Coronavirus: Live Coverage for Puget Sound

The virus has killed several and sickened dozens.

March 10

10:45 a.m.

New restrictions on nursing home visits were also announced at this morning’s press conference with Gov. Jay Inslee. Residents at nursing homes in the state are limited to one visitor per day. They must be adults and the visit must take place in the resident’s room.

All visitors must wear personal protective equipment and practice social distancing. They must also sign in to a visitor log.

The governor mandated owners and operators of nursing facilities can’t disclose protected health information. Instead, the Department of Social and Health Services will contract with a case management entity to provide real-time information with family members.

“Sometimes the real need for that information can overwhelm the staff’s capacity to answer,” Inslee said.

Employees or vonunteers additionally must be screened for COVID-19 at the beginning of each shift. This will not be a full test.

10:00 a.m.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that state and local officials have been considering expanding isolation and quarantine measures. Specifics actions were not given, but they could include shutting down schools and events, among others. He cautioned residents to expect disruptions to business as usual.

“We’re considering those things right now, ” he said.

Inslee didn’t provide a timeline for when potential restrictions could be enacted, but said not to be surprised if he was “back here in a day.”

The official toll so far from the coronavirus outbreak is 22 deaths, 162 cases where people tested presumptive positive in eight counties. The majority of these deaths have occurred in King County.

March 9

5:16 p.m.

Another press briefing was conducted in front of Life Care Center of Kirkland at around 5 p.m. to update the public on coronavirus test results among the facility’s residents.

Tim Killian, a public information liaison for the center, said that since the briefing earlier in the day, the facility had gotten 35 test results back from the University of Washington. This means that about 20 others currently living at Life Care do not know whether they have a coronavirus infection.

Killian said that of the 35 test results, 31 were positive. One was negative. Three were inconclusive.

Killian said employees within the facility have not been tested and that he is awaiting confirmation whether they will be tested offsite. Killian added that families were contacted about test results before the 5 p.m. briefing.

Those who tested negative will be moved to a smaller wing within the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Killian said. He said that he is unable to confirm an age range as officials are hesitant to give out demographic information.

5:09 p.m.

Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue reported that the first patient who tested positive for COVID-19 died.

The patient was man in his 80s and died sometime overnight Sunday, into Monday morning. According to a press release, he was a resident of Life Care Center of Kirkland and was admitted into Overlake on comfort care.

“Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time,” the hospital stated in the release.

According to the release, comfort care is an essential part of medical practice at the end of life, according to the National Institute on Aging. The goal is to relieve symptoms for end-of-life patients.

Overlake currently has seven presumptive positive COVID-19 patients in its facility, according to the release.

“We continue to have those with pending test results as well,” the release states. “We will continue to follow guidance from the CDC, Department of Health, and King County Public Health when it comes to COVID-19 testing and isolation.”

The hospital and clinics remain open for business as usual, the release states.

2:06 p.m.

The Life Care Center of Kirkland gave its latest media briefing regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in front of the facility on Monday, March 9.

This is one of many daily updates from center representatives that will be happening as long as the center feels necessary, according to Life Care public information liaison Tim Killian.

Killian shared Monday that of the 120 residents who were confirmed to have been connected with the center as of Feb. 19 (the day the first Life Care resident who later tested positive for a coronavirus infection was transferred out of the facility), 60 have subsequently been brought to nearby hospitals.

This is an increase of two from March 8. Those who have been transferred were experiencing “acute symptoms,” Killian said.

As of March 9, there are no new deaths associated with the center.

In total, 15 patients associated with Life Care have died in nearby hospitals. Of that number, 13 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Killian additionally reported that 11 patients have died within the center and that the facility is continuing to push for post-mortem test results to find out if the deaths were coronavirus related.

Killian said as of March 9, there are 53 residents at the center, which is a decrease of two from Sunday.

There are seven residents who are showing symptoms (which is one more than the previous day), though Killian noted that that new number could mean that one resident stopped exhibiting symptoms while another started showing symptoms, for example.

All tests of in-house residents, according to Killian, are complete. He said that Life Care is now waiting for the official results from the University of Washington’s testing facility.

“We hope to get those quickly,” Killian said.

Killian said that five employees have returned to work after following self-sequestration guidelines. Right now, the number of Life Care of Kirkland employees showing coronavirus symptoms is 65.

Killian clarified that while Feb. 19 is being used as a “starting date” for statistics, the center did not actually know that the patient the date relates to had a confirmed coronavirus case until Feb. 29.

He said that if employees were seen wearing face masks before the confirmation, it was because of influenza protocols and a then-burgeoning possibility of a respiratory-illness outbreak.

Regarding waste disposal, Killian said the center continues to be serviced by Waste Management, and that it is following King County Solid Waste guidelines. Regular protocols for medical waste are continuing to be followed.

Killian said Life Care feels “more confident” that it has communication with families of residents more under control, as there is now a doctor onsite at the facility who is able to call and communicate with them.

Killian said that at the Kirkland location, CDC support is coming in three shifts throughout the day. For each shift, six nurses, about two nurse practitioners and one to two doctors come to support. This is in addition to Life Care staff already at the facility. He said that because of the supplemental support, the center is getting closer to returning to a more stable, normalized schedule.

“I can say that [employees are] treating them with care and dignity,” Killian said of residential treatment.

Visitors and non-essential staffers are still mostly being turned away at the door; Killian said that when there are extraordinary circumstances that they can be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Killian said that he would try to issue an addendum specifying when visitations exactly ended later tonight. He added that he doesn’t know the breakdown of which patients have died at what hospital but that it was unlikely that each has occurred at EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland.

Killian said at the conference that he is working on getting a sense on the general well-being and mental health of employees. He said that once more testing results are confirmed, then there will be a discussion between the CDC and other agencies about what to do next.

The next briefing is set for tomorrow, March 10, at 1 p.m.

1:30 p.m.

Public Health Seattle and King County reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 in King County.

Of the 33 new cases reported two are deaths. In addition, one person who was previously reported as a positive case has now died. The total number of deaths reported to Public Health is now 20.

The three deaths being reported today include:

•A woman in her 80s, a Life Care Center resident, who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on Wednesday, March 4. This case is one of the 33 new cases reported today, according to Public Health.

•A woman in her 90s, a Life Care Center resident, who was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on Saturday, March 8. This case was also one of the new cases reported today.

•A woman in her 70s, a Life Care Center resident, who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and who died on Saturday, March 8. This was a previously reported case.

Of the 20 deaths reported, 19 are associated with Life Care Center.

March 8

2:30 p.m.

Life Care Center of Kirkland will now be holding daily briefings with updates of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, said Tim Killian, a public information liaison for the center, Sunday afternoon.

Of the original 120 residents as of Feb. 19, 58 have since been transferred to various nearby hospitals — an additional four more since yesterday (March 7).

In just under three weeks, 26 deaths are associated with the facility. Fifteen patients of the 26 have died in local hospitals, 13 of which tested positive for coronavirus.

Killian shared that 11 patients have died inside the Life Care Center facility, but he does not yet have the post-mortem test results for any of the deceased, whether positive or negative, to state if they died from the virus.

All 55 current residents will have been tested by March 9; so far the facility has tested 44 and is set to complete the remaining 11 soon, Killian said.

Of the staff, 70 employees are showing symptoms of the coronavirus; three employees have been hospitalized with one of who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Life Care Center of Kirkland is not testing employees inside the facility as they do not have the resources to do so, Killian said.

Life Care has had additional facility staffing from United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps of Health and Human Services, although Killian did not have an exact number of how many additional staffers were provided. He said the team of nurses, CNAs and doctors rotate through three shifts a day.

Life Care Center operates more than 200 care facilities in Washington and Killian said “it wouldn’t have been uncommon” for employees to have rotated between various sites in recent weeks.

Killian said he has no information on how many staffers may have rotated between facilities since the outbreak.

1:10 p.m.

Public Health Seattle and King County have updated its COVID-19 case numbers. Twelve new cases were reported including two deaths. The total number of cases in King County is up to 83. The total number of deaths in the county is 17. The two deaths include a woman in her 80s from Life Care Center who was hospitalized at Evergreen Health. She died on Friday, March 6. The second death was also a Life Care Center resident, a man in his 90s who was being treated at Harborview Medical Center. He died on Thursday, March 5.

Of the 17 deaths reported, 16 are associated with Life Care Center.

March 6

5:55 p.m.

A King County Superior Court judge on Friday denied a temporary restraining order against King County filed by the city of Kent to halt the opening of a public health coronavirus quarantine facility.

The Office of King County Executive Dow Constantine released the following statement after the ruling:

“On March 1, Executive Constantine issued a proclamation of emergency allowing King County to take extraordinary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including acquiring property essential for public health. To quickly set up housing for those recovering from sickness or directed by Public Health – Seattle & King County to remain in isolation, King County is prioritizing locations that meet Public Health’s requirements.

“The motel in Kent was the only site on the market that included separate HVAC in each unit, and separate doors to the outside. Kent is one of four sites across the region pressed into service in the fight against COVID-19. The others include: Interbay, North Seattle, and White Center.

“King County will continue to identify and acquire properties in all parts of the county to ensure residents, including health care workers and first-responders who come into contact with COVID-19, are housed appropriately.”

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph’s office released this statement:

“The mayor is disappointed in the ruling but grateful the court recognizes our serious concerns. The ruling allows the county to house up to 15 people at the public health quarantine facility. We will continue our fight in court next week and are hopeful for a positive outcome. We are still confident a solution can be reached if the county applies for the proper permits and agrees to reasonable conditions for public health and safety.”

Ralph on Friday directed the city attorney to file a temporary restraining order against King County government in an effort to prevent the opening of a public health coronavirus quarantine facility at the former Econo Lodge in Kent. The county purchased the motel for $4 million this week.

“They (King County) have failed to secure permits and address the city’s serious concerns about public safety,” Ralph said.

5:01 p.m.

A patient at the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has tested positive for COVID-19. Three Eastside Fire and Rescue firefighters that had contact with the patient are self-quarantining and are not showing symptoms.

4:53 p.m.

The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that at least one patient from Kirkland’s Life Care Center was transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, where they are in intensive care. King County leaders announced earlier today that patients from the nursing facility were being transferred to hospitals in Snohomish and Pierce counties as hospitals in King County neared capacity.

Up to 15 patients were transferred from the Life Care Center in the last 36 hours, is unknown where other patients were sent.

4:43 p.m.

King County issued a statement confirming there had been 11 deaths in the county.

“Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 p.m. on 3/5/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to 58.

In addition, a person who was previously reported, a male in his 60s, has now died. He was not a resident of Life Care Center of Kirkland, but was a visitor. He died on 3/5/20. The total number of deaths in King County reported to Public Health is 11.

Of the 58 cases, 34 are residents of or associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland. Eighteen are residents, six are staff, and 10 are visitors or family members. Of the 11 deaths reported, ten are associated with Life Care Center.”

4:22 p.m.

The city of Kent is trying to block King County from setting up at an Econo Lodge which the county wants to use as a quarantine facility.

Representatives of the city at a March 6 press conference said they had filed an injunction to stop the county from using the motel to house an 85-bed quarantine facility. They said two days ago, the county told them patients could be moved there in 10 days. However, city officials said they learned earlier today the county could move patients to the facility as soon as tonight.

3:43 p.m.

Several cities in King County had declared states of emergencies or moved to combat the spread of coronavirus. The county also declared a state of emergeny on March 3. This list was partially compiled by the Sound Cities Association and will be updated.

Seattle – Issued a proclamation of civil emergency on March 3.

Shoreline – Signed an emergency proclamation. Shutting down all public facilities for up to 3 weeks starting March 6. Working on policies to urge staff to telecommute. Schools have cancelled all extracurricular activities.

Sammamish – Issued an emergency proclamation to facilitation recommendations. Cancelling all non-essential functions. Limiting public access to PC & CC meetings. Safety analysis for all staff w/ exposure to public. Developing telework policy.

Redmond – Emergency Operations Center fully activated. Community Relations task force performing outreach efforts. GIS mapping to document outreach efforts.

Mercer Island – Issued an emergency proclamation March 6. Closed another City facility today. Encouraging telecommuting.

Snoqualmie – Issued an emergency proclamation March 6.

Kenmore – Issued an emergency proclaimation on March 5.

Auburn – Issued an emergency proclamation. Closed several City facilities. Activating during day hours on Monday.

Woodinville – Issued an emergency proclamation on March 6 – closing all City buildings to the public. Staffing remains status quo.

Bellevue – Issued an emergency proclamation on March 4. EOC elevated to Level 2 (partial). No closing of City facilities. Have a telecommuting policy. Daily leadership team briefings.

Duvall – Issued an emergency proclamation last night.

Kent – Issued emergency proclamation on March 6.

Lake Washington School District – As of today, postponing/suspending all evening activities until 3/18.

3:07 p.m.

The city of Kent declared an emergency today in response to the outbreak. It is also filing a restraining order against King County. The county purchased a motel in the city to be used as a quarantine location. The restraining order seeks to block them from doing that.

A press conference will be held at 4 p.m. at Kent City Hall.

2:47 p.m.

The U.S. District Court of Western Washington has suspended all criminal and civil cases due to the coronavirus outbreak. A general order sent on March 6 said all cases scheduled for in-court appearances are to be continued until the order is changed.

All grand jury proceedings are also postponed. Defendant’s right to a speedy trial has also been suspended due to the outbreak. The order cited difficulty in obtaining an “adequate spectrum of jurors.”

The Seattle and Tacoma courthouses will remain open. Staff at the clerk’s office will be available by telephone. Mail will still be received and intake desks will be open for filings.

The court will either amend or revoke the order no later than March 31.

2:30 p.m.

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, whose district includes the Kent Valley and West Hill, posted the following message Friday on his Facebook page in response to the county’s plan to use the Econo Lodge on Central Avenue in Kent as a coronavirus facility:

“Over the last couple days I have heard from a handful of Kent residents upset with the King County Executive’s (Dow Constantine) decision this week to purchase a hotel in Kent for use as an isolation or quarantine site during the emerging coronovirus pandemic,” Upthegrove said. “The City of Kent government has also expressed frustration and concern.

“This is a very serious issue, taking place in the middle of the largest public health crisis our region has seen in our lifetime. I recognize and appreciate the fear and anger that people around the county are expressing—particularly in communities like ours where Seattle-King County Public Health is establishing facilities to respond to the crisis.

“The King County Executive rightly declared a proclamation of emergency at the outset of the outbreak in King County. This proclamation gives the executive branch of government—and in this case the Public Health Department — more authority to act swiftly and independently as necessary to protect public health and safety. As such, the decisions to establish isolation and quarantine sites around the county are not being made by the King County Council. These decisions are being made and implemented by our public health experts at Seattle-King County Public Health with guidance from the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.

“This means that the hotel will be used for this purpose. The Public Health Department informs me they expect to begin using the motel next week for 1 or 2 people.

“I have been in communication with Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, and am working with the city to try to get answers to questions and more information as it becomes available.

“On Tuesday (March 10), the King County Council will be convening to approve an emergency budget appropriation to fund the public health response work. The funding for the hotel purchase came from another source and has already been spent. Nonetheless, I am preparing and proposing two amendments to this budget ordinance that would require the following:

1) Any quarantine and recovery sites used for the COVD-19 outbreak shall include plans for security, communication with the surrounding community, and services to the residents including transportation to their original location or home; and

2) If, after the declaration of emergency has passed, the Public Health Department plans to use the quarantine and recovery sites for any purpose other than the COVD-19 response, they must seek Council approval.”

1:47 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office announced several programs to assist businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. These include extending excise tax filing deadlines, waiving penalties for late payment of taxes and deferring payment of bills.

IT is also providing export aid and employer and worker assistance.

The Washington State Employment Security Department can provide help with unemployment benefits for businesses through several programs.

The state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for workers who need to take time off to recover, or to care for a family member. However, quarantine itself is not a qualifying condition for this benefit, meaning those who may not be sick but are still required to be isolated may not qualify.

1:17 p.m.

A running list of events that have been cancelled on the Eastside is available here.

1:10 p.m.

CHI Franciscan is offering free, 24/7 virtual health consultations to any individuals experiencing mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus to relieve urgent care and emergency room crowding.

The health consultations with a certified healthcare provider provide increased access to care, CHI Franciscan wrote in a Friday morning news release.

Only those with severe symptoms, such as a high fever or shortness of breath, should go to urgent care facilities.

Individuals experiencing fever, cough or other upper respiratory symptoms suggestive of the COVID-19 infection can access the 24/7 virtual care by web, phone or app.

When prompted for payment, enter coupon code COVID19 to waive the $35 virtual video consultation fee.


Phone: 1-855-356-8053

1:07 p.m.

Despite moving all its classes online, the University of Washington is not cancelling sporting and other events and is allowing students to stay in dormitories.

The decision to close the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses was announced last night. Ana Mari Cauce said the presumptive positive results came yesterday evening, but the decision to move to online classes was made beforehand.

“We took our actions with the abundance of caution and being very aware that in many of our classrooms there is incredibly close proximity,” Cauce said.

The test was conducted by the UW, using its own test. However, for a case to be confirmed it must also be tested by the state or Centers for Disease Control. As such, the UW case is considered presumptive positive.

Four other students were tested for COVID-19 had their tests come back negative.

The decision to close dorms, athletics and other facilities and programs in the future will be made by the staff of those departments.

“Blanket policies can sometimes in fact be more confusing,” Cauce said.

If dorms were to close, students could have challenges finding somewhere else to live. Staff has also increased cleaning of high-tough cares in the dorms, said Denzil Suite, Vice President for Student Life.

12:36 p.m.

King County Public Health will no longer be providing specific information on new cases during the COVID-19 outbreak, citing increasing numbers of cases. In a press release, the county said it will try to provide information on deaths, when available.

“As more testing has become available, we are getting increased numbers of reports from laboratories and other facilities. We need time to reconcile data in order to report numbers accurately. We expect to get those numbers later today and will issue a second media release today when we have those numbers,” the release states.

11:15 a.m.

The City of Renton and Mayor Armondo Pavone declared a state of emergency in response to the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The proclamation supports measures to be taken to protect public health, safety and welfare within the city.

Several patients in the region have tested positive for the COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued warnings regarding the impacts and severity of this event, according to a city press release.

On Feb. 29 Washington Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed that a state of emergency exists in all counties in the state, and on March 1 King County Executive Dow Constantine signed a proclamation of emergency due to the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county.

“Because the City of Renton may require supplemental assistance if the severity of the event goes beyond the capabilities of local resources, the proclamation of emergency enables the city to call in additional resources,” the press release states. “Additionally, it provides the mayor with the maximum flexibility to respond to this health crisis.”

The city will continue to keep residents informed with updates to the city website,, as well as Facebook (@CityofRenton) and Twitter (@CityofRenton) as information becomes available.

Information on the coronavirus in other languages is provided on the city’s website.

10:35 a.m.

All residents and staff at Kirkland’s Life Care Center are being tested, or will be shortly, for COVID-19. The nursing facility has been the epicenter of an ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

King County executive Dow Constantine at a press conference on Friday morning said there are 69 residents still at the facility, 15 have been taken to other hospitals in the last 24 hours.

Seattle & King County Public Health director said she didn’t know which hospitals those 15 residents had been taken to. Patients have been transported to EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, but Hayes said the hospital is near capacity.

Other hospitals in the region have begun retrofitting hospital rooms as negative air flow rooms, which help cycle the air frequently in an attempt to reduce transmission.

Constantine said the Life Care Center hadn’t been shut down because there was no capacity at hospitals or other skilled nursing homes to accept the patients.

An emergency command center has been set up to cover nursing homes in the county. In addition, a 30-member response team of medical professionals from the Centers for Disease Control will deploy at the center tomorrow.

At the same time, the county is expecting more community transmissions of the virus.

“We must prepare this region for the inevitable continued spread of this virus, at least in the short run,” Constantine said.

The families of residents at the nursing facility have had trouble getting information on their loved ones. As documented yesterday in the Kirkland Reporter, the family of one resident was told at 3:30 a.m. on March 5 that their mother had died. Seven hours later they were told she was alive, even though she had in fact died.

Hayes said HIPAA laws limit the information the government can provide families, and that currently the only way for families to get information is Life Care Centers.

“I’ve been extremely frustrated about this,” she said.

On funding, Rep. Suzan DelBene said King County is spending around $100,000 a day fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

9:06 a.m.

All classes at for the University of Washington will be conducted remotely beginning Monday, March 9. Tests and classes will be held remotely, including final exams. The quarter ends on March 20.

An employee who works in the Roosevelt Commons East received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

9:00 a.m.

A total of 14 people have now died in Washington state from the COVID-19 outbreak, with a hospital spokesperson confirming that at least 11 of them dying at Kirkland’s EvergreenHealth hospital. Deaths and infections have been increasing over the last week as new cases have been identified and patients who previously died are being tested.