It’s time for another installment of of our special series COVID-19 Update, bringing you the latest developments on the novel coronavirus outbreak that public health authorities in the Pacific Northwest are working diligently to mitigate. Unlike some of the nonsense that is unfortunately circulating on social media, all the information you’ll find here is accurate and based on sound science.
The novel coronavirus doesn’t take weekends off, so public health authorities are working seven days a week in an effort to combat the disease. Today brought a fresh round of updates from state and local officials in the Pacific Northwest.
We begin with a bulletin from Seattle-King County Public Health.
Twelve new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County through 11:59 PM on 3/7/20, bringing the total number of reported King County cases to eighty-three.
Of the twelve new cases reported today, two are deaths. The total number of deaths reported to Public Health is now seventeen. The two deaths being reported today include:
- A woman in her eighties, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, and who died on 3/6/20
- A man in his nineties, a Life Care Center resident, was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center, and who died 3/5/20
Of the seventeen deaths reported, sixteen are associated with Life Care Center [of Kirkland].
Statewide numbers as of this afternoon are as follows:
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington
And now, an update from the Oregon Health Authority.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) confirmed seven new presumptive cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, today.
OHA also announced actions it is taking to slow the spread of the virus and protect Oregonians, in response to Governor Kate Brown’s emergency declaration.
“We are prepared to activate an unprecedented state and private effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon by focusing specifically on at-risk populations,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen.
“We want to protect Oregonians at greatest risk of the most severe outcomes of this disease, including older adults, people with underlying conditions, people who are homeless and those who are vulnerable in other ways.” He said the emergency powers Gov. Brown authorized today give OHA more freedom and flexibility to take specific actions to contain the outbreak. These actions include:
- Finalizing agreements with major hospital systems to expand locations where COVID-19 tests can be conducted safely.
- Preparations to mobilize Oregon’s medical reserve corps to provide emergency support for vulnerable populations.
- Expanding telemedicine so patients can be screened, evaluated and treated by health care providers without coming into a clinic or hospital emergency department.
- Convening providers who serve older adults and vulnerable populations to mobilize an aggressive outreach and prevention strategy to protect at-risk people.
- Seeking additional funding to support Oregon’s response efforts.
Oregon’s new COVID-19 cases bring the state’s total number of those who’ve tested positive for the virus to fourteen.
Of the seven new cases, one is in Douglas County, one is in Marion County and five are in Washington County.
“The individuals whose test results we are announcing today are recovering at home or getting the care they need at a hospital,” Allen said. “Contact investigations have begun to identify and isolate anyone who may have been in close contact with these new cases.”
Four of the five new cases in Washington County were contacts of the county’s first three cases and had been under monitoring.
The county’s fifth new case had no known contact with a confirmed case. The person also had not traveled from a country where the virus is circulating. Therefore, it is being investigated as a community-acquired case. The Marion County case had no previous contact with a confirmed case and is suspected of being community spread. The Douglas County case is being investigated as a community-spread case. The county case count is as follows:
- Jackson: 2
- Klamath: 1
- Umatilla: 1
- Washington: 8
- Douglas: 1
- Marion: 1
Governor Jay Inslee appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation this morning to discuss Washington State’s response to COVID-19; he was asked about Donald Trump’s recent comments calling him “a snake”. The Governor brushed aside the insult, telling CBS’ Margaret Brennan he really doesn’t care what Trump thinks about him. The Governor revealed he was meeting with state and local officials to discuss the possibility of making the cancellation of large events mandatory.
Meanwhile, the disease is become realer for America’s right wing.
Archconservative right wing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas revealed he came into contact with someone at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Cruz has decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution, despite not having any symptoms himself. Arizona’s Paul Gosar followed up with a similar announcement.
The State Department advised Americans to avoid cruise ships for the time being, unexpectedly jolting the multi-billion industry, which is struggling to justify the logic of continuing to operate cruises after COVID-19 spread through multiple cruise ships, including the Diamond Princess (see details on cases) and the Grand Princess, which is preparing to dock in the San Francisco Bay Area.