SEATTLE, WA — The department of health confirmed 627 new coronavirus cases and 15 additional deaths Thursday, as the state's testing capacity expands and COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the region.
Thursday's report represents a notable increase compared to recent daily trends. However, the numbers released Wednesday were based on estimates, due to an issue with the state database, and reflected a much lower total than usual.
According to the latest data, at least 3,207 people have contracted the illness in the state, and 147 people have died. King County represents nearly half of the state's total COVID-19 cases and now accounts for 109 of its deaths.
Six Washington counties recorded new deaths Thursday, including Pierce County, where two more patients died.
According to the state department of health, more than 46,000 people have been tested for the virus, with positive results returning for approximately 7 percent of patients.
U.S. now has most COVID-19 cases in the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has more known coronavirus illnesses than any country in the world, surpassing both China and Italy, with more than 82,000 cases confirmed nationwide.
The New York Times reports at least 380 people have died in New York state, and more than 37,000 people have contracted the virus.
Inslee says "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order may be extended
During a press conference Thursday morning, Gov. Jay Inslee said that his unprecedented stay-at-home order, currently set to expire April 8, may be extended, to continue significant efforts to contain the virus's spread. The governor said recent data showed some promise that current social distancing measures were having a slight impact on the acceleration of new cases, but cautioned it was far too early to let up.
"We simply cannot allow this virus to be slowed, then spring back upon us," Inslee said. "We've got to pound it, and we've got to pound it until it's done."
Washington unemployment claims spike
Unemployment claims in Washington have skyrocketed throughout the state in the wake of mass business closures and social distancing measures, according to the state employment security department. The Seattle Times reports more than 9 times as many people applied for unemployment last week, and some counties have seen claims spike by more than 1,000 percent. The governor said unemployment was growing 5 times faster than any time since the last great recession.
A similar trend is being seen across the nation, with total unemployment filings beating the previous record nearly fivefold.
Pierce County launches interactive coronavirus map
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department unveiled a new map Thursday, allowing residents to track COVID-19 cases in their communities. The health department said updated information should be reflected on the map each day by 2 p.m.
Health officials confirmed two additional deaths connected to the virus in Pierce County Thursday, and recorded almost three dozen additional cases, for a total of 186.
Coronavirus cases by county
Illnesses confirmed statewide: 3,207 (147 deaths)
King: 1,577 cases (109 deaths)
Snohomish: 778 cases (16 deaths)
Pierce: 186 cases (4 deaths)
Whatcom: 86 cases (4 deaths)
Skagit: 78 cases (1 death)
Spokane: 67 cases
Island: 64 cases (1 death)
Yakima: 61 cases (2 deaths)
Clark: 48 cases (5 deaths)
Grant: 33 cases (1 death)
Kitsap: 33 cases
Thurston: 24 cases
Benton: 19 cases (4 deaths)
Jefferson: 11 cases
Chelan: 10 cases
Kittitas: 8 cases
Cowlitz: 7 cases
Franklin: 7 cases
Klickitat: 7 cases
Clallam: 5 cases
Douglas: 5 cases
Lewis: 5 cases
Adams: 3 cases
Whitman: 3 cases
Mason: 2 cases
San Juan: 2 cases
Walla Walla: 2 cases
Stevens 2 cases
Columbia: 1 case
Grays Harbor: 1 case
Lincoln: 1 case
Okanogan: 1 case
Ferry: 1 case