King County reported its 27th death from COVID-19 on Thursday. Snohomish county has three deaths and Grant County one.
The closures are limited to the three counties, but schools across the state should have plans for future closures, which Inslee said might come soon. The top priority is reducing the number of cases and deaths, he said.
One in every six teachers across the state are over the age 60, which makes them more vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19, said Chris Reykdal, superintendent of public instruction.
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.
At least 10 long-term care facilities in the Seattle area have reported positive cases.
Inslee earlier banned gatherings and events of more than 250 people in three Western Washington counties covering hundreds of miles and millions of people. Oregon banned gatherings of more than 250 people statewide. Inslee’s proclamation applies to King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, which include the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, home to almost four million people. The order does not include schools or workplaces.
Washington has more than 400 confirmed cases in at least 12 counties. Twenty-two of the deaths are linked to one suburban Seattle nursing home and authorities in King County said the virus has spread to at least 10 long-term care facilities.
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