COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus; CDC graphic)

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 here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mitigate.


On Wednes­day, June 17th, in response to the lat­est state rev­enue fore­cast, which antic­i­pates an $8.8 bil­lion drop in rev­enue over the next few years due to the coro­n­avirus-induced reces­sion, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee can­celed a sched­uled three per­cent pay raise for the state’s high­est paid gen­er­al employees.

Inslee also decreed that that over 40,000 employ­ees would be required to take at least one fur­lough day per week through July 25th and one fur­lough day per month there­after through at least the fall of this year. He urged high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions, the state Leg­is­la­ture, courts and sep­a­rate­ly elect­ed offi­cials, all of which are not under his author­i­ty, to adopt sim­i­lar measures.

On Thurs­day, June 18th, King Coun­ty joined more than twen­ty cities and coun­ties through­out the nation in declar­ing that racism was a pub­lic health cri­sis.

King Coun­ty was approved to move to Phase II of Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Safe Start” reopen­ing plan on Fri­day, June 19th, despite an uptick in cas­es. Island, Lewis and Mason coun­ties were approved to move toward Phase III.

On the same day, the state Depart­ment of Health declared that, as of Wednes­day, June 17th, 43% of all cas­es of COVID-19 and 23% of all hos­pi­tal­iza­tions due to COVID-19 in the state had been con­tract­ed by Lati­nos and His­pan­ics, which make up only 13% of the state’s population.

Also on the same day, the Yaki­ma Health Dis­trict had had to trans­port twen­ty-two patients out of its area because they had exceed­ed staffing capac­i­ty, many of them ICU patients sent to Seat­tle area hospitals.

It also suf­fered over two hun­dred new cas­es of COVID-19 in one day; the sec­ond such event in June for Yaki­ma County.

On Sat­ur­day, June 20th, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee declared in a press con­fer­ence that he would be issu­ing an order Mon­day that all Yaki­ma Coun­ty res­i­dents must wear face masks when out in public.

“It is a legal require­ment; it is not just a suggestion…It is required if we are going to pre­vent this dis­as­ter from over­tak­ing this beau­ti­ful valley.”

“This is, frankly, a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion for pub­lic health, for our abil­i­ty to reopen Yaki­ma which we want to do, and for the health and safe­ty of the entire state of Wash­ing­ton, because as Yaki­ma Coun­ty goes, so goes the rest of the state.”

Gov­er­nor Inslee also made it clear to busi­ness­es with­in Yaki­ma Coun­ty to refuse ser­vice to any­one who refus­es to fol­low the law: “No mask, no service.”

Oth­er coun­ties with­in the state, such as Spokane Coun­ty, which has also seen a sig­nif­i­cant rise in cas­es, are begin­ning to won­der if they will be next. King Coun­ty has had a direc­tive to wear a face cov­er­ing in any pub­lic space where a per­son might be with­in six feet of some­one who does not live with them since May 18th.


On Tues­day, June 16th, Gov­er­nor Kate Brown called the state Leg­is­la­ture in Salem into a spe­cial ses­sion, to start Wednes­day, June 24th.

While the pas­sage of police account­abil­i­ty leg­is­la­tion is the pri­ma­ry pur­pose of the spe­cial ses­sion, pass­ing into law spe­cif­ic poli­cies put into effect by Gov­er­nor Brown’s pre­vi­ous exec­u­tive orders will also be part of the pur­pose of the session.

Although not spec­i­fied, as Gov­er­nor Brown had men­tioned a pos­si­ble out­line for bud­get cuts as a result of COVID-19’s effect on the state econ­o­my as of Fri­day, June 19th, it’s also pos­si­ble that bud­get cuts could be considered.

On Fri­day, June 19th, Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty, which includes the city of Port­land, was the last coun­ty in the state to be approved for Phase I of Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s reopen­ing plan. On the same day, the Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty pub­lished a set of face cov­er­ing rules for peo­ple with­in indoor pub­lic spaces that must take effect in sev­en coun­ties: Clacka­mas, Hood Riv­er, Lin­coln, Mar­i­on, Mult­nom­ah, Polk and Wash­ing­ton (as of Wednes­day, June 24th).

As the Beaver State eas­es restric­tions, almost 20% of all cas­es of COVID-19 ever diag­nosed in the state hap­pened in the last week – over 1,373 peo­ple in the last eight days. Of those, two hun­dred and thir­ty-six cas­es were a result of an out­break among con­gre­gants at the Light­house Pen­te­costal Church in Island City.


On June 5th, to counter the effects of per­ceived dis­in­cen­tives to return­ing to work via enhanced fed­er­al unem­ploy­ment and relat­ed COVID-19 ben­e­fits, Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle announced the Ida­ho Return to Work bonus pro­gram, which pro­vides up to $1,500 to full time employ­ees and up to $750 to part time employ­ees to return to work. After some appar­ent con­fu­sion, the state clar­i­fied the program’s specifics on Wednes­day, June 17th.

An ill­ness clus­ter that began with a group of approx­i­mate­ly ten bar hop­pers in Boise on June 5th or 6th has grown to almost one hun­dred cas­es of COVID-19 as of Sat­ur­day morn­ing, June 20th. Cen­tral Dis­trict Health, which cov­ers Ada Coun­ty, have met vir­tu­al­ly with a num­ber of bar own­ers in down­town Boise to deal with the issue, but not all are tak­ing the same course of action.

Some will make masks inside their estab­lish­ments manda­to­ry, some vol­un­tar­i­ly, and some bars will be closed for the fore­see­able future.

Ida­ho has declared more than one hun­dred diag­nosed cas­es of COVID-19 for three days run­ning – Thurs­day, June 18th, through Sat­ur­day, June 20th.

British Colum­bia

Due to an over­whelm­ing response after being re-opened May 14th, British Colum­bia closed its por­tion of the Peace Arch Park as of Thurs­day evening, June 18th. The park strad­dles the U.S.-Canadian bor­der at Blaine, Washington.

As of Sat­ur­day, June 20th, Cana­di­an Fed­er­al offi­cials will take full respon­si­bil­i­ty for bor­der con­trols with­in the province, accord­ing to Pre­mier John Horgan.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 28,849 cas­es and 1,257 attrib­ut­able deaths.

455,941 peo­ple have been tested.

Ore­gon has had 6,750 cas­es and 189 attrib­ut­able deaths.

194,095 peo­ple have been tested.

Ida­ho has had 4,006 cas­es and 89 attrib­ut­able deaths.

72,547 peo­ple have been tested.

British Colum­bia has had 2,790 cas­es and 168 attrib­ut­able deaths.

175,454 peo­ple have been tested.

Adjacent posts

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