Coronavirus 1308 results

Working @ home and missing your bike commute? Here’s an invitation

An open invitation from Kevin Freitas:

Afternoon, neighbors! With work-from-home requirements from my and many companies, my bike commute went from 14 miles a day to about 14 feet. Since this is pretty much my only form of exercise, I want to invite y’all to join me in a daily “commute” ride around our beautiful area. Here’s my plan:

Bike “Commute” Loop

Meet near SW Alaska/Fauntleroy (NW corner of Les Schwab parking lot)
Depart daily at 4 pm

Do a 11-ish mile loop from there, down Avalon, around Alki, then back up Fauntleroy from Lincoln Park

If you want to join, let me know or just show up. I plan to kick off tomorrow (Tuesday, 3/10) and promise no handshakes, but many a hearty thumbs-up.

CORONAVIRUS: Sunday 3/8 toplines – updated numbers; cruise concerns; college reminder; more…

Our nightly roundup of local (mostly, this time) info related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

KING COUNTY NUMBERS UPDATE: From the daily Seattle-King County Public Health update:

12 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/7/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 83.

Of the 12 new cases reported today, two are deaths. The total number of deaths reported to Public Health is now 17. The two deaths being reported today include:

A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/6/20
A man in his 90s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and who died 3/5/20

Of the 17 deaths reported, 16 are associated with Life Care Center.

NEW FORMAT FOR DAILY STATEWIDE REPORTS: As mentioned last night, the state changed the time and format for its daily reports (which are always at this link). Now it’s including the breakdown by age groups among confirmed COVID-19 cases among other stats – here are screengrabs from today’s report:

Again, those are STATEWIDE numbers. We have generally been just publishing the King County numbers in this nightly report, but with the format change, the statewide report seemed worth a closer look tonight.

LOOKING FOR A WORLDWIDE OVERVIEW? Try the Johns Hopkins-produced dashboard.

CRUISE CONCERNS + WHAT WE DISCOVERED ABOUT ONE QUARANTINED SHIP: With Seattle a major, albeit seasonal, cruise-ship hub, it’s worth noting that the State Department tweeted today that Americans should avoid cruising because of the coronavirus outbreak:

The cruise season in Seattle is scheduled to start April 1st – and when we looked up the schedule (PDF) tonight, we discovered that the first ship scheduled to call here is Grand Princess, currently dealing with a COVID-19 crisis. Grand Princess’s scheduled stop is its only Seattle visit on the schedule; it’s not listed as one of the ships slated to be based from here this season. But we’ll be following up tomorrow with the cruise line and the Port of Seattle.

(Port of Seattle photo, October 2019)

Added: Grand Princess also was the last cruise ship to stop in Seattle last year. 2nd addition: Here’s a comment from the port:

We appreciate the work of the federal government and cruise lines to institute new protocols related to cruise passenger safety and health. This is a rapidly developing situation and we are in daily contact with federal and local officials.

The safety, health, and well-being of cruise passengers, employees, community, and first responders always comes first. Therefore, we are actively reviewing multiple options about the launch of the 2020 cruise season with our cruise operators, the United States Coast Guard, public health authorities, and local leaders. We are using the time before cruise season starts to closely coordinate with our partners. We will report back to the public soon with further information about our upcoming plans for the season.

SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE REMINDER: In case you missed the Saturday announcement, a reminder – South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) is ceasing most in-person classes and moving to “alternative modes of instruction” for the rest of winter quarter starting Tuesday, after taking tomorrow to plan and communicate. SSC’s updates are here.

GLOBAL READING CHALLENGE: With Seattle Public Library events canceled – though the facilities remain open – that mean the Global Reading Challenge semifinals, set to start continuing tomorrow morning, are going “virtual.”

WHAT’S CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED LOCALLY: We’re keeping a West Seattle list – see it here. If your organization, business, church, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, PLEASE let us know – westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302.

WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Everything we publish related to the COVID-19 situation is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.

CORONAVIRUS: Saturday 3/7 toplines – newest numbers; college changes; more…

Here’s our nightly roundup of local info:

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From today’s official Seattle-King County Public Health announcement:

13 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/6/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 71.

Of the 13 new cases reported today, two are deaths. In addition, two cases previously reported last week are people who have now died. The total number of deaths reported to Public Health is now 15. The four deaths being reported today include:

A man in his 70s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/2/20. This case is included in the 13 new cases being reported today.

A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and who died 3/5/20. This case is included in the 13 new cases being reported today.

A woman in her 70s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/6/20. This case was previously reported on 3/5/20.

A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/6/20. This case was previously reported on 3/2/20.
Of the 15 deaths reported, 14 are associated with Life Care Center.

If you are interested in statewide numbers/info, see the Washington Department of Health COVID-19 page. (Added: The DOH announced tonight that the time and format of its daily statewide reports will change starting tomorrow.)

‘ALTERNATIVE MODES OF INSTRUCTION’ AT SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE: The Seattle Colleges, including South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), whose main campus is on Puget Ridge, announced this morning that they are moving to “alternative modes of instruuction” for the rest of the winter quarter. “Classroom and instructional staff will make local decisions about which modes to employ for each particular course,” says the announcment, so wait to hear from faculty.

CHANGES FOR CHURCHES: Some are canceling services. Some are going online. Some are already there. Here’s our roundup.

FARMERS’ MARKET IS ON TOMORROW: Here’s the story we published Friday with market managers explaining why they ARE going ahead with West Seattle and other markets.

REVIEW THE RECOMMENDATIONS: SKCPH’s guidance on how to protect yourself and others is here.

WHAT’S BEING CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED: Our West Seattle list continues growing – see it here. If your organization, business, church, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, please let us know – westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302.

WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Everything we publish related to all this is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.

CHURCHES: Some in West Seattle cancel Sunday worship, some go online, and other changes

This is the first weekend since Seattle-King County Public Health recommended avoiding “large gatherings” to try to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). So that’s forced a difficult decision for churches and other faith-based groups/institutions – houses of worship are not just gathering places, they’re also high-touch environments, from handshakes to Holy Communion. We’ve heard from some directly, and those with changes/cancellations are on our ongoing list, but here’s a closer look at what some are doing:

Back on Thursday, West Seattle’s three UCC churches – Admiral, Alki, and Fauntleroyissued a joint announcement that they would cancel services for the next three weeks. “As part of the wider community, we have the opportunity to potentially make a positive impact upon the spread of this coronavirus through our actions, our influence and our care,” said Fauntleroy UCC pastor Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski. (A reader tipped us while we were writing this that Fauntleroy UCC has decided to stream on 2 platforms including Twitch tomorrow morning.)

Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) is cancelling tomorrow’s service. “We will reassess next week on what to do for the following Sunday. … Please pray for one another and our neighbors as we navigate this uncharted territory together,” said pastor Rev. Sarah Casey.

Hope Lutheran Church also announced it’s canceling tomorrow’s service, but promising that its website will feature “an online worship experience … including worship music, a message from Pastor Peter, and an opportunity to pray for the people of our congregation and community.”

The churches that are planning to go live online include Westside Unitarian Universalist, planning a “virtual service” via the platform Zoom. The announcement notes, “We are practicing a new way of worshipping together, responding to public health concerns. We give thanks for the gifts of an emergent faith tradition that can sustain us in times of mystery.”

Others already stream as a supplement to their in-person services, and Arbor Heights Community Church is one that plans to do both tomorrow as usual. For those attending in person, they’re making a few changes such as suspending snack service.

Trinity West Seattle is also going ahead with in-person worship while also offering a live stream. No communion, no baked goods and coffee, and they’re not even passing the offering basket, according to this update.

At West Seattle Christian Church, they’re using “k-cup individual sealed communion cups (wafer & juice),” and their snack bar will either focus on individually wrapped snacks on food and coffee “served by a volunteer wearing gloves.” WSCC adds in its message, “We are prepared, if necessary, to go to an online worship service only …”

The communion challenge is one that Catholic churches are dealing with too. The specifics are on pages like this one for Our Lady of Guadalupe, which not only notes changes to Mass practices, but also points out that the holy-water font has been drained.

For more church changes, see our ongoing list of West Seattle cancellations/postponements/changes – and if/when you have something to add, please email us at westseattleblog@gmail.com or use our hotline, text/voice, 206-293-6302.

SCHOOLS: South Seattle College ‘moving to alternative modes of instruction’ for rest of winter quarter

Just announced by Seattle Colleges, the system that includes South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) – the system is “moving to alternative modes of instruction” immediately. From the announcement posted online:

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any Seattle Colleges locations.

Beginning Monday, March 9, Seattle Colleges is moving from in-person classroom instruction to the appropriate alternative modality for each class, when and where possible. This includes satellite locations and will continue through the end of the Winter Quarter (March 25). The move is in accordance with the COVID-19 recommendations from Public Health ­­— Seattle and King County to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.

Classroom and instructional staff will make local decisions about which modes to employ for each particular course. Colleges and instructors will send more detailed information soon.

No Classes Monday, March 9, for Faculty Prep; Instructional Resources, Business and Student Services Remain Open

There will be no classes on Monday, March 9. Instead, faculty and staff will use the day to adapt their coursework to the alternative formats and communicate with students. Classes will resume Tuesday, March 10, reflecting the instructional changes.

All student and business services will remain open and maintain regular business hours and students are welcome on campus to use the services as necessary.

Students should contact their instructors with any course-related questions or concerns about having access to appropriate technology.

Moving instruction to alternative modes will help minimize the number of people physically on campus and help maintain the “social distancing” prescribed by health officials.

If a member of the Seattle Colleges community tests positive for COVID-19, district operations will be reassessed.

We’ll update this story if/when we see/receive SSC-specific information. The move away from in-person classes already has been announced by many other area colleges/universities.

CORONAVIRUS: Friday 3/6 toplines – newest numbers; library cancellations; SW 112th quarantine-facility update; more…

Exactly one week ago tonight, we got word of the first confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in King County. Here are today’s key local developments:

NEW KING COUNTY CASES: From the daily Seattle-King County Public Health update:

7 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/5/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 58.

In addition, a person who was previously reported, a male in his 60s, has now died. He was not a resident of Life Care Center of Kirkland, but was a visitor. He died on 3/5/20. The total number of deaths in King County reported to Public Health is 11.

Of the 58 cases, 34 are residents of or associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland. Eighteen are residents, six are staff, and 10 are visitors or family members. Of the 11 deaths reported, ten are associated with Life Care Center.

The county is no longer providing case-by-case info, except for deaths. To our knowledge, no cases to date have West Seattle links.

BRIEFING: No SKCPH-focused briefing today, but Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and most of our state’s U.S. House delegation held a briefing this morning, mostly to talk about funding for the crisis response (though there also was discussion of the Kirkland Life Care Center situation). Here’s the video:

The federal aid will include loans for small businesses sent reeling by effects of the crisis.

LIBRARY CHANGES: While Seattle Public Library facilities remain open, SPL has canceled all events and programs for the rest of the month. Here’s the announcement made late today. The message on the SPL website says:

Due to current guidance from public health officials and in the interest of protecting the high-risk populations we serve and the high-risk populations who volunteer for us, the Library is canceling all programs, events, meeting room bookings, outreach activities and Bookmobile services during the month of March. At this time, all physical Library locations continue to operate with standard hours.

The King County Library System – which has a nearby branch in White Center – is doing the same.

SENIOR CENTER OF WEST SEATTLE CHANGES: Again today, the Senior Center of West Seattle issued an operational update, focusing on how it will handle “essential programs” next week. Read the update here.

NEW INFO ABOUT TOP HAT QUARANTINE FACILITY: We covered an hourlong telephone briefing today about the King County plan for a quarantine facility at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat (east of White Center), first announced Tuesday. New details emerged regarding how it will be managed and who it’s for; the call also included some strong words of opposition from community members. See our report here.

SCHOOLS: Seattle Public Schools remain open, though – as noted last night – they’ve canceled some events/programs. This statement is part of tonight’s daily update from SPS:

On March 5, Public Health Seattle and King County provided revised guidance to reduce exposure to COVID-19 in the general population. Public Health is recommending, but not requiring, that people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 stay home and away from large groups of people. People at higher risk, according to Public Health, include those who are 60 years and older; people who are pregnant; people with weakened/compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

How does this “at risk” population guidance effect Seattle Public Schools?

The health of our staff matters to us. Seattle Public Schools has close to 11,000 part-time and full-time employees, and some who meet the “at risk” criteria. In our effort to help disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and protect our staff and students, these employees, with required documentation, may need to stay home.

Our goal is to keep our doors open as long as possible, while prioritizing the health and safety of our students. With that said, we are tracking staff and student attendance daily. In order to keep schools open we need to have enough staff to provide a safe learning environment for students. We also want to make sure that staff who need to self-quarantine because of high risk or illness take time off. We have canceled all events, workshops, field trips, etc. that require a substitute teacher and deployed our certified central office staff, an estimated 100 educators, to support in our 104 schools.

While some universities elsewhere in Seattle are going online for the rest of the quarter, South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle is continuing classes – here’s the daily update for SSC and its sibling colleges.

WHAT’S BEING CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED: Our West Seattle list continues to grow – see it here. If your organization, business, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, please let us know – westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302.

WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Whatever we publish related to all this is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.

Why the West Seattle Farmers’ Market WILL be open this Sunday

After the question came up in a WSB comment discussion earlier today, we called West Seattle Farmers’ Market management to verify they WILL be open on Sunday. Since then, they’ve sent this news release saying all markets will indeed be open this weekend, and explaining why:

Farmers Markets in Seattle will continue as planned this weekend, including the University District, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets, run by the nonprofit Neighborhood Farmers Markets, and the Ballard Farmers Market, run by the Seattle Farmers Market Association. The markets offer year-round economic opportunity to over 200 Washington State farmers and local food businesses, and also provide access to fresh nutritious food in local settings.

According to annual data collected by the Neighborhood Farmers Markets, the majority of their direct-to-consumer farm businesses earn 70% or more of their household income from the farmers markets. Only some businesses have secondary sales channels such as wholesale or restaurant purchasing, so a downturn in attendance will likely take a toll during a month when many farmers are making significant purchases for the upcoming growing season.

“It is important that everyone understand farmers markets are a place to buy nutritious local food, not a social event,” says Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Markets. “As an organization based in community connection, our top priority is the health and wellness of market shoppers, vendors, and our staff.” Farmers markets work closely with King County Public Health to ensure safety and cleanliness throughout the year. In the wake of concern over COVID-19 in King County and guidance that large gatherings be postponed, market organizers have been proactively consulting on additional measures, and are voluntarily implementing the following to help prevent the spread of illness.

• Public handwashing stations will be available for shoppers;

• Customary cancellation fees are not being charged to any vendor who cancels due to illness or concern over public contact;

• Handwashing posters and public health information will be posted;

• Cooking demonstrations, public seating, and special events within the market have been cancelled to reduce close proximity gathering and increase available supplies for handwashing stations;

• A zero-tolerance policy for market staff or vendors who attend the market if they are experiencing illness;

• Everyone is cooperating to ensure cleanliness of “high touch” items and areas, such as card readers and touch screens.

Alessandra Gordon, owner of Ayako and Family and longtime vendor at the U-District and Ballard Farmers Markets stated, “Health and safety is important – know and trust that the small food businesses and farmers in your area are continuing best practices.”

“It’s a tricky situation in that farmers markets are public gatherings.” says Colleen Donovan, Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, “Farmers markets bring people together precisely to promote health through good food and community, so public health is always top of mind. And they are also places of business and the embodiment of local supply chains for healthy food which is always important and even more so now.”

The market happens in the street on California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska, 10 am-2 pm Sundays.

Senior Center of West Seattle’s updated plan for programs/services, looking ahead to next week

Another update today from the Senior Center of West Seattle, looking ahead to next week:

The Senior Center of West Seattle (SCWS) shares your concerns about the rapidly evolving and expanding global novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at the SCWS, nor any staff with symptoms.

The SCWS will be closed through Friday, March 13th except for the essential programs listed below. We do not have a date that we will be reopening due to these exceptional circumstances and we are following recommendations from the King County Department of Public Health.

SCWS ESSENTIAL PROGRAM UPDATE

Community Dining – starting on Monday, March 9th we will be providing sack lunches to participants 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10th Food Bank Distribution – We will provide prepared bags of food for pick-up starting at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, March 11th Meals on Wheels will be delivered as normal.

Social Workers are continuing outreach and will have office hours for individuals as needed.

Tax Help Appointments – will take place on Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th.

Stop and Shop: We will keep the Stop and Shop open as long as we have volunteer coverage. Communications will go out as we know more and if we have to close.

The Washington State Department of Health and Seattle & King County Public Health advise that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large public gatherings where there will be close contact with others. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified that there is an increased risk of exposure for people with weakened immunity, pregnancy, and those over the age of 60 in large gatherings.

CARE FOR OUR COMMUNITY

As we continue to monitor and respond to the situation, we request your partnership in keeping everyone in the community healthy and minimizing the spread of infectious disease. To facilitate this goal, if you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath OR have traveled to a country the CDC has designated with a travel warning level 3 (Mainland China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan) in the last 14 days, please do not enter the buildings. We recognize that we must each do our part, individually and collectively, to provide the safest possible environment for our PNA community.

Additionally, the SCWS reminds you to exercise caution when reading and using social media responsibly. There is a great deal of misinformation on social media platforms that may alarm or mislead your family or others. You can find accurate, up to date information on webpages set up by the CDC at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the Washington State Department of Health at Novel Coronavirus Outbreak 2020.

We will continue to communicate frequently about the SCWS response and post updates on our website (www.sc-ws.org) and our phone message 206-932-4044 and westseattleblog.com.

We’ll keep the newest Senior Center update linked on our cancellations, postponements, changes page, too.

CORONAVIRUS: New information about King County’s planned Top Hat quarantine/isolation site

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New information on the King County quarantine/isolation facility planned at 206 SW 112th [map] in Top Hat, just east of White Center, first announced Tuesday. The new details emerged in a conference call meeting that county reps organized for community members; we were on that call, which just concluded, for WSB and partner site White Center Now.

The site will start up with two 4-room trailers, with up to six more when a vacant building on the site is demolished. (Above is our photo of the first trailer that was delivered Tuesday – the county had 14 in storage on Harbor Island.) The county has now decided NOT to open the site until utilities including water/sewer are hooked up to the trailers’ built-in bathrooms – they originally had said they would start with portable toilets and hand-washing stations but have scrapped that plan. They expect the connections will be complete by the middle of next week.

The site will NOT have medical staff – but the county plans to “check in” with people at least twice a day. They also plan to deliver food and other supplies. And they will have 24-hour security who will “notify” county reps if someone leaves the site.

Who will be there? Criteria are still being developed, the county reps said. Three scenarios were mentioned for starters – people who are traveling and have nowhere else to go, people who are unhoused, people who can’t “self-quarantine” because of a situation at their home such as an at-risk person also living there.

How long will someone stay? If they’re being tested – until the test results are in, if those results are negative. If they’re ill, “until they’ve recovered.”

The call wasn’t strictly informational – strong opposition was voiced, primarily by people pointing out that the area is home to low-income people and other marginalized populations and should not have to bear this burden and risk. “10,000 people are opposed” was mentioned – apparently a reference to this online petition. But county reps were clear – this decision has been made and will not change.

Those on the call, besides several staffers from various county departments such as Local Services, included County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta. McDermott said County Executive Dow Constantine‘s request for emergency funding will be approved at next Tuesday’s King County Council meeting.

We have a few other details to add shortly.

ADDED 12:58 PM: First, for those wondering about the other two quarantine sites, the county has provided these addresses – 531 Elliott Avenue West [map] in Interbay and 1132 N. 128th Street [map] in North Seattle. The Top Hat site was formerly home to the Wilderness Technology Alliance.

Julie Hiatt of the North Highline Fire District, which serves the area, was on the call and said NHFD had not even had a meeting with the county to talk about this; one was promised. County reps also said they were not intending for NHFD to have to transport patients to/from the site; they are working with potential providers such as Tri-Med.

One community member on the call was aghast at the single-security-guard plan: “You’re bringing this into poor communties and telling us there’s going to be one security guard for people who might leave?” Security plans would be re-evaluated along the way, county reps said. Another community member: “If this is going to spread, this is not the community you want it to spread in – most (nearby) people don’t even have health insurance.” The site is in a densely populated area of North Highline, with neighboring apartment complexes including the huge new Southside by Vintage across SW 112th.

Another community member: “It seems like an experiment. … The community does not want this facility here. It’s going to cause death … There is death attached to this facility.” County reps countered that this was meant to save lives; Local Services director John Taylor countered, “The consequence to the community of not doing this could be disastrous.”

The call ended after an hour but more communication including an email list was promised.

CORONAVIRUS: Thursday toplines

Here’s our nightly roundup of the major local developments from the past 24 hours or so:

NEW KING COUNTY CASES/DEATHS: No King County briefing today, but the daily news release from Seattle-KC Public Health began:

This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County. All King County residents should follow Public Health recommendations. Together, we may potentially impact the spread of the disease in our community. Public Health – Seattle & King County announces today 20 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County residents. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 51, including 10 deaths.

The newly reported death was a previously reported case:

This new death was in a woman in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She died on 3/3/20. With these 20 new results, the total number of cases in King County is 51. The total number of deaths is ten. As more laboratory capacity for testing comes online, more tests and results will be reported. We will no longer be routinely providing details about each case.

Later in the day, one particular case did get some more light in a separate announcement:

A part-time employee at CenturyLink Field who worked at the Feb. 22 Seattle Dragons game has tested positive for COVID-19, though risk to fans who attended is low, according to county health officials.

CANCELLATIONS/POSTPONEMENTS: Our West Seattle list continues to grow – see it here. We are also publishing major institutional/organizational announcements as we get them. Three of note today:
Senior Center of West Seattle changes starting tomorrow
Three local UCC churches cancel worship TFN
Seattle Parks cancels senior (Lifelong Recreation) programs TFN

If your organization, business, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, please let us know – westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302.

WHY NOT CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS? That question keeps coming up, so here’s how SKCPH addressed it today:

Public Health is not currently recommending that schools proactively close unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or student.

This guidance may have been confusing for some families and schools because schools bring together large groups of children. School closures have significant negative impacts on our community. We will be providing additional information to schools about how to stay open safely. The considerations we have taken in our decision not to currently recommend routine closure at schools include:

Children are not known to get seriously ill from COVID-19
Closing schools may not be effective because some children may congregate anyway, at other locations
Many parents, such as healthcare workers, need to be at work. If these critical workers stay home with children it causes significant impacts on the healthcare system and other institutions that are essential for our community to function
If schools close, some children might have to stay home with alternative caregivers, such as elders, who are more vulnerable
We don’t know how effective children are in spreading this disease
Some children and staff may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. Public Health advises that those people consult with their healthcare provider to decide the best course of action.

Public Health also respects each individual school’s decisions about closures, postponement of activities, or other social distancing measures – as each school knows the needs of their community best.

Public Health is continually assessing our decision not to require the widespread closure of schools. We are continually evaluating information as it becomes available to better inform our decisions about proactive schools closure.

Seattle Public Schools is canceling some events and activities – here’s today’s SPS update.

CITY BRIEFING: One day later than originally scheduled, the City Council heard from department heads this afternoon – here’s video of the 2-hour briefing:

SMALL BUSINESSES HURTING: During that briefing, District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told a city Office of Economic Development rep that she had heard from a West Seattle small-business owner (who she did not identify) who had warned that they and others were seeing a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in business compared to this time last year, and just a few months of that could be catastrophic.

ADDED SHELTER/ENCAMPMENT SPACE: Mayor Durkan announced today that one tiny-house encampment will be expanded and one added; neither is in West Seattle. You can read her announcement here.

SCAM WARNING: State Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned that COVID-19-pegged scams are circulating.

STATE TOTALS: Want a wider look: The state Department of Health page is updated daily.

(added) VICE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Here’s video of Gov. Inslee and Vice President Pence speaking to/with reporters this evening:

(added) WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CONFIRMED/SUSPECTED COVID-19 OR FEAR YOU MIGHT: Just in late tonight from Seattle-King County Public Health, this advice.

WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Whatever we publish is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.

West Seattle’s three UCC churches announce worship cancellations

Just in, this joint announcement from West Seattle’s three UCC churches – NO illness cases, but they have decided on this response to Seattle-King County Public Health recommendations (as listed again in today’s update):

Church leadership at Admiral Congregational U.C.C., Alki U.C.C. and Fauntleroy U.C.C. have made the decision to cancel worship services and adapt operations for the next three weeks, given yesterday’s recommendations by King County. These recommendations included that those over the age of sixty or with underlying health conditions remain at home and that community gatherings of greater than ten people be cancelled.

The decision was made individually by all three churches with the utmost concern for both their own congregants and the wider community of Seattle. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the participants of the three churches at this time.

“As part of the wider community, we have the opportunity to potentially make a positive impact upon the spread of this coronavirus through our actions, our influence and our care,” Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski of Fauntleroy Church shared. “We are in conversation around how to best continue and possibly increase our ministry to congregants, to our friends at Camp Second Chance, and to the wider community in alternative manners during this crisis.”

“While we are called by our faith to live without fear, we are also called to care for our neighbors as ourselves,” said Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom from Admiral Church. “Our leadership believes that this choice, coupled with critical visitations and increased on-line education and worship resources, will provide that care to our community. We are grateful that we live in a time where alternative forms of connectivity are so readily available.”

Rev. Kelly Wadsworth also shared: “Alki UCC takes seriously our role in the common good and we seek to be a good neighbor to the Alki area during these COVID-19 times by reconfiguring the ways our spiritual community meets together and by offering flexible gathering space to the groups that regularly meet in the building.”

The Fauntleroy Y and Little Pilgrim Preschool at Fauntleroy UCC will remain open until further notice from leadership of those bodies. Other groups that utilize Fauntleroy Church’s space are being encouraged to consider County recommendations. A Child Becomes Preschool at Admiral Church will also remain open until further notice. The preschool director will be in communication with the families directly for updates. Recovery groups will continue at their own discretion. Kol-HaNeshamah (KHN), Alki UCC’s partner synagogue which shares Alki UCC’s building, has also announced cancellation of all gatherings through March 15, according to KHN Acting Executive Director, Connie Burk.

All three churches are individually making plans for how to adapt their ministries in continuing to best serve their respective communities. They encourage the community to visit their websites for updates in coming days and weeks: www.fauntleroyucc.org alkiucc.org and admiralchurch.org

We will link this to our ongoing Cancellations/Postponements page (which is atop the WSB Event Calendar) as well as in tonight’s nightly roundup of local COVID-19-related developments.

P.S. Any other churches – as well as schools, organizations, groups, businesses, etc. – with changes/cancellations, please let us know! westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you.

Operational update from Senior Center of West Seattle

March 5, 2020 12:44 pm
|    Comments Off on Operational update from Senior Center of West Seattle
 |   Coronavirus | West Seattle news

While NO cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been linked to West Seattle so far, many local organizations/insttutions are making operational changes to respond to Seattle-King County Public Health recommendations (here’s the newest list). We’ve just received this from Senior Center of West Seattle interim executive director Amy Lee Derenthal, and we’re publishing it separately because of the center’s major role in the community:

Thursday, March 5 – Business as usual.

Friday, March 6 – We will be closing the Senior Center as of Friday morning for all non-essential programs. We do not have a reopen date at this time due to the unusual circumstances.

These essential programs are continuing until further notice:

Tax Help Appointments – will take place on Friday, March 6 and TBD for the following week.

Community Dining – starting on Monday, March 9th we will be providing sack lunches to participants.

Tuesday, March 10th Food Bank Distribution – We will provide prepared bags of food for pick-up.

Stop and Shop: We will keep the Stop and Shop open as long as we have volunteer coverage. Communications will go out as we know more and if we have to close.

Staff will be communicating with instructors, volunteers and members about the closure. We do not know at this time how long we will be closed and will keep the community updated. Please check our website as well as (WSB) for updates.

We will also link this information to our Cancellations/Postponements page, which can be found atop the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar TFN.

CORONAVIRUS: Wednesday toplines – new cases; recommendations; cancellation list; schools; ferries; more

Though we published new information earlier today, that’s not all you should know about, so here’s our nightly roundup:

NEW KING COUNTY CASES/DEATHS: From today’s daily Seattle-King County Public Health update:

COVID-19 test results have come back from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirming ten additional cases of COVID-19 in King County residents including one death. With these ten new results, the total number of cases in King County is 31. The total number of deaths is nine.

The ten new cases are in:
A female in her 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
A male in his 50s, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized
A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at Evergreen
A female in her 90s, Life Care resident, was hospitalized at Evergreen and died on 3/3/20
A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
A male in his 30s, no known exposure, not hospitalized
A female in her teens, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized
A male in his 80s, a resident of Life Care, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

The announced-earlier cases and deaths are recapped here.

SKCPH RECOMMENDATIONS: Also at this afternoon’s King County briefing, these recommendations – NOT requirements – were announced:

*People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:

-People 60 and older
-People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
-People who have weakened immune systems
-People who are pregnant

Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness

If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.
Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, Public Health will work with the school and the district to determine the best measures including potential closure of the school.
All people should not go out when they are sick.
Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.

CANCELLATIONS & POSTPONEMENTS: Those recommendations have started leading to some local postponements and cancellations, so we launched a list. You can find the list here as well as atop our Event Calendar page. Please let us know of cancellations, postponements, changes by emailing westseattleblog@gmail.com or texting/calling our hotline, 206-293-6302.

SCHOOLS: At noted in today’s briefing (the video is atop our afternoon report), it’s up to local schools/districts to decide when/whether to close schools. There are NO cases in Seattle Public Schools, which is publishing daily updates here. From today’s update:

As of today, Public Health continues to recommend that we don’t close schools unless there is a lab-confirmed COVID-19 test result for a student or staff person in attendance at the school. …

Schools are prioritizing hand washing when students arrive at school, anytime they have used the restroom, and prior to lunch. Staff are reinforcing good hygiene and reminding students to sneeze into a tissue or elbow, not to touch their face, and reducing physical hand contact. And, our custodial staff have been working tirelessly to prioritize cleaning common and high traffic areas multiple times a day.

We have also postponed all district-sponsored out of state travel (flights, bus, car, etc.) for staff and students through the end of the school year, including district-sponsored field trips and international travel. Washington state travel is still approved, but flights are cancelled. Schools are working with families on reimbursements and the superintendent will be issuing a letter of support this week to provide to travel agencies and airlines.

Additionally, we have cancelled all school-day professional development in order to prioritize substitute coverage in schools so that we can maintain a focus on student learning.

WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: The alerts page on the WSF website now carries a coronavirus advisory – this is the heart of it:

We have received questions from customers concerned about having to exchange money or passes with tollbooth staff. Unfortunately, wireless or hands-free ticket scanning is not available at all of our terminals, so it would be very difficult for staff to completely avoid handling money or transit passes. The CDC urges people to practice good personal hygiene, especially hand-washing and using hand sanitizer, as the best defense.

In addition to taking the personal health preparedness steps that have been widely circulating in the news – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, cover coughs and sneezes – there are some other things passengers might consider doing to protect themselves while on the ferry. For example, those who drive onto the ferry are welcome to stay in their vehicle for the duration of the crossing to avoid congested public areas. Those in the passenger cabin should try to maintain a personal distance of six feet; according to the CDC, that is a safe distance to avoid catching most respiratory viruses.

QUARANTINE SITES: During today’s briefing, County Executive Dow Constantine announced that in addition to the Top Hat modular-housing site unveiled Tuesday, the county will also set up portable buildings at sites in Interbay and North Seattle. They have been in storage on Harbor Island and are like this one we photographed at the Top Hat site yesterday:

He also said the motel the county is buying is in Kent (where city leaders are unhappy, The Seattle Times reports). He acknowledged community concerns about the Top Hat site and explained the criteria that it met. No one has been moved to any of those sites yet.

WHAT’S NEXT: Public-health agencies are continuing to release new information daily, late morning or early afternoon. Watch the SKCPH site here and the state Health Department site here. Tomorrow, the Seattle City Council is having a special meeting to discuss Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s civil-emergency proclamation (1 pm Thursday); their planned committee briefing this afternoon with city department heads was cancelled. (Added) Also Thursday, Vice President Pence visits our state; he and Gov. Jay Inslee plan a joint briefing at 5 pm.

WSB COVERAGE: It’s all categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.

CORONAVIRUS: King County leaders’ recommendations for you, as new case numbers are announced at ‘critical moment’ in local fight

(Added: Archived video of today’s briefing)

While we’ve been publishing nightly roundups of each day’s local coronavirus (COVID-19)-related highlights, and will continue to do that, today we’re publishing King County’s daily news release sooner, because it includes recommendations that everyone will want to consider. Here it is:

State and local officials announced today new recommendations to King County residents aimed at reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on the lives of people in our community. We are making these recommendations in consultation with CDC based on the best information we have currently to protect the public’s health.

This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and these measures can potentially impact the spread of the disease.

Public Health is recommending, but not requiring, the following steps:

· People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:

o People 60 and older

o People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes

o People who have weakened immune systems

o People who are pregnant

· Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness

· If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.

· Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time unless there has been a confirmed case in the school. Public Health – Seattle & King County also respects an individual school’s decisions about closures or postponement of activities as each school knows the needs of their community best.

· All people should not go out when they are sick.

· Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of the “large gatherings” recommendation, we are starting to get word of some cancellations – we have launched a list here that we will continue to update as info comes in. Now back to today’s news release:)

More detail on these measures will be available at www.kingcounty.gov/covid

Case update:

COVID-19 test results have come back from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirming ten additional cases of COVID-19 in King County residents including one death. With these ten new results, the total number of cases in King County is 31. The total number of deaths is nine.

The ten new cases are in:

· A female in her 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

· A male in his 50s, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized

· A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

· A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

· A male in his 60s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at Evergreen

· A female in her 90s, Life Care resident, was hospitalized at Evergreen and died on 3/3/20

· A female in her 70s, Life Care resident, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

· A male in his 30s, no known exposure, not hospitalized

· A female in her teens, associated with Life Care, not hospitalized

· A male in his 80s, a resident of Life Care, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

No other details about the 10 cases reported today are available currently.

21 other cases, already reported earlier by Public Health, include:

Read More

CORONAVIRUS: Tuesday updates – new cases, 1st quarantine site, another local school to be cleaned, more

Here’s our nightly roundup of coronavirus (COVID-19) news toplines:

LATEST NUMBERS IN KING COUNTY: Seattle-King County Public Health is now announcing new numbers around 11 am daily. Today, it’s up to 21 cases total, including eight deaths. The newly announced cases:

A female in her 40s, worked at LifeCare, never hospitalized and is recovering at home
A female in her 60s, family member of a confirmed case of COVID-19, not hospitalized
A male in his 70s, a frequent visitor of LifeCare, hospitalization status unknown currently
A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on 2/26/20

All the cases/deaths in King County so far are listed in today’s SKCPH news release.

AMAZON WORKER ILL: The Seattle Times reports that Amazon has notified its local employees that one of their co-workers, who went home sick February 25th, has tested positive for COVID-19. The Times reports that the company’s message said the employee works in their building at 9th/Republican and is in quarantine. (We don’t know whether this case is one of the 21 that SKCPH counted as of midday today.)

QUARANTINE SITE IN TOP HAT: In the North Highline neighborhood of Top Hat, just east of White Center, a King County-owned property is the first site chosen for portable housing to be set up to quarantine COVID-19 patients if/as needed. We visited the site this afternoon:

This and 13 other portables have been stored on Harbor Island. 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen questions the Top Hat site choice; that’s part of our report on White Center Now.

‘CIVIL EMERGENCY’: Mayor Jenny Durkan issued that proclamation today; the announcement explains:

Actions authorized in the Proclamation include the ability to bypass regulations and the steps normally required of City contracting and borrowing; the ability to forgo regulatory permits in order to site or implement facilities needed to address COVID-19, and the ability to immediately adjust the use and closure of City facilities and events as necessary to prevent continued spread of COVID-19.

The mayor’s office also sent out this news release detailing what 10 departments are doing in response so far.

CITY BRIEFING TOMORROW: No public county or city briefings today but at least one is planned tomorrow – the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, chaired by District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, will host two deputy mayors, half a dozen department heads, and the county Public Health director at a special 2 pm meeting. (You should be able to watch it live via Seattle Channel.)

DENNY DEEP CLEANING: Last night, as we reported, Chief Sealth International High School was cleaned after a report that a student, though NOT sick, is being monitored for possible coronavirus exposure. Tonight, adjacent Denny International Middle School is being cleaned, reports Denny principal Jeff Clark, who explains, “FYI: SPS can do a deep clean at a limited number of schools every night. We are on the list tonight simply because they did Sealth last night.” He stresses that there are NO cases or suspected cases at Denny, and added that there’s no new info yet about the Sealth student’s possible exposure.

TRAVELING THROUGH SEA-TAC ANY TIME SOON? The Port of Seattle published this Sea-Tac Airport update today, including new sanitation procedures as well as information from some of its airliines.

KING COUNTY CALL CENTER: The county has a call center:

If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact our novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977. The call center will be open daily from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM PT.

For general concerns and questions about COVID-19, please call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127.

WSB COVERAGE: If there is specific West Seattle-related news, we will publish it immediately, otherwise we plan to continue nightly roundups like this. We’re also using Twitter for instant short bursts. You can find all our coverage – newest first – archived at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus.

CORONAVIRUS: Monday updates – new numbers; local student being monitored for ‘possible exposure’; more

7:43 PM: We’re continuing daily roundups of coronavirus-related news, with a focus on King County. Here’s what’s happened today/tonight:

14 KING COUNTY CASES, INCLUDING 5 DEATHS: Here’s the list from today’s update by Seattle-King County Public Health:

The four new cases are in:

A male in his 50s, hospitalized at Highline Hospital. No known exposures. He is in stable but critical condition. He had no underlying health conditions.
A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
A female in her 80s, a resident of LifeCare, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She is in critical condition.

10 other cases, already reported earlier by Public Health, include:

A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. This person has now died
A female in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
A male in his 70s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition
A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20.
A man in his 60s, hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton.
A man in 60s, hospitalized at Virginia Mason Medical Center.
A woman in her 50s, who had traveled to South Korea; recovering at home
A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
A woman in her 40s, employed by LifeCare, who is hospitalized at Overlake Medical Center
A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died at EvergreenHealth

WATCH TODAY’S BRIEFING: Here’s the archived video of the King County briefing held at 11 am today:

CHIEF SEALTH STUDENT BEING MONITORED: Tonight, Chief Sealth International High School sent families a message saying that a student – who, it’s stressed, is NOT ILL – is “being monitored … in response to a possible exposure.” The school will remain open and is being cleaned tonight. Here’s the letter, sent to us by principal Aida Fraser-Hammer (or here in PDF):

ALSO ANNOUNCED: Today King County Executive Dow Constantine “immediately ordered the purchase of an area motel to be used to isolate patients in recovery as well as those in active treatment. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in a matter of days and available to Public Health by the end of the week. Location details will be made available when the transaction is complete. In addition, King County will place modular units on public properties in locations throughout King County.” KIRO TV’s Graham Johnson reports those modular units are currently stored on Harbor Island (where the county owns the old flour-mill site).

METRO SANITATION: Metro announced it’s intensifying its sanitation protocols, as explained here.

LOCAL SENIOR FACILITIES: We’ve been checking with West Seattle facilities. Again, NO local cases – but, out of an abundance of caution, at least one facility is closed to outside visitors (Quail Park [WSB sponsor]); another is discouraging them (The Kenney). We’re still waiting to hear back from some and expect more info tomorrow. We also checked with the Senior Center of West Seattle, which says it’s open, business as usual, but it’s posted health reminders.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: From Public Health authorities:

Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
Stay home when sick.
Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
Stay informed. Information is changing frequently.

P.S. Gov. Inslee stressed personal cleanliness, and calm, in his briefing today – here it is in full.

ADDED 11:57 AM TUESDAY: The newest King County info has just been released – see it here.

CORONAVIRUS: Sunday toplines, with King County reporting 10 cases including 2 deaths

Seattle-King County Public Health sent two media updates today on newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. Here’s our nightly roundup with those and other area developments:

KING COUNTY CASES: As of right now, 10 cases, including two deaths, are reported in King County. SKCPH’s morning update is here; the evening update is here. From the latter, the key excerpt:

The four new cases are in:

·A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition

·A female in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition

·A male in his 70s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man has underlying health conditions, and is in critical condition

· A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20.

All of these newly identified cases are among residents of LifeCare, the skilled nursing facility in Kirkland that was previously identified to have two associated cases.

Six other cases, already reported earlier by Public Health, include:

·A man in his 60s, hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton.

·A man in 60s, hospitalized at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

·A woman in her 50s, who had traveled to South Korea; recovering at home

·A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth

·A woman in her 40s, employed by LifeCare, who is hospitalized at Overlake Medical Center

·A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died at EvergreenHealth

No in-person briefing today, but county authorities say they plan one tomorrow (haven’t received an advisory with the time yet), as does Gov. Inslee (to be streamed on TVW at 3 pm).

METRO REITERATES: As noted in our Saturday night report, King County Executive Dow Constantine said Metro is cleaning and vacuuming buses daily. The transit service reiterates that in this post tonight.

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATEMENT: The district sent out this message saying it has NO cases so far.

PUBLIC HEALTH’S ADVICE FOR YOU: From today’s second media release:

1) Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.

2) Stay home when sick

3) Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

4) Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.

4) Stay informed. Information is changing frequently. Check and subscribe to Public Health’s website or blog.

ONGOING COVERAGE LINK: Everything we report will appear in this coverage archive: westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus.

ADDED MONDAY MIDDAY: We’ll have a daily roundup again this evening. In the meantime, the latest King County update is here.

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)

CORONAVIRUS: First King County cases

10:07 PM: Tonight health authorities announced two new presumed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state, including the first one in King County. So it’s time for us to start reporting on it. First, here’s what’s new. From the Public Health/Seattle-King County announcement:

Today the Washington State Department of Health announced a positive test result for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a King County resident. The individual, a woman in her fifties, had recent travel to Daegu, South Korea. The resident is in home isolation and has mild illness.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is working to identify and contact those who may have come in contact with the confirmed case.

This is the first known case of novel coronavirus in King County.

Authorities did not say where in King County the patient lives. Also announced at tonight’s briefing, a new presumed case in Snohomish County, described as a juvenile patient whose school, Jackson High School in Everett, is closing for three days for cleaning. They don’t know how the teen was exposed to the virus.

The two cases announced tonight are the second and third in our state.

QUESTIONS? The state Health Department has set up “a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, please call 800-525-0127 and press #.

The state’s news release includes this advice:

How can you prevent the spread of COVID-19? Prevention starts with practicing good personal health habits:

-Wash your hands often with soap and water,
-Stay home when you’re sick,
-Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue,
-Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
-Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, eating healthy foods, and managing your stress can help you prevent getting COVID-19 and recover from it if you do.

Authorities stress that so far, risk is low, and – as with the aforementioned King County case – most cases are mild. Common questions are answered hee; The main Public Health-Seattle/King County infopage about the coronavirus situation is here. Lots of info from the state Health Department can be found here.

P.S. We’re creating a new coverage category, so any coronavirus (COVID-19)-related story we publish will be findable here.

11:25 AM: More King County cases are being announced today, including a death (on the Eastside, according to The Times).

1:25 PM: From today’s news release (we’ll likely publish a daily update later):

Public Health – Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting today four presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including one person who died.

Two of the confirmed cases are associated with LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland, King County, Washington:
– One is a health care worker from LifeCare. She is a woman in her 40s, is currently in satisfactory condition at Overlake Hospital, and she has no known travel outside the United States.

– The second case, a woman in her 70’s, is a resident at LifeCare and is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

In addition, 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. Additional positive cases are expected.
The death occurred in a patient at EvergreenHealth Hospital but was not a resident of the long-term care facility.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is current working with LifeCare to provide care for ill patients while protecting uninfected patients. The CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to support our efforts to identify, isolate and test all of those who may be at risk because of these new cases.

HEALTH: Seattle Parks steps up cleaning frequency ‘to prevent the spread of viruses’

With so many Seattle Parks facilities and properties in West Seattle, this announcement might be of interest:

As a best practice to prevent the spread of viruses during this cold and flu season, and in response to general concerns over Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is increasing custodial cleaning efforts at our facilities, including community centers and pools.

SPR is implementing these measures to support basic good cleaning and hygiene care at our high-traffic public facilities, and not in response to a specific exposure risk.

In addition to our already-established custodial routines, we will be implementing the following measures:

SPR will install Hand Sanitizing stations in lobby areas at our public facilities

SPR will increase the number of times that the following high-traffic areas are sanitized, with custodians sanitizing these areas three times during their shift:

-Bathroom countertops, stall handles, and flushing devices
-Entry/exit door handles and surrounding areas
-Lobby desk tops

The full Parks post also includes general advice for helping prevent viruses from spreading.