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coronavirus

A pedestrian makes his way along a waterfront as downtown Seattle is partially hidden in a steady rain beyond Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

It’s been one year since health officials announced the nation’s first death from COVID-19 here in western Washington.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Diagnosed COVID-19 cases have been dropping for weeks in Washington, following record high rates of infection through the holiday season. But King County's top public health official said the decline is likely temporary. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

It’s been about one month since the first coronavirus vaccine arrived in Washington state. Residents, some of them in tears, watched a nurse receive the first injection. This event was supposed to herald the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

But, since then, the vaccine rollout has progressed more slowly than some had hoped. More than 600,000 doses have arrived in Washington, but only about a third of those have been administered.

Famartin/Wikimedia Commons


Employee break rooms can be danger zones when it comes to the coronavirus. Public health officials warn that the nature of the space and our behavior when we go on break make the spread of the virus more likely in a break room.

Airlift Northwest flight nurse Mikaela Hagberg looks on as she receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccinations at UW Medicine on Dec. 15, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Doctors and nurses on the critical-care team of Seattle-based medical system Swedish were left out of an initial electronic call-out inviting staff to get the coronavirus vaccine, sparking confusion and anger among workers caring for some of the sickest COVID-19 patients, according to internal emails and meeting recordings.

Nicholas K. Geranios / The Associated Press file

A prisoner at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen has died from COVID-19. The Department of Corrections did not identify the inmate in a news release. But the person is the fourth in the state’s prisons to die from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

A sign directs vehicles toward a drive-up testing site at the Tacoma Dome in March 2020. It was one of the test sites hosted by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department early in the pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Pierce County residents had their first opportunity to respond to a controversial proposal that would terminate a public health partnership between the county and the City of Tacoma.
 
And their collective response during Monday’s Pierce County Council committee meeting was overwhelming: many called the effort “reckless” and “dangerous” as the county faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee and the president of the Washington Education Association had a meeting on Wednesday to talk about the process of reopening schools for in-person learning. But they disagree about the content of the conversation.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

More than half of the state’s public school students are in districts offering almost exclusively remote learning, but state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal acknowledged to state lawmakers on Monday that distance learning is not working for a lot of kids.

Anya Gavrylko (left) and Anna Nollan are part of the Washington COVID Response Corps working on food insecurity issues.
Courtesy of Schultz Family Foundation

Demand for food assistance has surged this year as many people have lost their jobs.

The Schultz Family Foundation, which was started by former Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz and his wife, Sheri, has created something called the Washington COVID Response Corps to employ young people to work on addressing food insecurity.

Jack McQuade, center, the owner of The Swiss Restaurant and Pub in Tacoma, Wash., walks behind his bar on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. The restaurant announced in September that it was closing permanently.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The governor’s new ban on indoor dining in restaurants will mean a financial toll for many businesses, and it’s a particular blow for new restaurants. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the new restrictions on Sunday as coronavirus cases have hit a new peak in the state.

The Grand Cinema is a nonprofit movie theater in Tacoma.
Amelia Vaugh / Courtesy of The Grand

Many of the region’s annual film festivals are going virtual this year, as the pandemic continues. That includes next year’s Seattle International Film Festival and the Tacoma Film Festival, which is going on now and continues through Sunday.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

For weeks, public health officials have been sending the same message: confirmed COVID-19 cases are rising quickly in many parts of Washington state, and it's more important than ever to take precautions. 

But, amid "pandemic fatigue" and muddled messaging from political leaders, it's gotten harder to break through with that advice, King County's top public health official said Friday. 

screenshot of State Board of Education virtual meeting

Most students in the state are still doing school remotely because of the pandemic. Some parents who are frustrated with distance learning are criticizing a move by the State Board of Education to allow the status quo to continue.

This summer, the state board passed emergency rules to allow schools to provide Zoom classes or other remote instruction in the pandemic. Now the board has adopted new emergency rules to continue that, with a plan to propose permanent rules and hold a public hearing in early January.

AP File Photo

It’s not a matter of if a third wave of the coronavirus will hit Washington state, but a matter of when, says Dr. Steve Mitchell at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Positive cases are ticking up in Washington, and area hospitals are planning for a surge.

javacolleen / Flickr

It’s been eight weeks since the school year began, and Seattle Public Schools has just started offering in-person services for students in special education. One student started this week and the district plans to expand that to 65 children.

A person wears a mask as she waits to enter the RAM Restaurant and Brewery, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Tacoma, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Pierce County officials, in an effort to help restaurants stay in business and retain jobs, will offer an incentive for customers to dine inside restaurants next month.

The two-week "restaurant rally," is scheduled for Nov. 8-19, excluding Friday and Saturday. Restaurants will offer a 30 percent discount to customers who dine inside, and then the county will reimburse the businesses. 

 

There has been some talk at the national level about aiming for herd immunity with this pandemic. Officials in the Trump administration are eager to reopen the economy. 

Herd immunity would involve allowing COVID-19 to spread, which in theory would eventually make people immune.

In this file photo from March, a man carrying a sleeping bag looks at a sign on the door of the Bread of Life Mission in Seattle's downtown Pioneer Square neighborhood. COVID-19 cases have risen in King County’s homeless population throughout the summer.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

UPDATE, Aug. 26: King County public health officials say one person has died in connection with the Harborview Hall outbreak. The man, who was in his 70s, died Aug. 7 and had "underlying medical conditions," public health officials said. The King County Medical Examiner's Office lists COVID-19 as one of the causes of death.  

Youths float atop stand-up paddle boards offshore at Seattle's Alki Beach on July 29. To the south, in Pierce County, large gatherings of young people are causing a surge in COVID-19 cases among people between the ages of 20 to 29 years old.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Right now, there are more than 2,000 contact tracers working across Washington state. Kelsie Lane is one of them.

Contact tracing is a low-tech approach to keeping the virus in check. But it’s only effective if officials have timely test results.

Quincy Henry roasting coffee for his business, Campfire Coffee Co.
Courtesy of Quincy Henry

Unknown numbers of businesses will die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown.

But, here and there, businesses are still being born.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

Medicines that help people stop using opioids are heavily regulated, and people seeking them usually have to navigate in-person doctor visits, daily stops at a clinic, frequent urine tests, and other requirements that derail or discourage many.

But, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, federal officials have loosened rules for the medications methadone and buprenorphine, in order to limit in-person contact between providers and patients. 

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

King County health officials say they're monitoring rising COVID-19 infections in younger people, as new cases in the Seattle area reach levels last seen during a peak this spring. 

Nearly three quarters of new cases are in people under 40 years old, King County's top public health official, Dr. Jeff Duchin, told reporters in a briefing Friday. 

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.

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