Coronavirus Live Updates: Washingtonians Ordered to Stay at Home Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Ebbtide Staff

This is a rapidly developing story and will be updated as details emerge. You can find more information about the novel coronavirus at

12:15 a.m March 24

Washington residents are being instructed to stay at home in what Governor Jay Inslee calls the “only weapon” to fight the spread of COVID-19. The order is effective for a minimum of two weeks.

“Tonight I am issuing a ‘stay at home’ order to fight this virus,” Inslee said in a televised statement on March 23. “This is Washington’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order.”

The decision comes as a response to just over 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, while thousands more that have likely gone undiagnosed, according to the state Department of Health. The statewide death toll reached 110 Monday.

The order includes a ban placed on all gatherings and non-essential businesses.

Although the order does not forbid residents from leaving their home to garden or take a walk, and does not pertain to essential activities such as grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments, social distancing of at least six feet must still be practiced.

“This order is enforceable by law,” Inslee said, also discouraging the act of overstocking on groceries and other supplies.

Nova Clark, Editor-In-Chief

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this update falsely stated that the order forbids residents from leaving their home to walk or garden. It does not. We apologize for the error.

Washington State COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Positive*DeadTests Administered**
11,152 583 128,900

* Positive cases include those who have died as well as those who have recovered.
** Tests administered includes patients who tested negative for the virus.

Last updated: 6:30 p.m. April 16

Inslee Announces More Closures, SCC to Spend Spring Quarter Online

11 p.m. March 16

Restaurants and bars are being closed across Washington, pursuant to a March 15 order by Governor Jay Inslee. The order is aimed at increasing social distancing to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In the same order, Inslee reduced a previous limit on the size of social gatherings to 50 people. The limit had previously been 250.

Pharmacies and grocery stores will remain open, and take out food is permitted for the time being.

Earlier in the week, Inslee had shut down colleges and K-12 schools statewide through April 24.

In response to the closure, SCC will spend spring quarter online, college president Cheryl Roberts said in a March 16 email announcement to students.

The first week of the quarter will consist of mandatory training in use of online classes, with actual instruction beginning April 13, she said. The quarter is planned to end as originally scheduled, but the last week of classes are to be folded into finals week.

Students and faculty are asked not to come to campus at this time.

A highly anticipated March 18 board of trustees meeting, where final budget reduction recommendations were expected to be presented, has been cancelled. A special online board of trustees meeting will take its place, but budget recommendations are not on the agenda.

This story has been updated to clarify that the entirety of spring quarter at SCC will be online, and that the first week of online college training will be required material.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

Inslee Expands School Closures Statewide, Includes Colleges

10:30 p.m. March 13

All K-12 schools will be closed in Washington state beginning March 17 in a bid to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Colleges will also be required to move courses online by the same date. The cancellations were ordered by Governor Jay Inslee on March 13, and run until at least April 24.

Across the state, gatherings larger than 250 attendees will also be banned. The closures and bans had previously been limited to schools and events in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and colleges were not included.

President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency March 13, freeing up more funding to fight the spread of the disease, treat patients and test those who may be infected.

In Washington state, total cases of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) rose to 568, with 37 of those resulting in death, according to the state Department of Health.

SCC still has no confirmed cases, SCC President Cheryl Roberts said in an email to students March 13.

The college is working on a plan for spring quarter, with more details to come March 16, Roberts said.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

Inslee Cancels Public and Private K-12 Schools, Bans Large Events in Three Counties

5 p.m. March 12

Public and private K-12 schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties will be closed due to coronavirus concerns. The closures will begin March 17, pursuant to an order from Governor Jay Inslee.

In a press conference March 12, Inslee left open the possibility of closing colleges and universities, but so far there is no order to do so. SCC has moved classes online for the rest of the quarter.

Inslee also banned events larger than 250 people in those counties in a March 11 order, prompting cancellation of sporting events and other large gatherings.

SCC still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to College President Cheryl Roberts.

It was not immediately clear what the college’s plan for spring quarter is, should concerns about the virus prompt further college closures.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

SCC Cancels Theatrical Events and Live Music

9 p.m. March 8

Beginning Tuesday, most classes at SCC will be moved online. The campus will remain open, but the college is following guidance from King County Public Health to avoid large gatherings. Currently, those changes are precautionary, as no SCC students or employees have contracted COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.)

Campus theatrical productions and live music events affected by COVID-19 precautions include the following:

  • “The Threepenny Opera” (all remaining performances cancelled)
  • “The Library” (postponed)
  • SCC Choir Concert: “Dance the Skies” (contact [email protected] for live stream alternative)
  • Project Pride Drag Show (cancelled)
  • Small ensemble recital (cancelled)
  • Piano juries (cancelled)

Nova Clark, Editor-In-Chief

SCC Encourages Professors to Move Classes Online Monday, Cancels March Events

12 a.m. March 8

SCC is canceling all events on campus through March, including theater performances, concerts and club activities, as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus. There are still no confirmed cases at the college.

SCC will also move most classes online beginning Tuesday, though professors are being encouraged to move their classes online Monday if possible, according to staff emails reviewed by The Ebbtide. Some classes may continue to meet in person, depending upon course content.

Other colleges moving classes online for the remainder of winter quarter include: UW (all campuses), Seattle U, Cascadia College, Lake Washington Technical College and Everett Community College. Check college webpages for information regarding other schools.

The move follows guidance from King County Public Health to avoid large events.

The death toll from COVID-19 rose to 16 yesterday, according to the Washington State Department of health, with 102 confirmed cases of the disease.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

SCC to Move Most Classes Online

8 p.m. March 6

SCC will move most classes online starting March 10 in order to follow “guidelines to limit large group gatherings” to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to an email from SCC President Cheryl Roberts. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at SCC.

The move comes as many other area colleges transition classes to online settings. Campus will remain open for the rest of the quarter.

There will be exceptions to the rule, the email said. Some professional technical programs will continue to meet in person, as there would be no other way to hold classes.

Professors will reach out to students with guidance on how their course will continue online.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

Local Colleges Move Classes Off Campus Amid Coronavirus Fears

2:15 p.m. March 6

Several local colleges are taking classes online for the rest of winter quarter as fears about the novel coronavirus spread. SCC has yet to make a decision on closing next week, but an announcement will be made tonight.

Colleges canceling classes include: Cascadia College in Bothell, Everett Community College and the University of Washington (both Bothell and Seattle Campuses.) More schools are expected to announce closures tonight.

The death toll from COVID-19 rose to 11 last night, according to the Washington State Department of Health (WDOH.) Conflicting news reports indicate higher figures, but The Ebbtide was unable to independently verify them.

Current numbers from WDOH indicate that 79 people are infected by the coronavirus statewide. There are no confirmed cases at SCC.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

SCC Prepares as Coronavirus Hits Washington State

March 5

There have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at SCC, according to a statement from SCC President Cheryl Roberts. However, the college is exercising precautions in the event that the virus comes to campus.

Custodial staff are focusing on sanitizing “high touchpoint areas on campus,” the statement said. Additionally, the college has contacted students and employees who have recently traveled internationally.

SCC has also reached out to clinical sites to ensure that SCC nursing students did not come into contact with COVID-19. They also want to ensure that any students who did are “kept safe” and do not transmit the disease.

Shuttles to Aurora Avenue and the Sears lot will take off every 30-45 minutes, rather than every 15 minutes, to allow time to disinfect the van between rides.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor

Ten people have died in Washington State from COVID-19. Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Feb. 29 to allocate as many resources as possible to combatting the virus’ spread, according to a press release.

“Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation’s first case appeared in Snohomish County,” Inslee said in the release. “Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our healthcare partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the immediate risk to the general public is low, but “widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States” is likely at some point.

In the event of an outbreak on campus, the college has measures in place to prevent the spread to students, according to Robert’s statement. Such measures would include moving classes online, canceling events or activities and temporarily closing the campus.

“We will continue to follow the advice of local and national health authorities and will immediately alert students and employees to any changes in College operations,” Roberts said in the statement.

Though highly infectious, COVID-19 does not pose a high risk of death to younger populations without preexisting conditions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The novel coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses as the common cold, though this strain appears to be more serious.

The CDC says that reported cases of COVID-19 have “ranged from mild to severe” with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

While WHO says that COVID-19 has killed 3.4% of those diagnosed, experts say that the actual death rate could be lower. Because symptoms can be similar to the flu, people with mild cases of the disease may not decide to see a doctor, thus inflating the mortality figure.

Joshua Groom, Online Editor