(The Center Square) – The impact of coronavirus on all aspects of life in Washington state continues to expand as the number of confirmed cases there also is growing, as expected.
The number of cases is now up to 1,187 with 68 deaths. Those were at 1,012 and 54 a day ago.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday placed a 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions and called on public utilities to suspend shutoffs, waive late fees for unemployed customers and expand assistance programs for low-income customers. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan earlier this week asked city council to pass a similar ordinance on evictions there.
“No person should be put out of their home because they can’t pay rent during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Inslee said.
The Washington State Department of Health also said there are an additional 167 positive tests that are unassigned and haven’t been added to the total yet. King County continues to be the hardest hit, with 56 deaths and 592 cases. Of those, 35 deaths are associated with a senior care facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.
The impacts are being felt on other facets of life, too. The only overnight homeless shelter in Puyallup, south of Seattle, was forced to closed after Inslee called for an end to gatherings of more than 50 people.
One daytime homeless center in the area has reduced its hours to noon to 3 p.m., and the director has asked the public to donate sleeping bags and tents that can be passed out.
Mount Rainier National Park has closed several of its facilities to keep visitors to a minimum.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington has asked state and local law enforcement to pay close attention to scams or fraudulent activity associated with coronavirus, especially phishing attempts to target emails and internet links.
As several colleges are currently doing, the University of Washington said its spring quarter beginning March 30 will include only remote instruction. K-12 schools statewide, meanwhile, remain closed until at least April 24.
Inslee encouraged Washington residents not to hoard food and supplies, especially amid reports that toilet paper is being snatched up at grocery stores as soon as it is put on shelves.
“The supply chain is strong,” he said in a statement. “Grocery stores will continue operating and providing service to Washingtonians. Everyone needs to buy only what they need, and they need to remember when they overbuy, those things are taken away from their neighbors and others who need them now.”