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Coronavirus updates for Spokane County on April 9, 2020

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak in the Inland Northwest.

Key Facts: 

  • 421 coronavirus deaths among 9,097 cases in Washington
  • 87,902 people in Washington have tested for coronavirus. That means 8.6% of the cases tested positive.  
  • 14 coronavirus deaths among 246 cases in Spokane County 

Read previous daily coronavirus updates from April 8 here

Thursday, April 9

3:30 p.m. 

Gov. Jay Inslee, joined by Secretary of the Department of Corrections Steve Sinclair, provided an update Thursday after several inmates caused a disturbance at the Monroe Corrections Complex on Wednesday evening. 

The Complex has reported a handful of inmates and staff testing positive for coronavirus in recent weeks. Across the state, Sinclair said 6 inmates have tested positive with 54 tests pending.

 Sinclair said all people entering and leaving the system are tested, and if someone being released tests positive, they work to get the person in contact with local health resources.

Sinclair said the DOC is looking at early release for some non-violent inmates in order to reduce the population to enable easier social distancing practices for inmates and staff. 

"Non-violent drug offenders and people like that within 60 days of release that we could potentially move out sooner. We are working on options for that. We are taking all the steps that we can possibly take,” Sinclair said. 

Aside from the Monroe Corrections Complex update, Gov. Inslee went on to discuss more on the state’s coronavirus response.

Inslee and Sinclair also said that they are working to help the transition into isolation for inmates as smooth and low-risk as possible.

Inslee emphasized that while western Washington has seen a stretch of gorgeous weather and that’s expected to continue through the weekend, that does not mean people should forgo social distancing and staying home. 

“Any refusal to respect this stay home, stay healthy order means more people are going to lose their lives in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. 

Inslee also addressed questions about possible extensions of the stay home order and also allowing construction to be an essential business, both of which he said were under consideration.

Sinclair said the DOC is working to get face masks for all inmates and staff.

11:56 a.m. 

Silverwood Theme Park is delaying its opening this year due to uncertainty surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic. 

Owner Gary Norton said on the Silverwood website that park leaders expect to announce a new opening date as they receive more information in the coming weeks.

10 a.m. 

Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz is reporting 14 coronavirus deaths among 247 confirmed cases in Spokane County. 

Forty-two people have been hospitalized to date. 

Lutz said that Spokane County residents should probably expect to see some form of social distancing requirements through the end of May, calling this a "prudent" way of looking at things.

“I think all the data are demonstrating that social distancing is having an impact and will continue to have an impact as long as we keep to it," he added. "If we let up the brakes too quickly, we’re going to find ourselves plunging back to where we were before.”

He added that there could be a "gradual lightning up" of restrictions in the Spokane area.

Gov. Jay Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order was recently extended through May 4. 

Washington State Parks reschedule April free days

Two Washington State Parks free days in April have been postponed due to coronavirus-related park closures. Two make up days for the missed April 11 and 22 free days will be announced later this year.

Washington state parks will remain closed through at least May 4 due to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

The remaining 2020 State Parks free days are:

  • Saturday, June 6 — National Trails Day
  • Sunday, June 7 — Free Fishing Day
  • Saturday, June 13 — National Get Outdoors Day
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
  • Friday, Nov. 27 — Autumn free day

Coronavirus likely to affect more Navy ships, general says

A top U.S. military leader said the Navy aircraft carrier sidelined in the Pacific with more than 400 crew members infected with coronavirus is unlikely to be the only deployed ship affected by the outbreak.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference that one sailor has been hospitalized in intensive care in Guam, where the USS Teddy Roosevelt has been docked for more than a week.

Hyten said another carrier, the USS Nimitz, which is in a U.S. port preparing for overseas deployment, has reported “a very small number” of cases on board.

The USS Nimitz is the oldest American aircraft carrier in active service and homeported at Naval Base Kitsap.

Over 16 million have sought US jobless aid since virus

With a startling 6.6 million people seeking jobless benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: Roughly one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks.

The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. They paint a picture of a job market that is quickly unraveling as businesses have shut down across the country because of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 20 million Americans may lose jobs this month.

All told, in the past three weeks, at least 16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid.

Health officials warn: Don't let up on Easter 

World leaders and health experts are warning that hard-won gains in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing practices during Easter

A spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and in India’s congested cities make it clear that the battle is far from over.

The warnings come even as the U.S. and some of the hardest-hit European countries are considering when to start easing restrictions.

The sharp rise in Japan is worrisome since it has the world’s oldest population. India is already under a lockdown but it took a further step to seal hot spots and not allow residents to leave.

4:50 a.m. 

The Spokane Regional Health district reports there are 239 coronavirus cases and 13 coronavirus related deaths in Spokane County. 

2 a.m.

A new round of weekly jobless claims is due out Thursday morning and it's expected to be in the millions for the third consecutive week due to the coronavirus pandemic. But whether it will set a new record or land just below the one set last week depends on which economist you ask.

The report will be for claims ending the week of April 4. CNBC reports an additional 5.25 million are expected to have filed unemployment claims. USA TODAY reports that other economists put the number anywhere between 5.5 million and 7 million.

RELATED: Weekly jobless report could set another new record Thursday

RELATED: US sheds 701,000 jobs, ending a record-long hiring streak


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