Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, Aug. 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

Table of Contents COVID-19 forces Idaho hospitals past capacity, toward crisisJudge blocks Florida governor’s order

Masks and vaccinations, vaccinations and masks. The debate over COVID-19 prevention and mitigation continues to rage, misinformation continues to spread and hospitals continue to be crowded.

A group of anti-mask protesters disrupted a Wenatchee School Board meeting Tuesday night after a board member complained about maskless audience members. In Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has publicly backed the use of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic deworming drug that has not been approved by the FDA for any kind of COVID treatment. And in Greece, hospital workers protested over vaccination mandates.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. 

Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

COVID-19 forces Idaho hospitals past capacity, toward crisis

FILE – In this Feb. 10, 2021, file photo, Cindy Pollock does maintenance on the construction flags in her front yard in Boise, Idaho. Pollock began planting the tiny flags across her yard, one for each of the more than 1,800 Idahoans then killed by COVID-19, the toll was mostly a number. Idaho hospital facilities and public health agencies are scrambling to add capacity however they can as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise statewide. On Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, some Idaho hospitals only narrowly avoided enacting “crisis standards of care,” where scarce healthcare resources are allotted to the patients most likely to benefit, thanks in part to statewide coordination. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger, File)

Hospital facilities and public health agencies are scrambling to add capacity as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise statewide. But many Idaho residents don’t seem to feel the same urgency.

Volunteers are helping with contract tracing at the Central District Health Department, and health education classrooms are being converted into COVID-19 treatment units in northern Idaho. On Thursday, some Idaho hospitals only narrowly avoided asking the state to enact “crisis standards of care” — where scarce health care resources are allotted to the patients most likely to benefit — thanks in part to statewide coordination.

Meanwhile, unmasked spectators sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the showing arena at the Western Idaho Fair this week as kids maneuvered livestock around the ring. At West Ada School District, Idaho’s largest school district, 21% of students had officially “opted out” of the district’s mask requirement before the first day of school ended on Thursday.

Read the story here.

—Rebecca Boone, The Associated Press

Judge blocks Florida governor’s order banning mask mandates

School districts in Florida may impose mask mandates, a judge said Friday, ruling that Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates.

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.

Cooper said DeSantis’ order “is without legal authority.”

His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to defy DeSantis and impose mask requirements with no parental opt-out.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

South Africa gets more vaccines from US amid ongoing surge

A patient receives a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a pop-up vaccination centre, at the Bare taxi rank in Soweto, South Africa. Faced with slowing numbers of people getting COVID-19 jabs, South Africa has opened eligibility to all adults to step up the volume of inoculations as it battles a surge in the disease driven by the delta variant. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

South Africa will this weekend receive 2.2 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses donated by the United States to add to the 5.6 million doses it received from the U.S. in July.

The new doses come as the country continues to battle an extended resurgence of COVID-19 infections and is racing to vaccinate 67% of its 60 million people by February next year.

They are expected to be delivered on Saturday, South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said during a weekly COVID-19 briefing.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

100,000 more COVID deaths seen unless US changes its ways

The U.S. is projected to see nearly 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths between now and Dec. 1, according to the nation’s most closely watched forecasting model. But health experts say that toll could be cut in half if nearly everyone wore a mask in public spaces.

In other words, what the coronavirus has in store this fall depends on human behavior.

“Behavior is really going to determine if, when and how sustainably the current wave subsides,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. “We cannot stop delta in its tracks, but we can change our behavior overnight.”

That means doubling down again on masks, limiting social gatherings, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated. “Those things are within our control,” Meyers said.

The U.S. is in the grip of a fourth wave of infection this summer, powered by the highly contagious delta variant, which has sent cases, hospitalizations and deaths soaring again, swamped medical centers, burned out nurses and erased months of progress against the virus.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Because of COVID surge, packed Tri-Cities hospitals turning ambulances away

One or more Tri-City hospitals was too busy to take patients coming by ambulance for significant periods nearly every day this month.

Dr. Kevin Hodges, emergency medical director for Benton and Franklin counties, said that there were also some days when all three of the Tri-Cities hospitals have been “on divert” for new patients at the same time, asking that ambulances take patients to a different hospital.

The busy hospitals and packed emergency rooms are causing substantial problems for Tri-Cities emergency medical services and the patients who call 911, either because they have COVID-19 or because of other medical emergencies, he said at a Benton Franklin Health District news briefing Thursday.

Read the story here.

—Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)

COVID-19 surge pummels Hawaii and its native population

Hawaii was once seen as a beacon of safety during the pandemic because of stringent travel and quarantine restrictions and overall vaccine acceptance that made it one of the most inoculated states in the country.

But the highly contagious delta variant exploited weaknesses as residents let down their guard and attended family gatherings after months of restrictions and vaccine hesitancy lingered in some Hawaiian communities.

Now, the governor is urging tourists to stay away and residents to limit travel, and leaders are re-imposing caps on sizes of social gatherings. And in an effort to address vaccine hesitancy, a group of businesses and nonprofits launched a public service campaign Thursday aimed at Native Hawaiians, many of whom harbor a deep distrust of the government dating back to the U.S.-supported overthrow of the monarchy in 1893.

Read the story here.

—Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, The Associated Press

Facing its worst virus surge, Oregon adopts nation’s toughest restrictions

Facing a 990% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations since July 9, Oregon leaders have deployed the National Guard to hospitals, dispatched crisis teams to the hardest-hit regions of the state and ordered educators and health care workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.

Now, in her latest mandate that will take effect Friday, Gov. Kate Brown has gone beyond what any other state has done in battling the summer surge, requiring that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks when gathering closely in public, even when outdoors. She said more restrictions might be needed as the coming days unfold and the state tries to keep in-person schooling on track.

Oregon’s aggressive approach in restoring pandemic mandates is a stark divergence from states in the South, where outbreaks have been even worse but where many governors have resisted mandates for masks and vaccinations. But with the arrival of the delta variant, Oregon has become one of a handful of states where cases and hospitalizations have escalated beyond even the records set during the worst part of the pandemic last year.

Last week, a coronavirus patient in Roseburg died while waiting for an ICU bed.

Read the story here.

—Mike Baker and Sergio Olmos, The New York Times

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Oregon, facing a 990% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations in less than two months, has adopted the nation’s toughest restrictions — with more rules possible in the days ahead. Track the virus on these maps.

Washington schools that violate mask and vaccine mandates risk losing funding under a new emergency rule. Nationwide, controversies about masking at school are intensifying: In Florida, one ER doctor offered $50 mask exemption letters for kids. Then his hospital found out.

Before you take an at-home coronavirus test, it’s important to know what kind you’re picking and what to do about the test results. Here’s a guide.

Pediatricians are getting besieged by parents who want vaccines for kids under 12. Among the reasons doctors say it’s important to wait for the federal go-ahead: The dosage is likely to be different from what older kids are getting.

Half of COVID-19 patients in a new study had lingering symptoms a year after falling ill.

—Kris Higginson