Coronavirus 1317 results

CORONAVIRUS: More West Seattle school closures

In addition to the Seattle Public Schools decision to close starting Thursday, more local independent schools are making their decisions as well. We have started an ongoing page to track West Seattle school closures since we’d already reported on several in recent days.

Announced today:

Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor), starting Thursday 3/12 (details)
Hope Lutheran School, after Friday 3/13 (details)
Tilden School (WSB sponsor), starting Thursday
Seattle Lutheran HS, no classes after Thursday 3/12 (details)
Holy Rosary School – starting Thursday (details)
Our Lady of Guadalupe, no classes after Thursday 3/12 (details)
Holy Family, no classes after Thursday (details)
A Child Becomes Preschool (WSB sponsor) as of Thursday
The Cove School – starting Monday
West Seattle Montessori

Not West Seattle but of local relevance & announced today

(added 7:51 pm) Vashon Island School District, starting Friday 3/13 (details)
Kennedy Catholic HS – no classes after Thursday (details)
Holy Names
Bishop Blanchet
O’Dea

Any others? We’re doing our best to check around but it helps to hear directly – westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – we’ll update this, and our new school-closures master-list page, with whatever more we get.

CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools closing for at least ’14 calendar days,’ starting Thursday

12:36 PM: Seattle Public Schools are closing, according to an announcement sent to staff.

“Together, we are facing an unprecedented health crisis in our community. In our response to COVID-19, we must depend on the wisdom of our health experts and elected officials and lean on the resolve of our strong community.

We have been following the guidance of Public Health Seattle & King County and implementing preventive and responsive strategies, but in light of Governor Inslee’s request that all citizens practice measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is now time for the district to act swiftly. Starting tomorrow, Thursday March 12, Superintendent Denise Juneau and the Seattle School Board will close Seattle Public Schools for a minimum of 14 days as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently guides. This necessary action is an effective way to disrupt widespread infection.

Beginning Thursday, March 12, all school building activities including school day instruction, childcare, health services, enrichment, etc. are canceled until further notice. Today, March 11, childcare and extended day supports will continue as planned. We have an emergency food plan which will be put into place on Monday, March 16. More information will be provided directly to families by Friday, March 13.”

12:51 PM: A letter has now been sent to families too. (Thanks for the forwards!) It’s now on the SPS website. The district is having a media briefing at 2:30 pm.

1:36 PM: The district tells us it will stream the briefing here.The news release we just received (see it here, PDF) clarifies that the closure will be for a minimum of 14 CALENDAR DAYS.

2:35 PM: The news conference is under way – watch here – and we will add any notes of interest. Superintendent Denise Juneau reiterates that not offering online instruction is a matter of equity. … School Board president Zachary DeWolf addresses students directly, both asking them to do their part, and saying the district is working to address questions such as how this lost time will affect on-time graduation. … Also speaking, Seattle Council PTSA president Manuela Slye, a West Seattleite, asking families to reach out to her organization t help coordinate volunteer help – president@scptsa.org .

2:59 PM: They’ve clarified that 14 calendar days means not the school calendar, but the actual calendar, two weeks.

VIDEO: Governor, local leaders announce new orders to try to contain coronavirus

(11:20 AM NOTE: Video now available for playback – you may have to advance a while to get to the start)

10:17 AM: Click “watch” (and then “play”) to see live video from the news conference Gov. Jay Inslee is having in downtown Seattle right now with county executives and mayors from the metro area “to announce new community strategies and social distancing plans to contain COVID-19.” We’ll publish as-it-happens notes below.

10:23 AM: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan introduced the governor: “This will be hard … we’ll get through it.” Inslee thanks everyone for following guidelines on social distancing and cleanliness. “It is clear our state needs a more vigorous, comprehensive position” to stop COVID-19. “This is not your ordinary flu … this is a virus … at least 10 times more potentially fatal than the flu.” Starting today, he says, “certain events in King, Snohomish, Pierce Counties with more than 250 people are prohibited by order of the governor” – civic, recreational, faith-based, with more than 250 people. “This prohibition could be expanded in the days to come.” He says this will be an “effective tactic.” He says the “world scientific community” was consulted as well as “the experience of other communities.” The prohibition is in effect “through March” but “could be extended.”

(READ THE PROCLAMATION HERE)

10:32 AM: Inslee reiterates that he’s asking as many employers as possible to have workers telecommute. He’s also asking businesses to implement “social distancing … in a way that can … allow you to continue. This is key to success.” He’s asking public transit “to follow King County’s lead” in expanded cleaning measures. He also says you may need to talk with your health-care providers about delaying elective surgery.

About schools, he says: “The good news is that our children are relatively free of serious disease (with this) …” but can spread it. So he’s asking all schools “to begin contingency plans” for potential closures, including figuring out how to keep kids fed and cared for. “It is expected I will give more guidance in the next few days” and he will be talking to district superintendents in the three counties later today.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says Public Health will issue an order canceling SMALLER (than 250 people) events unless very specific health guidelines are followed. But he adds, “Business can and must continue … if they are able to meet these criteria.” If unstopped, the number can double “every 5 to 7 days,” he says. He thanks the business community for “finding ways … to make their workforce and the public safer.”

10:43 AM: Constantine makes way for Seattle-King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin.”I want to fully acknowledge the disruption these actions will cause in people’s lives.” He adds, “We expect a large-scale outbreak in weeks” and says this is like “a major earthquake that will shake us for weeks and weeks.” He says the social-distancing measures will “delay the spread” of the illness and adds that while most who get sick will have only “mild illness,” this is vital because those at high-risk will be much sicker. “Minimizing the number of people who become ill” will lessen the strain on the health-care system. “This outbreak will go on for weeks and likely for months.”

He says his order (the “fewer than 250” one) is NOT intended to apply to “grocery or other retail establishments” or to “family events.” He urges everyone to look at new CDC recommendations on “community mitigation.”

Duchin introduces Pierce Co. Executive Bruce Dammeier, who in turn is followed by Snohomish Co. Executive Dave Somers. Dammeier makes a point of note for all – this will affect many nonprofits that have fundraisers this time of year; please keep supporting them.

10:55 AM: Governor returns to the microphone and reads a message from Italy saying people shouldn’t underestimate this. It’s not the flu, the person in Italy told him – “people can’t breathe.” Following him, Dr. Duchin shows a chart from an expert showing what could happen in terms of the outbreak growing if social distancing is NOT implemented.

11 AM: Now Q&A with reporters – Inslee says his order is legally binding but “we don’t expect enforcement to be (necessary)” because he expects people to want to save lives. (“You might be killing your granddad if you don’t do it.” But there are steps that could be taken if needed. He’s then asked for the rationale behind choosing 250 as a threshold. “What we did after long consideration … this was a level (at which you can control crowds, social distancing).” He also repeated that the federal government is expected to issue some similar guidelines.

Will he use the National Guard? “As necessary … to supplement, where we need logistical help … (and) potential medical assistance” if hospitals become overloaded.

Asked again about enforcement, Constantine says “we’re not going to have public-health police running around.”

Asked for details on his forthcoming order re: smaller-than-250 gatherings, Duchin says people at higher risk will be asked not to attend, that employees are to be screened for symptoms each day, that sanitizer (etc.) be readily available for attendees/customers. “We realize we can’t stop all people from getting together in the community, and we don’t want to, life goes on …” they’re just trying to reduce the risk.

He also says, “If you don’t NEED to be in a health-care setting, don’t go.” That would include visiting people, non-essential medical services, etc. … Meantime, Inslee stresses that he’s asking people to do everything possible. And he says for decisionmakers, “This is not easy work.” In response to another Q, he says they are trying to avoid having to shut down cities (etc.) as has happened in other nations.

(Governor’s Office photo)

11:12 AM: News conference is over. We will add any related links we get – we’ve already added the governor’s proclamation above – and note that the video IS available for playback (above and here).

Governor’s summary here (including the chart mentioned above)

11:47 AM: Here’s more on the county health officer’s order.

12:40 PM: As we’ve reported separately, Seattle Public Schools is closing for at least two weeks starting tomorrow.

CORONAVIRUS: Tuesday 3/10 toplines – governor’s announcement; newest numbers; school news; more…

We start tonight’s roundup with a look ahead to tomorrow:

GOVERNOR PLANS ANNOUNCEMENT: According to a media advisory we received, Gov. Jay Inslee will be in Seattle tomorrow for a 10:15 am announcement with the King, Snohomish, and Pierce County executives and Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett mayors. The advisory says they’ll “announce new community strategies and social distancing plans to contain COVID-19.” It will be streamed at this link (we’ll also embed that for live coverage here on WSB). Regional outlets say the announcement will include a ban on events bringing 250+ people together.

TODAY’S KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the daily Seattle-King County Public Health news release:

Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/9/20

190 confirmed cases (up 74 from yesterday)
22 confirmed deaths (up 2 from yesterday)

The two deaths being reported today include:

A woman in her 80s, a resident of Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah, and died on 3/8/20. (This case was previously reported as a positive case on 3/7/20, in an earlier case count.)

A male in his 80s, a resident of Ida Culver House, was hospitalized at University of Washington Medical Center, and died on 3/9/20. (This case was previously reported as a positive case on 3/6/20, in an earlier case count.)

Of the 22 deaths reported, 19 are associated with Life Care Center.

FOR STATEWIDE NUMBERSgo here.

FOR A WORLDWIDE LOOKgo here.

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: First SPS school with a confirmed case is Aki Kurose Middle School (not in West Seattle). Here’s the SPS news release (PDF), which notes, “There are no other known cases of positive test results at Aki Kurose Middle School or any other SPS school or facility.” Meantime, a parent tipped us that the inTandem program at the old Roxhill building (30th/Roxbury) will be closed tomorrow – here’s the notice (PDF), which says, “Today almost half of our students and twenty-percent of our staff were absent or presenting with cold and influenza. For these reasons we have decided to close the program tomorrow, March 11.” We asked SPS if any other programs in that building are affected; no word yet.

WESTSIDE SCHOOL CLOSING AS A PRECAUTION: The first major independent-school closure announced in West Seattle is Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights, which will close its campus starting Thursday – here’s how that was announced today.

LITTLE PILGRIM PRESCHOOL CLOSED AS A PRECAUTION: The preschool at Fauntleroy UCC has closed as a precaution, too; here’s that announcement.

THE KENNEY RESTRICTS VISITORS: This too is a precautionary move, announced today

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: Here’s our story about how businesses in The Junction are responding. Meantime, the city has announced an “initial package” it hopes will help small businesses stay afloat despite the loss of revenue.

NO UTILITY SHUTOFFS: The city also has announced it won’t shut off electricity, water, or sewer services during the civil emergency – details here.

BIKE-RIDE FOLLOWUP: As noted Monday, West Seattleite Kevin Freitas is launching a daily 4 pm bike ride. He tweeted from the first one:

WHAT’S CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED LOCALLY: We’re continuing to update our 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..

The Kenney announces visitor restrictions

Received from The Kenney retirement complex in West Seattle:

John Cruz, The Kenney Executive Director, has announced that The Kenney, a Heritage senior living community in West Seattle, has issued a voluntary stop placement on all visitors.

The Kenney currently has NO confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, they are taking precautions.

Cruz shared, “At The Kenney, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. The health and safety of both our residents and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all. In following Governor Inslee’s orders as of today, 3/10/2020, The Kenney is issuing a proactively voluntary stop placement. Our staff have been well trained in preparation to support our residents.”

Effectively immediately, The Kenney will restrict all visitors except for those visiting end-of-life residents. End-of-life residents may have one visitor per day, age 18 or older. All visitors will be screened for illness before being allowed to visit using a screening questionnaire. To reduce the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses, The Kenney is also restricting all visitors younger than 18 years of age until further notice.

Presently, any individuals, including vendors and employees, are being screened daily before entering a building. Ancillary services should provide and were wear personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the crisis. Those who exhibit any symptoms, have recently traveled, or have been near anyone ill with symptoms are not currently being granted entrance.

The Kenney staff have prepared extensively, and Executive Director John Cruz shared he has confidence in the team. “The Kenney and Heritage have taken a proactive approach to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 within its communities. Heritage has formed a COVID-19 task force, including experts in the fields of nursing homes, and senior housing.”

Today’s Seattle-King County Public Health update on COVID-19 notes that 10 long-term-care facilities in the county “have reported residents and/or employees who tested positive for the virus”; none are in West Seattle.

Mayor announces ‘initial package’ to try to help Seattle small businesses with COVID-19 effects

Announced this afternoon by Mayor Jenny Durkan – an “initial recovery package” to try to help small businesses with effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Five key points, from the announcement:

Deferral of B&O Taxes. Effective immediately, the department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) will defer business and occupation (B&O) tax collections for eligible business owners …

Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund. OED is expanding their Small Business Stabilization Fund to support income-qualified microbusinesses.

Assistance to Access SBA Loans. OED will provide direct technical assistance to local small businesses and nonprofits to ensure they can immediately access the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) federal loan program once it becomes available.

Relief for Utility Payments. As announced earlier by Mayor Durkan, all SPU and SCL customers can set up deferred payment plans if their financial stability has been jeopardized by COVID-19.

New Small Business Recovery Task Force. The Mayor has appointed former Governor Gary Locke and former Council President Bruce Harrell to lead the COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Task Force, which will advise on long-term policy recommendations and provide technical assistance and outreach.

Read the full announcement here, with details on each of the above points, including membership of the task force (no West Seattle representation that we can see).

BIZNOTE: What West Seattle Junction businesses are doing about the outbreak

9:04 AM: With some businesses closed on Mondays, Tuesday marks the start of a brand-new week in Downtown West Seattle – aka The Junction. So how are those independent small businesses handling the COVID-19 outbreak? West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Radford surveyed merchants and recorded this summary of what they told her:

(Video by Jaroslaw Media)
Radford heard from dozens of Junction businesses. Intensified cleaning and disinfecting was at the top of the list for everyone. But there are other notes of interest in the responses she got:

DO YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE/ON THE PHONE: More than a few local retailers have robust online options – check the websites for Click! Design That Fits* and My Three Little Birds*, for starters. Carmilia’s too – you can even email to buy gift cards.

NEED TO BANK? Along with online options, telephone service is available from HomeStreet Bank* and Verity Credit Union*. Or you can still do some banking in person while maximizing “social distancing” – ATMs or, at HomeStreet, drive-up.

IT”S THE SIMPLE THINGS: Some steps are simple – Flying Apron has shelved self-serve lids. Fleurt says, “Samples of all products have been taken off the floor. These include perfumes, lotions, soaps.” At Bikram Yoga, “use your own mat” and “respect personal space.”

EXTRA PROTECTION: Skin Care by Casey* is using masks and gloves while giving treatments. At health-care facilities, cleaning was already a high priority, but the game has been upped at practices including Dr. Michael Korn‘s dental office* and Greentree Animal Hospital. Dr. Korn adds, “We are also asking patients swish chlorhexidine, a germicidal mouth rinse, when they are chairside before starting any planned procedures.”

IF YOU’RE FEELING SICK … don’t show up, even if you have an appointment! Some of the providers made a point of saying they’ll waive the last-minute cancellation fee if you’re not feeling well – VAIN* among them.

EMPLOYEES UNDER ORDERS TOO: Not feeling well? They won’t be coming in, said many businesses.

SORRY, NO SNACKS: Mathnasium has pulled its pretzels “to reduce the number of shared touch-points.”

ESCAPING GERMS: At The Escape Artist, the props get multiple rounds of sanitizing too.

That’s just a sample. If you have any questions, ask your favorite merchants …or call them. (Yes, they’re even wiping down their phones.)

P.S. In The Junction and elsewhere, this month’s West Seattle Art Walk is still on, 5 pm “until late” on Thursday.

(Businesses with asterisks* are WSB sponsors.)

ADDED 4:20 PM: Here’s the full list as published on the Junction Association website.

CORONAVIRUS: Monday 3/9 toplines – first publicly disclosed West Seattle case; council briefing; SFD protection; more…

Here’s our nightly roundup of local COVID-19-related neww:

KING COUNTY’S UPDATED NUMBERS: From this afternoon’s Seattle-King County Public Health news release:

33 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/8/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 116.

Of the 33 new cases reported today, two are deaths. In addition, one person who was previously reported as a positive case has now died. The total number of deaths reported to Public Health is now 20. The three deaths being reported today include:

A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and died on 3/4/20. (This case is included in the 33 new cases reported today.)

A woman in her 90s, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and died on 3/8/20. (This case is included in the 33 new cases reported today.)

A woman in her 70s, a Life Care Center resident, who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/8/20 (This case was previously reported as a positive case on 3/4/20, in an earlier case count.)

Of the 20 [King County] deaths reported, 19 are associated with Life Care Center.

OTHER NUMBERS: Official dally statewide reports are here; a nationwide/worldwide look is here,

FIRST CASE PUBLICLY LINKED TO WEST SEATTLE: As we reported earlier in the evening, a South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) student has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is now in “self-isolation.” The college was already moving to “alternatve modes of instruction” for the rest of winter quarter and is now going entirely into remote-operation mode, as explained here.

CITY COUNCIL BRIEFING: Seattle City Councilmembers had their first meeting by phone today. Starting seven minutes in, they got a COVID-19 briefing from county and city officials:

REP. JAYAPAL’S TOWN HALL: We listened in tonight as U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal, also accompanied by a local Public Health official, presided over an hourlong telephnne town hall focused on the outbreak. We haven’t yet found a recording of it but the major bit of news was that the federal government is sending more protection gear. 4,000+ people listened in, Jayapal noted. Her website’s coronavirus infopage is here

SEATTLE FIRE DEPARTMENT: Wondering what kind of training firefighters are getting regarding dealing with medical calls? SFD published this video:

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TOP HAT QUARANTINE/ISOLATION SITE: No patients at the SW 112th site yet. We followed up with King County today and will be writing a story for White Center Now shortly; we’ll link it here when published. (10:30 pm update: Here’s the link.)

TIRED OF WORKING ALONE AT HOME? Kevin is starting a daily community bike ride.

RESPONSE FUND: Want to help the organizations on the front lines of COVID-19 community response? Heather shares this link about a new fund.

TOMORROW: Gov. Jay Inslee just announced a 9 am news conference “to detail new policies that will support workers and businesses impacted by COVD-19, as well as announce a directive for long-term facilities in the state. The governor’s office says it will be streamed on TVW.

WHAT’S CANCELED, POSTPONED, CHANGED LOCALLY: We’re continuing to update our 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: South Seattle College closing campus after student tests positive for COVID-19

We’ve just received word that this update has been published on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) website:

South Seattle College learned on Monday, March 9 that a student at our main campus in West Seattle has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Information so far indicates the student was on campus for an evening class, entering one classroom in the University Center Building (UNI). UNI is now closed in preparation for cleaning and sanitization.

The individual is complying with instructions from health care professionals to stay home in self-isolation, and we wish our student the best in their recovery. A college employee who had a confirmed interaction with the student is in contact with their physician and has been advised to remain at home.

College officials are in direct communication with King County Public Health, and stand ready to support their work. Department of Health guidance at this time is that you generally need to be in close contact with someone with COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact includes scenarios like living with or caring for a person with confirmed COVID-19, being within six feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for about 10 minutes, or if someone with COVID-19 coughed on you, kissed you, shared utensils with you, or you had direct contact with their body secretions.

Following the guidance from King County Public Health and out of an abundance of caution, South Seattle College is moving the main campus in West Seattle to remote operations starting March 10 and for the remainder of Winter Quarter, ending March 25, 2020. During this time, the West Seattle campus at 6000 16th Ave SW will be closed for deep-cleaning and sanitization and to provide us time to work with public health officials to best protect the campus community and slow the possible spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Georgetown Campus, NewHolly Learning Center classrooms and the Harbor Island Training Center will stay open (with possible alternative modes of instruction in place) at this time.

College leadership is actively planning for remote operations, and additional information will be shared in the coming days. Students, please keep in contact with your instructors, and more information about accessing student services will be shared soon. Faculty and staff, please keep in contact with your supervisors as we work through this ever-changing and unprecedented situation.

Staff and faculty may come to campus on March 10 to consult with their supervisor and gather necessary supplies for remote work. Staff should reference recent emails from IT Services and Human Resources for further instruction. Staff who receive a paper paycheck can stop by the cashier’s office by 2 p.m. on March 10. Otherwise, the paycheck will be mailed to your home address on file.

We have made this decision to put the safety, health and well-being of our campus community first. Students, please keep in contact with your instructors, and faculty and staff, please keep in contact with your supervisors as we work through this ever-changing and unprecedented situation.

SSC already had started the process of moving to “alternative modes of instruction” starting this week. This is the first *announced* case of COVID-19 publicly linked to West Seattle, though we can’t say for sure that there aren’t others, as Seattle-King County Public Health has stopped announcing details on new cases.

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:

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