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Here’s what we know so far regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for Clallam and Jefferson counties, plus around the state, nationally and internationally:
Wednesday, March 25
• The Washington Department of Natural Resources is temporarily closing all the public land it manages, nearly 6 million acres, in another effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
All DNR-managed lands will be closed from Thursday through at least April 8, the agency announced in a news release.
• Bloodworks Northwest is doing everything they can to maintain the safety of the blood supply.
Potential blood donors are exempt from stay-at-home orders in Washington and Oregon, which do not include essential health services, such as those provided by Bloodworks Northwest and its donors.
In order for people to donate blood with Bloodworks Northwest, they must schedule an appointment; walk-ins are no longer accepted.
Call 800-398-7888 or visit schedule.bloodworksnw.org to schedule an appointment.
For further information regarding blood donations and the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit bloodworksnw.org.
• Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
• The White House and Senate leaders agreed late Tuesday night on an unprecedented $2 trillion measure that would expand unemployment benefits and aid businesses struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The agreement came as Washington state workers continue to raise questions about the recent statewide stay-at-home measure, which left plenty of gray area on which businesses are considered essential and thus allowed to remain open.
• Medical staff from the 627th Hospital Center at Colorado’s Fort Carson are being deployed to Washington state to back up doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in one of the nation’s hardest hit regions.
• The Department of Social and Health Services said Wednesday that two employees who work on separate wards at Western State Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.
Tuesday, March 24
• More than 40 percent of the U.S. population is being asked to stay home.
• Trump administration officials urge anyone who was in New York City recently to self-quarantine for 14 days.
• The City of Sequim has closed the following city parks to the public to enforce Gov. Jay Inslee’s order banning all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, effective immediately:
– Carrie Blake Park
– Margaret Kirner Park
– Pioneer Memorial Park
– Dr. Standard Park
This includes all structures, fields, benches, picnic shelters, playground equipment, and dog parks. The Olympic Discovery Trail and June Robinson Memorial Park will remain open for walking and biking the trail and for gardening, respectively. Please keep yourself and the community safe by practicing social distancing.
• Olympic National Park will offer no services outside those that support visitor or resource protection as of March 24, 2020.
The following services and operations will be suspended through at least April 6, 2020:
– Most park roads are closed at the park boundary. These temporary closures include Staircase Road; Hurricane Ridge Road; Ozette Road; Mora Road; Upper Hoh Road; Lower and Upper Queets roads; and North Fork and Graves Creek roads in the Quinault Valley. The Olympic Hot Springs Road and Whiskey Bend Road in the Elwha Valley are closed to vehicles at the Madison Falls parking area due to the washout of Olympic Hot Springs Road. Sol Duc, Deer Park, Obstruction Point and Hurricane Hill roads have not opened for the season and remain closed at this time.
– All overnight camping, including in wilderness, is currently suspended. All drive-in park campgrounds are closed including: Staircase, Heart O’ the Hills, Ozette, Mora, Hoh, Kalaloch, Queets, North Fork and Graves Creek. Deer Park, Fairholme, Sol Duc and South Beach have not opened for the season and remain closed at this time. With this closure, it is important to remember that no other areas in the park are authorized for camping.
– To make changes to or cancel existing wilderness permit reservations affected by this closure, please contact the Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100 (Option 4) or email [email protected].
– All public facilities, including visitor centers, contact stations and restrooms, are closed.
– Kalaloch Lodge, Creekside Restaurant and The Mercantile closed as of March 23.
– Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, Campground and RV Park have delayed opening until April 24 at the earliest.
– Winter operations at Hurricane Ridge ended as of March 17.
• Mount Rainier National Park will close all park roads to public vehicle access. This closure will prohibit all vehicles, including cars, buses, motorcycles and nonmotorized vehicles such as bicycles from entering the park. The park’s main gate near Ashford will also be closed. Updates to this temporary closure will be provided on the park’s Twitter account, @MountRainierNPS.
• The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced the temporary allowance of Spirits, Beer, Wine Restaurant license holders to sell closed, manufacturer-sealed bottles or cans of beer, wine and spirits in combination with the sale of to-go food or by delivery.
This change only applies to sales of alcohol that include the purchase of food. Liquor sales without food purchases are not included or allowed under this temporary allowance, which is in effect for the duration of the Governor’s proclamation temporarily banning on-premises dining.
For more information, visit lcb.wa.gov/agency/covid-19_update.
• The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks, wildlife areas and water access areas for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, March 25. The closure is in response to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, issued yesterday.
Entrance gates and facilities will be closed, and on-site public services will be suspended. Essential staff will be present to preserve and protect resources.
Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation lands will remain closed through April 30.
• A Transportation Security Administration agent at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle, which runs the airport.
• Three of America’s most well-known national parks — Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Great Smoky Mountains — closed their gates Tuesday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
• Health system administrators in Arizona are warning people not to self medicate with chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug incorrectly recommended for treatment of COVID-19 by President Donald Trump last week, or its sibling, chloroquine phosphate.
• President Donald Trump said he wanted the country “opened by Easter.”
• India’s prime minister decreed a 21-day lockdown for the country of 1.3 billion.
• Playwright Terrence McNally has died of complications from the coronavirus.
• The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed because of coronavirus.
• The Canadian Hockey League pulled the plug on the playoffs Monday after initially postponing them.
• China is to lift quarantine restrictions in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus crisis began.
Monday, March 23
• Gov. Jay Inslee announces a “stay home, stay healthy” order to Washingtonians, effective for a minimum of two weeks.
All Washington residents are ordered to stay at home, except for crucial activities like buying groceries, seeking medical care or going to work at essential businesses.
The new order also requires closure of non-essential businesses to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The stay-at-home order goes into effect immediately. It bans all gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, whether by public or private groups. That includes weddings and funerals. Any non-essential businesses still operating must close in 48 hours.
• Britain will go into lockdown from Monday night after Boris Johnson ordered sweeping measures to stop people leaving their homes “at this moment of national emergency.”
• The U.S. Senate failed to vote on a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill for a second time.
• The Washington State Department of Health reported Monday that the cases from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have exceeded 2,000, including more than 100 deaths.
• Safeway and Albertsons today announced that the company has begun implementing Social Distancing protocols across all 2,200+ stores. The goal with the protocol throughout the store is to follow guidance from the CDC to prevent customers from being within 6 feet of any other person for more than 10 minutes. Customers should see changes continue over the next week.
• The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society is seeking fosters and people to adopt because volunteers cannot come in and work.
• The Department of Ecology has canceled its 2020 Ecology Youth Corps (EYC) summer litter crews for teens 14-17 due to the coronavirus emergency and the uncertainty surrounding the remaining school year.
• Federal nursing-home regulators have found that the Kirkland nursing home at the center of Washington state’s coronavirus outbreak failed to quickly respond, placing residents in imminent danger.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about coronavirus scams with information or products that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat or test COVID-19.
• Boeing said Monday it will temporarily suspend its Puget Sound factory operations starting Wednesday in response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
• All Washington State Ferries will remain on a reduced winter sailing schedule until at least April 25, to match the reduced ridership the agency is experiencing due to the novel coronavirus.
• Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Monday that her husband, John Besser, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
• Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public.
• All Oregon State Parks are set to close Monday in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak and the number of people swarming the parks in defiance of social-distancing directives.
• Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson issued a stay-at-home order for residents of the city north of Seattle.
• The first publicly disclosed cases of novel coronavirus in the U.S. homeless population emerged this week, as local governments and nonprofits rushed to prevent the virus from spreading to tens of thousands of people living outside or in shelters on the West Coast.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that a person who was homeless died of the virus in the Santa Clara area, the first publicly disclosed case in the homeless population.
• The Federal Reserve vows “unlimited” stimulus to halt coronavirus recession.
• The governor of Michigan ordered people to stay home unless they are critical workers.
• Millions of people across India have been placed under lockdown to health the spread of the virus.
• The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources announced the closure of all state campgrounds across Washington to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Campgrounds will remain closed through April 30.
The closure includes roofed accommodations like cabins and yurts.
No new campers will be allowed into Parks, WDFW or DNR lands beginning Monday, March 23. Current campers will be phased out following instructions from land officials.
Day use areas and trails remain open. Due to the volume of people visiting Washington’s ocean beaches, we are asking the public to avoid those areas. People should continue to practice social distancing when recreating outdoors.
Campers who have state parks reservations through April 30 will be notified and offered a full refund.
Visitors can find the latest information about State Park operations at parks.state.wa.us/COVID19.
For the latest information about WDFW operations, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.
• All of the New Dungeness Light Station Buildings are closed to the public until further notice.
• Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the first case of COVID-19 in the Senate and raising fears about the further transmission of the virus among Republicans at the Capitol.
• A Boeing worker who came down with the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus has died, the first death among the infected employees.
• A truckload of 50,000 N95 surgical masks, critical for health-care workers fighting the novel coronavirus, arrived at the Seattle home of a UW Medicine physician Sunday, courtesy of Elon Musk and Tesla.
The count of cases and deaths is a moving target, with jurisdictions reporting sometimes-contradictory numbers. Ours might not match what other media are reporting.
• As of 6:06 p.m. March 24, 34,181 individuals have been tested in Washington state, with 2,469 positive tests (meaning the person has the virus), or 7 percent, and 31,712 negative tests, or 93 percent, according to the state Department of Health.
• 110 fatalities statewide.
• 1,277 cases in King County. 94 fatalities.
• 614 cases in Snohomish County. 16 fatalities.
• 138 cases in Pierce County. 1 fatality.
• 29 cases in Island County. 1 fatality.
• 20 cases in Kitsap County.
• 16 cases in Clark County. 4 fatalities.
• 9 cases in Jefferson County.
• 4 case in Clallam County.
• Other counties reporting cases: Adams (1), Benton (12; 2 fatalities), Chelan (6), Columbia (1), Cowlitz (3), Douglas (2), Franklin (7), Grant (27; 1 fatality), Grays Harbor (1), Kittitas (18), Klickitat (6), Lewis (2), Lincoln (1), Mason (2), San Juan (1), Skagit (48), Spokane (33), Stevens (1), Thurston (14), Walla Walla (2), Whatcom (64; 2 fatalities), Whitman (2) and Yakima (44; 1 fatality).
• 55,243 U.S. confirmed cases; 802 total deaths; 354 total recovered
• 438,749 global confirmed cases; 19,675 deaths; 111,895 total recovered
• Peninsula restaurants offer takeout, delivery options (updated daily)
• Virus prompts cancellations on the Peninsula (updated daily)
COVID-19 information & best practices
What is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, known as SARS-CoV-2, is the virus strain identified in January that causes COVID-19, coronavirus disease, and is spreading from person to person.
While the virus has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people, about 80 percent of cases are relatively mild.
• Key symptoms of COVID-19: shortness of breath, inability to eat or drink water due to nausea, fever, cough.
• Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
• COVID-19 is transmitted by being in close contact with someone who is coughing or sneezing for a long period of time.
• Exposure must occur >15 minutes, “which is still more than most casual contact but is quite a bit shorter than what we were initially told,” said Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer, in an email. Transmission occurs from particulates from coughing and sneezing.
• People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
• Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
• It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, according to the CDC.
“That’s why we push the handwashing and surface cleaning so much,” Unthank said.
• Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness, according to the CDC. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
What to do if you’re sick
• If you suspect you have COVID-19, isolate at home during illness. Restrict activities outside of the home except for getting medical care. Call ahead unless you are in crisis.
• Call 360-417-2430, a hotline that provides local information on the infection.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
As a reminder, according to the CDC, here are recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
• Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Once home from work, school, runnings errands, etc., immediately wash your hands.
• Consider purchasing the following supplies: extra fluids and hydrating drinks (Gatorade and Pedialyte); food for when you’re sick (soups, broths, crackers, honey, nonperishable items); pain and fever medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen); cough drops and cough medications; prescription medications; tissues; household cleaners (bleach, alcohol, soap, disinfecting wipes).