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. 

Snohomish County's health officer says it's possible that the coronavirus arrived in Washington state earlier than previously thought.

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.

Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

The statewide school closure to slow the spread of the coronavirus has brought tremendous upheaval to families. Parents are trying to help their children keep up with assignments from home, while many of them juggle work responsibilities or cope with financial stresses stemming from unemployment.

Added to that is a continued lack of internet access for many families that the state and school districts are trying to address — even now, two months after schools were ordered to shut down.

Paula Wissel / KNKX


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, cities and counties have worked to prevent the spread of the disease in crowded homeless shelters. King County already has moved 600 shelter residents into hotels and has set up isolation and quarantine sites for people who are ill or have been exposed to the virus.

 

The county’s latest effort is a temporary modular shelter constructed on a vacant lot in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood.

Stephen Brashear / The Associated Press

 

Professional sports organizations in the U.S. continue to try to figure out how to start — or salvage — their seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. Major League Soccer is considering a plan that would put all teams in Florida next month. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about it with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

COVID-era isolation affects all of us. And for people with special needs, it brings all sorts of particular challenges, many that can’t be solved with a Zoom call.

That’s why most days, you can find a bald, heavily tattooed guy, salt-and-pepper beard down to his sternum and wearing a bright blue face mask, driving around Western Washington to check in on his clients — all adults with developmental disabilities.

“I call it my ‘Melissa outreach,’” says Gino Jevdjevich, a crisis counselor with the nonprofit Sound Health. “Melissa Ethridge, she has a song, ‘Come To My Window.’ I started joking about that song at the beginning, but now I call it my ‘Melissa outreach.’”

In this April 30, 2020, photo, a sign reads "Stop COVID-19 Coronavirus together" at the new Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash.. The casino is owned by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and has not yet announced a reopening date.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

As the Stillaguamish Tribe reopens its Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington on Wednesday afternoon, it becomes the first Western Washington tribe to do so since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Twenty-two tribes operate 29 casinos on their lands throughout the state.

As sovereign nations, tribes are not subject to the stay-at-home orders from Gov. Jay Inslee. They also depend on income from gaming to directly fund many essential government services.

In this Friday, April 17, 2020, photo, a news story about the University of Washington Medicine department plays on a resident's television as a member of a team from UW Medicine arrives to take a nose swab sample.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

UPDATE, 3:00 pm: Adds information about how Swedish, a Seattle-area hospital network, is cutting costs.  

The economic crisis that's resulted from measures to control the coronavirus is now hitting hospitals.

UW Medicine, which operates Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, Valley Medical Center as well as clinics and the UW School of Medicine, said in a press release that COVID-19 has created an “unprecedented financial challenge” for health systems and that it's anticipating losses of more than $500 million by the end of the summer.

When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee first issued his stay home order in mid-March, Deanna Martinez was supportive. A registered nurse from Moses Lake who’s active in Republican politics, Martinez thought the Democratic governor’s drastic action was necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“I felt like Inslee really did do the right thing as quickly as he possibly could,” Martinez said.

But after eight weeks and two extensions of that order, Martinez’s support for Inslee’s COVID-19 response has evaporated.

“I don’t feel like my voice is being heard … as a person living in rural Washington,” Martinez said.

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.

Portland Art Museum / Courtesy of the US General Services Administration

Margaret Bullock did not expect the latest exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum to be so timely. And it’s fair to say she didn’t want it to be timely, either.

That’s because “Forgotten Stories: Northwest Public Art of the 1930s” focuses on a time of economic catastrophe in the United States, when the federal government commissioned artists to paint murals and complete other works, as part of the massive effort to get people earning paychecks during the Great Depression.

Photo courtesy of Amy Piñon

When schools closed as a result of the pandemic, the local art education organization Arts Corps quickly shifted online. But its teaching artists worried that students without access to internet or art supplies would have challenges continuing their learning online.

So, the organization has been assembling art kits full of various supplies. The kits are distributed at locations mostly in the areas Arts Corps serves, including some school meal pick-up locations.

More than 800,000 people in Washington have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

There also have been some fraudulent claims submitted. Some school district employees, including in the Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue districts, have discovered that fraudulent claims were filed in their names.

Stephen Brashear / The Associated Press

Major League Baseball has a new plan to try to start the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about it with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

cmh2315fl / Flickr

The Washington Department of Commerce said it has set up 140 new drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots around the state and is working to more than double that number through partnerships and donations.

That builds on about 300 hotspots that are already in service at Washington State Library locations. The Department of Commerce has created a website with more information and a map of sites.

Courtesy of John Millard

Tenino, a small town in Thurston County, Washington, has approved a plan to print its own money on strips of wood. Again. 

It’s a response to the COVID-19 crisis that’s modeled after how the town responded to a prior crisis — the Great Depression.

wahealthplanfinder.org

A special enrollment period for health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic is about to end in Washington.

The deadline to sign up for a plan through the state’s health benefit exchange is Friday.

Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer for the exchange, says the special enrollment period first opened in March following the governor’s emergency declaration. It was extended in April.

Windows at Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe are boarded up as many businesses remain close amid the coronavirus pandemic. Local officials worry some businesses won't be able to make property tax payments.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With so many people out of work and so many businesses closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, local governments and school districts are bracing for lower tax revenue.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

With unemployment rates soaring, the state Legislature has just extended a moratorium on utility shut-offs for non-payment, through the end of this month. A coalition of environmental, labor and social justice groups say it’s not enough.  

Courtesy of Emily Wickman

Joy, for Jonah, is simple.

“That flies are in the room,” says the 6-year-old from Tacoma. “And I get to squish them.”

For his mom, Emily Wickman, these difficult times still harbor moments of joy, too. Only, they’re more complicated, laced with the frustrations and anxieties of coping and raising kids during the pandemic.

A group of Republican state lawmakers filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Tacoma challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay home order.

The lawsuit contends “there is no public disorder or threat to the public order in the State of Washington” and asserts that the COVID-19 crisis is mostly a threat to “older and sicker” residents and people in long term care facilities.

Photo courtesy Joseph Lambert

Arts, cultural and scientific nonprofits in the central Puget Sound region could face up to $135 million in lost revenue by the end of September. That’s the latest projection from a survey by ArtsFund, a group that supports arts organizations through advocacy and grant-making.

 

More than 100 Washington state parks made the cut to reopen for day use beginning Tuesday, but aficionados of Pacific Coast and Columbia River Gorge getaways will have to wait a while longer.

At the end of March, Dr. Luke Hansen, an Olympia emergency room physician, was watching news of hospitals in New York overrun with COVID-19 patients. Then he heard Gov. Andrew Cuomo issue a plea for healthcare workers from elsewhere to come to New York to help.

“I really felt a call to go there and help,” Hansen said in an interview this week.

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.

 

Tests people can take themselves at home work about as well at detecting COVID-19 as tests given by health care providers, according to Seattle researchers. They say self-administered tests could play a big role in confronting coronavirus, as well as future outbreaks. 

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.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“My happiest quarantine memory is beating the crap out of a piñata.”

That vivid opening line comes from Barrett Stowe, a 16-year-old sophomore at Tacoma School of the Arts. He contributed a story about his moment of joy amid the pandemic for KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices project.

In this April 2, 2020 photo, a nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle holds a medical face shield prior to the start of her shift in a triage tent outside the hospital's emergency department.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Have you ever felt like this is your moment, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really make a difference? Nursing student Liam Malpass says that’s what it feels like for him right now. He’s one of 45 graduate students in University of Washington's School of Nursing who are getting their clinical experience by working with King County Public Health during the fight against coronavirus.

A long ramp leads passengers to the rest of the airport, while offering views of plants and trees outside. Construction manager Tyler Symbol says it's to evoke the sense of coming out of the sky and landing among the Northwest's greenery.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Before the pandemic brought daily life to a standstill in Washington state, KNKX toured a massive construction project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Lance Lyttle, the airport's director, said even if an economic slowdown were to arrive — which did not seem imminent in mid-February — it would still be important to continue growing. 

This week, the Port of Seattle said that's exactly what it will do, at least at the airport. 

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