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. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

British Columbia also is dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Canadian province that shares a border with Washington has had more than 30 people test positive for COVID-19 and has recorded its first death. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked with reporter Craig McCulloch in Vancouver, B.C. on March 10, 2020.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Wednesday at a press conference about the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, the governor ordered all schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to close March 16 through April 24.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Corrects date when schools must shut down, and adds information about child care and food distribution. 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced widespread school closures Thursday, shuttering all public and private K-12 schools in 43 districts across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties for six weeks.

Inslee’s executive order says schools must shut down starting March 17. They will remain closed through April 24. The mandate will affect about 600,000 students and their families across the Puget Sound region, the epicenter of the nation’s novel coronavirus outbreak.

Central Area Senior Center

Anyone over 60 is considered at high risk for the new coronavirus. As a result, a lot of community centers have cancelled activities for seniors. But, the Central Area Senior Center in Seattle, which primarily serves African Americans, is still offering meals and activities while working to keep members safe.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Two of the state’s largest school districts are closing for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, affecting more than 80,000 students.

Gov. Jay Inslee addresses reporters at a news conference Wednesday, where he announced a mandatory prohibition on gatherings with 250 people or more in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story was last updated at 4:50 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced mandatory social distancing measures for three Washington counties in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. In a news conference Wednesday morning, Inslee said he’s prohibiting events and gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

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

UPDATE, March 17, 2:15 p.m.: 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.

Wikimedia Commons

There are 17 doctors in Congress — 14 in the House, and three in the Senate. U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, is one of them, and the only representing Washington state. Her 8th Congressional District includes a lot of King, Pierce, Kittitas and Chelan counties, as well as a small portion of Douglas County.

Schrier tells KNKX the doctors elected to Congress are talking to each other, but deferring to the scientific members of the administration, such as experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.

Laura Schneider is one of the owners of Meeples Games in West Seattle.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

UPDATE, March 10: Adds information about Amazon's fund to help nearby small businesses and Gov. Jay Inslee's announcement about additional support for businesses and workers.

For the Seattle region, the novel coronavirus presents a significant public health challenge — and also a threat to people’s livelihoods.

The economic impact is already being felt. Hotels face cancellations, restaurants have empty tables, and a major economic driver for Seattle, the Emerald City Comic Con, which was set to start this week, has been postponed. Large employers including Microsoft and Amazon have asked employees to work from home, limiting commerce near their campuses.

In this March 23, 2015 photo, Chris Owens pulls a geoduck clam out from deep in the sand while harvesting geoducks for Taylor Shellfish Farms near Harstine Island, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo/ file

While lots of people are feeling frightened or inconvenienced by the novel coronavirus, at least one group is also financially devastated: geoduck divers. They normally sell the huge, iconic bivalves as a luxury export item, primarily for customers in China. Not right now. 

Cherry trees bloom on the University of Washington campus, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The University of Washington, which has more than 57,000 students and more than 4,300 faculty members across its campuses and facilities, will no longer hold class in person starting Monday. This extends to all campuses through the end of the quarter on March 20, in an effort to protect people from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A small homeless encampment sits under a bride in Seattle. Officials in the Puget Sound region are bracing for the novel coronavirus to hit homeless shelters and camps.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX


Officials across the Puget Sound region are bracing for the novel coronavirus to hit homeless shelters and encampments, where they say the virus could pose more of a threat than in the general population. 

Discussion of the virus is expected to dominate a meeting of service providers Friday in Pierce County, where cases have yet to be reported. 

A man makes use of a hand-sanitizing station at CenturyLink Field prior to an MLS soccer match between the Seattle Sounders and the Chicago Fire, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

With the novel coronavirus outbreak continuing to grow in the Seattle area, a lot of people are working from home and rethinking large public gatherings. Right now, Saturday night's soccer match between the Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew is still happening at CenturyLink Field. Fans who do attend will find additional hand sanitizer stations and cleaning wipes at concession stands.

KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about how major health threats have impacted sports in our region — past and present. 

photo courtesy of Ken Finlayson

UPDATE, March 6, 2:55 pm: Adds that Lake Washington Superintendent Jane Stavem has announced her resignation as she takes a new position in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The east side of Lake Washington is where the state has seen a number of novel coronavirus cases, including deaths. Two school districts there are taking different approaches to the outbreak.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As new information emerges about coronavirus and COVID-19, seemingly multiple times a day, we wanted to take a moment and go back over the basics. Good basic information can do a lot to help in a crisis, and provide a foundation to make sense of new developments.

KNKX spoke with Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, professor emeritus at University of Washington School of Medicine. She also started the APEC Emerging Infections Network, to look at new illnesses emerging from highly populous countries in Asia.

(Rachel La Corte/ The Associated Press)

The novel coronavirus outbreak means that school district leaders are faced with making tough calls about whether to keep schools open.

District superintendents closed schools on Monday in Bothell, Renton, Kingston, Covington and Mukilteo. The Lake Washington School District, which encompasses the Kirkland hospital where the state’s coronavirus deaths have occurred, has not closed schools, in spite of an online petition that’s received thousands of signatures.

Wikimedia Commons

Two additional people in Washington state have tested positive for COVID-19.

The first case was found in a high school student from Snohomish County with no known travel history to a region affected by the virus. 

The other case is linked to travel. The woman from King County had traveled to South Korea in February and fell ill shortly after returning. 

Community leaders and public health officials gathered Friday in Seattle to say there has been a rise in racist incidents directed toward Asian Americans, including false accusations that they are more likely to carry the novel coronavirus.

Washington State has opened a quarantine facility to house travelers who could be at risk of the novel coronavirus. It's a dormitory normally used by recruits to the Washington State Patrol’s Fire Academy in North Bend.  The remote 50-acre facility, on the outskirts of North Bend, sits at the end of a 2 mile long mountainous road.

The quarantine facility will give travelers from the affected regions of China a place to stay while it’s confirmed they do not have the virus.