1 New Coronavirus Death In Washington Sunday; 145 New Cases

Nick Garber

SEATTLE, WA — State health officials announced just one new coronavirus death and 145 new cases of COVID-19 in Washington Sunday, although hundreds fewer new tests were included in Sunday's update than in previous days.

To date, there have been 18,433 coronavirus cases confirmed in Washington, and at least 1,001 people have died after contracting the virus.

The state has tested 285,243 people for the coronavirus, with 6.5% testing positive.

Catch up on other recent developments:

Coronavirus transmission rates hold steady in Washington

Coronavirus transmission rates have remained stubbornly persistent in western Washington, while slowly increasing in the eastern part of the state, according to new statewide report.

The Institute for Disease Modeling's latest research found rates of transmission in both regions failed to show a significant change in early May. The virus's effective reproduction number — a measure of how many people contract the illness from an infected person — remains at or above the critical threshold of one.

"Washington State remains on a knife's edge," researchers wrote. "The vast majority of people on both sides of the Cascades remain fully susceptible to COVID, and as a result, [the] exponential growth of disease burden is still a possibility across Washington."

State health officials said Friday that the latest numbers underline the importance of following public health guidance to fully suppress the virus's spread.

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Northwest nonprofits join massive food distribution effort

Pacific Northwest nonprofits and federal contractors are hoping to give away more than 900,000 boxes of food to people in need over the next six weeks, the Seattle Times reports.

The effort is part of a $3 billion federal program aiming to solve two problems at once: surpluses at farms across the country that are experiencing reduced demand, and the risk of hunger among the millions of Americans who have lost work due to the coronavirus crisis.

Boxes of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy will be distributed by eight nonprofits in the Northwest, some of whom received multimillion dollar contracts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to send the boxes out.

Contractors in Washington include Chelan Fresh, a fruit packer in Chelan, and Cascadia Farm Collective, based in Seattle.

State disputes 'vulnerabilities' in unemployment system

A federal prosecutor in Seattle urged Washington state to "address and fix the vulnerabilities in their system" that may have enabled fraudsters to make the state a primary target in an enormous scheme to file false unemployment claims, the Seattle Times reported.

U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said that security systems in the state's Employment Security Department website may not have been sufficient to ward off hacks, the Times reported.

Some state officials pushed back on that claim, telling the Times that other states have experienced similar infiltrations, and that Washington was one of the first states to start distributing federal unemployment benefits during the crisis.

Washington believes that millions of dollars have been siphoned away through the fraud scheme, and the state is working to reclaim at least some of the money.

On Thursday, Washington announced it was pausing unemployment payments for up to two days in order to combat a sharp increase in fraudulent claims this month.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases by county (from the Washington Department of Health*)

Total confirmed cases: 18,433 (1,001 deaths)

King: 7,472 cases (527 deaths)
Snohomish: 2,784 cases (125 deaths)
Yakima: 2,253 cases (75 deaths)
Pierce: 1,680 cases (62 deaths)
Benton: 633 cases (55 deaths)
Franklin: 444 cases (17 deaths)
Skagit: 425 cases (14 deaths)
Spokane: 400 cases (30 deaths)
Clark: 388 cases (22 deaths)
Whatcom: 353 cases (35 deaths)
Grant: 186 cases (3 deaths)
Island: 176 cases (10 deaths)
Chelan: 176 cases (6 deaths)
Kitsap: 160 cases (2 deaths)
Douglas: 126 cases (3 deaths)
Thurston: 124 cases (1 death)
Walla Walla: 107 cases (2 deaths)
Cowlitz: 68 cases
Kittitas: 52 cases
Adams: 50 cases
Okanogan: 40 cases (1 death)
Lewis: 34 cases (3 deaths)
Jefferson: 30 cases
Mason: 31 cases (1 death)
Klickitat: 24 cases (3 deaths)
Clallam: 21 cases
Asotin: 18 cases (2 deaths)
Whitman: 16 cases
San Juan: 15 cases
Grays Harbor: 15 cases
Pacific: 9 cases (1 death)
Stevens: 9 cases (1 death)
Wahkiakum: 4 cases
Skamania: 3 cases
Lincoln: 2 cases
Pend Oreille: 2 cases
Columbia: 1 case
Ferry: 1 case

101 cases remain unassigned to individual counties. The state is still determining how to sort the hundreds of cases with no definite origin.

*Some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.

This article originally appeared on the Seattle Patch