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. 

A directive from Public Health — Seattle & King County that requires people to wear face coverings in most public spaces,  including the bus , begins Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Reduced service on King County Metro Transit begins Monday as the agency responds to the effects of the coronavirus. Some routes have been suspended entirely while others are operating less frequently or during more limited hours.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

March and April are typically real estate's busiest months, when most of the inventory comes on line and most of the houses are bought and sold. But this year is dramatically different.

Michael Chu / via Flickr Creative Commons

UPDATE, March 26: Since we spoke with Scott Elliston, we heard some more details from the Canadian government on travel in and out of Point Roberts. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted as saying cross-border travel may continue for people in communities where it's essential to everyday life. And in a conversation with KNKX, Canada's Consul General in Seattle said his country's border officers have been given some discretion to determine what constitutes essential travel into the country.

University of Washington Medicine health care workers collect test samples at a Seattle-based drive-through coronavirus testing site. A similar, limited site opens in Tacoma on Saturday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is hosting a drive-through testing site for people showing symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. People who want to get tested also must be among high-risk groups or critical public services to be eligible.

The health department announced the testing site Friday. It opens tomorrow at the Tacoma Dome and has the capacity to test about 200 people each day through Wednesday.

Julio Cortez / AP Photo

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the sports world. Major League Soccer has further postponed its 2020 season for eight more weeks. On Thursday, the league said it remains focused on playing the entire season and that it's "evaluating all options."

Meanwhile, the National Football League has not had to take any action regarding its season, at least not yet. And the league actually conducted business this week. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about that with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

In this January 2020 file photo, tents are pictured inside a homeless encampment in Olympia.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Editor's note: This reporting is the result of a partnership between KNKX's Will James, host of the Outsiders podcast,  and the team of Transmission — a new podcast about life at the center of an epidemic. Listen to Episode 3: Houseless and subscribe.  

The first publicly disclosed cases of novel coronavirus in the U.S. homeless population emerged this week, as local governments and nonprofits rushed to prevent the virus from spreading to tens of thousands of people living outside or in shelters on the West Coast.


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: Houseless. In this episode, Transmission teams up with the Outsiders podcast.  

The temple of justice in Olympia
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, courts across Washington state will limit in-person proceedings and try to keep jails less crowded, per an order this week from the state Supreme Court.

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

UPDATE, 6:00 PM: Adds state superintendent's comments on graduation requirements for high school seniors.

With schools closed statewide until late April, many parents and students have wondered whether the school year will be extended into July or August.

In a webinar hosted by the League of Education Voters, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said that’s not likely.

This Orlando, Fla., business isn’t the only one offering toilet paper with purchases. Several restaurants in the Puget Sound region are offering up paper products and other perks with take-out orders to encourage customers to place orders.
John Raoux / The Associated Press

With restaurants and bars across Washington limited to delivery or to-go orders, to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of those establishments are trying to find creative ways to get customers to place orders.

Wearing a mask for protection, Henry Powell, heads to his car after shopping at a Safeway store in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 19. Safeway is among the stores that are offering special shopping hours for seniors amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press

All Safeway, Albertsons and Haggen grocery stores in the state are setting aside special shopping hours for elderly customers and others who are more vulnerable to the new coronavirus. The hours are from 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning March 19. 

A member of a cleaning crew wheels a cart toward a vehicle at the Life Care Center, where at least 30 coronavirus deaths have been linked to the facility, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Kirkland, Wash.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

OLYMPIA (AP) — Washington state health officials reported 13 new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the state tally of fatalities to 67 – the highest in the country.

Also, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants as the state continues to grapple with containing the spread of COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the state's economy as businesses are forced to temporarily close and employees are laid off.

A sign hangs on the entrance gate of the Rainbow Bridge, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Niagara Falls N.Y. The Canadian border, including entry from Washington state, is closed in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Jeffrey T. Barnes / The Associated Press

The closure of the U.S.-Canadian border is being welcomed by provincial government officials in British Columbia. They have been asking the federal government for such a closure all week. 

Some businesses in the Seattle area have begun laying off workers or closing because of  COVID-19.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Widespread layoffs have swept across Washington state, as public health orders attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 by closing restaurants, gyms, and other public places.

Today, economic development officials in Pierce County as well as state and federal officials outlined some options for small businesses. They talked about low-interest loans, federal aid and other programs. U.S. Rep.  Derek Kilmer was part of that conversation, which took place by conference call. He spoke by phone with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.

A Puyallup resident has died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The woman in her 50s is the first reported fatality in Pierce County since the outbreak started.

Health care workers collect COVID-19 tests at a drive-through testing site at the University of Washington Medicine’s Northwest Outpatient Medical Center in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A drive-through testing site for COVID-19 is now operating at the University of Washington Medicine’s Northwest Outpatient Medical Center in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood. The site is appointment-only and is open to UW Medicine patients who are referred to testing by a healthcare provider.



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: Housebound. 

Mike Mastrian, Director of the Senate Radio and Television Gallery, cleans down the podium before a news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a massive federal effort Tuesday, President Donald Trump asked Congress to speed emergency checks to Americans, enlisted the military for MASH-like hospitals and implored ordinary people to do their part by staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Seattle Children's

Seattle Children’s says it has tested 660 patients for COVID-19, with four who came back positive and are now all recovering at home. Of 166 staff members tested since Friday, four tested positive.

Customers sit in a dining area of Cafe Cosmos in downtown Seattle, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Gov. Jay Inslee said Suday night that he would order all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities closed for 2 weeks.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The governor’s order to shut down all bars and restaurants or convert to take-out only by midnight Tuesday did not come as a surprise to Leigh Henderson. The owner of Alexa’s Café and Catering has been running her business on Main Street in Bothell for more than 25 years. On weekends, the line for breakfast regularly extends out the door and down the block.

Lucy Pemoni / The Associated Press (file)

Virtual medicine is becoming more common as the state responds to the new coronavirus. It can help limit exposure for both patients and providers and ease some strain on hospitals and clinics.

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, we’ve compiled a list of comprehensive resources. You can find the latest numbers from officials tracking confirmed cases, as well as up-to-date announcements from agencies responding to the pandemic. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, or ideas about people we should talk to or stories we should cover, email We’ve also started a podcast, Transmission, about life in the heart of this outbreak. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Vehicles enter the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to travel to Canada in Detroit on Monday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is closing his country's borders to anyone not a citizen, an American or a permanent resident amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Paul Sancya / The Associated Press

Officials in British Columbia are telling United States travelers to stay away, despite the Canadian government leaving the international border open. This is the latest response in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Across the state, parents and caregivers suddenly have to figure out how to temporarily home-school their kids, after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered schools to shut down through April 24 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Against that backdrop, some families have opted to enroll their children in the state’s public online schools.

Tacoma's Freighthouse Square, a historic market filled with small shops and restaurants, is located next to the platform for the Sounder train. Many Tacoma residents have been staying home from work amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Over Tacoma /

Every day during a normal work week, thousands of Tacoma residents commute north to jobs in King County. But the last couple work weeks have been anything but normal.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has turned life upside down in the Puget Sound region, as Gov. Jay Inslee and health officials continue to take extraordinary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.

Still, even before the governor closed all schools and banned gatherings of more than 250 people statewide, small business owners in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square already noticed an alarming drop in patrons. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee addresses a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle. Inslee ordered all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee made it official Monday: any businesses that aren’t essential retailers, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, are shutting down for at least two weeks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That means everything from restaurants and bars to nail salons and bowling alleys will cease operations starting at midnight. Pick-up or delivery services are still allowed.

The closures are slated to last until March 31, but Inslee acknowledged that could change depending on how the weeks ahead unfold.

As the coronavirus numbers steadily increase in Canada, the government is issuing a call for travelers to come home. In British Columbia, officials are refocusing testing.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, talks to the media about the decision to close schools in three counties in response to COVID-19, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

Capping an extraordinary news week as the state confronts the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered all K-12 public and private schools to close for at least six weeks.  It comes one day after he announced a six-week school closure for three counties in the Puget Sound region that have so far borne the brunt of the COVID-19 cases.

During his announcement, Inslee said the novel coronavirus has spread to affect 15 counties, representing roughly 75 percent of the state's population. He said state health officials have detected 568 cases so far, including 37 deaths. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX


When the novel coronavirus made its way to American shores, it landed right here in the Pacific Northwest. Now, the Seattle area is the epicenter of America’s COVID-19 outbreak. 

In the first episode of Transmission, a podcast about life in the heart of an epidemic, we hear from a few of the hardy souls still out and about in downtown Seattle. 

The coronavirus outbreak is causing economic trouble. Restaurants are closing. Small businesses aren't seeing sales, and sending employees home, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for good.

Washington state Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine walked us through some resources. We've linked to them below, which is also where you can read a transcript of her conversation with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.