COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the state of Washington
SEATTLE, WA — COVID-19 is hitting the state of Washington hard. The total number of illnesses linked to the new coronavirus in Washington jumped by nearly 200 Thursday, as state health officials reported seven more deaths connected to COVID-19.
At least 1,376 patients have tested positive for the illness in Washington, and 76 people have died. According to state health data, nearly 60 percent of the people who died were age 80 or above, and 26 percent were between 70 and 79. No deaths have been reported in people under 40.
King County, which has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, reported four additional deaths Thursday, accounting for 60 of the state’s fatalities, and 131 new cases. Island and Benton counties reported their first deaths linked to the virus, and a seventh patient died in Snohomish County, according to state health officials.
Public health officials said 35 of the deaths linked to the virus were associated with the Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland.
In Shoreline, work is progressing on a 200-bed field hospital, located on a school soccer field. King County anticipates needing 3,000 additional beds in the weeks ahead.
Senate Republicans pitch direct payments as part of $1 trillion economic relief bill
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a plan Thursday to pay many Americans $1,200, with additional payments of $500 per child. The plan, as written, would phase out for those with incomes above $75,000 — or $150,000 per couple. A proposal from the White House would allow for another payment several weeks later if the health crisis continues.
Transit agencies make changes as ridership declines; Seattle traffic plummets
King County Metro and Sound Transit have both announced plans to reduce transit service amid a steep drop-off in ridership in recent weeks. Several major companies have asked employees to work remotely, and mandates from Gov. Jay Inslee and public health officials have directed Washingtonians to avoid all unnecessary public activity. A report by INRIX found traffic into downtown Seattle began “cratering” last week.
More testing kits arrive in Washington; additional safety equipment needed
State health officials said 8,000 additional testing kits from the federal government arrived Thursday for distribution to public health agencies in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.
Even with the new kits, state health officials said limited supplies would continue to be a “significant issue” in the ongoing COVID-19 response. According to the state department of health, 20,742 people in Washington have been tested for the virus.
Coronavirus cases by county:
Illnesses confirmed statewide: 1,376 (74 deaths)
- King: 693 cases (60 deaths)
- Snohomish: 310 cases (7 deaths)
- Pierce: 75 cases (1 death)
- Island: 17 cases (1 death)
- Grant: 8 cases (1 death)
- Clark: 4 cases (3 deaths)
- Benton: 1 case (1 death)
- Chelan: 2 cases
- Clallam: 1 case
- Franklin: 2 cases
- Mason: 1 case
- Columbia: 1 case
- Grays Habor: 1 case
- Jefferson: 4 cases
- Kitsap: 12 cases
- Kittitas: 4 cases
- Lewis: 1 case
- Lincoln: 1 case
- Skagit: 18 cases
- Spokane: 9 cases
- Thurston: 6 cases
- Whatcom: 7 cases
- Yakima: 7 cases
- Unassigned: 151 cases*