Thurston County had tallied 14 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, March 25, but that’s not the only concerning number that continues to climb.

Amid new efforts to slow the spread of the virus — including the ongoing closure of bars, restaurants and entertainment facilities as well as the new, more inclusive stay home order by Gov. Jay Inslee — the number of people out of work has skyrocketed. 

The Washington state Employment Security Department reported on Friday, March 19, that new unemployment claims during the week of March 8 through March 14 saw a stark increase. Claims nearly doubled, from 7,606 the week before to 14,154.

New unemployment insurance claims are also expected to continue to rise due to COVID-19-related layoffs, the state agency reported. 

Overall, Thurston County saw an increase, from 265 new claims the week before to 351. Pierce county experienced a spike as well, from 950 new claims to 1,559. 

On Saturday, Providence Health and Services opened a drive-through triage and swab collection site for testing at Providence Medical Group’s Hawks Prairie Clinic in Lacey, located at 2555 Marvin Road NE. This site is only available for symptomatic, high-risk patients. Those include individuals with a fever, a new cough and one of the following categories; 65 or older, asthma, COPD or other chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, immunocompromising conditions or individuals who are taking related medications, pregnant or breastfeeding, or work in either the health care or first responder fields. 

The drive through clinic is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. 

Here are some numbers, as of Tuesday morning, March 24, related to the spread of COVID-19: 

• In Washington state, there had been a total 2,221 confirmed cases and 31,712 negative cases. The number of coronavirus-related deaths stood at 110, according to the state Department of Health. 

• In the United States, there had been a total of 33,404 total cases and 400 total deaths, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Most cases are still under investigation, but many are presumed to be community contracted.  

Pierce County reported its first coronavirus-related death last week as it experienced a surge in reported cases.  The first reported death in the county was a Puyallup woman in her 50s with multiple underlying health conditions, Q13 FOX News reported. A second death in the county was reported Wednesday. Pierce County has confirmed more than 125 cases of COVID-19. 

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