Washington state's coronavirus death toll was 1,118 as of 11:59 p.m. May 30, an increase of 74 in the 10 days since the Chinook Observer discontinued daily virus updates, for an average of 7.4 per day.

The number of laboratory-confirmed infections was 21,349, a 10-day increase of 2,232 — an average of 223 per day — according to the Department of Health database at www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.

Pacific County infections remain unchanged at nine, with a majority associated with an outbreak among seafood-processing workers who live in Pacific County but work in Clatsop County. As of May 28, 471 covid-19 tests had been administered in Pacific County.

Covid-19 has claimed at least 103,815 American lives so far, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine's database at coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. The national death toll has increased by 911 per day for the past 10 days, compared to around 2,000 per day at the height of the outbreak earlier this spring.

State updates

The Washington Department of Health included these points in its most recent daily briefing:

Updated Safe Start plan: Gov. Jay Inslee on May 29 announced an updated county-by-county Safe Start plan. The plan outlines new targets and metrics for containing covid-19 activity and how counties can apply to the state Department of Health with a plan to safely reopen additional sectors of public life. The secretary of health may approve a county moving in whole to the next phase, or may only approve certain activities in the next phase. See tinyurl.com/WA-county-covid for more information.

Remember: A successful Safe Start depends on everyone continuing to do their part. As the state gradually reopens, it’s still safest to stay home. But if you do go out, remember to wear a mask, stay six feet apart and wash your hands frequently. It’s more important than ever to help prevent the spread of covid-19 across county lines by staying local.

Fraud recovery: The State Employment Security Department has recovered more than $300 million in fraudulent claims. ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine yesterday spoke with media to talk about the agency’s efforts to quickly process tens of thousands of outstanding claims as well as the agency’s efforts to combat fraudulent claims. LeVine said efforts with federal law enforcement and banks have resulted in the recovery of more than $300 million in stolen funds. Read the story: tinyurl.com/NYT-covid-fraud-story.

MIS-C case count update: As of May 28, Washington state is reporting four cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with covid-19. Benton Franklin Health District and Yakima Health District each announced one case on May 28, adding to two cases announced by DOH the previous week in King and Snohomish counties. Earlier in May, DOH asked health care providers in Washington state to report possible cases to local health.

Some state camping opens Monday: The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources public lands managers decided to reopen campgrounds in 22 counties beginning Monday, June 1.

Cape Disappointment State Park camping is reopening at 50% capacity.

Counties reopening for camping are all actively in Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s ‘Safe Start’ plan and have also been approved for camping by county officials. The public should check the State Parks website for details and reservations: parks.state.wa.us.

Phase updates for counties: A total of 26 counties have now been approved to move to Phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla and Whitman.

Klickitat County remains eligible to apply for a variance to move to Phase 2. The application from Clark County remains on pause due to an outbreak investigation.

Covid-19 transmission increasing in eastern Washington, decreasing in western Washington: The latest statewide modeling report (tinyurl.com/WA-covid-monitoring) estimates the effective reproductive number — the measure of how many new infections a single covid-19 case will produce — for different parts of the state. It also explores mobility, demographic and employment data that may help explain some of the differences we're seeing in covid-19 trends for each county. The report is based on data from May 3-12.

Findings are specific to that time period and include:

The reproductive number varied in different parts of the state. The report estimates the average reproductive number was below one in western Washington and above one in eastern Washington.

Excluding Yakima County, the estimated reproductive number for eastern Washington was fractionally above one.

The majority of cases were reported in King and Yakima counties.

New case counts were trending downwards in King County and were steadily increasing in Yakima County.

Yakima, Douglas, and Chelan counties had the highest number of cases relative to their population.

County rates will have changed in the most recent data, including data under review for county variance applications.

Businesses ignoring pandemic closure orders can be cited and fined: Washington businesses that decide to open or operate in direct violation of Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order may be cited and fined for unsafe workplace conditions under emergency rules filed today by the state Department of Labor & Industries: tinyurl.com/LI-covid-rules.

Washington State Labor and Industries offers free on-site or remote safety consultations for business to create safety programs for workplaces. See the Department of Labor and Industries’ website for more information: tinyurl.com/LI-covid-guidance.

Resources

You are not alone: Isolation is not good for us. We need each other for support and for fun, especially when we are dealing with the stress of a pandemic, financial uncertainties, and worries about our health or our loved ones’ health. The phased approach to opening the state — slow and careful to make sure we control the spread of the virus — is important not just for our economic growth but also for our mental health. Remember to take care of your body and your brain. Do something fun, connect with others and keep in touch with people who care for you. Don’t try to do everything today. If you are feeling overwhelmed, decide what must get done today and what can wait.

Wash your hands: Although it may be possible to get covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, covid-19 does not spread easily that way. And you can prevent that kind of exposure by being sure to wash your hands before you touch your face. If your skin is healthy and you don’t touch your face, you can’t get covid-19 just by touching something with the virus on it. So for most situations — like driving, running errands, using an ATM, pumping gas, or pushing a shopping cart — wearing gloves is not a helpful way to protect yourself. It would be more helpful to use hand sanitizer frequently while running errands and be careful not to touch your face. Then, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when you get home!

Washington 211 Covid-19 Call Center: Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (covid-19)? You can call  1-800-525-0127  or text  211-211  for help. You can also text the word  “Coronavirus”  to  211-211  to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on covid-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more. 

Interested in volunteering during disasters and significant events like covid-19? Register with the Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance in their response to the covid-19 pandemic: tinyurl.com/WA-Community-Health-Volunteer.

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