NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Torrent of bad news caps absolutely surreal day in the Pacific NW

With so much chang­ing so fast, it’s already once again time for a anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and through­out the coun­try 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.

WHO declares the novel coronavirus a pandemic

The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion has belat­ed­ly issued a for­mal deter­mi­na­tion that the COVID-19 out­break is a pan­dem­ic as opposed to just an epi­dem­ic.

Watch their press con­fer­ence:

Governor Jay Inslee forbids large public gatherings

Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Inslee has used the author­i­ty vest­ed in him by the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton to issue an order pro­hibit­ing pub­lic gath­er­ings of two hun­dred and fifty peo­ple or more.

If you’re won­der­ing whether this is legal, the answer is yes… the Gov­er­nor isn’t impro­vis­ing with this order. He’s using the author­i­ty grant­ed to him by this RCW.

Watch the press con­fer­ence here.

Read the emer­gency procla­ma­tion:

Inslee emer­gency procla­ma­tion per­tain­ing to large gath­er­ings

King Coun­ty has issued its own sup­ple­men­tary guid­ance.

The King Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office has asked NPI to advise you not to call 911 or the coun­ty’s non-emer­gency line to report gath­er­ings over 250 peo­ple.

If you need to con­tact some­one in rela­tion to a gath­er­ing, you can call the King Coun­ty Nov­el Coro­n­avirus call cen­ter at 206–477-3977.

Their hours of oper­a­tion are 8 AM — 7 PM.

Governor Kate Brown copies Inslee’s move

Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Kate Brown wast­ed no time in fol­low­ing Inslee’s lead.

“Nobody is immune to this virus, it can touch every­one,” said Brown, who advised she would also ban gath­er­ings of two hun­dred and fifty peo­ple or more.

“We can’t let fear and anx­i­ety stig­ma­tize peo­ple,” the Gov­er­nor added.

“We are see­ing cas­es across mul­ti­ple coun­ties and age groups, and in peo­ple exposed through dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances. It’s time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread and take care of one anoth­er.”

The Gov­er­nor has a press con­fer­ence planned for 9 AM tomor­row to detail the ban and oth­er mea­sures the state is tak­ing, includ­ing social dis­tanc­ing mea­sures.

School for many Puget Sound students gets canceled

Sev­er­al large school dis­tricts have announced that their build­ings and facil­i­ties will be closed and all class­es can­celed for the next few weeks, includ­ing Seat­tle, Lake Wash­ing­ton, Shore­line, and Belle­vue. Learn more about the clo­sures.

New cases in Washington

Wash­ing­ton State now has a total of three hun­dred and six­ty-six con­firmed cas­es and twen­ty-nine deaths, accord­ing to updat­ed Depart­ment of Health sta­tis­tics.

Most of the new cas­es are in King Coun­ty.

Pub­lic Health – Seat­tle & King Coun­ty is report­ing the fol­low­ing con­firmed cas­es and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 PM on 3/10/20.

  • 234 con­firmed cas­es (up 44 from yes­ter­day)
  • 26 con­firmed deaths (up 4 from yes­ter­day)

The four deaths being report­ed today were all among pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed cas­es. These addi­tion­al deaths include:

  • A woman in her 90s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, died on 3/3.
  • A man in his 90s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 35.
  • A woman in her 60s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 39.
  • A woman in her 90s, a res­i­dent of Red­mond Care and Rehab, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 310.

Of the 26 deaths report­ed, 22 are asso­ci­at­ed with Life Care Cen­ter.

The Wash­ing­ton State cas­es account for a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of the total known and con­firmed cas­es in the Unit­ed States as a whole.

New cases in Oregon

Ore­gon report­ed sev­er­al new cas­es of the nov­el coro­n­avirus today.

The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty (OHA) today announced Linn County’s first two pre­sump­tive pos­i­tive cas­es of COVID-19.

The new cas­es, involv­ing two males over the age of 80, brings Oregon’s total to 21 total cas­es in eight coun­ties.

Like the cas­es in Polk, Mar­i­on and Deschutes, the Linn Coun­ty cas­es had no known close con­tacts with con­firmed cas­es, so they are con­sid­ered com­mu­ni­ty-spread.

An Infec­tion Con­trol and Spec­i­men Col­lec­tion Strike Team will deploy to Linn Coun­ty. The team will assess and work with the facil­i­ty to assess infec­tion con­trol. The team will col­lect spec­i­men sam­ples for COVID-19 test­ing from all res­i­dents and care providers.

Upon ini­tial eval­u­a­tion, res­i­dents with symp­toms were ini­tial­ly test­ed for flu, and res­pi­ra­to­ry ill­ness. As an extra pre­cau­tion, that facil­i­ty had pre­vi­ous­ly switched its ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem to cir­cu­lat­ing 100% out­side air to mit­i­gate the poten­tial spread of infec­tious dis­ease. the res­i­dents con­tin­ued to receive appro­pri­ate med­ical care and were placed in iso­la­tion. Infec­tious dis­ease pre­ven­tion pro­to­cols also con­tin­ued to be fol­lowed to pro­tect oth­er res­i­dents and staff.

Ore­gon Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Affairs Direc­tor Kel­ly Fitz­patrick said “our high­est pri­or­i­ty has always been the health and safe­ty of our most hon­ored vet­er­an res­i­dents that we serve in our two vet­er­ans’ homes. From the start of con­cerns about COVID-19, and espe­cial­ly upon learn­ing that the very age group that resides in our vet­er­ans’ homes is also the most sus­cep­ti­ble, we took imme­di­ate mea­sures to pro­tect our vet­er­ans, includ­ing adher­ing to state and fed­er­al guide­lines. Even before COVID-19 emerged, the two vet­er­ans’ homes reg­u­lar­ly fol­lowed strict infec­tious dis­ease pro­to­cols.”

“We believe that pro­tect­ing the health and safe­ty of the vet­er­ans in our homes helps ensure we live up to their mot­to, ‘the place where hon­or lives.’ We have a sacred trust to safe­guard them now.”

OHA, in con­sul­ta­tion with the Ore­gon Depart­ment of Human Ser­vices, issued a pol­i­cy to lim­it expo­sure to COVID-19 at long-term care facil­i­ties yes­ter­day.

The guid­ance directs nurs­ing, assist­ed liv­ing and res­i­den­tial care facil­i­ties, includ­ing those pro­vid­ing mem­o­ry care, to:

  • Restrict vis­i­ta­tion to only essen­tial indi­vid­u­als;
  • Lim­it essen­tial vis­i­tors to two per res­i­dent at a giv­en time;
  • Screen all per­mit­ted vis­i­tors for res­pi­ra­to­ry or oth­er symp­toms poten­tial­ly indi­cat­ing COVID-19 and for recent trav­el to an affect­ed geo­graph­ic area or high-risk set­ting pri­or to enter­ing the facil­i­ties;
  • Doc­u­ment the screen­ings for all vis­i­tors;
  • Lim­it com­mu­ni­ty out­ings; and
  • Sup­port res­i­dents’ access to social­iza­tion when vis­i­tors are not able to enter the facil­i­ty through vir­tu­al vis­its.

Health offi­cials con­tin­ue to urge all Ore­go­ni­ans to take steps to pro­tect those who are most vul­ner­a­ble to com­pli­ca­tions from COVID-19.

New cases in British Columbia

British Colum­bia also report­ed a slew of new cas­es today.

VICTORIA — Adri­an Dix, Min­is­ter of Health, and Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry, B.C.‘s provin­cial health offi­cer, have issued the fol­low­ing joint state­ment regard­ing updates on the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) response in British Colum­bia:

“We are announc­ing sev­en new cas­es of COVID-19, for a total of 46 cas­es in British Colum­bia. The indi­vid­u­als are in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health, Fras­er Health and Island Health regions.”

“Two cas­es are con­nect­ed to the Lynn Val­ley Care Cen­tre, three cas­es are trav­el-relat­ed and two are com­mu­ni­ty cas­es.”

“Case 40 is a male in his twen­ties liv­ing in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health region, and case 45 is a woman in her fifties liv­ing in the Fras­er Health region. Both work at the Lynn Val­ley Care Cen­tre. There are no new res­i­dent cas­es.”

“Case 43 is a male in his sev­en­ties liv­ing in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health region. Case 46 is a man in his six­ties liv­ing in the Island Health region. Both cas­es 43 and 46 have returned from trav­el­ling in Egypt. Case 42 is a man in his sev­en­ties from Egypt, who is vis­it­ing fam­i­ly in the Fras­er Health region.”

“Case 41 is a woman in her six­ties cur­rent­ly in hos­pi­tal. Case 44 is a man in his six­ties. Both are new com­mu­ni­ty cas­es, who were iden­ti­fied through lab­o­ra­to­ry sur­veil­lance, and both reside in the Fras­er Health region.”

“Three patients have been dis­charged from hos­pi­tal and are now recov­er­ing at home. One per­son is in hos­pi­tal.”

“All oth­er patients with COVID-19 remain in iso­la­tion at home with care and sup­port from pub­lic health teams.”

“We have seen an increase in com­mu­ni­ty cas­es in the Low­er Main­land and Fras­er Val­ley in recent days, where the source of the virus infec­tion is not yet known. Pub­lic health teams are active­ly inves­ti­gat­ing, as we con­tin­ue work to lim­it the spread of trans­mis­sion in B.C.

“Today, we are ask­ing British Columbians to take addi­tion­al care of seniors and peo­ple with com­pro­mised immune sys­tems. Do not vis­it them if you are sick. If they are liv­ing at home and are sick, con­sid­er how you may sup­port them with food and oth­er neces­si­ties. If you need to vis­it a long-term care home or oth­er health-care facil­i­ty, go one per­son at a time and lim­it your vis­it to the per­son you know.”

“We are work­ing with all long-term care and assist­ed liv­ing facil­i­ties to imple­ment enhanced pre­ven­tion mea­sures to fur­ther pro­tect all res­i­dents.”

“If any British Columbian has been noti­fied by event orga­niz­ers that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, such as the recent Prospec­tors and Devel­op­ers Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­da con­fer­ence in Toron­to, we are strong­ly rec­om­mend­ing social dis­tanc­ing in the work­place and at home, espe­cial­ly from those most vul­ner­a­ble, in addi­tion to close­ly mon­i­tor­ing for symp­toms.”

“Today, the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion declared the out­break of COVID-19 a pan­dem­ic. As part of the British Colum­bia Pan­dem­ic Provin­cial Co-ordi­na­tion Plan, we con­tin­ue to focus on con­tain­ment to break the chains of trans­mis­sion, and we are using all the tools in our tool­box required at this time.”

“As an exam­ple, callers to British Columbi­a’s Health­Link 811 line have expe­ri­enced inter­mit­tent busy sig­nals today as call vol­ume has increased. We are resolv­ing this by adding more staff, more phone lines and a new menu option to pro­vide a ded­i­cat­ed queue for calls about COVID-19.”

“The British Colum­bia Pan­dem­ic Provin­cial Co-ordi­na­tion Plan details the prepa­ra­tions and com­pre­hen­sive toolk­it to respond to the evolv­ing out­break. This will be an ongo­ing resource for the province.”

Congressional Democrats unveil COVID-19 response bills

The Sen­ate and House Democ­rats each intro­duced mea­sures to pro­vide emer­gency eco­nom­ic relief to work­ing peo­ple.

The Sen­ate Democ­rats held a press con­fer­ence to announce their plan.

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans out­ra­geous­ly refused to lend their sup­port to a Demo­c­ra­t­ic attempt to fast track their pro­pos­al through the Sen­ate.

The House Democ­rats intro­duced the Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act.

Read the bill:

Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act

Staffer in Senator Cantwell’s office tests positive for virus

A staff mem­ber in Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell’s office has test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19. Sen­a­tor Cantwell was not exposed, we under­stand.

Cantwell has direct­ed her staff to work from home until fur­ther notice.

Mean­while, Speak­er Pelosi is plan­ning to end pub­lic access to the U.S. Capi­tol after con­sult­ing with Mitch McConnell and oth­er senior law­mak­ers.

CDC issues Seattle-specific guidance

The Cen­ters For Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion released guid­ance tar­get­ed at peo­ple liv­ing in and near Seat­tle, the largest city in the Pacif­ic North­west.

Read and down­load:

CDC’s Seat­tle Com­mu­ni­ty Mit­i­ga­tion advice

COVID-19 kills off the bull market

We are offi­cial­ly in “bear ter­ri­to­ry” after a pro­longed peri­od of sink­ing stocks and futures in glob­al mar­kets, includ­ing Amer­i­can mar­kets.

NBA suspends its season

The Nation­al Bas­ket­ball Asso­ci­a­tion has pulled the plug on its sea­son after one of its play­ers (Rudy Gob­ert) test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

Just a few days ago, Gob­ert stu­pid­ly dis­missed con­cerns about the nov­el coro­n­avirus and made a point of touch­ing all the micro­phones in front of him at a press con­fer­ence to demon­strate his lack of con­cern.

Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson have the virus

On social media, well known actor Tom Han­ks said he and his wife have also test­ed pos­i­tive for the dis­ease, stun­ning mil­lions of peo­ple around the world. Han­ks and Wil­son are in Aus­tralia for the film­ing of a movie.

Bloomberg assesses how Patient Zero spread the virus

The first per­son in Wash­ing­ton to have a con­firmed case of COVID-19 like­ly spread it to oth­er peo­ple despite health author­i­ties’ best efforts to fol­low up with all of the peo­ple that the indi­vid­ual had come into con­tact with.

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