The latest state numbers
As of 2:45 Saturday afternoon, there were 642 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state, according to the Department of Health.
Those were in 16 counties, with 541 cases in King and Snohomish counties combined.
The state number is up from 568 confirmed cases at 2 p.m. Friday.
There have been 40 deaths in the state attributed to the virus, up from 37 Friday afternoon.
As testing for the coronavirus becomes more available and widespread the numbers are likely to grow for positive tests.
Eastern Washington cases grow
There now are 12 confirmed cases in counties east side of the Cascades, up from just one Friday.
That initial case came from Quincy, with the man, reportedly in his 80s, later dying at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.
There was a second confirmed Quincy case Friday. The new patient is a man in his 60s who has been linked to the first patient, according to the Grant County Health District.
“This individual has not experienced severe illness and is in isolation,” the health district said.
A third Grant County patient is being investigated as a “probable” case. That case is a man in his 40s from south Grant County who had recently traveled out of country. He is currently hospitalized.
The other Eastern Washington counties with confirmed cases are Kittitas (3), Spokane (3) and Yakima (4).
There still have been no positive tests for COVID-19 in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties.
Testing capability improving
As the number of available testing kits grows, qualifying for a test has been eased.
That includes in Wenatchee, where Confluence Health began drive-through testing Saturday.
The hours this weekend are noon to 4 p.m., but the drive-through is expected to run everyday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Monday.
People wanting the testing need to call Confluence’s hotline at
(509) 663-8711 prior to showing up.
The testing is being done at Confluence’s facilities at Fifth and Emerson in Wenatchee.
“We are launching a drive-through testing operation that will allow people to receive nasal swabs without leaving their cars,” Confluece said in a statement. “We are also lowering the symptom threshold for testing, which will expand who is eligible.”
Schools will close after Monday
Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all K-12 schools closed after Monday through April 24. Because that is a Friday, the next school day would be April 27.
The state says school districts will be able to schedule make-up days through June 19 but it will waive requirements students stay in school beyond that.
Dates for graduations are expected to stay as planned.
Colleges campuses also are closed down, for the most part. Because many classes can be taught remotely, educational efforts will continue in most cases, though not on campus.
Wenatchee Valley College has moved the majority of its classes online and suspended all campus activities involving more than 20 people. Most offices will remain open.
Spring quarter will begin at WVC April 13, a week later than planned. Instructors are preparing to teach remotely.
Graduation is still scheduled for June 19 in Wenatchee and June 20 in Omak.
Free lunches still will be available for pick-up at most Wenatchee School District schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The only schools where the meals will not be available are WestSide, Valley Academy and Wenatchee Valley Tech.
Eastmont School District will make meals available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at four locations, Rock Island, Grant and Cascade elementary schools and Sterling Intermediate School.
Other school districts in North Central Washington are making similar arrangements. Check your district’s website for more information.
Day cares still operating?
Inslee’s order Friday did not shut down day care centers and preschool facilities, such as Head Start.
The North Central Regional Library closed its 30 libraries in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan and Ferry counties Friday night for at least six weeks.
Events and activities
Another order Friday from Inslee’s prohibits gatherings of 250 or more people.
Most large community gatherings in North Central Washington had already been cancelled or postponed by the time the order was issued.
Inslee’s order included houses of worship.
What’s up with the grocery stores?
Though some shelves are bare of certain items at local grocery stores, all say they are continually restocking their products and taking steps to keep the stores as clean and safe as possible.
In some cases, limits have been placed on purchases of items such as hand sanitizers and household cleaners. And toilet paper, for some reason.
Many stores have an online option for ordering and picking up groceries.
Walmart’s corporate offices have said that starting Sunday their stores will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice.
Many Walmart stores, including the one in Wenatchee, are usually open 24 hours. The Chelan Walmart usually is open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Walmart said the hours are being reduced to give employees more time to clean the stores and stock products.
Jointly owned Safeway and Albertsons, stores say they are refilling supplies as quickly as they can and limiting purchases of some high-demand items.
Costco has become hot on social media both locally and nationally with pictures of people lining up outside before the doors open.
And empty spaces where toilet paper usually sits.
The company says it is continually restocking its supplies. In addition, Costco has suspended its free food samples.
Fred Meyerbegan limiting the sale of cold, flu and sanitary products back on March 2. The company said it is working with its suppliers to ensure high-demand products are restocked as quickly as possible.
Fred Meyer stores that were open 24 hours had their hours reduced. The East Wenatchee store’s regular hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Some more numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last reported COVID-19 numbers Friday, showing 1,629 confirmed U.S. cases and 41 deaths across 46 states and the District of Columbia.
China, where the first case was found, accounts for 81,021 of those cases.
Italy has the second-most cases with 17,660, followed by Iran with 11,364. The virus has been confirmed in 135 countries.