Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and response around the Seattle region, Capitol Hill, and the Central District. See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959.
- Latest totals: Through Tuesday, King County has reported 379 deaths during the outbreak. 682 are reported dead across Washington through Monday. The United States total has now surpassed 45,000.
- Sixth Central Seattle death reported: Saturday, King County reported the first death of a resident in the three ZIP codes around Capitol Hill and the Central District CHS has been tracking bringing the total for the area to six since the start of the outbreak. The death marks the third person reported to have passed away from the virus in the 98122 ZIP code. More than 80 have been reported as testing positive in that ZIP area.
- Homeless C-19 concerns: King County health officials are worried about a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases among homeless people and workers at its shelters and and service sites. The county said Monday it has confirmed 112 cases at its sites — up from 27 confirmed cases on April 7th. The totals include two confirmed deaths and a third death being investigated at King County’s Kent isolation and quarantine facility.
- Masks: Still not required here. Mandatory in San Francisco.
- Need one? Capitol Hill’s a.oei studio has been turning out batches but is currently out of stock. Keep checking.
- New federal package: The Senate has approved a new $480 billion package to help small businesses. The new package includes a $310 billion replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program created to provide businesses with forgivable loans to cover payroll even as most workers must stay home. The previous round of PPP funding was tapped out in a matter of days and drew criticism as several large companies had their applications approved by lenders. The new package includes money for hospitals to help expand COVID-19 testing. Congress is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.
- Washington ‘recovery’ and Seattle $$$: Most Washington restrictions will remain in place after the current order ends May 4th but Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday night a plan for recovery is in the works including reopening elements including elective surgery, safe outdoor recreation, and construction. Washington’s current restrictions have been ordered though May 4th. The legally enforceable order restricts activities to only essential needs including visiting health facilities, grocery shopping, and working in “essential businesses” and industries. Restaurants and bars have also been able to continue offering to go and delivery orders. Larger impacts include a halt to most commercial construction that does not involve safety or critical repairs. Seattle, meanwhile, is bracing for a possible $300 million hole in its city budget.
- Mayor Durkan ‘Central Seattle’ Town Hall: The mayor will be discussing “Central Seattle” issues in a virtual town hall scheduled for 4:30 PM Thursday. You can register here.
- Transit updates: King County Metro is asking riders to wear face coverings and is also putting in new protocols for drivers that might mean you’ll see a bus skip your stop. New passenger limits of 12 riders on a 40-foot bus and 18 on a 60-foot bus have been put in place. Last week, a 59-year-old Metro driver died from the virus.
- Schools: Seattle Public schools are going with a pass-fail, “A” or “Incomplete” grading policy with instruction transitioned for the rest of this school year to a hodge podge of online meetings and email assignments. “We anticipate that ‘A’ will be the main grading option,” said Dr Diane DeBacker, the district’s chief academic officer. “We do not anticipate very many ‘Incompletes’ in this situation if our teachers stay engaged and our students stay engaged to their extent possible.” The district is being criticized for its slow response to providing online instruction and needed tech like providing new laptops to students as officials emphasized equity and efforts like school meal programs at the outset of the COVID-19 restrictions. Planned distribution of laptops to students in need at a Central District middle school this week had to be postponed. “We regret to inform you that the middle school laptop distribution scheduled for Wednesday, April 22 will be delayed,” Washington Middle School principal Katrina Hunt wrote:
We were notified this afternoon that the IT Department discovered a problem with the laptops which will require them to POSTPONE the laptop distribution for this week at all Middle Schools and K-8s. SPS is working with Microsoft on a solution and hope to have them ready by next week. The issues with the laptops would preclude students from using the devices at home and the technology staff cannot determine which laptops actually are affected without examining every device.
“We know providing these laptops to your students is vitally important in supporting their learning and will send a message to you as soon as a new date is confirmed,” she said.
- Bike repair: Know a medical worker whose ride needs a tune-up?
To front line medical workers: the Center for Bicycle Repair is offering free repairs/tune ups from our Capitol Hill location for you. We so much appreciate you doing all you can, we’d like to help where we can @UWCSSC pic.twitter.com/t4eppfhygj
— Cory Potts (@cyclegator) April 21, 2020
- What other terrible things are in our future? Apparently some cities around the planet have taken to “disinfecting” their streets: Our farm #robot R80 has stepped forward to join the #fightcoronavirus operation, disinfecting parking lot outside the office block in Guangzhou. Lightweight, flexible to traverse small districts, R80 can disinfect an area of up to 64800 square metres per hour, with no dead ends.
- Don’t freak out: Is your friend freaked out by this new COVID-19 visualization site that shows “Rt, a key measure of how fast the virus is growing” and a scary looking curve for Washington? Make sure they read the fine print: Washington State had several days from 4/10 to 4/13 without reporting new cases. They’ve resumed reporting and our model will continue to improve its Rt estimate for WA as more days come in.
- You’re doing great: King County residents have now been living under COVID-19 restrictions since March 11th.
- 5/4/20: COVID-19 updates: Phase 1 begins, what’s in Phase 2 (and 3 and 4), King County removes antibody testing case counts, COVID-19 yard art
- 5/1/20: Washington extends COVID-19 restrictions through May, readies ‘four phase’ plan for reopening with limits on groups, restaurant capacity, and travel
- 4/30/20: Washington investigating state totals after COVID-19 ‘excess deaths’ report
- 4/30/20: Facing opposition from mayor and chamber advocates, Seattle tax on big businesses for COVID-19 relief and housing moves toward May vote
- Plus: Capitol Hill Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes offering takeout during COVID-19 ‘stay home’ restrictions
THANKS! WE DID IT! 1,000 CHS SUBSCRIBERS -- We asked, you answered. Thanks for stepping up!
Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.