Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was expected Wednesday to announce a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in the Seattle metropolitan area as the state attempts to slow the spread of the virus that has killed 23 people there and at least 28 across the U.S.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,030 as of early Wednesday, including the first reported cases in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also declared a state of emergency.
The ban could force the Seattle Mariners to relocate their home games for at least some part of the upcoming Major League Baseball season.The Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer would also be impacted by such a ban.
There have been 267 confirmed cases in Washington state, with 19 deaths linked to one suburban Seattle nursing home. Authorities in King County believe the virus has spread to at least 10 long-term care facilities. Inslee predicted more cases, potentially tens of thousands based on estimates of the spread of the disease. The three counties affected by the ban, King, Pierce and Snohomish, are home to nearly 4 million people.
Chris Reykdal, the state superintendent of public instruction, said he expected schools will remain open – but warned that could change. “These are trying times,” Reydal told The Seattle Times.
Massachusetts infections more than double
Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts as the number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus jumped by 51 to 92. Seventy were connected to a meeting held by biotech company Biogen at a downtown Boston hotel. At least six are currently hospitalized.
Baker urged older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and large events. He recommended that employers and other large organizations limit or eliminate non-essential travel, limit or eliminate large events where possible, and explore telework where appropriate. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the Boston Marathon scheduled for April 20 is still on – for now. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled.
Michigan reports first cases, declares state of emergency
In announcing Michigan’s first two coronavirus cases Tuesday night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pledged to harness all of the government’s resources to slow the spread of the virus. “We’re Michiganders. We’re tough,” Whitmer said. “We know how to take care of each other. We will get through this, but for now, please make sure your family and friends are taking every preventative measure available to keep yourselves safe.”
– Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press
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