SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Health reported 12 more coronavirus-related deaths and 637 new cases of the virus Thursday.
Deaths were reported in Benton, Clark, King, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, and Yakima counties.
The latest numbers mean that a total of 1,736 Washington residents have died and 65,339 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, the state is moving forward several programs to address the economic impact the virus has had on the state. The Washington State Department of Agriculture says they’ve distributed 1.4 million pounds of food to over 192,000 Washington residents this week alone. They’ll begin distributing food to hunger-relief partners and food banks later this month. The state has also authorized the use of millions in CARES Act funding to help out-of-work Washingtonians keep their homes and livelihoods.
Concerns about the virus’ long-term health impacts
New studies are showing that the coronavirus could leave a lingering impact on a significant portion of patients, just one more reason to be wary and treat the pandemic seriously, according to state leaders.
“The emerging science indicates that taking it seriously has been the right thing to do in Washington and will continue to be the right thing to do,” said Gov. Inslee at a press conference discussing the issue Thursday.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control found that 35 percent of COVID-19 patients polled said they had not returned to their usual health even two to three weeks after their initial infection. In Washington, doctors have heard reports of patients dealing with outstanding problems months after their initial infection, including prolonged fatigue, muscle aches, and changes to their sense of smell and taste.
“This is peculiar, we don’t see this with other viral infections, so it’s something we’ve taken note of and we hope that people improve because there’s quite honestly very little in terms of therapy for this,” said Dr. Francis Riedo of Evergreen Health in Kirkland.
Both Riedo and Inslee say the uncertainty about the long-term impact of the virus is yet another reason residents should act with caution and follow safety guidelines like wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.
Read more: State Leaders Warn About Long-Term Impacts Of Coronavirus
Inslee visits Okanogan County, the state’s latest hot spot
Okanogan County now has the states highest rate of COVID-19 cases, with 885 confirmed coronavirus cases in a county of just 42,000 residents. In particular the town of Brewster, population 2,300 has been hit hard with 514 coronavirus cases.
The burgeoning hot spot pushed Gov. Inslee to visit Okanogan Thursday in attempt to understand the issue and contain the virus’ spread. One issue, according to Inslee, is how the virus has spread easily through farms where employees often live and work in close proximity.
“The hot spots have followed the harvest pattern,” Inslee said.
To help the county contain the outbreak, the Washington National Guard has been mobilized to deploy a testing unit— which leaders hope will help identify where the outbreaks are happening and how to stop them.
Read more: Inslee Visits Okanogan County, The Latest Coronavirus Hot Spot
Underage employees will still need reduced work hours, even in remote learning
Students may be stuck at home with most classrooms remaining remote, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have more free time to work. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is reminding everyone that, even with classrooms closed teens can only work a limited amount each week.
That means kids aged 14-15 are still limited to 16 hours a week or fewer, and those 16-7 are limited to 20.
“It’s important for students to have time for homework and school. Jobs should be scheduled around their school day,” said Josie Bryan, L&I Youth Employment specialist.
Beyond providing time for classwork, overworking children can also turn into a safety hazard. Last year nearly 700 children 17 or younger were hurt on the job in Washington state.
Total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county:
|Adams||460 (+3)||25 (+1)||5|
|Benton||3,802 (+15)||327 (+1)||120 (+1)|
|Chelan||1,449 (+44)||55 (+2)||10|
|Clark||1,874 (+25)||174 (+1)||46 (+1)|
|Cowlitz||502 (+6)||44 (+1)||5|
|Douglas||985 (+9)||43 (+2)||7|
|Franklin||3,605 (+28)||261 (+2)||51|
|Grant||1,627 (+43)||98 (+2)||13|
|Grays Harbor||127 (+2)||14||3|
|King||17,118 (+177)||2,132 (+9)||686 (+2)|
|Kitsap||778 (+10)||64 (+1)||7|
|Okanogan||885 (+4)||32 (+2)||5|
|Pierce||5,940 (+66)||683 (+7)||144 (+1)|
|Skagit||909 (+5)||86 (+1)||22 (+1)|
|Snohomish||5,621 (+39)||723 (+3)||199 (+2)|
|Spokane||4,667 (+65)||333 (+6)||95 (+2)|
|Thurston||761 (+9)||70 (+1)||11|
|Walla Walla||572 (+8)||42 (+1)||3|
|Yakima||10,467 (+55)||738 (+2)||217 (+2)|
|Total||65,339 (+637)||6,182 (+45)||1,736 (+12)|
The above numbers are provided by the state Department of Health, and some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.