Washington State death tolls continue to rise amidst Coronavirus panic

Kiarra Blakely-Russell, Staff Writer

Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / Courtesy Photo
An intensive care unit treating coronavirus patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, the virus’s epicenter.

On Mar. 8, between 102 – 136 Coronavirus cases have been made in King County, with death tolls being between 16 – 19 and rising. Of the 136 cases reported, 86 of those affected were of the ages of 50 and older. Authorities request that citizens 60 and older, as well as pregnant women, avoid populated places and remain home for their own safety. 

Kiro7 stated, “Sixteen of those who died in King County were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks.”

Although there were no confirmed cases in King and Pierce County schools, some have taken safety measures to prevent the spread of germs. Clover Park Technical College took safety measures and have closed down their campus for a deep clean.

Due to being closer to the outbreak, The University of Washington in Seattle cancelled classes until the end of winter quarter. This is to try and prevent those from getting the virus.

“Friday morning, the University of Washington said though its campuses would remain open, classes would no longer be meeting in person starting Monday, Mar. 9 through the end of winter quarter on Mar. 20,” Kiro7 said. “The university’s president said that remote learning will be utilized when possible, but also notified staff that in some cases, they may need to submit grades based on work.”

While Pierce College Fort Steilacoom hasn’t taken those measures, Choi Halladay, vice president of administrations, announced in an email that Pierce is closely monitoring the Coronavirus. “Currently, leadership is working closely with public health officials to keep up to date regarding the virus and potential impacts to the college, and we are developing additional plans to mitigate those impacts,” Halladay stated.

Faculty has existing plans for emergency management specific for responding to a pandemic outbreak. Pierce is providing fact sheets in all languages from the Washington State Department of health for the Coronavirus online on their websites.

The amount of cases coming in for testing has made it harder to detect those with the virus; this makes it important to be aware and take all measures to protect oneself from getting sick. 

Public Health for Seattle & King County states, “If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Isolate yourself and wear a mask before leaving the house. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.”

Updated March 13th, 2020 at 2:04pm

As of Mar. 12, Washington State governor Jay Inslee has ordered all private and public K-12 schools to close from Mar. 17 to April 24.

As reported by the Seattle Times, Chris Reykdal, state school’s chief states, “Our [school] systems need to be prepared for a potentially longer closure in the near term, and [without a vaccine] we have to be prepared that this is back in the fall or still with us in the fall.”

In response, Pierce College emailed early morning on Mar. 13 that all campuses will be moving to teaching classes online. 

“As Pierce College moves to limit face-to-face instruction starting Tuesday, Mar. 17, we also need to reduce the number of staff on campus to implement social distancing guidelines, while still providing services to students and opportunities for employees to work,” the email states.

Campus Safety, IT, Facilities, Finances, Center for Global Scholars, and Payroll will remain on campus during these closures. However, students and professors are not required to be on campus during this time.

More updates will be available as the weeks pass.