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Washington coronavirus death toll reaches 81 as number of cases in state tops 1,500

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SEATTLE -- Washington health officials say the death toll from the novel coronavirus reached 81 on Friday as the number of positive cases in the state topped 1,500.

King County, which has the largest number of confirmed cases in the state, reported seven new deaths on Friday, bringing its total to 67.

The Washington Department of Health said more than 21,700 people had been tested as of Friday, with 1,524, or about 7 percent, testing positive.

There are no immediate plans in Washington state to enact more stringent social distancing requirements to fight the spread of COVID-19 like those imposed by California, New York and other states, Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief of staff said Friday.

“We don’t feel it’s necessary to take that next step today, in terms of shutting down more businesses,” David Postman told reporters.

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Postman said that compared to what Washington state is already doing, there’s not much difference in what’s closed in states that have issues shelter-in-place orders.

The state has already closed schools through late April, banned events and ordered bars to close and restaurants to serve only take out or drive-thru options.

Inslee is scheduled to hold a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss new protections for at-risk employees during the outbreak.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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