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. 

Michael Chu / via Flickr Creative Commons

The fire chief in Point Roberts, Washington, is hoping to test hundreds of people in his community for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Using tests from Northwest Laboratory in Bellingham, Whatcom County Fire District 5 Chief Christopher Carleton hopes he can get at least 400 people in this 1,200-person community to take a test. So far, Carleton says they’ve tested 137 people.

Tacoma's controversial liquefied natural gas facility is among the projects that could be affected by the drop in prices for fossil fuels.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The impact of the new coronavirus on the global economy has caused prices for fossil fuels to plummet. As everything has slowed down, demand has shrunk to just a fraction of what it was before governments told people to stay home to slow the spread of disease.

courtesy of Karla Perrin

We've all had to give up parts of our lives as we stay home to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professional sports leagues, including the NBA and NHL, have suspended their seasons. And young athletes have had to put their dreams on hold, as well. That’s true for Whittaker Perrin, who is 13 years old and a seventh-grader at Heatherwood Middle School in Mill Creek.

Schools across the state have had to make a major shift to remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Now districts are figuring out how to grade the work that students are doing — or in some cases, not doing. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is expected to issue guidance on grading this week.

La Casa Hogar shifted operations online and canceled its 25th anniversary celebrations, scheduled in May, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, staff are working to ensure the immigrant community they serve is informed in Spanish on public health measures
Enrique Pérez de la Rosa / Northwest Public Broadcasting

News and information on the COVID-19 pandemic released by state and local governments is primarily in English. And though health districts and emergency management offices translate some of that information into Spanish, immigrant communities in places like the Yakima Valley still struggle to access that information.

In the Yakima Valley, adult education nonprofits serving the region’s immigrants are stepping up to fill that need.

The Methow Valley, near Winthrop, in 2019.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Can wildfires prepare you for a pandemic? The mayor of Twisp, in Washington state’s Methow Valley, says they can.

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. 

Anne Philips at the social distancing dance party outside her house in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood on March 21, 2020.
Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

You may have heard of the “Seattle Freeze.” It’s a tendency some people say longtime locals have to be cold toward newcomers. And many say the social-distancing measures now necessary because of the coronavirus are making it worse. Out in public, people seem scared to make eye contact with strangers.

A pair of women in one of the city’s neighborhoods recently put on an event designed to warm things up a bit — despite the need to stay at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with.

Vehicles enter the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to travel to Canada in Detroit, Monday, March 16, 2020.
Paul Sancya / The Associated Press

The United States-Canadian border is going to remain closed to all but essential travel for another month. The decision by both countries to keep the world’s longest undefended boundary shut to recreational and tourist traffic was announced over the weekend.

Green Hill School, a medium and maximum security facility for juveniles in Chehalis.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

Under pressure from a lawsuit and after a large protest at a prison in Monroe, Washington state is preparing to release hundreds of adults who are locked up as a way to reduce the population behind bars and prevent coronavirus infections.

Advocacy groups are pushing for the state to also release incarcerated youth.

Organizations including TeamChild, ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services sent a letter dated March 23 to Ross Hunter, secretary of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, which oversees juvenile rehabilitation.

UW Medicine Virology lab manager Greg Pepper processes antibody tests.
UW Medicine


People who have recovered from COVID-19 get some level of immunity to the virus. Now scientists at the University of Washington are set to start testing people for past infection. 

An aerial view of several housing developments in Kent
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, tenants who are unable to pay rent will be able to remain in their homes for another month. Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the eviction moratorium enacted last month, adding more protections for renters. 

Fresh numbers of initial claims for jobless benefits showed some moderation in the past week in the staggering wave of layoffs across the Pacific Northwest caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But the level of unemployment claims continues to hover at record levels, as reported Thursday by the state labor and employment departments of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Chanel Reynolds and her son, Gabe Hernando. After Reynolds' husband, Jose Hernando, was killed in a biking accident, Chanel spent years sorting out their financial situation. She shares what she's learned in her blog, Get Your S##t Together.
Chanel Reynolds


A few months ago, who would have thought we’d be isolated in our homes so that we don’t catch a virus that is killing thousands of people around the world? 

Preparing for the unthinkable is something Seattle writer Chanel Reynolds is very familiar with.

Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin / CDC via The Associated Press

Major League Baseball has joined the fight against the novel coronavirus. Most of the league's 30 teams, including the Mariners, are participating in a study that will help researchers learn more about the infection rate of COVID-19. It's the topic of this week's conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

To meet the growing need for emergency food services amid the pandemic, the National Guard has helped Northwest Harvest fill boxes to distribute to people in need. Troops are expected to help at a new Food Lifeline warehouse in SoDo, which opens Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Demand at food banks has already doubled as more people face unemployment in the region or need more meals at home because schools are closed. And the demand is expected to continue climbing.

That has put additional strain on the organizations supplying food banks, as they respond to new conditions amid the coronavirus.

Paul Taub plays flute professionally, and is a retired music professor from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He recently recovered from COVID-19.

Paul Taub is a retired flute teacher. He also plays professionally around the Seattle area. And his years of playing a wind instrument have put him particularly in tune with how his lungs work.

Still, when he developed a cough, a fever, and some chills, he just thought it was a cold.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The state is taking steps to reduce Washington's prison population to stop the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a new emergency proclamation and an order commuting the sentences of some nonviolent inmates. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Today’s episode: Confronting Mortality. 

This is not something a lot of us are used to thinking much about. Dreading, sure. Avoiding, you bet. But thinking hard about it, and what it means during a time like this — not easy. 

In this episode, we connect with people who have gotten intimate with mortality. 

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.

Ashleigh Bishop, 19, a quartermaster from Lynchburg, Virginia, who joined the Navy a year ago, waves a flag at the forward edge of the flight deck to alert a refueling ship of the bow’s position. “Every job on this ship is important," she said.
Josh Farley / Kitsap Sun

The USS Nimitz is one of the country's 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and it's homeported in Bremerton. It's expected to set out to sea in the near future.

Last week, a top Pentagon official said there had been "small breakouts" of the novel coronavirus on the ship. The Navy quickly refuted that.

To help us understand exactly what's happening aboard the Nimitz, KNKX's Ed Ronco spoke with Josh Farley, who covers military affairs for the Kitsap Sun.

In this 2019 file photo, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards speaks at a press conference.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Leaders of Washington cities outside of Seattle are asking to be included in federal coronaivurs relief plans. 

The third COVID-19 package that Congress passed late last month included $150 billion for state and local governments. But only cities with more than 500,000 people are eligible for direct funding from that package. In Washington, only Seattle meets the population threshold. 

Nutrition services workers in the Puyallup School District prepare boxes of meals for kids to eat while schools are closed due to the pandemic.
Courtesy of the Puyallup School District

It’s been a whirlwind month for school district food service workers and managers.

They’ve scrambled to shift away from cooking food from scratch and serving hot meals in person to handing out grab-and-go items to families, all while trying to minimize contact and keep people safe.

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. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the economics of all kinds of markets. Including the market for sex on Aurora Avenue in Seattle.

AP File Photo


Since COVID-19 arrived in Washington state, doctors have noticed a strange trend. They are seeing a drop in heart attack and stroke cases. 

The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason, left, and the Right Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, bow to an empty sanctuary as they begin a live streamed Easter service at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral Sunday, April 12, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

With crowds prohibited from gathering, churches and other religious institutions have had to connect virtually. This past weekend marked Easter Sunday, the holiest of Christian holidays. KNKX reporter Paula Wissel "attended" online services and brings us an audio postcard. The services include St. Brendan’s Spanish Mass in Bothell, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent, St. James Cathedral in Seattle and Our Savior Lutheran Church in Tacoma.

In this photo from March 11, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee addresses reporters at a news conference.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A West Coast pact, prisoner furloughs, and a new state Supreme Court justice: It’s already shaping up to be a busy week for Gov. Jay Inslee and other Washington leaders. 

In recent weeks, Armand Minthorn led two traditional Washut religious services for elders at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation longhouse. Washut is the traditional religion of many Northwest Native Americans.

But now, everything is different.

“We’re all in a sense warriors,” Minthorn says. “We’re at war. There’s people — sad to say — there’s people dying all around us.”

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.