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Washington: Latest updates on coronavirus

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Last updated on Friday (March 27) at 1:30 p.m. E.D.T.

There are now at least 3,207 cases of COVID-19 in the state, mostly in King and Snohomish counties, outside of Seattle. At least 147 people have died, according to the Washington Department of Health. This makes Washington state one of the hotspots with the highest number of U.S. coronavirus cases

Though the state was experiencing a backlog in reporting, this total reflects the vast majority of cases as of Friday, with 1% left to be reported, according to the health department.

More than 35 of those deaths occurred in patients from a long-care health facility called Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. Experts are not sure how the virus made its way into the center, which holds 190 beds, according to The New York Times. 

In King County, more than 109 people have died from the virus, with another 16 deaths from COVID-19 in Snohomish County. As of Tuesday, a total of 43,173 people have been tested, and about 7% of those results have come back positive, according to the health department. 

On Monday (March 23), Gov. Jay Inslee issued a mandatory stay-at-home proclamation for the entire state. The order, which requires everyone to stay at home unless they are conducting essential business, closes all business except those deemed essential, and bans all spiritual, recreational and social gatherings, followed on the heels of a series of less restrictive measures meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Essential businesses, such as doctors' offices and grocery stores, will remain open, and people are allowed to engage in outdoor activity such as dog walking, exercising and gardening as long as they engage in social distancing by keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people.

"The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save," Inslee said.

Inslee had already ordered all elective surgeries in the state to be canceled. The governor also signed an emergency measure drawing $200 million from the state's "rainy day fund" to help alleviate the impact of coronavirus. Most of that money, or about $175 million, will go to the public school system, with the remainder to be set aside for unemployment, according to KIRO7.

By Sunday, all bars and restaurants had capped gatherings at 50 people. Takeout, grab-and-go and delivery will still be allowed, as long as people are practicing social distancing, according to the Seattle Times. Grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and other retail stores can continue to operate as long as they maintain social distancing, according to the Seattle Times.

"These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges," Inslee said in a statement.

In an unpublished analysis earlier this month, Trevor Bedford, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center looked at the genetics of samples of SARS-CoV-2 taken from people in Washington and estimated that the state would have about 20,000 cases of COVID-19 by March 15. That projection is proving prescient. Because more people are infected over time, even more cases are likely now, although social distancing measures may help to curb the spred.

On Friday (March 11), the state ordered all K-12 schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties to close. Schools will remain closed until at least April 24. 

Cases by county:

  • Adams: 3 
  • Benton: 19 (4 deaths)
  • Chelan: 10 
  • Clallam: 5 
  • Clark: 48 (5 deaths)
  • Columbia: 1 
  • Cowlitz: 7 
  • Douglas: 5 
  • Ferry: 1 
  • Franklin: 7 
  • Grant: 33 (1 death)
  • Grays Harbor: 1 
  • Island: 64 (1 death)
  • Jefferson: 11 
  • King: 1577 (109 deaths)
  • Kitsap: 33 
  • Kittitas: 8 
  • Klickitat: 7 
  • Lewis: 5 
  • Lincoln: 1 
  • Mason: 2 
  • Okanogan: 1 
  • Pierce : 186 (4 deaths)
  • San Juan: 2 
  • Skagit: 78 (1 death)
  • Snohomish: 778 (16 deaths)
  • Spokane: 67 
  • Stevens: 2 
  • Thurston: 24 
  • Walla Walla: 2 
  • Whatcom: 86  (4 deaths)
  • Whitman: 3 
  • Yakima: 61 (2 deaths)
  • Unassigned: 69  

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. E.D.T. to note that the $175 million will go to the public health system, not the public school system.