Timeline of Significant Covid-19 Events

click to enlarge Timeline of Significant Covid-19 Events
Young Kwak photo
A sign stating "stay home, limit travel, save lives" is displayed over I-90 in Spokane last March.

Jan. 21, 2020: Washington state man becomes the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States.

Feb. 29, 2020: First Washington COVID death is the first reported in the U.S. (Research later shows people likely died from the virus a month or more earlier.)

March 11, 2020: World Health Organization declares a global pandemic. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee limits gatherings of more than 250 in three Puget Sound counties.

March 13, 2020: Washington announces six-week statewide school closure. Idaho announces first COVID case.

March 14, 2020: Spokane Regional Health District confirms first three cases locally.

March 15, 2020: Inslee announces closure of bars/restaurants, entertainment venues and recreational facilities, as well as gatherings over 50.

March 16, 2020: Panhandle Health District confirms first case in North Idaho.

March 23, 2020: Inslee announces Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, mandating all to stay home for two weeks. All nonessential businesses close or shift to remote work, in-person gatherings of any size are banned, churches close, and weddings and funerals are not allowed. A year later, things still haven't fully reopened.

March 25, 2020: Idaho Gov. Brad Little announces 21-day stay home order.

March 26, 2020: Idaho announces first three COVID deaths. Congress passes CARES Act with $2 trillion in economic relief.

March 27, 2020: Spokane County reports its first COVID death.

May 20, 2020: Spokane Regional Health District directs all to wear masks in public.

May 27, 2020: U.S. surpasses 100,000 COVID deaths.

June 15, 2020: Panhandle Health reports first COVID death.

June 23, 2020: Inslee announces statewide mask mandate.

July 23, 2020: Panhandle Health District mandates masks in public in North Idaho counties.

Sept. 28, 2020: World hits more than 1 million COVID deaths.

Nov. 15, 2020: Inslee again closes bars and restaurants to in-person dining, after many had been able to reopen at 25 percent to 50 percent capacity. Gyms/indoor recreation close again; churches limited to smaller of 25 percent capacity or 200 people.

Dec. 11, 2020: U.S. approves first COVID vaccine with emergency use authorization.

Feb 22, 2021: U.S. hits 500,000 COVID deaths.

March 3, 2021: Washington hits 5,000 COVID deaths.

March 11, 2021: Inslee announces Washington will move to Phase 3 of reopening plan, with some outdoor events allowed again for the first time in a year with caps on capacity.

March 16, 2021: Reported global death toll stands at more than 2.6 million. ♦

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...