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. 

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.



Today’s episode: Getting Creative. 

There’s a bunch of psychological research out there that suggests constraints — having your choices limited — actually promotes creativity. 

And we’re all seeing now how being stuck at home, or losing your job, or having your kids out of school — it sucks, but it can also nudge us to find innovative solutions. 

Today we have a bunch of stories of how people are adapting to this less-than-ideal situation. 

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.

People sort canned and other non-perishable food at Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on March 19. nonprofit organizations are stepping up to fill the gap left by the lack of a safety net for undocumented immigrants.
Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

Like many people trying to subsist in Washington state right now with so much of the economy at a standstill, work has dried up for Jose. But because he’s an undocumented immigrant, he has no ability to apply for unemployment benefits and won’t receive a stimulus check from the federal government.

Caution tape closes off swings and other playground equipment in Seattle.
Simone Alicea / KNKX

For weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee has pleaded with Washingtonians to stay home. Now, he's warning that officials will crack down on people defying his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

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.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With rent due for many people this week, worries are increasing for both tenants and landlords as more people find themselves out of work due to the coronavirus. Those worries remain despite a statewide moratorium on evictions and a pause in non-emergency court proceedings.

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

With more than one million K-12 students out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, districts in Washington have faced the task of adapting a school system based on in-person instruction and supports to something that can be done remotely.

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.

Dr. Jeff Duchin, right, public health officer for Seattle and King County, talks to reporters on March 4, 2020.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

King County's top health official ordered residents to follow quarantine and isolation guidelines meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, public health officer for Seattle and King County, signed the order Saturday.

It directs anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms and has been tested to remain in quarantine while awaiting results.

Judie Shape, center, who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but isn't showing symptoms, at Life Care Center in Kirkland on March 17, 2020.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A study of a King County nursing home shows just how insidious an outbreak of the novel coronavirus can be, federal investigators said Friday.

The study looked at one unnanmed nursing home where an outbreak of the virus was suspected earlier this month.

It found that more than half of people who tested positive for the virus had no symptoms at the time. 

UW Medicine health care workers collect test samples at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX


Hospitals in Washington state could exceed their intensive care bed capacity as early as next week, according to projections from a Seattle-based research center. 

New modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects about a monthlong stretch where demand for ICU beds exceeds the supply. That could begin as soon as April 2. The epidemic is projected to peak on April 19.

The decline in commercial aircraft traffic due to the new coronavirus will degrade weather forecasting, says Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the Univeristy of Washington.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Sprinkles and showers are in the forecast for most of Western Washington this weekend, with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees. It’s perfect weather for gardening or maybe taking a long run or walk in your neighborhood. The skies above likely will be quieter, too.

The spread of the new coronavirus already has slowed air traffic aloft. An even more dramatic decline in commercial flight schedules is coming soon. And that could affect weather forecasting.

Martin Meissner / AP Photo

Athletes from Washington state are among those impacted by the postponement of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Games will now happen in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about the decision — and the future of the Olympics — with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.




When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today's episode: Stretched … we consider what happens when our health care system is pushed to the limits. 

Signs Hang on the entrance way to Canada via the Rainbow Bridge, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Niagara Falls N.Y.
Jeffrey T. Barnes / The Associated Press

One of the steps taken during the pandemic were restrictions on the border between Canada and the United States. Last week, we heard from Point Roberts, Washington, which is separated from the rest of Whatcom County. People who live there have to go through British Columbia to get in or out of town.

Krista Linden, founder of Step By Step and Farm 12, handles fabric that will eventually be assembled into kits for handmade medical masks. Linden was asked by county officials to turn her event hall into an operations hub for the assembly line.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Krista Linden had a grand vision when she opened her restaurant and event space in Puyallup just a few short months ago. But she never imagined a global pandemic — and hundreds of yards of fabric — would swiftly become part of that vision. 

Farm 12 Restaurant & Events doesn’t just offer locally sourced food on the grounds of a historic bulb farm. It’s created jobs for the at-risk mothers Linden has helped for 23 years, through her nonprofit Step By Step. 

The Community Day Center for Children in Seattle's Central District is one of the centers that's temporarily closed because of employee concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo courtesy of the Community Day Center for Children

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee has emphasized the need for child care to enable parents in medical or first-responder professions to continue to work. He’s designated child care workers as essential to critical infrastructure.

But advocacy groups say child care centers are in crisis and the government needs to step up to help them in this difficult time. Sen. Patty Murray said she secured $3.5 billion for child care in the current version of the Senate’s coronavirus relief package, including about $58 million for Washington.   

A mobile COVID-19 testing station set up by Swedish Medical Center outside a Plymouth Housing building in downtown Seattle on March 24, 2020.
Will James / KNKX

Dave Rodriguez tilts his head back. A health care worker in a mask and gown inserts what looks like an extra-long Q-tip into one of Rodriguez's nostrils. The worker pushes it all the way through the nasal cavity until it touches the back of Rodriguez's throat.

They're sitting in folding chairs on a downtown Seattle sidewalk. Swedish Medical Center has set up a mobile COVID-19 testing center here for the afternoon, the first outing in an effort to detect the novel coronavirus in some of the city's most vulnerable people.

Mac / KNKX

Though sit-down service is banned for now, many area eateries are doing what they can to keep staff employed.  In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy Leson tells what they're doing to cope with the times.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The state Department of Natural Resources is closing all DNR-managed lands to public recreation. The closure goes into effect Thursday and will last through at least April 8. It’s an additional step in government efforts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.


When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today's episode: Lessons Learned. 

We consider what the past has to teach us about our present moment, starting with a woman who has nearly a century of perspective. She also happens to be on the front lines right now. 

courtesy of Ricky Haneda

The coronavirus outbreak has upended many lives, but it can be particularly difficult for those who are separated from their families.

Many university students have packed up and returned home amid the outbreak, but it’s more complicated for the thousands of international students studying in the Pacific Northwest. Some have remained here even as campuses empty out.

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

A Tacoma homeless shelter has had four residents test positive for the novel coronavirus, so far the largest publicly disclosed outbreak in Washington state's homeless population.

Suzanne Smith, owner of clothing store Betty Be Good Boutique.
Courtesy of Smith

At slightly over 5,500 miles, the U.S.-Canada border is the longest undefended boundary in the world. The closure of that border, except for commercial and essential traffic, is having an impact.

The United States Trade Representative estimates that $718.5 billion in all types of trade crossed the U.S.-Canada border in 2018. That is more than $2 billion a day. That’s a lot of trade activity coming to a grinding halt. 

People gather at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle on Friday, despite calls from public health officials to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Jay Inslee took those calls a step further Monday, issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide stay-at-home order Monday night, following the lead of other states that have taken the extraordinary step to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

The order — which the governor is calling “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” — follows actions taken by some local jurisdictions who decided not to wait for the state to make the call. Inslee's order will stay in effect for at least two weeks. 

Sisters Seri Sedlacek, left, and Susan Simpkins look in on their father, Chuck Sedlacek, at the Life Care Center, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Kirkland. Shuksan Healthcare Center in Bellingham is working to avoid what happened at the Kirkland facility.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

More than 30 residents and employees of a Bellingham nursing facility have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting officials to take steps to avoid a deadly scenario that played out in Kirkland.

In this file photo taken April 27, 2009, Latino workers till an asparagus field near Toppenish, Wash., on the Yakama Indian Reservation.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press (file)

Amid concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, panic buying in grocery stores has left empty shelves where you’d normally find toilet paper. And the company that owns local Albertsons and Safeway stores has added extra shifts at its bread factory in Oregon, to keep up with surging demand in the Northwest. Some items that take longer to produce, such as chicken, have become scarce in places, with stores offering frozen turkey as a substitute.

So, what about fresh fruits and vegetables?