Coronavirus daily news updates, Oct. 16: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

National and state health officials are laying the groundwork to offer Pfizer vaccines to children ages 5 to 11, within a few weeks.

The massive expansion of public-health efforts could add as many as 28 million kids to the ranks of the vaccinated.

And in another sign of progress, Harborview Medical Center will allow visitors to return Tuesday, if they show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Washington state reported 36 coronavirus-related deaths Friday, bringing the total to 8,234 deaths. Providers are giving an average 18,507 vaccine shots per day.

Major cities, including Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, are facing showdowns with large numbers of police who oppose vaccine mandates.

Hundreds of Boeing workers protested the company’s vaccine mandate in Everett on Friday.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s deadline of Monday is fast approaching for state workers to provide proof of vaccinations, or seek religious or medical exemptions.

Over at Washington State Ferries, already short of crew to operate all 10 routes, about 200 workers have yet to supply proof of vaccination, out of 1,900 total employees, spokesperson Ian Sterling said Friday afternoon. It’s unknown how many will be suspended, retire, or seek other work. Service is cut by half on several lines effective Saturday.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

The pandemic pushed some students out of Washington’s schools. New data tells us who left.

When the coronavirus pandemic first emerged in the U.S. in early 2020 and forced shutdowns in schools across the nation, most experts assumed that in-person learning would be paused for only a few weeks. Instead, it took many months before children returned to the classroom — and in the Seattle area, it took more than a year. Teachers and districts scrambled to put together online learning, often with little or no training on what works best.

What happened to children during that year of virtual schooling? Educators still don’t have a good measure of how they fared academically, because standardized testing and even simple screening tools to measure specific skills, like reading comprehension, were put on hold. But evidence suggests that students lagged academic expectations by several months or more, and that there were sharp increases in the number of students who failed courses, especially among students from low-income households and students of color.

Many students, especially those from low-income households, struggled with internet access, making it difficult for them to attend virtual school. Children whose parents had to report to work in person were left with a patchwork of caregiving arrangements. Thousands of homeless children in Washington disappeared from school enrollment counts, even as homelessness grew around the Puget Sound area. The pandemic was especially hard on children with learning disabilities, and some districts — like Seattle — were called out by the state superintendent’s office for doing a poor job of supporting those students.

Click here to read the full story.

—Seattle Times staff


What to know about Monday’s COVID vaccine deadline in Washington state

The deadline for most state government, health care and school workers in Washington to get their COVID-19 vaccination is days away. When Gov. Jay Inslee issued the sweeping order this summer, his announcement was clear: Show proof of vaccination on or before Oct. 18 or lose your job.

Since then, however, labor unions have worked on ironing out conditions of employment, thousands of workers have requested exemptions and the state has granted new extensions for certain employees.

In the past few months, more and more questions have emerged.

We rounded up some of the most pressing ones and answered them. Click here to find out what you need to know.

—Elise Takahama

Harborview to allow visitors again Tuesday

Harborview Medical Center will soon reopen its doors to visitors, with a new requirement that they must show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to be allowed inside, the Seattle hospital announced Friday.

Most visits were banned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitors are expected to wear a medical-grade mask, or put on a free multi-layer surgical mask available at the entrances. Similar policies are expected eventually at all UW Medicine hospitals and clinics.

Read the full story here.

Article Source: The Seattle Times