Coronavirus daily news update, April 6: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation – Seattle Times

Washington state appears to be flattening its curve the impact on the hospital system at any one time according to the latest analysis from theUniversity of Washingtons Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation(IHME). The IHME models suggest the state hit peak resource use on April 2 and project daily COVID-19 deaths will peak today, April 6, before dropping to 18 deaths per day during April 7-9 and declining slowly from there.

The model also revises its estimates of deaths in Washington sharply downward, to 632. Earlier model results had suggested about 1,400 people in the state were likely to die from the disease. IHME has been adjusting its model daily, and the latest results are based on a massive infusion of new data, institute director Christopher Murray said in a statement.

The estimated death toll nationwide remains at around 82,000, similar to earlier estimates. But the upper end of the uncertainly range has been lowered to about 136,400, from previous estimates of nearly 200,000.

Washington will return more than 400 of the 500 ventilators it recently received from the federal government, so they can go to New York and other states harder hit by the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday.Vice President Mike Pence commended Inslee for returning the ventilators and said Washington and Oregon are two states leading by example in taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The state Department of Health mirroring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends residents wear cloth face masks anytime they are in public and cant guarantee theyll be able to stay 6 feet away from another person.

The state health department on Sunday confirmed an additional 393 cases and 28 deaths from COVID-19 as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, bringing the states totals to 7,984 cases and 338 fatalities.

Throughout today, on this page, well be posting updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Sunday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

The following graphic includes the most recent numbers from the Washington State Department of Health, released Sunday.

President Trump and members of the Coronavirus Task Force have scheduled a press briefing for this afternoon.

Leticia Frutos never imagined shed spend weeks avoiding her month-old granddaughter because of her manufacturing job in Bothell.

The Mill Creek resident and material assistant for Ventec Life Systems is one of more than 1,000 workers nationwide on the front lines of Ventecs Project V venture with General Motors to make thousands of ventilators for the nations coronavirus fight.

Ventec, GM and the companies supplyingparts for them say worker safety is a prime concern. Its also a challenge, given the ramp-up inproduction means more workerson the production line, often for more hours per week, and at a hurried pacethat could lead to mistakes safeguarding against COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

Geoff Baker

Thomas Lopez, who ran a fleet of Tacos El Tajin food trucks around Seattle, has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, his family announced Monday afternoon.

After suffering flu-like symptoms, Lopez, 44, was hospitalized last week and put on a ventilator, but his condition got worse and he died on Thursday, his son Isaac Lopez said.

Lopez made national headlines in February 2017 for hawking tacos out of his food truck on Interstate 5 after a semitruck rolled over and brought traffic to a standstill. After realizing he would not make it to South Lake Union for the Amazon lunch rush and seeing how drivers around him were losing their patience, Lopez got out and started selling steak and chicken tacos to commuters as if he were parked in a food-truck pod.

Lopez, a Pacific resident, is survived by his wife Antonia Zamorano and their five children.

Read the full story here.

Tan Vinh

BELLINGHAM Escalating a global spat over workplace safety and the rights ofhealth-care workers during the coronavirus crisis, a top official of PeaceHealth has now confirmed the company ousted emergency physician Ming Lin for allegedly inciting public fear by criticizing the hospitals emergency precautions.

In a lengthy interview on a YouTube video blog popular with medical professionals, Richard DeCarlo, chief operating officer of PeaceHealth, which operates Bellinghams St. Joseph Medical Center, likened Lins public warnings about workplace coronavirus concerns to yelling fire in a crowded theater. He said the hospital had no choice but to remove Lin from his post of 17 years.

Lin said Monday that he had seen the video and urged members of the public to view his Facebook postsand draw their own conclusions. Lin on March 16 accused PeaceHealth management of mishandling early COVID-19 testing; failing to conduct proper triage of patients and staff entering the hospital; and lagging in procedures for protective equipment and other emergency measures.

Read the full story here.

Ron Judd

Boeing said Monday it will suspend its 787 production work in South Carolina until further notice, halting temporarily its last aircraft manufacturing center that was still operating.

The company closed its Seattle-area production facilities March 25, and announced Sunday it would keep them closed indefinitely as the coronavirus ravages airlines finances and the COVID-19 disease forces many factories to close.

Boeing said its suspension in North Charleston, S.C., affects its Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. Collectively these employ several thousand people in final assembly of the 787 and manufacturing some sections of the plane.

Read the full story here.

Seattle Times business staff

Employees at Valley Medical Center had a brush with COVID-19 even before the outbreak became publicly known in Western Washington after a man twice visited the Renton hospital in late February.

He came into the Emergency Department, got discharged, a few days later came in very sick and was admitted to the critical care unit, said Jamie Park, the hospitals chief medical officer.

In a March 1 conference call, hospital administrators told some clinicians as many as 350 staffers could have been exposed during the mans visits, according to two physicians who listened to the call.

Interviews with more than a dozen front-line Valley employees, including multiple physicians, and copies of emails and internal documents, underscore the concerns of many employees who said that COVID-19s sudden arrival left staff and administrators scrambling. Directives changed regularly and sometimes confusion reigned, fueling employees fears for their safety.

And since the outbreak began, a rift in understanding, amplified by stress, risk and fear, has grown between some Valley employees and management over access to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing availability and criteria and infection-control measures.

Read the full story here.

Evan Bush

Sound Transit will reduce Sounder South service by one round trip starting Wednesday because of reduced staffing availability,the agency said Monday.

A southbound train that departs from Seattle at 7:55 a.m. and a northbound train that departs from Lakewood at 10:16 a.m. will be removed from the schedule.

The reductions follow previous cuts to Sounder service because of concerns around the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sounder ridership has declined by 92%, the agency said.

Sound Transit and King County Metro last monthbegan reducing service, eliminated fares and asked riders to board through rear doorson buses to reduce contact between drivers and riders.

Michelle Baruchman

The next time more than a million kids in Washington state attend classeswith their peers, it will be a new school year.

Washington schoolswill remain closed through the end of the academic year, Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a Monday news conference.Distance learning is expected to continue, and schools are expected to resume on a normal schedule this fall.

The announcement comes 20 days into a state-mandated closure of all public and private schools in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. The closures werefirst supposed tolast until at least April 24, about six weeks, but state schools chief Chris Reykdal has repeatedly stressed the shutdown could last longer.

We simply cannot take the chance of reopening on site instruction in this calendar school year, Inslee said. We cannot risk losing the gains we have made after the peak of this pandemic presumably will have passed.

Read the full story here.

The Seattle Times

A Kitsap County resident has died of COVID-19, the first person from the county todie from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Kitsap Public Health District said.

The person, who had tested positive for the virus, was an "older adult" with underlying health conditions, the Health District said.

"We were saddened to learn of the death of this community member and our hearts go out to their family and loved ones during this difficult time, Dr. Susan Turner,the district's health officer said. As a community, we must do everything we can to slow the spread of this illness and protect our neighbors who are most at risk. Please continue to stay home, wash your hands, and clean your living spaces. These simple steps can save lives.

As of Monday, 111 Kitsap County residents had tested positive for the virus, out of more than 1,900 tested, the Health District said.

David Gutman

New York City officials are starting to lay chilling contingency plans if deaths from the coronavirus outbreak begin to overwhelm the capacity of morgues: temporarily burying the dead in one of the citys public parks.

Mark Levine, chairman of the City Council health committee, said Monday that the office of the chief medical examiner was looking into creating temporary mass graves in a public park as it confronts the possibility that deaths from the coronavirus outbreak may soon exceed the capacity of city and hospital morgues.

Levine declined to say which park was under consideration, noting only that it would likely have to be a large one out of the way of the public.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that no such plan had been put in place yet, although he acknowledged it was under consideration.

If we need to do temporary burials to be able to tide us over to pass the crisis, and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that, he said, adding, We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can deal with each family later.

Read the full story here.

The New York Times

Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country.

A Trader Joes worker in Scarsdale, New York, a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, Maryland, and two Walmart employees from the same Chicago-area store have died of COVID-19 in recent days, the companies confirmed Monday.

Though more than 40 states have ordered nonessential businesses to close and told residents to stay home to stem the spread of the virus, supermarkets are among the retailers that remain open.

Read the full story here.

The Washington Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened Monday, just a day after he was admitted for what were said to be routine tests

Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital late Sunday, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, his office said in a statement.

Downing St. said Johnson was conscious and does not require ventilation at the moment, but was in the intensive care unit in case he needed it later.

Read the full story here.

The Associated Press

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo has canceled ZooTunes, its popular summer concert series, as well as summer day camps and other special events.

The zoo has been closed since early March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The zoo, in a social media post, said it decided to cancel the summer events to "put community safety first and focus our resources and staff on our animals."

It said it has lost millions of dollars in revenue since it closed, nearly a month ago.

David Gutman

Tim Eyman, the anti-tax advocate and Republican candidate for governor, is urging his supporters to come to Seattle City Hall Monday afternoon to protest a new tax proposal at the weekly City Council meeting.

But there will be no City Council meeting at Seattle City Hall.

The City Council has moved to all-remote meetings, by teleconference, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Eyman, in a letter to supporters Monday morning, seemed unaware.

"Would we have beaten the British in the Revolutionary War if George Washington and his patriots had stayed home?" Eyman wrote. "At 1 p.m., at the east entrance to City Hall (dress warm), we will stay 6 feet apart and walk in together. We'll have signs for you. We'll have gloves and hand-sanitizer for you."

They will be waving signs to no one. While City Hall, and the Council chambers, will be unlocked, there will be no one there, except a staff member to operate a conference call line. City Council members will be participating from their homes.

Eyman is aware of his mistake. Seattle City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons said she sent him a note letting him know Council chambers are closed (even if the room is not locked).

He did the same thing at an Edmonds City Council meeting two weeks ago, My Edmonds News reported, showing up to a meeting that was being held remotely.

Democratic State Rep. Gerry Pollet, an instructor at the University of Washington's School of Public Health, said it was "unconscionable" to encourage a gathering, like Eyman is doing.

"Eyman is demonstrating absolute ignorance of our states measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Pollet said. "Its inexcusable for anyone seeking to be in a position of leadership to be unaware of those measures."

Council members Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales have been proposing a tax on big businesses, like Amazon. To "attend" the council meeting, tune in to the Seattle Channel or call 206-684-8566.

Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez said Monday she hopes to develop a tool to accept public comments during remote council meetings, but that won't be operational for at least a couple weeks.

David Gutman

Deja Vu Showgirls, an adult entertainment club in downtown Seattle, appears to be closed or clothed until April 30, according to a banner announcement outside the venue.

The club, across the street from Pike Place Market, is generally open 2 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily.

The windows have been boarded up with plywood as many other shops downtown have emptied in response to Gov. Jay Inslees stay-at-home order.

Jon Talton and Michelle Baruchman

Alaska Air Group said Monday it is cutting capacity for April May further than announced just two weeks ago, as it continues to experience demand that is 80% or more below normal levels.

In a regulatory filing, the company said, Today we are updating our capacity reduction plans to reflect 80% cuts in both April and May.

The parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air added that for June and beyond, given current trends and circumstances, it is our expectation that sizable cuts will be necessary for the coming months.

Read the full story.

Seattle Times business staff

Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal says school buildings may stay closed through the end of the school year. Since schoolsclosed in mid-March, Reykdal and Gov. Jay Inslee have said buildings would remain closed until at least April 24.

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Coronavirus daily news update, April 6: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation - Seattle Times

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