AP Source: Inslee expected to ban large gatherings in King, Pierce, Snohomish counties

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SEATTLE -- The Associated Press has learned Washington state's governor will ban gatherings and events of more than 250 people in virtually the entire Seattle metro area to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The state has at least 24 COVID-19 deaths, the most in the U.S. The person who spoke about the decision late Tuesday was involved in the planning of the decision but spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Gov. Jay Inslee has scheduled a news conference in Seattle at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Watch it LIVE on Q13 FOX, Q13FOX.com and in the Q13 News app.

The source said the ban would apply to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, home to almost four million people. The order would not prohibit the operation of workplaces and is not expected to include school closures, the source said.

It would apply to sporting events like Seattle Mariners baseball and Seattle Sounders soccer games.

That decision could impact the Mariners first seven games of the season against the Texas Rangers (March 26-29) and Minnesota Twins (March 30-April 1), plus home games for the MLS Seattle Sounders, XFL Seattle Dragons and a pair of junior hockey teams in the area.

Santa Clara County in California, home to San Jose and Silicon Valley, on Monday had banned all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In China, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

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