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People walk by boarded up businesses in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Social distancing, tests, budget woes: 3 things to know about the state's coronavirus response

Gov. Jay Inslee's recent announcements extending his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order and keeping schools physically closed through the end of the academic year are just the latest indications that social distancing will remain the new normal for a while. Here are three things to know about the state's COVID-19 response.

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As a psychiatric social worker at Washington’s Western State Hospital, Maria Claudio’s job is to care for some of the most complex mental health patients in the state.

But these days when she gets home, she has a second job waiting for her: making homemade masks for her colleagues who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the coronavirus outlook got scary and hairy in mid-March, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recruited an outsider to join his crisis management team. He convinced a retired vice admiral to temporarily move cross-country to serve as Washington state's COVID-19 hospital "czar." Dr. Raquel Bono says she is now cautiously optimistic the state's health care system can handle a surge of ill patients.

A tent stands at the emergency entrance to Seattle Children's Hospital. As health officials across Washington state scramble to secure hospital beds and supplies, rural hospitals face unique challenges.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, many of the concerns voiced months ago are starting to be realized. Personal protective equipment for health care workers is in short supply. And some places are seeing their hospital capacity pushed to the limit.

Officials at rural hospitals are also worried. They operate on a tight budget, and with elective procedures on hold, there are very real financial concerns.

Aaron Yoo / Flickr

Amazon said it’s donating 8,200 laptops to students in the Seattle school district to help close the technology gap that’s made it difficult for some students to continue their learning while schools are shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The donation is valued at about $2 million. The machines will be given to students to keep, and the school district said it’s prioritizing giving them to elementary students who lack access to a device at home.

A prisoner at the Monroe Correctional Complex has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first incarcerated individual in a Washington prison known to have contracted the virus.

Seattle Indian Health Board opened a new COVID19 testing site Thursday at Chief Seattle Club! "This is our testing team! This is what #dreamteam looks like!" wrote Esther Lucero, chief executive officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board on Facebook.
Courtesy of Esther Lucero

After weeks of waiting for a response from the federal government, the Seattle Indian Health Board says it finally received a shipment of personal protective equipment — from a small business.

Like most companies these days, Eighth Generation has had to cut back and cancel many orders because of the coronavirus. But that didn’t stop the retail company from messaging Esther Lucero two weeks ago. The founder and CEO, Louie Gong, told her he wanted to leverage his contacts with manufacturers overseas to help get the agency critical supplies of personal protective gear. 

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Health care workers are taking steps to ensure they have enough protective gear to last them through a peak period of coronavirus infections projected to hit hospitals as soon as this week. 

The measures include having doctors, nurses, and other front-line workers wear equipment for longer periods of time or reusing gear more quickly than they would under ideal circumstances. They also include moving patients through the medical system in a way that limits the exposure of health care workers and preserves resources. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

April is child abuse prevention month, and a top state official said the coronavirus crisis has put children at heightened risk.  

Ross Hunter, secretary of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, said he's worried about the welfare of children because families are experiencing severe financial strain. Many people have suddenly lost their jobs because businesses have shut down to comply with the governor’s measures to stem the spread of the virus. And with the long-term closure of schools, everyone is at home much more than normal.

Musicians from Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest are featured today on Jazz Northwest. Johnaye Kendrick was to have been featured in a concert at Seattle Art Museum last month so we're including one of her songs along with music by Randy Halberstadt, Cory Weeds Little Big Band, Kerry Politzer, Jenny Davis and others.

CREATIVE COMMONS ZERO — CC0

This show originally aired on February 23, 2019. 

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Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of the COVID-19 epidemic in the Pacific Northwest.
A podcast about homelessness aimed to help you understand one of the most complicated issues facing the region.

Featured Studio Session

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Trio Subtonic opens a KNKX studio session double header

On the afternoon of opening up for Kneebody, one of their favorite bands, our Portland friends Trio Subtonic played the same role in the KNKX studios. Spirits were high, and the trio brought a pair of exciting additions.

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Featured Jazz Northwest

Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Wycliffe Gordon With The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

Hear highlights from a concert by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with special guest Wycliffe Gordon recorded last weekend at The Kirkland Performance center. Wycliffe Gordon is a multi award and poll-winning trombonist, in addition to playing the trumpet and singing, he also conducted SRJO. Wycliffe Gordon also composed most of the music in this hour of highlights.

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