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Between the rain and sun, I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. There are more stores and restaurants opening up in our region, and families are gathering in small groups to celebrate high school and college graduation events. While it is certainly nice to see some amount of normalcy return to our lives, we do still need to remind ourselves that we are not out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19 and won’t be for a while. With the loosening of restrictions, our region, state and country have seen increases in COVID-19 infections. While we are nowhere near another surge, it is important for all of us to do our part to help keep the infection rate down. This means masking and physical distancing when around other people, proper hand hygiene, staying home with any symptoms and getting tested if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness. Remember, we are all in this together!

Updates for today:

  • UW Medicine COVID-19 activity summary.
  • Local, national and global epidemiology.
  • Video: Media spotlight on UW Medicine for COVID-19.
  • Employee antibody testing.
  • COVID-19 Lessons Learned Survey.
  • COVID-19 persistent symptoms.
  • COVID-19 Safety Guidance Reminder for protestors.

UW Medicine Hospitals COVID-19 Activity

COVID-19 Positive Inpatients June 16

State, National and Global Updates

Washington: The Department of Health reports 26,158 confirmed cases and 1,221 deaths as of June 14. The state has tested 471,265 people, and 5.6% have been positive.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2,104,346 COVID-19 cases and 116,140 deaths as of June 16.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Situation Report for June 16 reports 7,941,791 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 434,796 deaths.

Media Spotlight on UW Medicine for COVID-19

The Strategic Marketing & Communications media relations team recently created a video highlighting UW Medicine’s local and national media coverage during the pandemic. Coverage of UW Medicine during this time has been incredible: we have appeared in more than 10,000 news stories which have reached a potential audience of 3.6 billion people, and the stories on our social channels have generated 26.8 million shares. Watch UW Medicine media relations pandemic coverage.

Phase II Antibody Testing for Employees

Almost 3,000 employees have participated in Phase I of the serology testing program and 3.3% have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. As a reminder, the program is rolling out in phases to maintain lab capacity for patient care, and your patience is greatly appreciated.

Phase II of the antibody testing will roll out this week. This phase will test employees who work in:

  • Clinical units.
  • Positions with direct patient contact.
  • Laboratories, facilities and engineering.

You will hear from your manager if you are eligible for Phase II testing. Eligible employees are given a link to a survey to check if they have any COVID-19 symptoms; if they do, they are directed to get a nasal swab test; if they do not, they are directed to a calendaring system to make an appointment for a blood draw. Employees should remember that if no times are available, they should check back the next day. Schedules become available on a rolling basis and new times open up daily.

The antibody test is offered to employees at no cost and the test results will be part of your employee health record. For more information, please see the antibody testing FAQ.

COVID-19 Lessons Learned Survey Closes June 19

UW Medicine’s Emergency Operations Center response to COVID-19 has involved everyone in our organization. As we begin our recovery, we want to hear your thoughts about what went well and what can be improved to guide our systemwide planning in the future. Please provide your feedback by taking the UW Medicine COVID-19 Lessons Learned Survey.

The survey can be completed in about 15 minutes and is designed to allow for comments on all aspects of our response to the pandemic. As a thank you for your participation, you will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a Starbucks gift card. We will share a summary of the results with your recommendations for improving our emergency response efforts later this summer.

Please make sure to share your feedback now. The survey closes at 11:59 pm on Friday, June 19.

COVID-19 Persistent Symptoms

You might have read in the news recently about how some people with novel coronavirus remain sick for months. We, too, have seen this with some of our patients. Most people with COVID-19 recover in about two weeks, but some remain ill and in the hospital; others recover at home but feel tired, weak and even short of breath for weeks after recovering. While we still have much to learn about this infection, it is clear that it can lead to a lot of inflammation that can take time to resolve. A person with this longer duration of symptoms is likely no longer infected (or is being re-infected) with the virus, but their immune system is still activated. For some people, the symptoms may improve for a few days and then return in full force. Why this happens to some individuals and not others is unknown and, for now, there is no specific treatment aside from rest.

Protest COVID-19 Safety Guidance Reminder

One more reminder on participating in public protests: while standing up for justice is important for our communities and our patients, we need to keep COVID-19 from spreading, particularly in vulnerable populations. If you are participating in any public protest, please see our Guidance for Those Protesting During the Seattle COVID-19 Pandemic for your safety and for the health of our community.

King County is now in modified Phase 1 and Snohomish and Pierce Counties are in Phase 2. With communities reopening, many of us are ready to jump into our usual activities. Now is the time to check out what is allowed in these phases and for each of us to remember to do our part in keeping COVID-19 rates low. Stay safe and healthy.


John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control Program
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine