Live COVID-19 Coverage: March 16

The virus continues to spread as state and local authorities take further measures to fight it.

As of March 16, there have been 43 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in King County, and 488 confirmed infections.

2:30 p.m.

Public Health – Seattle & King County announced a surge in COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the county to nearly 500. According to a press release 68 more cases have been reported bringing the total in King County to 488. Six more deaths were reported as well bringing that total to 43.

The additional deaths include;

  • A man in his 80s died on Sunday, March 15.
  • A woman in her 70s died on Sunday, March 15.
  • A man in his 80s died on March 11.
  • A woman in her 50s died at Harborview Medical Center on March 8.
  • A woman in her 70s died on Saturday, March 14 at Northwest Hospital.
  • A woman in her 90s, a resident of Redmond of Redmond Care & Rehab, died on March 12.

Of the 43 deaths, 29 are confirmed to be associated with Life Care Center. According to Public Health, only one man has been placed in quarantine at the former Econo Lodge hotel in Kent.

12:50 p.m.

President Trump’s administration has given new recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the county.

They include staying home when sick, keeping children home when sick, and calling on Millennials to follow recommendations as well. Additionally, the administration recommended groups limit their size to 10 or under nationwide.

A full list can be found here.

11:30 a.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee addressed his restrictions on gatherings and businesses this morning. Gatherings of people with more than 50 people are prohibited, and gatherings with less must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing of six feet or more. The order is operational for two weeks and could be extended.

In King County, the ban on gatherings did not have an end date.

“All of us have to recognize for the next several weeks, normal is not in our game plan,” Inslee said.

Enforcing social distancing is the only tool which will be effective against the outbreak of COVID-19, Inslee said.

The state is also requesting more personal protection equipment from the federal government.

When asked whether the state would enact a moratorium on rents and mortgages, Inslee said there were no announcements yet, but signalled there could be soon.

“We’ll have more to say in the upcoming days,” he said.

King County Executie Dow Constantine said the county expects demand for hospital space to peak between six to eight weeks from now. The county will also need outside help to maintain health care staffing.

9:50 a.m.

Seattle & King County Public Health again asked for blood donations on Sunday as the local blood supply is in danger of collapse.

Concerns about COVID-19 have canceled blood drives, accounting for 2,500 lost donations. While inventories are holding steady as donors respond to the urgent need, donations will continue to drop in coming days and weeks as the outbreak continues.

“New donors are needed to step-up and save a life, and for donors to make this a generous and consistent habit,” a press release from Public Health stated.

A list of donation sites and donor eligibility can be found at Bloodworks Northwest.

9:00 a.m.

World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, held a press conference this morning issuing guidance for countries fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our key message is test, test, test,” he said.

Those who test positive should be isolated and their contacts should be traced over the previous two days. All confirmed cases, included mild ones, should be isolated in medical facilities. But Ghebreyesus said they recognized many countries have already reached capacity in their medical facilities.

In those cases, health care facilities should prioritize treatment for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Those with more mild cases could be treated in other temporary facilities that could be set up in gyms or other areas.

Recap

On Sunday evening, Gov. Jay Inslee announced he would be banning gatherings with more than 50 people beginning today. The order would not apply to restaurants if they could provide take-out or delivery services, but all in-person dining will be shut down.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. Other retail outlets must reduce their occupancy if they wish to stay open, including places like hardware stores, shopping centers, banks and gas stations. The measures come less than a week after Inslee announced bans on gatherings of more than 250 people.


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