OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state saw an 843% week-over-week increase in claims for unemployment benefits last week as businesses started to temporarily close under state-mandated orders to slow the spread of coronavirus. Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Employment Security Department showed that that 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the state during the week of March 15-21, an increase of 119,310 new claims over the previous week. Nationally, nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982.
SEATTLE (AP) — Immigrant rights attorneys say two detainees with health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 have been released from an immigration jail in Tacoma. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued on behalf of nine detainees with underlying conditions. A federal judge last week declined to immediately order their release, but after the attorneys filed another request on Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released two of the seven from its Northwest detention center. Matt Adams, legal director of the Immigrant Rights Project, said it’s not clear why those two were released while the others remain in custody. ICE did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three immigrant children currently in U.S. government custody at a New York facility have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Thursday that it has suspended releases from centers in New York that house immigrant children apprehended by U.S. border authorities without their parents or a guardian. The office says five staff members at three separate facilities in New York have also tested positive for the virus as well as a staff member at a Texas center and a foster parent in Washington state. The announcement comes a day after immigrant advocates asked a federal judge to release about 1,200 children who have been in custody more than 30 days over virus concerns.
SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities are investigating after finding the body of a man on a street in North Seattle. Seattle police detective Mark Jamieson told the Seattle Times that about 4:40 p.m. Monday, someone called 911 and reported that a man’s body was lying in the street. He says patrol officers responded and found the body, then notified homicide detectives and crime-scene investigators. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday identified the victim as 25-year-old Ramadan Ahmed. The office says Ahmed died from a gunshot wound to the head and his death was ruled a homicide.