Coronavirus Coverage | KNKX

Coronavirus Coverage

KNKX Public Radio is working to keep you updated on the latest developments of the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In addition to bringing you daily stories and updates on air during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, you can find stories about the outbreak below. Find the latest numbers from officials tracking confirmed cases below, as well as all the stories from KNKX. 

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.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Author’s note: Since this story originally aired, Denny International Middle School has continued to be an important site for meal distribution in Seattle Public Schools. Denny serves about 700 meals per day, and overall, the district distributes 30,000 meals daily. During the winter break, the school district has shifted to providing one-week meal boxes to students, and Denny is one of two sites in West Seattle where those are being handed out. (This story originally aired April 30, 2020.)  

Photo courtesy of David McGraw

Author’s note: With live performances canceled or postponed, many local musicians quickly pivoted to find new ways to keep sharing their music. This site -- created by a Seattle-based musician -- became a staple in the world of live streamed concerts throughout the pandemic, hosting many local and national acts. (This story originally aired April 3, 2020.)

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.

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.

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.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Joshua Piatok should be in London right now.

It’s where he had planned to spend his first semester as a Northeastern University student. Instead, he’s staying in a Boston hotel with other science, technology, engineering and math majors.

It’s one of many adjustments college freshmen have had to make in a year of crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many to temper dreams and expectations, and navigate a new social world amid social-distancing rules.

screenshot of online class / courtesy of the Franklin Pierce School District

Being a teacher right now is not easy. Ryan Davenport had to buy a new Ikea chair because teaching online means sitting around a lot, and that makes his neck hurt. During a regular school year, he’s usually on his feet much of the day, moving around. 

Ryan teaches social studies to seventh-graders in the Franklin Pierce School District in Parkland. But even more than that discomfort, this school year of disruption means Ryan has a harder time making the connections with his students that normally bring him joy. KNKX is following one of his classes this year to illustrate what school is like in the middle of a pandemic. 

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.

Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, delivered a live address to the state Thursday night urging Washington residents to change their Thanksgiving plans amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The number of COVID-19 cases has doubled in Washington state over the past two weeks. In response, Gov. Jay Inslee recommends a 14-day quarantine for people coming into the state and is asking people to stay close to home. California and Oregon are doing the same to try and slow the spread of the virus.

A worker wears PPE as he walks along a line of cars, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at a King County COVID-19 testing site in Auburn.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Make some sacrifices now to avoid future pain. That was the message from Washington state health officials Tuesday as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state are at their highest levels yet — and accelerating quickly.

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.

A house in West Seattle has a candy chute among its Halloween decorations, in preparation for socially distanced trick-or-treating. But experts say families should steer clear of the annual door-to-door tradition.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

Getting COVID-19 can be scarier than any horror movie or Halloween haunted house. Health officials and pediatricians aren't telling us to skip Halloween this year, but they do urge serious caution.

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.

Barrett and Audrey Stowe with their parents, Courtney and James. Barrett interviewed Audrey and two friends about what advice they'd give themselves if they could travel back in time to before the pandemic.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Imagine you could step into a time machine and travel back to a year ago. What would you tell yourself now that you’ve experienced life in a pandemic? 

Seventeen-year-old Barrett Stowe, who attends Tacoma School of the Arts, asked two friends and his sister that question. It turns out the upheaval of the past six months has led to some realizations about what’s important to them in life.

Barrett produced his own radio story, with guidance from KNKX staff, as part of our Take the Mic youth voices project.

The Associated Press (file)

Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay socially distant — and get a flu shot. This is the message health officials are preaching as we head into cooler months when we’ll all be spending more time indoors.

A bed sits made at a long-term care center in Rockland, Mass., back in March. Long-term care facilities in Washington state and across the country have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic.
David Goldman / The Associated Press (file)

For months, long-term care facilities in Washington were closed not only to visitors but also to state regulatory authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities were early hotspots, driving the nation's coronavirus death toll this spring.

That posed a big problem for the staff and volunteers of Washington's long-term care ombuds office.

"For our role, visitation is key," ombuds Patricia Hunter told KNKX. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

Since the onset of the pandemic, food insecurity rates have more than doubled in our state. That’s according to researchers at the University of Washington who have just compiled the results from their first round of a statewide survey. 

It was done this summer in cooperation with Washington State University and Tacoma Community College, as well as partners in local, county and state governments.

Ryan Davenport teaches seventh grade social studies at Keithley Middle School in Parkland. He's welcomed KNKX to follow one of his classes through this unprecedented year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

At schools around the region, a new ritual has been taking place. It’s the back-to-school, COVID-era laptop distribution, as almost all public schools in the state have begun the year with remote learning.

A trio of dogs peer out of the back, open window of a vehicle while on an outing Friday, April 3, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

UPDATE, 6 a.m. Sept. 10: Friday's pop-up event has been postponed due to wildfire conditions. You can find an up-to-date calendar of future events here.

Local animal shelters in King County have banded together to create a mobile pet food bank to help owners feed their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several organizations offer pet food to owners who need it. But after animal shelters initially closed in response to Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order, they decided to get out into the community with a truck and a tent.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

The King County Prosecutor’s Office recently filed it’s 11th domestic violence homicide charge for the year. There were only four domestic violence murder cases all of last year. Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which includes Washington state, also are up. Domestic violence experts say COVID-19 is making the situation for domestic violence victims worse.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

 

In March of this year, as the novel coronavirus started to take hold of the region, students and teachers were notified that in person school was over and remote learning would get underway. At first, everyone thought the move to online learning would be temporary, but it wasn’t.

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.  

This Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, shows the Pac-12 logo during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State, in Tempe, Ariz.
Ralph Freso / The Associated Press (file)

We're learning more about what went into the decision by the Pac-12 Conference to cancel all sports through the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about that, and what he thinks should happen in the spring. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

It’s been more than five months since the nation’s first novel coronavirus death happened, right here in the Seattle area.

Now, more than 100 vaccine candidates are being developed, and dozens have entered the human-trial stage. But they’re likely still a long way off from mass production and distribution.

In this episode of Transmission, host Gabriel Spitzer and producer Jennifer Wing discuss how the RNA vaccine works and why some elements of vaccine development are going so much more quickly than usual.

Pages