coronavirus | KNKX

coronavirus

A map of King County shows the rates of positive cases of COVID-19 by location. A statewide survey aims to add data and influence policy on food and economic security.
Public Health — Seattle & King County

How hard you’re hit by the coronavirus pandemic could be determined by your ZIP code. That’s according to researchers looking into how the outbreak has impacted the economic and food security of people in  Washington state.  

Nativity House, operated by the nonprofit Catholic Community Services, recorded the first known COVID-19 cases in Washington's homeless population in March.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Two Tacoma shelters that disclosed the first known cases of COVID-19 in Washington's homeless population have avoided widespread outbreaks and now appear virus-free, the shelters' operators said.

Nativity House, operated by the nonprofit Catholic Community Services, had four guests test positive for the coronavirus in March, raising fears that the virus could spread quickly through a population that shares sleeping and living spaces. 

Pedestrians walk past the Legislative Building as trees bloom, April 23, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

What does it look like when a city's downtown reopens after weeks of lying dormant?

Washington's capital, Olympia, is among the first and largest cities in the Puget Sound region to find out — and officials say the city's business district will operate differently. 

Workers load eggs for packaging at a farm in Roy, Wash., on April 9, 2020.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Across the United States, communities of color have been over-represented in the ranks of people suffering from COVID-19.

In Washington, that's especially true of the Latino population. Latino residents account for more than a third of the state's COVID-19 cases, despite being just 13 percent of the overall population.

Daffodils bloom near the Legislative Building on April 6, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Thurston County is poised to enter Phase 2 of reopening as soon as next week, a step that would be a first among counties in the populous Puget Sound region. 

Under Gov. Jay Inslee's "Safe Start Washington" plan, Phase 2 allows restaurants, retail stores, hair and nail salons, and offices to reopen their doors, with restrictions meant to limit spread of the novel coronavirus.

In this photo taken Oct. 15, 2019, workers sort Granny Smith apples to ready them for shipping in a packing plant in Yakima, Wash.
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Yakima County has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections among counties on the West Coast. That means a larger portion of the county's population has tested positive for the coronavirus compared to other counties.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

 

Dr. Lora Shahine remembers the moment when everything changed. It was 7 a.m. on March 17. The COVID-19 crisis was unfolding across the country and, in response, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) had just issued a two page guideline recommending that clinics stop all fertility treatment and testing.

A steep drop in hotel tax revenue has jeopardized the construction of a sprawling new convention center facility that sits about 30 percent complete along Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle, the developer behind the project said Friday.

Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus on March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Washington state's database of adult vaccinations is "incomplete" and "inaccurate," a group of King County doctors says, leading some to worry that the system may complicate efforts to eventually vaccinate residents for COVID-19.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

In a normal March and April, the Seattle Fire Department receives roughly 30 to 40 calls from people having heart attacks. But this spring those calls were cut in half, to around 15.

Health officials aren't celebrating.

In fact, the trend could be a troubling side effect of the coronavirus pandemic, said the fire department's medical director, Dr. Michael Sayre.

Paula Frier / The Associated Press

Most state public lands will reopen Tuesday as Gov. Jay Inslee’s order to ease restrictions on outdoor recreation takes effect. But not Washington’s coastal beaches.

In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States.
Gilead Sciences via AP

White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week that early results from an experimental COVID-19 treatment were "quite good news." 

Doctors in Washington state already had been treating dozens of patients with the antiviral drug, remdesivir, for more than a month — and seeing some of the same promising signs, one researcher said.

A Red Lion Hotel in Renton that now houses 200 people from Downtown Emergency Service Center shelters in Seattle.
Facebook / Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center

Counties and nonprofits have moved hundreds of people out of the region's crowded homeless shelters and into individual hotel rooms.

It's a temporary step meant to prevent an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. But some shelter operators say they already see added benefits, and the possibility of permanent changes to the shelter system.

Protesters rally against social-distancing measures at the Washington state Capitol on April 19, 2020.
Will James / KNKX

Protesters ignored government orders intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus Sunday, amassing at the Washington state Capitol to decry social-distancing measures and demand officials reopen the economy.

State police estimate 2,500 people gathered for the rally, some standing shoulder-to-shoulder on or around the Capitol steps as they chanted "Let us work" and "U.S.A." Few covered their faces or made efforts to stand apart from one another. 

In this file photo, taken Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, garbage collector Anousone Sadettanh reaches for a small residential garbage bin tucked between larger yard waste and recycling bins as he works his pickup route, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The stay-at-home order means most of us are safe indoors, where we’re generating a lot more trash and recycling. This increase in residential waste is something Tiffany "TJ" Burger has experienced up close. She drives a recycling truck for Waste Management in Seattle.

State Secretary of Health John Wiesman talks to reporters at a prior news conference on March 12, 2020, in Olympia.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

Washington state's top public health official said it will take "many, many months," and probably the development of a vaccine, before life can return to pre-COVID-19 normalcy. 

Secretary of Health John Wiesman made the statement during a briefing to reporters Tuesday, saying he wanted to manage the public's expectations as the state appears to reach a plateau in the number of infections and deaths. 

Courtesy of the Everett Clinic

Most people tested for COVID-19 have had to endure an extra-long swab inserted into a nostril and snaked through the nasal cavity until it touches the back of the throat.

This process, called a nasopharyngeal swab, isn't just uncomfortable for the patient. It often induces sneezing and coughing, putting health care workers at risk of infection and making them use up valuable protective gear.

 Food Lifeline Hunger Solution Center warehouse in Seattle's South Park neighborhood. Staff are prototyping emergency food boxes that will soon be the primary means for donated food distribution statewide.
Aaron Czyzewski / Food Lifeline

An estimated 1.6 million people are expected to turn to Washington's food banks by the end of this week, to keep from going hungry. That’s about twice as many as normal. Federal aid to address that new need is not expected to be available until July.

So, the state is asking for help raising about $13 million dollars — to keep the shelves stocked and people from going hungry, despite the challenges created by the new coronavirus.

Among the crops at risk are Washington's renowned apples. Some of the crop is dumped when labor shortages prevail.
Shannon Dininny / The Associated Press (file)

Farmworkers are considered an essential part of the food supply system, so they have to stay on the job, even under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

But many of the people who work the fields or ranches here lack sufficient protection to keep them safe from the coronavirus. Human rights advocates say that needs to change immediately.

Matt Fleming,  the man behind Tacoma Shout Outs on Instagram. Pay him $1 and he will shout out your message to the person it's intended for.
Courtesy of Matt Fleming

 

As we all hunker down and stay physically away from friends and neighbors, people are finding creative ways to be together. One man in Tacoma is connecting across distances by talking really loud.

If you pay 27-year-old Matt Fleming $1, he will ride his bike to the location you send him and deliver your message to the person it’s intended for. Fleming spends about six hours a day doing this — covering up to 20 miles, yelling messages from the top of his lungs at people stuck in their homes.

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.

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. 

Windows are boarded up at Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe, after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the statewide closure of businesses and dine-in restaurants. Inslee announced Thursday that he's extending his stay-at-home order by five weeks.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee is prolonging the timeline of his statewide stay-at-home order by a month, the latest in a series of extraordinary measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

Dr. Nick Mark, a pulmonary critical care doctor in Seattle, tries on new protective gear.
Courtesy of Nick Mark

Dr. Nick Mark usually takes 10 or 15 seconds to breathe, relax and focus before starting a delicate procedure like inserting a breathing tube into a patient.

But, on a recent day, the tactic backfired. Mark was about to perform a procedure on a patient with COVID-19, a situation that puts him at risk of catching the coronavirus if his protective gear were to fail. 

courtesy of Daniela Hall

Washington families have been trying to get up to speed on this new world of at-home schooling. This is the first week remote education is required across school districts since schools were shut down last month to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Bennett. Illustration by Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX

Michelle Bennett couldn’t hold her mother’s hand in those final moments, 10 days after Carolann Christine Gann tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Bennett couldn’t even go through her mother’s belongings as she prepared to bury her.

So two people in protective gear did what she couldn't.

A typical scene from a Seattle farmers market, long before the advent of the new coronavirus.
Courtesy of Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets

Farmers markets and their supporters in Seattle are submitting more than 1,500 signatures to Mayor Jenny Durkan, asking to be considered essential businesses the same way grocery stores are — which would give them the green light to reopen.

Seattle shut them down on March 13, amid the wave of widespread closures in response to the novel coronavirus. The markets were subject to the ban because they are classified similar to parades or street fairs.

Seattle and King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin talks to reporters while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine listen on March 11, 2020.
Stephen Brashear / The Associated Press

Limits on social interaction seem to be slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus in King County, health officials said Monday.

Two studies from the Bellevue-based Institute for Disease Modeling appear to show people have been moving around less and that each person carrying the virus is now infecting fewer people on average than they were a month ago.

David Lukov presided over an October 2019 ceremony honoring the lives of 25 people who went unclaimed after they died. Lukov has postponed a handful of funeral services amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Joe Buchanan died two weeks ago, after months of routine dialysis treatments. His wife of 34 years, Kimra, and their son, Justin, braced for this day they knew would eventually come.

But they weren’t prepared for what came after.

“The time when we should be mourning and going through old photos and hugging this out, we can’t,” Justin Buchanan said during a video interview last week.

Swedish Medical Center has launched a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic for people staying in homeless shelters or living in Plymouth Housing buildings.
Will James / KNKX

Four people staying in King County shelters have tested positive for COVID-19, county officials said, signaling the first signs of the novel coronavirus in the Seattle area's homeless population. 

The four people were staying in at least three different shelters, according to a news release Saturday by health officials in King County.

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