Skip to main content

My message today comes again with mixed emotions. During the past week, we achieved a wonderful milestone when UW Medical Center – Northwest reported a daily census with no COVID-19 patients. This good news is coupled with having fewer than 20 COVID-19 total patients in our hospitals today. While there is no guarantee that we will not have another surge, I am grateful that we have reached this stage in our response to the pandemic.

At the same time, we have again witnessed the horrific killing of a Black man by police officers. While this event is a tragedy for all of us, I cannot imagine the toll on our Black colleagues. Now is the time, if it hasn’t happened already, to reach out and make sure your Black friends, teammates and co-workers are feeling supported. Amidst the stress of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on the Black community, this support is especially helpful. The death of George Floyd has led to numerous protests across the U.S., including one for healthcare and public health workers happening tomorrow, Saturday, June 6, starting at Harborview Medical Center at 9 a.m. It is being organized by two UW School of Medicine faculty members, Dr. Estell Williams (Dept. of Surgery) and Edwin Lindo (Dept. of Family Medicine). Given the concern for COVID-19 and mass gatherings, we offer some guidance on how to attend protests as safely as possible below.

Today, Pierce and Snohomish counties were approved for Phase 2 re-opening and King County for a modified Phase 1 (or “1.5”). If the number of new infections over the next 2-3 weeks remains low, King County may be able to move to Phase 2. Please check out the links above to learn more about what each phase means.

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.

Updates for today:

  • UW Medicine COVID-19 activity summary
  • Local and national epidemiology
  • Travel restrictions extended to June 30
  • Employee antibody testing
  • Fall flu campaign
  • COVID-19 updates on The Huddle

UW Medicine Hospitals COVID-19 Activity

UW Medicine COVID-19 Daily Census Trend


State, National and Global Updates

Washington: The Department of Health reports 22,729 cases and 1,138 deaths as of June 4. Of the 383,587 people who have been tested, 5.9% have been positive.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,862,656 COVID-19 cases and 108,064 deaths as of today.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Situation Report for June 5 reports 6,535,354 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 387,155 deaths.

UW Medicine Work-Related Travel Restrictions Extended Through June 30

UW Medicine has extended the current work-related travel restrictions for all employees through June 30, 2020. This includes all travel for conferences and meetings related to professional membership societies and associations as well as meetings or gatherings related to grants.  For more information, see the travel policy announcement.

Antibody Testing for Employees

More than 1,400 employees have participated in Phase I of the serology testing program, and 2.7% 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.

You will hear from your manager if you are eligible for Phase II testing, which is expected to begin in the next two weeks. Interested employees are given a link to a survey to check if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and directed to a calendaring system to make an appointment for a blood draw. If you have difficulty finding appointments at the hospital labs, our clinic-based labs have a greater availability of appointments.

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

Fall Flu Campaign

Under the May 18 guidelines issued by Gov. Inslee that allow for the resumption of medical services, a key provision is that local hospitals maintain capacity to care for patients if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases. Looking ahead to the fall and winter, one of our goals will be to preserve capacity by avoiding an influx of flu and COVID-19 cases at the same time.

We have convened a workgroup that is meeting weekly to develop a fall flu campaign to encourage full participation by employees and patients when flu shots become available.

COVID-19 Updates on The Huddle

While I will continue to send COVID-19 email updates on a weekly basis and as needed, we are posting additional updates on The Huddle about the hospital census and COVID-19 news stories. Please check this website regularly for more information about the pandemic.

During this week of ups and downs for Seattle and the nation, we must also remember that COVID-19 is still in our community. While standing up for justice is important, we need to keep COVID-19 from spreading, particularly in vulnerable populations. If you are participating in tomorrow’s protest or any other 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.


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