COVID-19 | KNKX

COVID-19

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler poses for a photo, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in his office at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

If you’re trying to find an individual health plan because you lost your job, beware of scammers. That’s the warning from Washington’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. He says right now there are a lot of people desperate to find affordable coverage and they’re easy marks for con artists.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

Since the onset of the pandemic, food insecurity rates have more than doubled in our state. That’s according to researchers at the University of Washington who have just compiled the results from their first round of a statewide survey. 

It was done this summer in cooperation with Washington State University and Tacoma Community College, as well as partners in local, county and state governments.

Ryan Davenport teaches seventh grade social studies at Keithley Middle School in Parkland. He's welcomed KNKX to follow one of his classes through this unprecedented year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

At schools around the region, a new ritual has been taking place. It’s the back-to-school, COVID-era laptop distribution, as almost all public schools in the state have begun the year with remote learning.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

UPDATE, Sept. 12: Thank you for attending Pandemic and Protests. If you were unable to attend or would like to view the program again, please see the link below. 

KNKX and Fresh Ground Stories present Pandemic and Protests: A Live Virtual Storytelling Event on Zoom on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. PDT. Hosted by KNKX's Jennifer Wing and Fresh Ground Stories' Paul Currington. Supported by Story Fruition through its work with new storytellers.

A trio of dogs peer out of the back, open window of a vehicle while on an outing Friday, April 3, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

UPDATE, 6 a.m. Sept. 10: Friday's pop-up event has been postponed due to wildfire conditions. You can find an up-to-date calendar of future events here.

Local animal shelters in King County have banded together to create a mobile pet food bank to help owners feed their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several organizations offer pet food to owners who need it. But after animal shelters initially closed in response to Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order, they decided to get out into the community with a truck and a tent.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

The King County Prosecutor’s Office recently filed it’s 11th domestic violence homicide charge for the year. There were only four domestic violence murder cases all of last year. Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which includes Washington state, also are up. Domestic violence experts say COVID-19 is making the situation for domestic violence victims worse.

Transmission Podcast
Adrian Florez / KNKX

 

In March of this year, as the novel coronavirus started to take hold of the region, students and teachers were notified that in person school was over and remote learning would get underway. At first, everyone thought the move to online learning would be temporary, but it wasn’t.

A record population of razor clams has just been counted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

It looks like it could be a wonderful year for razor clam digging. The state’s annual summer survey is done and Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayers says their count of clams at Long Beach came in at 24 million.

Nurses conduct a COVID-19 test at UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic in March. Skagit County will soon limit its own drive-through testing.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

Skagit County soon will limit its drive-through testing for COVID-19 to only those who live or work in the county. The change starts in less than a week, on Monday, Aug. 31. County officials say the current model is not sustainable.

courtesy of Kittitas school district

Only a handful of school districts in the state are aiming to hold school in person this fall. One of them is Kittitas School District in Central Washington, near Ellensburg.

More than 400 people who are incarcerated in Washington prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. Two have died. With crowded conditions, family and advocates are pushing for change.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

It’s been more than five months since the nation’s first novel coronavirus death happened, right here in the Seattle area.

Now, more than 100 vaccine candidates are being developed, and dozens have entered the human-trial stage. But they’re likely still a long way off from mass production and distribution.

In this episode of Transmission, host Gabriel Spitzer and producer Jennifer Wing discuss how the RNA vaccine works and why some elements of vaccine development are going so much more quickly than usual.

Kids in masks work on homework at the Boys and Girls Club in Ballard.
Boys and Girls Clubs of King County

Parents in Western Washington – and in many parts of the country – are facing a school year like no other. Most districts here will begin with no in-person instruction, and for parents or guardians who work outside the home, that means a scramble to find some kind of child care.

And many will have to dig into their pockets to pay for care during the seven hours or so when children normally attend school.

A person wears a mask as she waits to enter the Ram Restaurant and Brewery, Tuesday, June 23, in Tacoma.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Health officials in Pierce County are taking steps to learn just how many people are wearing masks in public, and if they’re wearing them correctly. They say their findings show it’s not enough, and habits vary widely depending on the type of location.

Staff and volunteers with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recently conducted a 48-hour survey, during which they observed people in more than 20 locations countywide.

Youths float atop stand-up paddle boards offshore at Seattle's Alki Beach on July 29. To the south, in Pierce County, large gatherings of young people are causing a surge in COVID-19 cases among people between the ages of 20 to 29 years old.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Right now, there are more than 2,000 contact tracers working across Washington state. Kelsie Lane is one of them.

Contact tracing is a low-tech approach to keeping the virus in check. But it’s only effective if officials have timely test results.

The port of entry to Point Roberts, a tan building with a flagpole out front.
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The border between the United States and Canada remains closed to all but essential travel. The closure went into effect in mid-March and it has been repeatedly extended as the pandemic grows, particularly in the U.S.

It’s caused a lot of difficulty for the people who live and work along the 5,525-mile border. But perhaps no community in the United States is in the situation of Point Roberts, Washington.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he is tightening restrictions throughout the state in restaurants and bars, for weddings and funerals, and at gyms in a further effort to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Some big school districts in King County say they plan to start the school year off virtually instead of in person. Those districts include Seattle, Bellevue, Renton and Highline.

The vaccine candidate's lead investigator is Jesse Erasmus, a post-doctoral fellow of microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Randy Carnell / UW Medicine

Researchers at the University of Washington are excited about a potential new vaccine against COVID-19. It’s an RNA vaccine that produces antibodies against COVID-19 in mice and primates.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

 UPDATE, 7:02 pm: Adds information about other UW researchers contributing to the project.

The pandemic is having profound effects on children, with everything from school disruptions to limited opportunities to play with other kids.

Economic insecurity is also taking a toll, and that’s the focus of two University of Washington researchers.

The carefully followed death toll from COVID-19 may not fully capture the loss of life during the pandemic. Analysis of state and federal statistics for deaths from all causes shows hundreds of additional deaths above normal levels this spring in the Pacific Northwest. Some or many of those may actually be missed COVID deaths.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

 

Tammy Edwards survived COVID-19. It was miserable, but she made it. She had hoped that once the virus ran its course, she could then get back to her life and her work as a nurse in Tacoma. 

Federal guidelines suggest a typical person sick with COVID should get better after a week or two. Tammy Edwards is three months past that point, and she is still recovering. 

Senate Television / Associated Press

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the child care industry into turmoil nationally and in Washington state. Many providers lost clients as parents shifted to working from home or got laid off.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

UPDATE, 9:10 pm: Adds information about school board directors' proposal that incorporates outdoor education.

As the clock ticks down toward the fall school year, the teachers union in Seattle said it’s not yet safe to return to school buildings, and three school board directors proposed a model of remote instruction with some outdoor education.

Wearing a mask for protection against the coronavirus, Henry Powell, puts his groceries in his car after shopping at a Safeway store in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 19, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press (file)

No mask, no service. That’s the new mantra as of Tuesday, when Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest order meant to thwart the spread of COVID-19 takes effect. It requires businesses statewide to enforce the mask mandate or risk big fines. 

The order comes in response to the resurgence in cases in numerous counties. The statewide mandate is based on one that took effect about a week ago in Yakima County.

But many front-line workers still aren’t sure how it will pan out.

Pierce County is losing ground against COVID-19. That’s the word from Dr. Anthony Chen, director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

In a blog post, Chen said the county will pause its plans to advance in the state’s four-phase reopening plan. He said the move to Phase 2 also brought an increase in cases.

No crowds this year for Canada Day in Victoria, B.C., because of the pandemic. But virtual celebrations will be held.
Jordan Rockerbie / Flickr Creative Commons

July 1 is Canada Day, when the country celebrates its formation in 1867. In any given year you can find celebrations across Canada, including in Victoria, B.C., where tens of thosuands of people come to the Inner Harbour District for festivals, fireworks, and the living flag — a huge crowd in white and red T-shirts directed into the pattern of Canada’s red-and-white maple leaf flag.

Not this year, though.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed interest across the country in mail-in voting — which is how Washington state voters have cast ballots universally for nearly a decade.

Washington's Secretary of State Kim Wyman often is called upon by those elsewhere to explain how the process works. She's also a Republican, and leaders of her party — including President Donald Trump — have expressed skepticism about the idea of voting by mail. (She says she'd like to convince him otherwise.)

A map of King County shows the rates of positive cases of COVID-19 by location. A statewide survey aims to add data and influence policy on food and economic security.
Public Health — Seattle & King County

How hard you’re hit by the coronavirus pandemic could be determined by your ZIP code. That’s according to researchers looking into how the outbreak has impacted the economic and food security of people in  Washington state.  

Steve Weaver, an unemployed bartender, is touring the state to raise awareness of the unemployed who are going weeks, and sometimes months, without unemployment.
Jennifer Wing

Since the COVID-19 pandemic landed in Washington, the economic fallout has driven more than a million people here to apply for unemployment insurance. These payments have become the safety net for workers during the worst recession in generations. 

But tens of thousands of people are still waiting for their benefits to appear in their bank accounts.  

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