SEATTLE (AP) – Washington state health officials reported 11 new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the state tally of fatalities to 65 – the highest in the country.
Ten of the deaths were in King County and five were associated with the Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington.
To date, 35 of the state’s death were linked to that facility.
King County also reported 44 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the official count there to 562.
— Public Health – Seattle & King County (@KCPubHealth) March 18, 2020
Clark County also reported a death Wednesday – the county’s third.
Gov. Jay Inslee, on Tuesday, signed a measure drawing $200 million from the state’s emergency “rainy day” fund for the state’s coronavirus response.
Inslee said the funding bill “is really about protecting what we hold most dear, our lives and the lives of our loved ones.”
The measure has $175 million going to the public health system and the remainder to a dedicated unemployment fund for coronavirus impacts. The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.
The state Employment Security Department did not immediately have data on the number unemployment compensation applications since the state was hit by the pandemic, but Inslee said that the state’s $4.7 billion unemployment trust fund was `”very, very robust.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
Inslee said it was possible the Legislature, which just adjourned its 60-day session last week, might have to be called back into special session if additional money is needed for the crisis.
“We can call a special session at any time that becomes necessary, and I would not be reluctant to do so,” he said.
He added he has told legislative leaders to be prepared to do their work even if needs to be done remotely due to social distancing requirements.
And at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, it is not business as usual right now, Port of Seattle officials said Tuesday.
This time last year, 50,000 passengers would be headed through airport security checkpoints at the beginning of spring break travel season, officials said.
The airport, which remains open and operating, is currently averaging 16,000 passengers through its checkpoints.