News and updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in Washington state | KUOW News and Information


This post will be updated with information about the coronavirus pandemic in Washington state. Scroll down for older information.

As of Sunday, May 31, the Washington State Department of Health reports:

*1,118 Covid-19 related deaths; 21,702 confirmed cases (6% positive rate among those tested, and 5.2% death rate among positive cases). Note that tests have been limited, so there are likely more unreported cases.

*The most heavily hit counties have been King (567 deaths), Snohomish (148 deaths), Pierce (79 deaths), and Yakima (95 deaths).

Versión en español aquí / Read KUOW’s coronavirus coverage in Spanish


Which states need more financial help due to the pandemic?

8:15 a.m. — When it comes to the states in most need of financial help, there are 13 states ahead of Washington.

According to an assessment by WalletHub, Washington state ranks 14th in the list of states that need the most financial help to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. The financial website considered factors such as state budget shortfalls, rainy day funds, and most affected industries.

While 14th might not be the worst place (Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida, New Hampshire, and New York are the top five), Washington stands out in the Northwest. Neighboring states Idaho and Oregon rank 39th and 43rd respectively. Washington also needs more financial help than California, which comes in at 15th.

–Dyer Oxley

Covid-19 cases jump by 631 over weekend

8 a.m. — The Washington State Department of Health reported a rise of 631 reported cases of Covid-19 in Washington over the weekend. The total number of deaths associated with the virus did not rise, however.

The worst-hit counties continue to be Snohomish, King, Pierce, and Yakima. Among those tested (360,899 total tests), there is a 6% positive rate. And among those positive with the virus, there is a 5.2% death rate.

The majority of cases are among ages 20-59 (66%), though 89% of reported deaths are among ages 60 and older.

–Dyer Oxley


King County moves to reopen outdoor restaurant dining and allow small gatherings

6:28 p.m.— King County officials say they’re moving to allow outdoor dining, small gatherings, and personal services to resume soon.

But the state must first approve the county’s request to move into a modified version of Washington’s first phase to reopening the economy.

May 31 is the last day for Washington’s stay-at-home order. Thereafter, state officials will move to using a four-phase plan, which is already underway, to govern reopening on a county-by-county basis.

Starting June 1, each of Washington’s 39 counties must adhere to the social distancing rules corresponding to one’s state-approved reopening status. Twenty-six counties have been approved to move to Phase 2 as of Thursday. King County is currently in Phase 1.

While county officials say we aren’t ready to move into Phase 2, which allows certain indoor establishments to resume in-person services, we are poised to loosen some restrictions under a modified version of Phase 1.

“This is a big step in the right direction. We’ll be monitoring our progress,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine on Friday. “And if our metrics are stable, and we are meeting the criteria, then we plan to open up more businesses, and activities in a safe manner.”

Read more here.

—Liz Brazile

19 inmates, 4 staff test positive for coronavirus at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

4 p.m. — A coronavirus outbreak within an eastern Washington prison has swelled to the second-largest outbreak within state prisons.

19 inmates, out of 54 examined, have tested positive for coronavirus at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center as of Friday, according to the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Four staff members connected to the prison, located in Connell, Washington, have also tested positive.

This outbreak comes second only to the number of cases identified at the Monroe Correctional Complex, where 18 inmates and 9 staff have tested positive.

Coyote Ridge “has increased testing and does test incarcerated individuals as soon as they are symptomatic, ” the Department of Corrections said by email.

Because of the outbreak, Coyote Ridge has been placed on a 10-day quarantine, to slow the spread of coronavirus within the facility.

As part of the 10-day quarantine, the Correctional Industries food factory, housed at Coyote Ridge, will remain closed until June 3. About 120 inmates work in the factory each day.

During the factory’s closure, the factory will be cleaned and sanitized. This closure will not impact meal supply. Correctional Industries prepared extra non-perishable food in advance, the Department of Corrections said.

Contact mapping will be used to identify people who might have been exposed to Covid-19 positive inmates.

—Ashley Hiruko

Gov. Inslee announces updated plan to reopen Washington on county-by-county basis

2:45 p.m. — Washington State Governor Jay Inslee rolled out an updated approach to phase in the state’s economy that will operate on a county-by-county basis.

The updated approach allows local and county health officials to make additional rules and regulations specific to their communities.

Metrics for moving forward include: a county has 25 or fewer Covid-19 cases per 100,000 within 14 days; another goal is having 90% contact tracing within 24 hours of a positive Covid-19 test.

Some counties will be more ahead or behind others in the four-phase plan to reopen. Inslee said that June 3 would be the earliest some eligible counties could move into Phase 3.

“We plan, under this initiative, to move Washington state forward by a county-by-county basis, and under this new approach counties will have more flexibility …” Inslee said.

Read more details here.

As of May 29, a total of 26 Washington counties were approved to be in Phase 2 already, including: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, and Whitman.

Previous updates

May 18-31

May 9-17

May 4-8

April 27-May 3

April 20-26

April 13-19

April 6-12

March 30-April 5

March 23 – 29

March 15 – 22

March 8 – 14

March 6 – 8

March 2 – 6

February 29 – March 2