CORONAVIRUS: Saturday toplines, as more King County cases are announced

9:58 PM: Hours after last night’s announcement of King County’s first coronavirus (COVID-19) case, today brought news of three more, including the nation’s first death from the new virus. Here are the toplines of what’s emerged since:

KING COUNTY CASES: None reported in Seattle so far, though no location has been given for the one reported last night, a woman in her 50s with a “mild” case. The three additional ones reported today include the person who died, described by Seattle-King County Public Health as “a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions … a patient at EvergreenHealth Hospital [in Kirkland] but not a resident of the long-term care facility..” The other two “are associated with LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland,” a health care worker in her 40s, currently in satisfactory condition at Overlake Hospital, and a woman in her 70s, a resident at LifeCar, now in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital. Health authorities say they’re expecting more cases because “over 50 individuals associated with LifeCare are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19.”

WHAT’S BEING DONE – KING COUNTY: King County Executive Dow Constantine activated the King County Emergency Operations Center “to coordinate the work of cities across the region.” His news release also announced, “King County Metro has also established an Incident Management Team to develop policy recommendations, operational strategies, and protocols for sustaining Metro operations in all contingencies.” At a media briefing downtown this afternoon, he said buses are being cleaned/vacuumed daily, and that any bus found to have “unsanitary conditions” will be taken out of service to be cleaned again.

WHAT’S BEING DONE – SEATTLE: Mayor Jenny Durkan said her Emergency Executive Board already has been working on the coronavirus response since January, and her news release said “the City will be activating its Emergency Operating Center to ensure continued coordination with our city, local, and state partners.”

WHAT’S BEING DONE – STATE: Gov. Jay Inslee said the state’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated since January; today he issued an emergency proclamation (PDF) “that directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.”

WATCH TODAY’S MEDIA BRIEFING: Best archived unedited version we could find:

NATIONAL OVERVIEW: Here’s updated info from the Centers for Disease Control, including recommendations for what you can/should do.

WHICH IS WORSE, CORONAVIRUS OR FLU? The New York Times takes on that question here.

ADDED SUNDAY MORNNG: 2 more King County cases just announced, including one at a downtown Seattle hospital.

ADDED 6 PM SUNDAY: Another update – now 10 cases total, including 2 deaths, in King County. We’ll publish a wrapup of the Sunday developments later this evening. (Note: URL corrected)

50 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Saturday toplines, as more King County cases are announced"

  • Bradley February 29, 2020 (10:15 pm)

    People need to either completely avoid riding mass transit or at least be very careful when doing so. France banned large indoor gatherings over 5000 people and we should do so here, as well.

  • TJ February 29, 2020 (11:26 pm)

    We should ban large indoor gatherings? So, no professional sports then? Concerts? People need to relax some on this. Taking extra precautions are good, but this is getting worked up to a fever frenzy. I have heard that people have been stockpiling supplies at the stores today. 

    • Bradley February 29, 2020 (11:47 pm)

      Curtailing them for 2-3 weeks in the Greater Seattle area would be prudent due to the sudden outbreak in Kirkland. That would give the CDC time to gauge this local flare up after King County reporting the first U.S. COVID-19 death. There’s possibility of several cases in a Kirkland nursing home with large familial and staff contact with the public. Our area, unfortunately, is now the U.S.  hotspot of the virus: the State with the first U.S. case, first U.S. death, domestic transmissions with non-global travellers, and the first State to have an emergency declaration. And, yes, store shelves are suddenly devoid of hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. People should NOT panic, but reasonable precautions are warranted.

    • WST March 2, 2020 (6:30 pm)

      Yes! It means cancelling large events. You’re dealing with a mass infection that spreads exponentially.  Notice that companies and government agencies are quietly cancelling events like conferences as well as travel. Cancelling these events is a minor inconvenience.

  • anonyme March 1, 2020 (6:37 am)

    Metro, since when does vacuuming eliminate viruses?   How does identifying “unsanitary conditions” apply to invisible contamination on every surface?   And what about drivers?  Are they being supplied with masks?  A different situation, but I was at Swedish a few weeks ago and listened as a health care worker wearing scrubs described to a friend on the phone how sick she was, had to take Benadryl, etc.  Bad enough that she was at work, but she was not wearing a mask.  It doesn’t bode well for anyone when even health care workers can’t follow common-sense rules.

  • J March 1, 2020 (7:38 am)

    Some of the more paranoid among us stocked up for potential quarantine, or just a little social distancing last week when California had a community acquired case. Around here it is always a good idea to have some “earthquake” or “camping” supplies handy anyway. If you’re out pantry shopping I would warn not to hoard, it’s in our best interest to leave plenty on the shelves for our neighbors, and everything expires eventually. Who wants to Kon Marie all over again? Let prudence rule.To all our new techie neighbors: Welcome to life in a major port city- it has its own risks and rewards. If you moved here into one of those new micro-condos, then I am sorry, they don’t have a place for your earthquake kit… what a mess that leaves in your one and only room… maybe just pick up a few bullion cubes for rehydration fluid after nausea or fever, that alone might keep you out of the hospital. Anyway, I’m sure you already know how to use meal delivery services if you’re a tech worker.  They seem to be functioning to feed our brothers and sisters in Wuhan.  Kirkland might look like a hotspot because they are the only ones testing. I don’t think testing is happening on the east coast. Stay well. 

    • CAM March 2, 2020 (12:38 am)

      I’m sorry, just to make sure I’m understanding, you’re taking 1,000s of deaths as an opportunity to shame new residents of the city and tell them they aren’t like you or everyone else?

  • Bmc March 1, 2020 (8:38 am)

    And what about BC? I believe they have around 8 cases including a woman who had visited Iran. Are they permitting Chinese flights? 

  • NotWorried March 1, 2020 (8:42 am)

    I can’t help but wonder why there is so much publicity over this. Influenza outbreaks are annual, worldwide events and have a significantly higher mortality rate. Why does the media want to create such a panic over this?

    • WSB March 1, 2020 (10:42 am)

      “The media” does not “want to create a panic.” Our job is to inform and that’s what’s happening here. Regarding the “but the flu” question, a reporter asked that one at the end of yesterday’s briefing. The reply: Unlike the flu, this is:
      -a new virus
      -no treatment (yet)
      -no vaccine (yet)

      Meantime, two more King County cases just announced, including one in a patient at a Seattle hospital.

      • Joe March 1, 2020 (11:57 am)

        WSB notwithstanding, of course some media want to create a panic about lots of things, it sells.

      • Stillnotworried March 1, 2020 (6:22 pm)

        To your point, yes it is new. Colds and flu were once new too. There is no vaccine for the flu that has proven scientifically effective and for treatment, I would think it would again be the same as for the common cold or flu, or is the media hiding a “new undisclosed treatment” for colds and flu? Don’t buy into the panic, just practice good hygiene and you’re more than likely going to be just fine. 

    • michael johnston March 1, 2020 (1:15 pm)

      How about making a valient attempt to not allow another potentially deadly virus to spread?   3% out of a hundred die from covid19.    That is 100,000 deaths, possibly more because the US could be quickly overloaded with patients.   So, whats the big deal?  The big deal is a mass spread of a flu that currently has no immunization.

    • tom March 1, 2020 (2:23 pm) is an 11 day old comparison with flu.Corona seems way more contagious than the flu for dtarters. it has as far as we can tell a 50 to 100 percent higher death rate, meaning three or four out of a hundred instead of 2 out of a hundred ,which does not seem like much unless the situation really is that everyone gets it because it’s so contagious.  My wife and I are 70, and we have respiratory issues, and it seems likely that we’d have a lot more trouble from Corona then from the cold we just recovered from or the flu.I got to wonder if your head is in the sand, I don’t feel like I’m over-reacting

      • Carol March 1, 2020 (8:33 pm)

        Hi Tom, I’m young and in good health, but I’m doing everything I can to decrease the spread of covid-19. I care about you and everyone else in our community whose immune system might not be 100%. I’m following all the guidelines shared by the cdc, trying to decrease social contact where possible, and I’m prepared to stay at home for 14 days if I get sick. My thoughts are with you and all the vulnerable people in our community.

    • Also John March 1, 2020 (5:00 pm)

      Bad info….The mortality rate for influenza is .1%.The mortality rate for Coronavirus is 2%.That’s 20× higher.  

      • Sniffles March 1, 2020 (6:26 pm)

        A 2%mortality rate? You have a much higher chance of dying in a car wreck than that. 

        • SeattleShutIn March 1, 2020 (7:57 pm)

          There are currently 2,233,163 people in King County 2% of that is 44, 463 people.
          Only 20 people died in traffic accidents last year in King County. 48 people the year before.

          Obviously not everyone in King County is going to get COVID-19 but please check your math, people that don’t want to take it seriously will probably get infected.

          Although people probably don’t need to be stocking up to the level I saw some citizens at the grocery stores this weekend, limiting public interactions, carrying some disinfectant wipes in my car and skipping mass transit are on my list for the next few weeks.

          I’m already stocked up with items I will use anyways.

          While I’m not personally panicking, this is only the beginning. . .

      • AMD March 1, 2020 (8:53 pm)

        A lot of people testing positive are asymptomatic so there is a high likelihood a bunch of people are walking around with the virus not knowing it (and not being reported) because they don’t have symptoms, meaning the overall death rate is likely much lower than 2%.  That said, washing your hands and not touching your face with your fingers every five minutes is good advice no matter what diseases are out there.  Hygiene, people.  Do it anyway.

  • Mj March 1, 2020 (9:30 am)

    TJ agreed.  Vulnerable people and those around them should take added precaution, but for the vast majority there is no need to change their day to day life activities!  

    • newnative March 1, 2020 (1:23 pm)

      It’s not always in the individual’s hands. Some companies are issuing new mandates due to COVID-19. We are being told to wear gloves on transit and take our computers home daily as we may be ordered to work at home.  We’re not worried about illness as much as the quarantines. The crashing stock market and drops in business will be likely causing layoffs too. So, it doesn’t matter how we feel about it, but how our supervisors react. 

  • Friend O'Dinghus March 1, 2020 (9:50 am)

    I encourage others to do something which I have been doing for years. When I go to the grocery, or big box stores, I routinely stop at the little stand that dispenses sanitized wipes, pull a single towelette, wipe my own hands, then the push bar of the cart I have selected.  But then, I take the remaining moist towelette and I wipe a few more push handles on other shopping carts (the ones that will be used by the next arriving customers) before discarding it. It costs nothing extra yet multiplies the protective effect from the single wipe. It’s become quite routine for me to do this. If others wish to make this their habit too, particularly over the next few weeks to months, your community will directly benefit. Stay safe everyone. Best preventative around is to wash those hands thoroughly many, many times a day, and stop touching your face without a tissue.

    • waikikigirl March 1, 2020 (4:28 pm)

      I just read an article when cleaning like office desk, shopping carts or just about anything do it a one way direction not back and forth, back and forth just keeps spreading any germs the 1st swipe may not have gotten…never thought about this before but it makes sense.

      • Friend O'Dinghus March 1, 2020 (8:32 pm)

        I am a bit embarrassed to admit that until fairly recently I didn’t actually understand how soap itself works. Ha! Yeah, I know how that sounds. I always imagined the lye somehow acted as a disinfectant, only to find out it’s really all about making the surface of your hands so slick that the bacteria and viruses cannot hang on. The ‘magic’ happens when combined with vigorous scrubbing, then rinsing it all away. With all that in mind, it makes sense to me that only unidirectional wiping would yield the best results, as the scraping of the surface is probably as important as the disinfectant properties. I will remember this now and incorporate it into my routine. Thanks! Oh, and I am going to start asking for a wipe so I can hit the pin pad terminals as I check out at all retail check stands. That way I will know that it got done at least once that day. Please store and building managers, and volunteers, hit hot spots those, and elevator buttons, etc. frequently for the next few weeks. You may just save a life.

        • waikikigirl March 2, 2020 (5:25 pm)

          I did (tried) the  one direction cleaning this morning at work…do you know how hard that is to do, it’s just habit to wipe back and forth!  geez!

  • LetsGetThrough March 1, 2020 (10:32 am)

    It’s obviously not good to panic but what about employing just a little common sense and compassion for your neighbors. I’ve seen so many really sick folks with violent coughs out and about. Same for their kids, just coughing up a storm and going about their business. At Lincoln Park on Saturday there was a woman walking with a group of about eight people. She’s got a hacking cough, coughing into her hands and when a couple approached to say hello, she extends the same hand she’s been coughing into. Please take some responsibility for yourself.  Some of us have pre-existing conditions that would likely make this virus really bad, possibly even lethal.

  • GOP in WS March 1, 2020 (11:05 am)

    Thank you for posting the briefing. I was surprised only one local station (Joe TV) carried the briefing live.

    • WSB March 1, 2020 (12:06 pm)

      More streamed it online but that doesn’t reach everyone, still. One likely factor: Not having a full production crew there on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve been out of TV news 12+ years now but some basics haven’t changed.

  • LaraK March 1, 2020 (11:46 am)

    Just wanted to say thank again to the WSBlog for keeping our community so well informed and connected as we head into a situation where things can unfold pretty rapidly. We’re lucky to have you!

  • neighbor March 1, 2020 (2:48 pm)

    The virus likely has been circulating in WA state since mid-January, y’all:

    • Janelle March 1, 2020 (6:46 pm)

      Yes, keep in mind that these are only the confirmed cases of people who have become so sick they had to be hospitalized and then were tested.  With there being confirmed cases, that means the bug is active in the community, and there are surely others currently infected and with the initial flu symptoms. Let’s not panic, but take reasonable measures to stay healthy as we can. Things like good hand washing, eating well, hydrating, getting adequate sleep, etc. seem like some reasonable things to me.

  • Wsparent March 1, 2020 (3:10 pm)

    Do you think the schools will close down? If so, at what point do you think they will?

    • Herongrrrl March 1, 2020 (6:19 pm)

      Did you see the press release SPS sent out today? I think at this point it isn’t likely they will shut the district down completely unless things get really bad, but I won’t be surprised to see individual schools get shut down for cleaning if cases are suspected or confirmed among students at the school, or their immediate families.

  • Andrea March 1, 2020 (3:41 pm)

    So far, from my reading, Lysol disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol and soap and water are the only thing that kills it on surfaces. So forget about clorox wipes, hydrogen peroxide and other stuff

    • Friend O'Dinghus March 1, 2020 (4:16 pm)

      Thanks Andrea. You said, ‘So far, from my reading…’. Do you mind if I ask where you were reading those figures? I would like to take a peek for myself. Appreciate it!

    • J March 1, 2020 (5:59 pm)

      I haven’t seen anything yet about comparative surface cleaners. Last I read there was no research to assess. Effectiveness was just extrapolated from known research on common cold virus sanitizing agents. I also would love to see anything reputable on this.

    • CAM March 2, 2020 (12:44 am)

      From work experience my knowledge is that alcohol based hand sanitizers are no more effective in general than non-alcohol based sanitizers. This is important because the alcohol based versions have some pretty hefty risks for certain populations. 

  • flimflam March 1, 2020 (4:12 pm)

    i’m curious why there was no info release regarding where the first known infected person had been in public – i recall reading that they were specifically declining to do so and contacting people he had been in contact with instead.while it was likely inevitable to start appearing, it would have been nice (i thiink) if folks could have decided for themselves weather they wanted to, say, shop where the sick person had been, banking, etc.

  • WSB March 1, 2020 (6:00 pm)

    *corrected the URL*

    Another update today – now 10 cases and two deaths total in King County.

    Like the past two nights, we’ll be posting a daily wrapup later this evening, but that’s the newest so far.

    • Janelle March 1, 2020 (6:54 pm)

      I’m wondering if there are there any statistics as to flu related deaths in our area, during this same period of confirmed coronavirus cases, for comparison? Maybe this could be something to keep an eye on and see how it trends?

  • TJ March 1, 2020 (7:00 pm)

    No, it’s not just hand sanitizer and disinfectants that are disappearing off store shelves. People are loading up on food as well according to clerks. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if traffic is lighter tomorrow because people are staying home. I don’t know if this generation could have made it in ww2 

    • West Seattle Hipster March 2, 2020 (9:07 am)

      Agreed.  Can you imagine the panic some of today’s society would have had during the Cuban muzzle crisis?   People need to relax and educate themselves.

  • Mark Schletty March 1, 2020 (7:17 pm)

    For those of you who think the death rate is so low we don’t need to worry much, I hope you’re young and healthy.  According to the World Health Organization studying the China outbreak the death rate for those 80 years old is  21.9%, for those 70 at least  8%(probably higher in confirmed cases), for those with diabetes  9.2%. Other breakdowns are available.  Maybe a little more sensitivity to the reality for others would be approprate.

  • joshuas mom March 1, 2020 (8:45 pm)

    Just FYI ~ in it’s online documents regarding coronavirus, CDC refers to an EPA list of products that successfully disinfect hard surfaces:  “Antimicrobial Products Registered for Use Against Influenza-A Virus on Hard Surfaces” which includes bleach and Lysol among a ton of others (many probably janitorial products designed for commercial use).  

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