Courtesy of The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

NOTE: This story is a collaboration between the public media Northwest News Network, Spokane Public Radio, Northwest Public Broadcasting and the Spokesman-Review

Two weeks before Spokane went on lockdown, the news was the disease wouldn’t come here.

The newspaper told its readers that “there is no reason to be greatly alarmed” because the “imported type” of viral infection was “not available” here.

The city’s public health officer offered soothing words.

Washington Dept. of Ecology

QUICK LINK: Info On Washington Adult Litter Crews

Students hoping to work with the Washington Department of Ecology this summer will have to put their plans on hold until next year. The news may be frustrating to students, but it comes as statewide unemployment claims have seen an unprecedented spike.

Courtesy Dr. Jessican Van Fleet-Green

In these times of uncertainty and upheaval amidst a global pandemic, Dr. Jessica Van Fleet-Green had reason to celebrate recently.

After three weeks of wearing the same N95 mask on her rounds at ManorCare of Lacey, a 120-bed nursing home near Olympia where she’s the medical director, she had managed to acquire a new mask.

“[F]eeling fresh as a daisy in a brand new stylish mask that was donated!” Van Fleet-Green wrote in an Instagram post featuring a photo of herself in the mask.

PaintSmith Co.

When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made it clear that his statewide “stay-at-home” order applies to most commercial and residential construction, staff at the PaintSmith Company in Yakima and Seattle had no choice.

“We made a lot of calls last night to lay off a lot of people,” said Justin Smith, who runs the company founded by his father, Robert Smith, in 1973.

WA Employment Security Department

Mirroring the national trend, Washington and Oregon are experiencing an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the last week, 133,464 Washingtonians and 76,500 Oregonians filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits. In Oregon, that represents a 15-fold increase in claims from the previous week. In Washington, the increase was more than eight-fold.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Amid a widespread shutdown of athletic events, Washington state has become the 21st state to legalize betting on sports. Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed legislation to authorize sports wagers in tribal casinos only.

It will be months before sports fans can bet money on games though, because first the tribes have to negotiate regulatory agreements with the state. And of course, sports leagues have to start up again.

Washington State Parks

You’ll have to put off your favorite hike on Washington public lands for at least two weeks. State-managed parks and wildlife areas are closing starting Wednesday, March 25.

The Department of Natural Resources is closing all public lands it manages starting Thursday, March 26.

Closing state campgrounds was the first step. But over the weekend, crowds continued to gather at popular hiking spots – not taking note of six-foot social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - tinyurl.com/ha5h3wp

Advocates for people incarcerated in Washington prisons have filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking the immediate release of some inmates to reduce the risk of a coronavirus outbreak behind bars.

Office of Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee

Following the lead of California and several other states and local communities, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday evening announced an immediate statewide "stay-at-home" order that will last for at least two weeks. It requires all residents of Washington to remain at home unless they are conducting essential business or taking a break for some fresh air.

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