Numbers. For the most case numbers by county, demographics, and more, visit the Department of Health's website.

COVID-19 death data follow-up from the DOH. In an attempt to clarify today’s telebriefing, DOH did not mean to imply that the state's death toll could be three times what it is now. What we meant to convey is we are still piecing together the full picture, using preliminary data from many sources. There are two points to clarify.

  • There are death certificates that list COVID-19 like illnesses (pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome) on the death certificate, but do not explicitly indicate COVID-19. Many are likely diseases such as influenza, but it is possible some of these may be COVID-19 deaths and we don’t know because they don’t have a test. We will likely never know if any of these were COVID-19 related. 
  • Second, we have ~100 death certificates that mention COVID-19 but aren’t associated with a test.  We are NOT currently reporting these. We hope we were clear that when it comes to deaths with indicators that could be consistent with COVID-19, they need to be investigated thoroughly before COVID-19 can be attributed as a cause of death. It's possible that the total count will grow, but we do not know by how much, and won't know for a while. We apologize for any confusion.

Additional counties eligible to apply to move to Phase 2. Cowlitz, Grant, and Pacific counties are now eligible to submit a variance application to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.

The following counties were already announced to be eligible to submit an application to move to Phase 2: Adams, Clallam, Clark, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, San Juan, Spokane, and Thurston.

Previously approved to move to Phase 2: Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Whitman. Learn more about the county variance process.

#RecreateResponsibly. The long weekend is a welcome opportunity for families and households to get outside for fresh air and exercise. Most state lands and parks are now open for day use; camping at state parks is still not allowed. Here are some reminders about how to #RecreateResponsibly while we all continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay local. Find a place to hike, picnic or take a walk that is close to home. Please avoid traveling outside your own county borders to popular destinations 
  • Avoid crowded areas. Public gatherings are still not allowed.
  • Enjoy the outdoors with people in your immediate household.
  • Follow physical distancing and etiquette rules such as wearing a cloth face covering and staying six feet apart from others.

As long as we all #RecreateResponsibly, spending time outside is good for our mental and physical health. Check your local parks department for information about what’s open or closed. For information about state lands and parks, visit the Department of Natural ResourcesWashington State Parks, and Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Total claims for unemployment benefits increased almost 28 percent from the previous week. During the week of May 10-16, there were 138,733 initial regular unemployment claims (an increase of 29,308 from the previous week) and 1,670,580 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (an increase of 369,016 from the previous week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). ESD believes some portion of the high numbers from the past week are due to an increase in fraudulent claims and is looking into how best to correct for that in future reporting cycles. More information here.

Food assistance update. Nearly 1,000 Washington National Guard soldiers and airmen are now assisting food banks across the state. This week, they helped box more than 2.1 million pounds of food and assemble nearly 85,000 meals. Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Food Assistance Program distributed 1.1 million pounds of food, serving 171,086 food bank clients.

Also this week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched its Coronavirus Food Assistance program (CFAP) and began delivering boxes of fresh produce and dairy through regional and local distributors. Washington State Department of Agriculture established regular communication with the USDA division administering the program and continues to work closely with our local hunger-relief partners to evaluate cold storage capacity, maximize efficient distribution, and minimize the risk of overloading the emergency food system with perishable products.

Resources

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.

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