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COVID-19 cases continue to increase

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In the United States, there have been 225,434 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, and a total of 8,669,894 cases of coronavirus. Globally, there has been 1,157,205 deaths and 43,331,259 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University as of 12:25 pm (PT) Monday.

As of mid-afternoon Sunday, there were another 649 coronavirus cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 102,913, including 2,296 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. At least 8,280 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus.

COVID-19 cases in Washington rose by 649 cases on Saturday. The DOH also reported on its website Sunday that the total number of hospitalizations rose by 22 cases to 8,280, according to the latest data as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday. According to state health officials, there were 919 new cases on Friday with no new deaths. Statewide, 2,343,022 coronavirus tests have been administered as of Friday night. There were 820 cases confirmed Thursday.

Seattle-area man is third person
in USA to be infected twice

Genetic testing by a team of Seattle physicians and scientists has revealed that the second bout of the illness wasn't a relapse but a new infection with a slightly different variant of the virus.

COVID-19 Surging in USA

The United States set a new record for COVID-19 cases last week, reporting just over 481,000 positive test results, and 20 states set new highs for cases in a week. Five states, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, set new high in deaths in a week, per an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

On Friday, the USA set a record for the pandemic crisis when 83,757 new COVID-19 cases were recorded. Saturday's total was 83,718, though 39 less than Friday. The previous high was set in July when the U.S. Saw 77,362 new cases.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which federal health officials have used as a source for their pandemic projections, currently forecasts that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll could exceed 318,000 by Jan. 1.

On Friday, a University of Washington found hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID-19. President Trump had long promoted the drug as an antidote to the novel coronavirus.

The impact of the pandemic is being felt in every section of the country -- from South Dakota to Florida to Utah to Idaho, which is running out of space for patients and considering airlifts to Seattle or Portland, Oregon

A study by the University of Washington School of Medicine has projected more than 500,000 Americans could die by the end of February in part because of the nation's current patchwork of COVID-19 mandates and the inconsistent use of masks to prevent virus spread.

In a long-awaited update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus via droplets that float in the air and can linger for hours, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The long-awaited update to the agency's website represents its acknowledgment of widely accepted scientific evidence.

Washington Students get Help

For thousands of students enrolled in Washington's community and technical colleges, they need help paying for things like food, school supplies, books, child care and housing. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Washington's proposal to allow low-income students in a wider range of certificate, degree and industry-recognized programs to receive food assistance through the state's Basic Food Employment and Training Program, or BFET, provided they meet all the other eligibility criteria. Previously, this support was available only to income-eligible students enrolled in vocational programs or basic skills classes, severely limiting the number of students potentially eligible for BFET.

Inslee updates guidance
for religious organizations

Gov. Inslee announced updated guidance for religious and faith based organizations as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan.

The religious and faith-based guidance is updated to clarify that physical distancing between non-household members must be 6 feet in all directions; and permit brief physical contact among up to five individuals, excluding religious leaders, if the brief contact is a critical component to the organization's religious service, so long as masks are worn and hands are sanitized immediately before and after the contact.

COVID-19 Immigrant
Relief Fund Now Open

The relief fund will provide $40 million in federal funds allocated by the state to assist Washington workers who miss work due to COVID-19, but are unable to access federal stimulus programs and other social supports due to their immigration status. While the fund is operational, eligible recipients will receive $1,000, with a limit of $3,000 per household.

"Immigrant workers are critical to communities throughout the state and are the backbone of our economy," Inslee said. "The pandemic continues to impact all aspects of life for Washingtonians, and we need to remain steadfast in our support of those bearing the greatest burden."

Higher Education Guidelines

Gov. Inslee issued a proclamation establishing safety guidelines for higher education institutions and living facilities. The proclamation builds on health guidance previously issued for institutions of higher education by adding additional safety measures to address significant increases in COVID-19 infections that have occurred particularly in congregate living areas, like Greek houses, and large social gatherings of students.

Examples of changes include lLimitations on the number of residents who may share a sleeping area; limitations on the number of people in common areas; and requirements for all people in common areas to wear a mask and remain socially distanced. In addition, institutions of higher education must provide isolation and quarantine facilities to fraternity, sorority or other group houses, students who live in shared housing in close proximity to campus, students living in dorms, and personnel if they don't have a place to go.

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