Washington Passes 60,000 Total Coronavirus Cases

SEATTLE, WA — Washington has hit another coronavirus milestone, now officially topping 60,000 cases of the disease. The Washington State Department of Health reported 705 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, as well as five more deaths. Deaths Wednesday were reported in Grays Harbor, and Spokane County. One death mistakenly assigned to […]

SEATTLE, WA — Washington has hit another coronavirus milestone, now officially topping 60,000 cases of the disease. The Washington State Department of Health reported 705 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, as well as five more deaths.

Deaths Wednesday were reported in Grays Harbor, and Spokane County. One death mistakenly assigned to Snohomish County was also moved.

The latest numbers mean a total of 60,084 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state since the outbreak began, and 1,624 people have died.

Since the crisis began, 51 percent of deaths have been recorded among people aged 80 or older, 38 percent in people age 60 to 79, 9 percent in people age 40 to 59 and 1 percent among people age 20 to 39. Conversely, younger adults make up the bulk of coronavirus cases with 39 percent of cases in patients age 20 to 39.

An issue recording the number of negative coronavirus tests complicated Wednesday’s daily report: the Department of Health says ongoing issues with their system mean they don’t know the number of new negative test results since the beginning of August. The percent of negative test results is important because it’s one of the key metrics used to determine how well the state is handling the pandemic. If testing expands and the number of tests coming back negative grows, experts say they will be more confident recommending loosening restrictions and reopening public settings. Shortly before the data outage the percent of positive tests hovered between 5.7 and 5.9 percent. The ultimate goal is to shrink that to under 2 percent positive.

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Catch up on the latest developments:

Washington releases new guidance on remote learning

After the recent surge in coronavirus infections, many school districts across western Washington were already planning on fully remote learning when lessons resume next month, but new guidance from the state may help make that decision more uniform across the state, and give better advice on how classes can safely reopen if and when the pandemic begins to wane throughout the school year.

Under the new guidance, each county is labeled a High, Moderate, or Low Risk County, depending on how many new coronavirus infections it’s reported over the last two weeks.

In high risk counties, the state is strongly recommending that all classes be held remotely, and extracurricular activities be canceled. But as the county improves and moves into the moderate and low risk categories, more options are available, including a return to full time in-person learning for elementary students and a hybrid model for older kids.

Alongside the new guidelines, the state announced several efforts to make remote learning more equitable, including $8.8 million in CARES Act spending which will be used to give tens of thousands of low income residents internet subscriptions for the next year. The governor says that effort will help students whose parents may not normally be able to afford internet and who would unfairly fall behind because classes were held online.

“We’ve gotta continue to sharpen our skill set, and broaden our access to these students,” Inslee said. “They need us, and we need to be there for them.”

Read more: Washington Recommends Most Schools Should Remain Remote This Fall

8 gyms fined for unsafely reopening

Eight gyms in eastern Washington have been fined a combined $77,000 dollars for refusing to follow safety guidelines set forth in Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start order.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries says that, of the eight gyms, seven were Anytime Fitness franchises owned by two owners: three owned by Bradshaw Development Inc. and four owned by Fit City NW LLC. It is now the second time Bradshaw Development has been fined for illegally running Anytime Fitness Selah. The eighth fine was for Double Down CrossFit in Yakima.

L&I says they cited all eight gyms after receiving multiple complaints that the gyms were open to customers when they should not be. In each situation, they say the gyms were warned to follow the order and shut their doors, and even had an L&I inspector visit them to warn them that it was unsafe to be open during the pandemic. L&I says that’s enough warnings that the gyms were given “willful general” violations, meaning they must’ve known it was unsafe and illegal to remain open, but chose not to follow the law. Each violation has a penalty fine of $9,639.

“These employers are putting their employees at unnecessary health risk by remaining open,” said L&I’s Anne Soiza. “The Safe Start order is in place to minimize the unnecessary spread of this deadly disease in our communities.”

Remote working may mean a longer workday

Working at home may mean a slightly longer workday for most Americans, according to a new report from The Washington Post.

That report cites a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic research, which used data from more than 21,000 companies to make their findings.

By looking at the calendar data of more than three million employees at those companies, they found that the average workday grew by 48 and a half minutes in the weeks following the initial wave of lockdowns across the country. The number of meetings also grew by about 13 percent, as anyone who has had to install Zoom will likely attest.

It’s somewhat grim news but there is at least one positive spin: at least those meetings shrank in length, down around 11.5 percent or 20 minutes a day on average.

Read the full report on The Seattle Times

Total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county:

County

Confirmed Cases

Hospitalizations

Deaths

Adams

407

20

4

Asotin

24

1

2

Benton

3,613 (+44)

315 (+1)

111

Chelan

1,224 (+34)

47

10

Clallam

98 (+2)

4

0

Clark

1,705 (+38)

163 (+5)

42

Columbia

13

3

1

Cowlitz

454 (+1)

39

5

Douglas

868 (+28)

34

7

Ferry

24

0

0

Franklin

3,390 (+16)

251

47

Garfield

2

0

0

Grant

1,333 (+12)

80

12

Grays Harbor

109 (+8)

12 (+1)

2 (+1)

Island

241 (+2)

33

11

Jefferson

54

10

0

King

15,865 (+262)

2,058 (+12)

659

Kitsap

690 (+16)

59 (+2)

4

Kittitas

354 (+1)

16

18

Klickitat

108 (+2)

9

3

Lewis

194 (+4)

22

3

Lincoln

19 (+4)

1 (+1)

0

Mason

181 (+6)

15 (+1)

1

Okanogan

795 (+12)

22 (-1)

2

Pacific

44 (+3)

3

2

Pend Oreille

39 (+2)

5

0

Pierce

5,384 (+68)

621 (+6)

129

San Juan

28 (-1)

1

0

Skagit

849 (+13)

82 (-1)

21

Skamania

56 (+2)

5

1

Snohomish

5,261 (+42)

699 (+6)

190 (-1)

Spokane

4,088 (+83)

294 (+8)

72 (+5)

Stevens

96 (+2)

12 (+2)

1

Thurston

659 (+10)

63

10

Wahkiakum

5

0

0

Walla Walla

470 (+10)

36 (+1)

3

Whatcom

957 (+16)

80

38

Whitman

87

1

0

Yakima

10,142 (+61)

720 (+5)

210

Unassigned

190 (+23)

4 (+2)

3

Total

60,084 (+705)

5,840 (+61)

1,624 (+5)

The above numbers are provided by the state Department of Health, and some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.

This article originally appeared on the Gig Harbor Patch

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