Coronavirus spreads across Washington as new deaths reported

SEATTLE (AP) — Testing for the new coronavirus continued across Washington state on Friday while more counties are reporting positive results.

State health officials had conducted about 4,800 tests and more than 450 came back positive. Twenty-four percent of the positive tests were people over the age of 80. The smallest age group, 2%, was children under the age of 19. Pierce County reported a boy under 10 and another just over 10 were positive for the virus.

Gov. Jay Inslee has closed schools and prohibited gatherings and events of more than 250 people in the three counties with the highest numbers of cases: King, Pierce and Snohomish, but more counties could be included in the ban in the coming days. Schools across the country have followed suit in an effort to slow the spread of the illness.

As of Friday, Idaho has yet to have a confirmed case but the governor declared a state of emegency while Oregon reported at least 24. West Virginia has no reported cases but officials there have ordered schools closed as a precaution.

While more COVID-19 tests are becoming available, state health officials say it is taking time to get the results.

At least 31 people have died from the disease in Washington.

King County has the highest death rate, 27, with 22 of those fatalities at the Life Care Center in Kirkland. Other nursing homes in the county also reported deaths. Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Redmond Care and Rehab and Ida Culver House lost residents to the disease.

Most of the people who died were in their 70s through 90s. One man in his 40s and two others in their 50s and two in their 60s died from COVID-19.

At least 10 long-term care facilities in the Seattle area have reported positive cases.

The Issaquah center reported Thursday that a resident who was sent to the hospital has tested positive. They are pressing state officials to provide testing of all staff.

The Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood, Washington, has reported four residents infected and one died.

Health officials continue to encourage people who are sick or have tested positive to quarantine.

For most people, the 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 within a few weeks.

King County opened an isolation site at the Kent Central Avenue motel and one person was staying there as of Thursday. The county said people can only be placed at these special quarantine sites after a public health officials had determined they must be isolated.

Many of Seattle’s gathering places have closed to the public and people are encouraged to stay home.

The Seattle Public Library, state parks, community centers, pools and other recreation facilities are closing starting Friday night. Officials also closed the city’s iconic Space Needle.

The state Department of Corrections said it would suspend visitation, tours and events at all prisons and other correctional facilities starting Friday.

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