by restricting goods entering warehouses; masks and temperature checks.

But dozens of US warehouses are reporting Covid-19 cases. Workers are speaking out, and meanwhile, Amazon says it has hired 100,000 more US workers and will hire yet another 75,000 – all to meet demand.

Read more details here.

-Carolyn Adolph


Covid-19 cases rise among residents and staff at homeless service sites

6:24 p.m. -- A total of 75 staff and residents of homeless service sites in King County have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Those are the latest numbers as of Tuesday afternoon.

That number is up from 27 roughly a week ago.

The county did not say how many cases were among residents and how many among staff.

Two dozen shelter and permanent supportive housing sites in the county have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 among either residents or staff, according to public health.

County officials have said they don’t believe cases within the homeless population have yet reached a peak.

“We know that we have more ahead of us than we have behind us in terms of the work that we’re going to need to do to keep serving and keep caring for folks experiencing homelessness in our community,” Director of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services Leo Flor said during a media briefing last week.

A spokesperson for public health said there are challenges in systematically tracking Covid-19 cases in the homeless community, but they’ve developed a system to better monitor the situation.

-- Kate Walters

A new tiny house village opens for people who are homeless

2:22 p.m. -- A new tiny house village for people who are homeless opened in Seattle’s Central District Wednesday.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, it will provide safe spaces with a locking door, access to hygiene facilities and case management for more than 30 people currently living outside. The village will remain open for at least two years.

The site, on church property, will be operated by the Low Income Housing Institute.

This project was already under development prior to the pandemic, according to a city blog post. However, the post said it’s opened months ahead of schedule to help meet the need during a public health crisis.

City spokesman Will Lemke said historically it can take months to open a new village and they've been working around the clock to open shelters across the city.

In recent weeks, the city has opened hundreds of spaces to help de-crowd busy shelters and has worked with King County to open quarantine and isolation sites for people who are sick. Fewer spaces have been opened for people living outside.

Some service providers have raised concerns in recent weeks about the response for people living without shelter, arguing the city needs to do more.

-- Kate Walters

Help for restaurant workers

12:12 p.m. -- The Plate Fund, a relief effort for laid off restaurant workers headed by the Schultz Family Foundation, has received more than 7,600 applications since it launched April 3. To date, more than 5,232 applications have been processed.

The fund provides a one-time cash payment of $500 to help pay the bills until federal and state assistance kick in. It’s open to workers who may not qualify for government aid because of their immigration status. The fund has raised $3 million from private donors, in addition to the Foundation’s $3 million seed money.

Before the outbreak more than 100,000 people worked in the restaurant industry in King County.

If you miss eating out, chefs and bartenders share recipes at #ThePlateFund: Live on Instagram every evening. Tonight, JuneBaby's Megan Fitzpatrick will talk about Spring Gin cocktail recipes.

-Ruby de Luna

Stay away from the San Juan Islands

11:41 a.m. -- If you planning on taking a boating trip toward the San Juan Islands -- think again.

San Juan Island officials are asking visitors to stay away.

The local health officer has suspended all non-essential travel to and from the area and has closed all lodgings to vacationers through at least May 4.

The warning also applies to transient boaters in an effort to protect residents and the local healthcare system from a surge in coronavirus cases.

-Angela King

It's not "back to normal," it's a "new normal"

11:32 a.m. -- If you think all this social distancing we’re doing will just go away soon -- think again. That’s the message from Washington health officials.

Life is not going to return to its pre-pandemic normal for many, many months, according to Washington’s Secretary of Health John Wiesman. It probably won't return to normal until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Instead, he says some amount of social distancing should be the new normal for a while.

“Continuing to think about the measures around teleworking and instead of having face to face meetings, having conference calls, not having large group gatherings.”

Also, Wiesman says our new habits should stick around.

“Shaking hands is not going to be OK for some time.”

The governor hasn’t indicated yet if the stay home order will extend beyond May 4.

But Wiesman says even when people start to return to workplaces, physical distancing and washing your hands will be really important too, so the virus doesn’t spring back.

-Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

When can people go back to work?

11:02 a.m. -- As local business and political leaders wonder when people will be allowed to go back to work, King County Executive Dow Constantine says that decision cannot come down to a choice between health and growth.

"I don't think it is morally justifiable to say we're willing to put up with these many deaths in order to achieve this much economic activity," Constantine said. "I think what we need to do is challenge ourselves to be as smart as possible to figure out how to do business differently than we did historically, but to do business."

Constantine says any move to ease restrictions have to be based on whether hospitals could handle a new surge of Covid-19 cases.

He also said that testing needs to be fast and widespread, along with contact-tracing so those who've been exposed to an infected person can be isolated.

And while progress is being made on those fronts, Constantine says we're not there yet. And that means a date can't be set for ending the current shutdown.

-Gil Aegerter

Should you visit just one friend?

9:47 a.m. -- New research is showing what will happen if you visit "just one friend' during the coronavirus outbreak and orders for social distancing.

The models -- created by a group of epidemiologists at the UW -- show that if each household were to connect with just one other household, then 70% of people in the community would be reconnected.

It echoes warnings from health officials about a rebound of the virus is people ease up on their social distancing efforts

UW Sociology professor Martina Morris says that would make it easier for the coronavirus to spread again. She compares it to HIV.

"The thing that people also often don't understand about HIV, it doesn't take a super spreader to spread an infection in a population," she said. "It's this low level connectivity where you have one partner, and maybe your partner has one partner, and they visit another household."

The models also show if you connect with two more friends, then 90% of the community is in touch with each other again. She says this shows it's important to follow the social distancing measures strictly, until they are lifted.

-Paige Browning

All King County parks closed

9 a.m. -- All King County parks are closed during the coronavirus shutdown and County Executive Dow Constantine is urging residents not to visit them during the current run of nice weather.

He says those who don't practice social distancing on the trails pose a risk to everyone. But he says the county is working on a plan to let people enjoy the wilderness again.

"There is a way for us to do that. But we have to be able to do that without endangering our employees or the public."

Parking areas at county parks are closed and some people who recently tried to get around that by parking illegally had had their vehicles towed.

-Gil Aegerter


Social distancing will be new normal for near future, state's Health Secretary says

5:19 p.m. -- If you think all this social distancing we’re doing will just go away soon, think again.

Life is not going to return to its pre-pandemic normal for many, many months – probably not until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman said during a media briefing today.

Instead, some amount of social distancing should be the new normal for a while, including teleworking and conference calls instead of going to work in person or having face-to-face meetings.

Also, in the near term, continue to expect no large group gatherings or close physical contact.

“Shaking hands is not going to be OK for some time,” Wiesman said.

The governor hasn’t indicated yet if the stay home order will extend beyond May 4th, but even when people start to return to workplaces, Wiesman said, physical distancing and washing your hands will be really important too, so the virus doesn’t spring back.

--Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

SeaTac Airport receives $192 million in federal emergency funding

1:35 p.m. -- The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced that SeaTac will be awarded more than $310 million in Covid-19 relief aid.

The grant is part of a larger, $10 billion federal assistance program for commercial and general aviation airports.

Corporate foundations and individual donations boost food bank funding

10:36 a.m. -- A week after Gov. Jay Inslee launched WA Food Fund, the food relief program has received more than $808,000 to help food banks across the state.

The donations come at a critical time. Since the coronavirus outbreak, local donations to food banks have dropped 70% while demand has jumped. The state estimates that more than 1.6 million people will need food assistance.

Last week, more than half a million laid off workers filed for unemployment; more claims are expected. Schools have closed for the school year which means students who rely on free lunches are going without.

Donations to the Food Fund have been directed to three non-profit groups that supply food items to food banks across the state: Northwest Harvest, Food Lifeline, and Second Harvest.

-Ruby de Luna

Social distancing is working in Washington, but 'we can't let up our guard'

9:56 a.m. -- A new report concludes that social distancing has helped Washington knock down the spread of the coronavirus faster than expected. But it warns that it will only continue to work if people keep it up.

“We know the sacrifices and uncertainty families, businesses, schools and communities across Washington have faced. This new report confirms that working together through this crisis with unwavering commitment is slowing this serious disease,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington State Health Officer. “Our collective efforts are working, but we can’t let up our guard.”

The report was produced by the Center for Disease Modeling in Bellevue. It states that the rate of transmission has been cut down to about one, meaning one person infects one other person.

Read more details here.

Pros and cons of antibody testing

8 a.m. -- There's been a lot of interest in a blood test that would determine if a person is immune to Covid-19 and could therefore go back to work.

In fact, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce this week if something like that can be used.

And while the FDA has approved certain trials for these antibody tests, Dr. Helen Chu says she's not so sure the pinprick tests would be accurate. She's a leading coronavirus researcher at UW Medicine.

"I'm quite skeptical of that," Dr. Chu told The Record. "I mean this is a new virus, we don't exactly know how long it will take for people to mount an immune response to this, and we don't know what that exactly looks like. Certainly for other viruses like flu, once you get infected and you develop a protective response, that doesn't last for very long."

For example, Dr. Chu says people need to get an updated flu shot every year. Add to that -- state officials haven't said whether they would allow these antibody tests to be used to determine if someone can return to work.

-Paige Browning


UW to test all Harborview and Medical Center patients for Covid-19

3: 16 p.m. -- Beginning Monday, all patients admitted to Harborview Medical Center, as well as the Montlake and Northwest campuses of UW Medical Center will be tested for Covid-19.

The new protocol is aimed at helping clinicians safely care for incoming patients by knowing their coronavirus status upon arrival. The hospitals previously only tested patients who exhibited symptoms of the disease.

UW Medicine says the policy change came about amid reports that asymptomatic patients have tested positive for the disease. Bryson-Cahn pointed to observations made by clinicians conducting tests at nursing homes and homeless shelters.

Read more here.

--Liz Brazile

Bill proposes to release certain undocumented immigrants from detention

2:30 p.m. -- A new bill in congress aims to release certain undocumented immigrants from detention facilities during the coronavirus pandemic and in future health emergencies.

Representative Pramila Jayapal is one of the main sponsors of the bill.

She explains it would apply to people who are especially vulnerable, "It calls for the immediate release of people in ICE custody, over the age of 50, under the age of 21 or with a health condition."

Jayapal says the bill would also include provisions to make sure those that remain in detention have access to soap and basic hygiene.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that there are 72 cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases in ICE custody. There have been no reported cases at the Tacoma ICE Processing Center so far.

ICE did release three individuals from the Tacoma center last month. That came after advocates sued the agency for the release of immigrants who had underlying health issues.

-- Esmy Jimenez

Washington, California, and Oregon form Western States Pact to aid economy

12:28 p.m. -- The governors of Washington, Oregon, and California have formed a Western Pact with the aim of assisting the recovery of their economies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a joint statement Monday from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown:

"COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.

We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business."

While the announcement references a goal to "reopen our economies," it emphasizes that the effort highly relies on how fast the virus' spread can be controlled and minimized throughout the West Coast.

Much of the statement is focused on how the three states will handle public health in the months ahead. Each state has been able to keep its cases lower than worst-case-scenarios predicted, so far.

The statement further says that each state will develop its own plans. It says that they are planning to ensure everyone had access to medical care if they have Covid-19, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Covid-19 cases more than double in Washington nursing homes

12:25 p.m. -- The number of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington more than doubled in the first eight days of April.

As of April 8, 66 assisted-living facilities, 63 nursing homes and 25 adult family homes had at least one confirmed Covid-19 case. Half of them were in King County.

That’s according to Washington Department of Social and Health Services data shared with KUOW by an association of senior-care providers. They have been pleading to get more test kits and more protective gear to help their residents and staff stay healthy.

Era Living was able to suppress an outbreak at one of its assisted-living facilities in Seattle after all staff and residents were tested for the virus.

How they did it and more on the surge of nursing-home cases here.

--John Ryan

How will Washington's small businesses hold up?

11 a.m. -- According to finance website WalletHub, Washington ranks right in the middle when it comes to the most affected small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington ranks at 24th on the list of "States with the Most Affected Small Businesses due to Coronavirus." The state falls near the middle of the list when it comes to the metrics: financial resources, access to assistance, etc. Read the full report here.

And in case you're curious, the states with the top five most affected small businesses are: Hawaii; Nevada; South Dakota; Mississippi; and South Carolina.

If you ask local small businesses, however, they may not share the sentiment of WalletHub's conclusion. While there are grant and loan programs for small businesses during this time, who qualifies and how to get a hold of officials has been confusing for some. Some businesses report being denied.

One Seattle restaurant owner recently published an open letter about their experience navigating the system for small business aid, saying it feels like there is little.

"Lawmakers, mayors, even the president himself has said that help is there. I have applied to every single grant, loan, assistance fund you can think of with little to no luck. There are restrictions for where your restaurant can be located to get assistance, how many employees you can have a small business to get assistance, and frankly—we don’t fall under any of them. I keep applying anyways .... I worry. I can’t sleep, I can’t rest until I know that we, amongst others, will be OK. We are in this together, Seattle. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I feel very alone. When do we get help?"

Read the full letter here.

Blood donation drive takes over T-Mobile Park

8:39 a.m. -- A special three-week long pop-up blood drive begins Monday at Seattle's T-Mobile Park.

Vicki Finson with Bloodworks Northwest says it's really needed with all the depleted supplies and an increase in demand expected next month.

"And so that’s the other reason why we need people to really be donating over the next few weeks," she said. "We believe there will be a surge of need as the hospitals go back to more normal operations, and we’re not ready."

More details here.

National Guard helps struggling Washington food banks

8 a.m. -- As Demand for emergency food is expected to double in Washington state, the National Guard is stepping in to help.

The National Guard is helping Northwest Harvest, a local hunger relief agency, package food boxes. The packaged boxes will be distributed to more than 370 food banks across Washington.

Food banks are seeing a big demand for assistance as nearly 350,000 people filed for unemployment as a result of businesses shutting due to the pandemic. At the same time donations to food banks in Washington are down 70%.

-Ruby de Luna


New study says cats can get coronavirus, so keep them indoors

Cats can be infected with coronavirus and give it to other cats, according to a study by Chinese researchers published this week in the journal Science. But there’s still no evidence that people can get the virus from cats.

Researchers gave a nose spray containing the novel coronavirus to cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and other domesticated animals — and then waited to see if they got infected, or could infect healthy animals.

Pigs and chickens didn’t catch the virus at all, and dogs hardly did. But cats definitely did.

That means, “if you are sick with Covid-19, I think it is probably reasonable first to separate yourself from your cat and secondly to limit the amount of time your cat spends outdoors,” said Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious disease doctor and professor at Harvard University. He was not involved in the study.

That way, “in case you have transmitted to your cat, your cat doesn’t go about transmitting it to other animals potentially,” Kuritzkes explained.

But, Kuritzkes said, there’s no reason for people to abandon their pets, or for healthy people to stop petting their cats.

“The chances of anybody acquiring Covid-19 from their pets — even if they’re cats — are extremely low,” he said. “There’s really no evidence cat to human transmission occurs at all.”

--Eilis O'Neill


5:33 p.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state’s prison system must take emergency action to protect inmates from COVID-19. The state Supreme Court issued that order Friday evening.

In its order, the court directs Inslee and the Secretary of Corrections to “take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of” Washington inmates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The justices have given the state until noon Monday to provide the court with its emergency plan for doing so. Three of the justices would have gone further and ordered the immediate release of the five inmates who filed the petition. But they lacked the votes to do so. The petition was brought by Columbia Legal Services on behalf of people in Washington prisons. And follows a large disturbance Wednesday night at the Monroe Correctional Complex that prison officials say was triggered after several inmates there tested positive for COVID-19.

-- Austin Jenkins

1:45 p.m. -- King County health officials say nearly 75 percent of the people killed by COVID-19 in the county so far have been white.

That's more than would be expected in a county that's less than 60 percent white.

"This may not reflect the infection rates in the community as much as it reflects where the virus started," King County Executive Dow Constantine said. "Sixty-five percent, maybe a little more, of the deaths have been directly associated with nursing homes."

According to Public Health -- Seattle & King County, of those who had died as of Friday morning, about 15 percent were Asian, 4 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic / Latino, and 1 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Studies in some other cities around the country have found African Americans disproportionately represented among the victims of COVID-19.

You can find all the county's numbers here.

-- Eilis O'Neill

12 p.m. -- This joy board in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood is our everything right now. Check out the one minute video.

9 a.m. -- Local philanthropists have bankrolled a new arts streaming platform for local creatives and educators. The Northwest Arts Streaming Hub--NASH--will provide a free of charge outlet for artists to present prerecorded or live streamed performances, arts classes and other creative activities. Artists will also be able to solicit direct donations from the platform. NASH is currently soliciting proposals from artists and organizations.

--Marcie Sillman

Read previous live blogs:

April 6-12

March 30 - April 5

March 23 - 29

March 15 - 22

March 8 - 14

March 6 - 8

March 2 - 6

February 29 - March 2