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Coronavirus daily news updates, October 31: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

https://news.google.com/__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?oc=5

Although Halloween looks a little different this year — with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging against traditional trick-or-treating to risk the spread of the coronavirus — local health officials are promising there’s still ways to have fun. Here are some creative ideas on how to celebrate the spooky holiday during a pandemic.

Meanwhile, Washington has recorded its highest jump in daily cases since mid-July. Health officials, after confirming 1,016 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, declared that the fall surge has arrived.

Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Friday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

9:33 am

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep tests positive for COVID-19

FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, Romania’s Simona Halep plays a shot against Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France.  Simona Halep said Saturday Oct. 31, 2020, that she has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE)FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, Romania’s Simona Halep plays a shot against Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France.  Simona Halep said Saturday Oct. 31, 2020, that she has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE)

FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, Romania’s Simona Halep plays a shot against Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France. Simona Halep said Saturday Oct. 31, 2020, that she has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FILE)

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has tested positive for COVID-19 and said Saturday that she is “recovering well from mild symptoms.”

The 29-year-old Halep, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, had skipped the U.S. Open due to fears of catching the coronavirus. She said in August that she preferred to stay and train in Europe.

The Romanian player announced her test result Saturday.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

9:20 am

Senior communities get creative to help residents vote safely during a pandemic

Every Friday, Ann Peterson and other residents of retirement community Aljoya Thornton Place encourage people to vote and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)


Every Friday, Ann Peterson and other residents of retirement community Aljoya Thornton Place encourage people to vote and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

Every Friday, Ann Peterson and other residents of retirement community Aljoya Thornton Place encourage people to vote and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

The 65-and-older population has long been a civically involved group that politicians can count on as consistent voters. But the group is also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and the pandemic has necessitated restrictions at retirement communities and other long-term care facilities, including months-long lockdowns.

Washington’s mail-in voting system eliminates many of the obstacles other states might face, but the pandemic changed how some senior communities have navigated the election cycle. Newsletters have replaced big gatherings in lounges for residents to learn more about down-ballot candidates. Residents who used to count on family members to help them fill out their ballots now have to get their questions answered through a video session or a staff member.

Those differences don’t appear to have affected turnout. In King County, 75% of registered voters 65 and older had returned ballots as of Thursday — 10 percentage points higher than overall turnout, according to King County Elections spokesperson Halei Watkins.

Read the full story here.

—Paige Cornwell

8:43 am

Pandemic reinvents holiday hiring for retailers

An associate, left, ring customer purchases at a Target store, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020, in New York. The coronavirus pandemic is transforming holiday hiring this year, with companies starting hiring earlier and offering extra safety protocols. Target said it expects to hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday season. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)An associate, left, ring customer purchases at a Target store, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020, in New York. The coronavirus pandemic is transforming holiday hiring this year, with companies starting hiring earlier and offering extra safety protocols. Target said it expects to hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday season. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

An associate, left, ring customer purchases at a Target store, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020, in New York. The coronavirus pandemic is transforming holiday hiring this year, with companies starting hiring earlier and offering extra safety protocols. Target said it expects to hire more than 100,000 people for the holiday season. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK — Wanted this holiday shopping season: Cart sanitizers, curbside delivery workers and mask enforcers.

The push to hire temporary workers has begun in earnest this holiday season — in some cases, weeks earlier than last year. But the pandemic has reshaped the kinds of jobs retailers are recruiting for.

As more shoppers shy away from stores and shift their purchases online during the pandemic, retailers have stepped up the pace of hiring at warehouses. At the same time, they are looking for workers who can handle new tasks like checking temperatures and booking store appointments for shoppers who still want the in-store experience but are jittery about exposure to the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

8:32 am

COVID-19: Oregon hospitals could reach capacity by December

SALEM, Ore. — Last week Oregon health officials delivered a concerning message: If the state remains on the path it is now with increasing daily COVID-19 cases hospitals in Oregon could reach capacity by mid-December.

Out of Oregon’s 721 listed intensive care unit beds, 24% were available, based on data on from the health authority’s website Thursday. Out of the non-ICU adult hospital beds in the state, 14% were available.

As of Thursday afternoon there were 156 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals. However there have been days in months past, such as July and August, where the number has surpassed 165.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

7:51 am

Is the COVID-19 risk on airplanes really that low? Here’s what experts say

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant prepares a virtually empty plane bound for Orlando, Fla., for takeoff at Kansas City International Airport in May. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press) Less A Southwest Airlines flight attendant prepares a virtually empty plane bound for Orlando, Fla., for takeoff at Kansas City International Airport in May. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press) Less

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant prepares a virtually empty plane bound for Orlando, Fla., for takeoff at Kansas City International Airport in May. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press) Less

With the demand for air travel still in a slump, the airline industry is promoting studies that suggest the risk of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low.

Although healthcare experts say the air filtration system in most commercial planes helps reduce the risk of being infected, they point out that the studies have limitations and the results are not all definitive.

Delta Air Lines and two of the world’s largest airline-industry trade groups have promoted the recent studies as they seek to ease the fear of flying during a pandemic that has killed more than a million people worldwide.

Read the full story here.

—The Los Angeles Times

7:02 pm, Oct. 30, 2020

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