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Coronavirus daily news updates, April 1: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation

While staying at home and keeping away from others helps, the White House says the U.S. could still see 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the next two weeks from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Hospitals are preparing for an onslaught of patients. While Washington state has so far received 500 ventilators from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies, it might not get all the gear it requested.

Another recent hurdle for our state: Technical difficulties. The Department of Health hasn’t reported the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in several days. The department blames a flood of data swamping the state’s disease-reporting system. The problems are partially blinding health officials and the public to the latest information about the disease’s spread. As of 11:59 p.m. March 28, Washington had 4,896 cases and 195 deaths.

Throughout today, on this page, we’ll be posting updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Tuesday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

Worker at Sound Transit construction site tests positive

A worker at the site of Sound Transit’s new University District light-rail station tested positive for COVID-19, but work at the site continues for now.
Two employees for a contractor at the site had symptoms and were tested, said Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick, who would not name the contractor, citing privacy concerns.
The contractor notified Sound Transit about the tests last week and the agency learned of the positive test Monday, Patrick said. Work continues at the site, said spokesman John Gallagher.

Although transportation work is allowed to continue under Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, the Washington State Department of Transportation has stopped most construction work, saying “it is not possible to meet (public health) guidelines while maintaining construction”
Sound Transit plans to begin halting work at some sites but will continue at other sites. The shutdown of “noncritical work” will begin Thursday, Sound Transit said in a memo to contractors.
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