The aliens have landed at Cal Anderson Park… and they left social distancing crop circles. pic.twitter.com/po5dvxCv17
— Anna Boiko-Weyrauch (@AnnaBoikoW) May 27, 2020
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.
- Testing, isolation, and tracing: Gov. Jay Inslee addressed the state Wednesday but held off on any announcement regarding Washington’s “stay home” order set to expire June 1st. The governor is slated for another session Thursday or Friday and said he was considering possibly “broadening the criteria” for moving to the next phase of reopening after a briefing this week with researchers from the Institute for Disease Modeling. King County would need to achieve an infection rate of 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period to meet the state’s planned thresholds for Phase 2 reopening. Earlier this week, CHS reported that King County’s number of new cases remains around 3x higher than the target.
Officials say a new report from the Bellevue-based Institute for Disease Modeling shows that “a comprehensive program of increased testing, isolation of infected people, and contact tracing with quarantine of home and work contacts” could allow areas like King County to overcome a likely bounceback in infection rates as restrictions loosen. The report “found that there was little room to increase public interaction without risk of exceeding the effective reproductive rate of 1.0, a critical threshold for preventing growth in new cases locally,” the Public Health report on the analysis (PDF) reads. “This report finding signals the need for caution in reopening to avoid a return to rapidly growing infections and deaths.” The researchers say that distancing paid off for the region — “distancing and other measures have combined to reduce the transmission potential of COVID-19 on April 25 th to 33% (30-37%) of early-pandemic levels” — but more effort is needed as densely populated King County prepares for the next phases of reopening including “increased testing, contact tracing to home and work, and better compliance with household quarantine.” County officials note the analysis doesn’t include one additional factor hoped to further snuff out the outbreak: “One such measure not included in the IDM report is cloth face coverings, which people in King County have been directed to use and could further reduce COVID-19 risk.”
“We do not believe that every county will be able to move forward with Phase 2 on that particular date,” Inslee said Wednesday about June 1st. But he said it’s possible “there will be some changes” on how the decision is made before his next order on state restrictions. Wednesday, Inslee also announced new guidelines for religious services:
Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.
- Testing call expands: Officials have also become more aggressive in encouraging more people to get tested. With resources in place, the parameters of who should be screened now include anybody with symptoms or “close contact” —
Seattle and King County recommends that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19 be tested right away. Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear is important to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community.
You can learn more about Public Health’s recommendations and how to get tested here. Testing across Washington reached a daily 7,000 mark last week. Gov. Inslee had set a goal of more than 20,000 daily tests during the height of the crisis. King County peaked last week with around 2,200 people tested. On the state’s risk assessment dashboard, officials say the environment for testing has improved this week — slightly:
Status has improved slightly this week. Daily testing numbers remain very roughly steady, up from typical April volumes, but not continuing to increase. The state recently received significant shipments of testing supplies from the federal government and is working on distribution. Officials will be watching as reopening activities are underway to see if there’s an increase in the numbers of people seeking testing. Testing adequacy is mixed regionally, with high positivity rates in some areas indicating hotspots with potentially inadequate testing.
- Random testing? Pacific Northwest weather expert and government critic Cliff Mass says there is a key element missing in any scientific approach to testing in the state — random sampling:
Today, Washington State is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in ignorance. We are only testing those that have symptoms and ask for a test. We do not know what percentage of the population is currently infected. We don’t know what percentage has been infected and thus might be immune. We have no way to identify infected, but asymptomatic, people that need to be quarantined.
The Oregon program Mass lauds is hoped to achieve 100,000 tests by randomly selecting state residents and asking them to volunteer to be screened for the virus.
- Latest totals: ZIP Codes covering Capitol Hill and the northern Central District did not record a single COVID-19 case in the past seven days according to the county’s latest report. Overall, King County’s rates of COVID-19 related deaths and positive cases has continued to drop and both measures are at the lowest totals since the early stages of the pandemic — Source
- All in Washington: Seattle performers Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Ben Gibbard, and Brandi Carlile are planned to be part of the big All In Washington “virtual COVID-19 concert” on June 10th:
On June 10, 2020 at 6:30 PM, the coalition will host All In WA: A Concert for COVID Relief by presenting sponsor Amazon. The concert’s lineup boasts some of Washington state’s most well-known artists and entertainers, including, Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Ciara, Ben Gibbard, The Black Tones, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Mary Lambert, Allen Stone, actor Joel McHale and the Seattle Seahawks’ Coach Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. The full lineup will be announced at a later date.
The Amazon-powered All In Washington is a public-private coalition with a goal to raise $65 million for major philanthropic organizations to support Washington State families and workers. You can tune in on June 10th at allinwa.org.
- New takeout: Upper-story Odd Fellows building restaurant The Tin Table is providing a new “to go” option for the Hill starting this weekend. Find more on the CHS ‘To Go’ Calendar.
- Counting the days: Seattle residents have now been under COVID-19 restrictions for 76 days.
CHS COVID-19 TIMELINE: + Feb. 29 First ‘presumptive positive’ COVID-19 case in King County + Mar. 11 Washington puts ‘over 250’ restrictions in place + Mar. 11 Schools closed + Mar. 15 Restaurants and bars closed, ‘over 50’ threshold + Mar. 21 Police begin clearing parks + Apr. 2 Washington restrictions extended + Apr. 6 Schools closed for rest of year + Apr. 8 Can’t relax those social restrictions yet but, exhale, Seattle — COVID-19 model says you’ve made it through this outbreak’s peak + Apr. 27 Washington eases restrictions on some outdoor activities but you’ll still need to give six feet on the trail + May 1 Washington extends COVID-19 restrictions through May, readies ‘four phase’ plan for reopening with limits on groups, restaurant capacity, and travel
- Homeless deaths: A report from San Francisco illustrates another impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Deaths of homeless people there have spiked but it’s not because of people becoming ill from the virus. Officials say the spike appears to be the result of a disruption in resources and shelter leading to an increase in substance abuse and overdoses.
- Seattle Street Sink: Here’s a simple solution from Real Change, ROOTs, and the UW College of Built Environments — Seattle Street Sinks
Between 12 pm last Fri, and 9 am Sat, 22 people washed their hands in our first Seattle Street Sink! We are collecting this data to present to the City. We still have an immense need for hygiene stations 4 everyone in Seattle. Thanks again to @rootsshelter for hosting.@UWBuiltEnv pic.twitter.com/EFHFjJL1rW
— Real Change (@RealChangeNews) May 26, 2020
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