SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Most national parks are open as a refuge for Americans tired of being stuck at home because of the coronavirus. Entry fees have been eliminated, but many parks are closing visitor centers, shuttles and lodges to fight the spread of the virus. Parks are trying to keep up with ever-changing rules and recommendations from government officials who are urging people to avoid gathering in large groups but allowing them to get outside for fresh air as long as they keep their distance from others. Not everyone is on board with people coming to parks to escape the virus. Gateway towns fear they couldn't handle a local outbreak.
SEATTLE (AP) - Health officials across Washington state are scrambling to secure hospital beds, staff and critical supplies as the number of people sickened by the new coronavirus continues to grow. Washington has about 13,000 hospital beds. Officials say that won't be enough to support the expected surge in COVID-19 cases. In response, officials are implementing a list of measures to expand capacity. More than 1,100 people have tested positive and 67 have died. Health officials have also sought supplies for workers - masks, gowns, gloves - from the federal government. As of Wednesday, the government has only sent about 25% of the gear they ordered.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state health officials reported 11 new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the state tally of fatalities to 67 - 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. Clark County also reported a death Wednesday - the county's third. Pierce county reported its first fatality from the disease and Snohomish County has reported six deaths. Also, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants as the state continues to grapple with containing the spread of COVID-19.
SEATTLE (AP) - Federal officials say staff members who worked while sick at multiple long-term care facilities may well have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly in the Seattle area. Thirty-five deaths have been linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. A report Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the most detailed account to date of the outbreak investigation and its findings. Nursing homes in the area are vulnerable because staff have been working with symptoms, working in more than one facility, and sometimes haven't followed recommendations about controlling infection.