Through Sunday late afternoon, there were another 417 coronavirus cases and six deaths confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 71,012, including 1,863 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. At least 6,530 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. The DOH is in the process of changing its methodology for reporting testing numbers and isn't currently reporting the percent of tests in the state that have been positive.
State Icon, Gorton, Passes
Slade Gorton, who rose from the Washington Legislature to state attorney general to U.S. senator, inspired both loyalty and fury with his positions on some environmental issues and tribal fishing rights. Known as an independent thinker, he broke with the GOP in calling for President Nixon to resign and backing impeachment of President Trump. Gorton was 92.
Inslee Issues Guidances
Thursday, Gov. Inslee issues guidance for museums, bowling and agritourism; updates guidance for outdoor recreation as part of his Safe Start reopening plan.
"We have worked with stakeholders for weeks and sometimes months to arrive at these guidelines," Inslee said. "We continue to balance the need for activities that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being with the steps needed to control the virus. Our ability to reopen depends on every Washingtonian doing their part to ensure fewer, shorter and safer interactions."
Museums: These guidelines would allow museums in Phase 2 counties to operate as long as they meet certain requirements. Museums in Phase 3 counties would be required to lower occupancy.
Bowling: These guidelines would allow for bowling league play in Phases 2 and 3, as long as facilities meet certain requirements.
Agritourism: This guidance would allow for agritourism such as U-pick farms and tree farms to operate in Phase 2 counties.
Outdoor Recreation: Updates to the outdoor recreation guidance clarify restrictions to non-spectator motor-sports in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan.
These changes went into effect Monday.
Thousands Still Waiting
The 21,942 new jobless claims received by the Washington state Employment Security Department for the week ending Aug. 15 represented a 0.9% drop from the week before. The dip may matter little to the tens of thousands of workers who are still waiting for the agency to resolve their claims.
A coronavirus outbreak on a Seattle fishing boat in May infected nearly all the 122 people on board -- but spared three fishermen with antibodies in their blood.
The case study, while not peer-reviewed, presents hopeful evidence that those who recover from covid-19 may be protected against reinfection.
Agricultural Worker Testing
Gov. Jay Inslee issued an update "Concerning the Health of Agricultural Workers." The proclamation now requires agricultural employers to test their workforce broadly when health officials identify an outbreak that passes certain thresholds.
Since the governor first issued Proclamation 20-57 on May 28, the total number of cases in Washington has increased from 21,138 to 67,721, an average rate of more than 500 new cases per day. Many of these are appearing at farms and food-packing facilities, where employees often work, travel, and live together in close contact.
"There is no question that we need to escalate our response to this pandemic, and we know that additional focus must be placed on agricultural workplaces," Inslee said. "From the data, we know that people of color have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, and while we have much work to do to address that, this is one step in the right direction."