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COVID-19 updates: Homeless case jump, sixth Central Seattle death, new federal aid package, and a Seattle Schools laptop snafu

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?

  • 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.

CHS COVID-19

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10 Comments
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Nope
Nope
11 months ago

That students in one of the most tech heavy cities struggle for laptops and internet is beyond sad. It’s also interesting that our dear tech leaders suggest limiting immigration will kill their industry, while educating our kids towards careers in CS is clearly too much work….

Glenn
Glenn
11 months ago
Reply to  Nope

Seattle School distriçt is a shambles from the school board down, Really, they are just an embarrassment, and failing to even begin to rise to this challenge just reinforces that impression. They are never averse to lowering standards to acheive some equity goal, and this “everone gets an A” policy is just the latest example. This even though more than thirty percent of their students haven’t even participated in any form of online learning since schools closed. Neighboring districts, some such as Highline with even more traditionally challenged students, have done so much better. Superintendent Denise Juneau is a disgrace.

The Seattle Process
The Seattle Process
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Yeah it’s all so much DRAMA! There’s Melissa Westbrook’s school board blog that blew up into a thousand pieces of identity political shrapnel, and that clown who ran for city council after just being elected to school board…and then all this. Would be nice if we had some sanity for the kids and schools. Too much to ask in good ol’ Seattle…

Schools Out for the Summer
Schools Out for the Summer
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Apparently Highline school district (much poorer than SPS) cares more about students than grandstanding on equity issues.

Equity issues ARE worthwhile, but just lowering standards and giving up aren’t the solution.

Moving On
Moving On
11 months ago
Reply to  Nope

Maybe they should have let Amazon deliver the laptops as well as donate them.

This is just embarrassing and sad. Giving kids A’s doesn’t get poor kids of color the education they need and want.

iluvcaphill
iluvcaphill
11 months ago

We need Mayoral/Council control of the school system. When your school board is made up of activist parents with no education credentials this is what you get, while neighboring schools handed out laptops to kids years ago. It is incomprehensible to me that every student isn’t issued a laptop, at least in high school.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
11 months ago
Reply to  iluvcaphill

So instead of pushing for school board candidate with education credentials, which some current ones actually do, we would put our schools in charge of the mayor and council who definitely don’t have education experience.

The first thing they would do is establish a unelected board with appointed directors. Not out of anything nefarious, but the Council does not have the ability to oversee day to day operations of the school system. This is similar to what they did for parks.

This could be a good thing, as in theory, it could avoid the political wrangling that comes with school board elections, but it also has the potential to be filled with cronies. The Sound Transit board is a great example of a board that would absolutely fail if it was elected.

Instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, why don’t we demand and/or vote for better candidates?

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
11 months ago
Reply to  iluvcaphill

wait….give the clouncil authority for the school board? Hand *Sawant* & her other clowny allies responsibility for the school board? And who *wouldn’t* love to see an army of little Sawant replicants churned out by Seattle Public Schools? Jeeze, what could possibly go wrong?

Leon Trotsky Elementary School
Leon Trotsky Elementary School
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim98122x

No kidding. Hard pass.

Cappy
Cappy
11 months ago

This is the school district that wants to do away with HCC (highly capable cohort) at Washington Middle School and introduce the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) as a replacement…the school district can’t even distribute laptops much less a new program.
Btw…they are only dismantling HCC in the South end of the district…no changes in the North end…what does that say about race and equity?