x
Breaking News
More () »

Phoenix's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Phoenix, Arizona | 12NEWS.com

Coronavirus updates: Coverage from King 5 from June 29-30

Find developments on Washington's coronavirus outbreak and the state's plan for recovery.

Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state from June 29-30, 2020.

Key facts:

  • Snohomish County sees sharp uptick in new cases.
  • 12 new deaths and 571 new cases reported Tuesday in Washington.
  • TOTAL: 1,332 deaths among 32,824  overall cases in Washington state.
  • 557,275  people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

VIEW | More coronavirus coverage from KING 5

Tuesday, June 30:

Bumbershoot 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Bumbershoot 2020, the annual music and arts festival at the Seattle Center, was canceled, organizers announced on Tuesday.

Producing organization One Reel said that it would focus on bringing the festival back for 2021, which is Bumbershoot's 50th anniversary, and its Art Saves Me public art program.

One Reel announced the cancellation of the 2020 event after the city of Seattle announced it would stop issuing special events permits through Labor Day due to coronavirus concerns.

Earlier this year, One Reel had announced that it would move forward with a scaled-down version of Bumbershoot, which in the past few decades has brought national and international music and comedy acts to the Seattle Center over Labor Day weekend.

One Reel also canceled this year's Piano in the Parks program, due to concerns of coronavirus spreading through publicly accessible pianos.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest canceled

The annual Leavenworth Oktoberfest has been canceled due to uncertainty over ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The monthlong Bavarian-themed festival attracts thousands of visitors to every October.

Chelan County had been in a modified Phase 1 of the "Safe Start Washington" plan. Phase 1 is the most restrictive stage of the reopening plan, but Chelan had been allowed some exceptions to the restrictions.

Festival organizers said the cancellation was over concerns about whether the proper liquor licensing would be available due to the restrictions and about visitors' possibly having to cancel travel plans and deposits, as well as the health and safety of staff and guests.

Cluster of COVID-19 cases reported in UW Greek houses

At least 38 students living in 10 fraternity houses at the University of Washington have tested positive for COVID-19.

"This is concerning and reminds us that outbreaks can quickly spiral," Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, said in a statement.

Leaders from the fraternities told public health officials that students who tested positive were isolating in their rooms, and none were hospitalized.

There are about 1,000 students living in 25 fraternities north of UW's Seattle campus, according to the university. 

According to Gottlieb, most of the university's Greek houses reduced resident capacity by up to 50% this summer in response to the pandemic, but Gottlieb said those actions weren't sufficient without other measures like wearing masks and social distancing.

UW Medicine also set up a testing facility on campus within walking distance of the Greek houses.

Bellevue Square reopens for shopping and dining

One of the area's larger indoor malls reopened Tuesday after being closed for three months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bellevue Collection, which includes Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place, opened Tuesday, along with 70% of its stores and restaurants. Some of the stores also offer curbside pickup in certain areas of the mall's parking garage.

The mall closed March 17, before the statewide stay-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

During the mall's closure, looters targeted the interior of the mall after disrupting a nearby protest of police violence, according to the Bellevue Police Department. Police later arrested 23 people in connection with the looting.

For more information about which stores and restaurants are open, go to the Bellevue Collection's website.

The Collection will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, according to a Facebook post.

New Washington cases for Tuesday June 30

  • 12 new deaths and 571 new cases reported Tuesday in Washington.
  • TOTAL: 1,332 deaths among 32,824  overall cases in Washington state.
  • 557,275  people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

Snohomish County sees sharp uptick in new cases

Snohomish County just experienced the highest two-week rate of new coronavirus cases since late April.

Between June 13 and June 27, the county had 39 new cases per 100,000 people, which grew roughly 60% from the previous two-week period’s rate of 23.6 new cases. It is also far above the 25-case state threshold to allow moving on to the next phase of reopening.

“We had a nice honeymoon period there the last couple of weeks of May and first week or so of June,” Snohomish County Health Officer Chris Spitters said during a briefing Tuesday.

Over the last 10 days, Snohomish County reported the four highest daily case totals in the last six weeks, according to Spitters. That includes 77 new cases reported on June 22, according to the Department of Health.

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, Spitters urged people to avoid large gatherings and take precautions.

“It is in our hands,” Spitters said. “Staying home is best. If you do get together, smaller is safer than larger, outdoors is safer than indoors.”

Inslee heckled off stage during Tri-Cities appearance

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was heckled and had to cut short his speech on battling the coronavirus pandemic in the Tri-Cities on Tuesday. 

Speaking outdoors at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Inslee was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers as he urged residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.“Open it up,″ one heckler shouted in an apparent reference to widespread business closures in the Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco and Kennewick. 

The community is still in Stage I of the pandemic, which is largely a shutdown.

The hecking continued as a masked Inslee spoke. Finally the Democratic governor had had enough and went inside to finish.

Pierce County health official says area not ready for modified Phase 2

Pierce County Director of Health Dr. Anthony Chen walked back on a plan to recommend a modified version of Phase 2 after seeing a "worrisome straight-line increase" in cases.

Dr. Chen was expected to bring the recommendation of a modified Phase 2 to the Board of Health during its regular meeting on July 1. This recommendation would have further loosened restrictions and allowed officials to continue their work toward Phase 3 of the state's recovery plan.

"We have all enjoyed the relaxed restrictions of Phase 2—perhaps a bit too much," Dr. Chen said in a statement.

The overall rate of positive COVID-19 tests is on the rise, from 2.2% May 17-23 to an estimated 3.2% as of June 14-20. 

The rate of new infections over the last 14 days also increased from 16 to 44 per 100,000 residents.

Bothell distributes Phase 2 reopening kits

In an attempt to minimize the reopening costs of businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Bothell began distributing Phase 2 "Reopening Kits" Tuesday.

Each Phase 2 Reopening Kit includes:

  • 2 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 2 wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers
  • 40 reusable cloth masks
  • Floor decals promoting social distancing
  • 1 "We Are Open" banner
  • Poster promoting safe practices
  • City of Bothell window cling - "We are in this together"

The city is also encouraging business owners to take a survey to find out how the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber can assist them.

Alaska Airlines begins making health questionnaire part of check-in process, cracks down on masks

Alaska Airlines is now asking passengers a series of pre-flight health questions as part of a new set of protocols meant to ensure health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline will also start suspending passengers who don't comply with mask rules from future flights.

Starting Tuesday, a “wellness agreement” will become part of the check-in process at airport kiosks, on Alaska’s app, and on the carrier’s website.

The questionnaire will ask travelers if they're experiencing flu-like symptoms and whether they've been in close contact with anyone with respiratory illness. If they have, they would be subject to additional screening and could be required to book another flight, the carrier said.

RELATED: Alaska Airlines could suspend passengers who refuse to wear a mask

RELATED: Alaska Airlines to make health questionnaire part of the check-in process

'It is very concerning' | CDC expert warns US far from containing coronavirus

The novel coronavirus is spreading too quickly and broadly for the United States to have it under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Schuchat, who has 32 years of experience working for the CDC, made the comments during a live Q and A with Dr. Howard Bauchner with JAMA, an international peer-reviewed medical journal.

Overall, the U.S. has experienced a sharp increase in the number of new coronavirus cases each day, and by late June had surpassed the peak rate of spread in early April.

A reported tally on Tuesday from Johns Hopkins University researchers said the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic had topped 509,000 worldwide.

About 1 in 4 of those deaths – more than 129,000 – have been reported in the U.S.

MORE: 'It is very concerning' | CDC expert warns US far from containing coronavirus

285 US children hit with serious coronavirus-linked condition

At least 285 U.S. children have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus and while most recovered, the potential for long-term or permanent damage is unknown, two new studies suggest.

The papers, published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provide the fullest report yet on the condition.

The condition is known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It is considered uncommon and deaths are rare; six children died among the 285 in the new studies.

Including cases in Europe, where it was first reported, about 1,000 children worldwide have been affected, a journal editorial said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s case definition includes current or recent COVID-19 infection or exposure to the virus; a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours; severe illness requiring hospitalization; inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.

RELATED: 285 US children hit with serious coronavirus-linked condition

Monday, June 29:

Seattle Storm coach to sit out 2020 season amid coronavirus concerns

Dan Hughes will not coach the Seattle Storm during the 2020 season over concerns about his risk for severe illness if he were to contract COVID-19. 

The decision was made following a medical assessment by the league and in consultation with Hughes’ primary care physician. 

The 65-year-old Hughes had surgery last year to remove a cancerous tumor from his digestive tract. Seattle promoted Gary Kloppenburg to head coach for this season. 

The WNBA is set to begin its season in late July with all teams playing in Florida. 

RELATED: Dan Hughes grateful to be back coaching after cancer surgery

Washington likely to seek loan to keep jobless fund solvent

Washington state could make a request for a federal loan as soon as August or September to secure funds by the end of the year in order to keep its unemployment trust fund solvent as it continues to pay out benefits to those affected by the coronavirus shutdowns. 

The state’s unemployment trust fund, which had more than $4.7 billion at the start of March is currently down to $2.8 billion. 

To date, the state has paid more than $6.5 billion in benefits, of which two-thirds is federal money that is providing the unemployed with an additional $600 a week on top of the state’s weekly maximum benefit of up to $790 per week.

Washington tribes sue insurance group for virus coverage

Two Washington state Native tribes have sued a group of insurance providers they say have not covered claims for business losses resulting from the coronavirus. 

The Kitsap Sun reported the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes filed separate lawsuits against Tribal First Alliant Underwriting Solutions. 

The civil claims filed earlier this month say the tribes bought $50 million of coverage in policies that should cover losses caused by the pandemic outbreak. 

The lawsuits say the insurance group must provide broad coverage for losses resulting from any cause unless expressly excluded in the policies, which do not exclude diseases.

New coronavirus cases

10 new deaths and 501 new cases were reported Monday in Washington.

There are a total of 1,320 deaths among 32,253  overall cases in Washington state.

548,220  people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

About 800 King County employees will permanently work from home 

Finding that they have effectively worked remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 800 employees of the King County Department of Natural Resource and Parks will transition to permanent teleworking.

The department successfully teleworked for three months, seeing "increased productivity and low absenteeism," according to Logan Harris, public affairs manager for the department.

"The COVID-19 pandemic essentially showed us how we can reduce our carbon footprint by decreasing energy use and getting more cars off the roads," Harris told KING 5. "The pandemic has also created devastating economic conditions that are threatening local government budgets and services to our residents. This decision will save the department money and reduce the need to cut services."

The department will keep one floor of space at the King Street Center and create more space at remote facilities for future collaboration and remote work stations. The department will vacate more than two floors at King Street. 

The department employs about 1,800 people in total, according to King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn. Dunn opposes the decision, saying it sets up a "dangerous precedent" for operations.

Dunn's statement in full reads:

“This is a hugely impactful decision made with zero public process or workplan. By ordering nearly half its employees to permanently work from home, DNRP has set a dangerous precedent for King County operations that could escalate to impact the remaining 19,000 County employees and agencies.

“It’s alarming that DNRP issued a rushed mandatory telecommuting policy without presenting any required standards for productivity or success, management plans, assurance of performance levels, or even how to handle potential abuses of the system by employees who don’t pull their weight.

“Without these assurances, I am very concerned that taxpayers won’t get the same quality of service as when employees were required to show up to work. I think taxpayers deserve better planning and accountability from the executive branch before we commit the County to this path. The King County Council must have a chance to weigh in.”

Report: Virus could slow future Canadian shopping in Washington 

An economic research study indicates border restrictions resulting from the coronavirus could reduce future cross-border shopping trips into Washington state by Canadians. 

The Bellingham Herald reports the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University has released a report concerning money spent by Canadians in Whatcom County in northwest Washington. 

The border between the state and British Columbia has been restricted to essential travelers and commercial trade since March because of the pandemic. 

The report says the plan to ease border restrictions July 21 may not alleviate safety concerns that prevent Canadians from shopping in Washington.

Impacts of COVID-19 on city services being weighed in Tacoma

The City of Tacoma will weigh the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on city services as it develops the biennial budget for 2021-2022. 

the Office of Management & Budget is first conducting community outreach on priorities, impacts of the pandemic, and financial impacts on the budget. In October, the city manager will propose a budget to the council for review.

Multiple surveys are available on the city's website.

Pierce County is currently in Phase 2 of the state's recovery plan. 

Extra food benefits through Pandemic EBT

Any family in Washington state that has a child enrolled in a K-12 school who receives free or reduced-price meals is eligible for extra food benefits. The Pandemic EBT Emergency School Meals Program (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit to help families buy groceries because schools were closed due to COVID-19.

P-EBT is for all students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The only requirement is that a child must be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

The amount each family receives depends on how many students in the home receive free or reduced-price meals. The maximum benefit is $399 per child. Families with children who became eligible for free or reduced-price lunches after their school closed will receive less than $399 per child.

P-EBT benefits for families that already receive food stamps will have the additional funds loaded onto their existing EBT card between June 28 and July 7, 2020. Families with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals that want to receive P-EBT benefits must apply online before August 31 or by the beginning of the new school year, whichever is later. Families can also apply for P-EBT by calling 877-501-2233.

Click here for more information. 

Seattle Aquarium to reopen Monday

The Seattle Aquarium will reopen to the public on Monday, June 29 after being closed for months to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The aquarium experience will be different for visitors when the doors reopen. Guests will need to purchase tickets online for a specific day and entry time.

All visitors, staff, and volunteers will also be required to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth “for the protection of humans and animals alike.” Children under the age of 2 and visitors who are medically unable to wear a mask are exempt from wearing a face covering.

The aquarium will reopen at 15% capacity, and a one-way path will be in place to help with social distancing measures.

MORE: Seattle Aquarium to reopen Monday after closure to help limit spread of COVID-19

Gov. Inslee pauses counties moving to Phase 4 of reopening due to rise in coronavirus cases

Washington counties looking to move to Phase 4 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan will have to wait a little longer.

Gov. Inslee and Secretary John Wiesman announced Saturday the Department of Health is putting a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 due to rising coronavirus cases across the state and increased concern about the virus' spread, according to a news release.

Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause.

MORE: Washington state pauses counties moving to Phase 4 of reopening

Coronavirus global death toll passes 500,000; over 10 million cases

Confirmed coronavirus infections have surpassed the 10 million mark worldwide.

A tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University registered the grim milestone Sunday, after India and Russia added thousands of new cases. The United States has confirmed more than 2.5 million infections, the most in the world.

Globally, the Hopkins tally has reported over 500,000 deaths.

While Hopkins reports only confirmed coronavirus cases, experts believe the true number of people who have been infected could be as much as 10 times that figure, given that so many people can’t get tested or may have the virus without showing any symptoms.

MORE: Coronavirus global death toll passes 500,000; over 10 million cases

COVID-19 cases in Washington state

No new deaths were reported on Sunday, but 348 new cases were reported throughout the state. 

There have been a total of 1,310 deaths among 31,752 overall cases in Washington state.

534,443 people in Washington have taken a test for coronavirus and 5.9% of those tests have been positive, according to the state Department of Health.

Coronavirus: Your Money, Your Future

See previous coronavirus updates for Washington here.