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COVID-19 updates: All 8 regions to remain in Phase 1 until at least Jan. 18

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The state Department of Health says there have been more than 260,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 3,698 people have died from the virus statewide. Check below for more updates.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, Jan. 10

7:03pm – In a pandemic that doesn’t feel like it has any silver linings, there seems to be at least one extra benefit of the prevention measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19: a drop in flu cases.

“It’s quite impressive. It’s been a dramatic drop,” Dr. Matt Hanson, medical epidemiologist with Public Health — Seattle & King County, told the KIRO Nights show. Read more.

12:52pm – According to the state Department of Health, only about 150,000 people in Washington have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine first arrived in the state on Dec. 14, and Moderna’s vaccine arrived the week of Dec. 21.

Executive Dow Constantine announced Friday that King County will be establishing high volume community vaccination sites. Read more. On the current timeline, Seattle-King County Public Health expects the first sites to be up and running by Feb. 1.

According to The New York Times, Pfizer and Moderna started the first late-stage trials of their vaccines at the end of July, suggesting states and local jurisdictions have had five months to prepare their plans.

8:13am – Arizona remains a national COVID-19 hotspot with health officials on Sunday reporting more than 11,000 new cases for the third consecutive day, plus 105 more deaths.

That pushed the state’s grim figures to 618,546 cases and 10,141 known deaths since the pandemic began.

As of Saturday, Arizona had the second-highest coronavirus case rate and death rate per capita nationally in the last seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Read more from AP.

Saturday, Jan. 9

4:24pm – Health officials reported Saturday that there have been 260,360 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 3,698 deaths since the outbreak began. The state says there have been 15,771 people hospitalized and 4,034,774 people tested.

Data note for Jan. 9, 2021: “Total case counts include up to 1000 duplicates and negative test results data are incomplete from November 21-30, 2020 and December 23 through today. Thus, percent positivity (Testing tab) and case counts should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curve tab is the most accurate representation of COVID-19 activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates resolved.”

7:45am – The state DOH announced Friday that based on Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington reopening plan released Tuesday, that all eight regions outlined in the new plan will remain in Phase 1 until at least Monday, Jan. 18.

Regions must meet each of the following four metrics in order to move into Phase 2: decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100k population; decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations; less than 90% Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy; and COVID-19 test positivity of less than 10%.

Friday, Jan. 8

5:13pm – There are 257,447 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 3,699 deaths statewide, as reported by the state Department of Health. More than four million molecular tests have been run in Washington.

Jan. 8, 2021, data note from the state DOH: “Total case counts may include up to 460 duplicates and negative test results data are incomplete from November 21-30, 2020 and December 23 through today. Thus, percent positivity (Testing tab) and case counts should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.

Hospitalization data are incomplete today due to a data processing interruption. We expect to be able to make a full update tomorrow (January 9, 2021).”

3:21pm – The FDA is warning that the self-administered COVID-19 tests you can get at one of Seattle’s walk-up kiosks through a partnership with Curative could produce a false negative, and are really meant for people who have COVID symptoms. They say if you’re asymptomatic, the results could be wrong.

The City of Seattle responded to the FDA saying that all self-swab tests inherently run the risk of false negatives because a professional isn’t doing the swabbing. The city will keep the kiosks up for now. Read more from KIRO 7 TV.

1:46pm – A medical examiner’s report confirms a fourth person in a King County shelter has died of coronavirus. The person had been staying in a converted hotel in Renton where more than 200 people are staying. An outbreak there last month involved at least 35 residents and staff.

12:31pm – The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries says the current COVID-19 dining rules in place statewide could soon be modified for restaurants that have good ventilation. Read more

10:45am – Executive Dow Constantine announced Friday that King County will be establishing “high volume community vaccination sites,” similar to testing sites the county currently runs.

Funding will come out of King County’s own budget, with the hope of being reimbursed later on down the line through state and federal funds.

9:04am – King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle-King County Public Health Director Patty Hayes will be delivering a “special media briefing” Friday at 10:30 a.m., providing information on “new investments for the next phase of vaccinations.”

You can stream the briefing live on Facebook here.

6:57am – Will the governor’s newest reopening plan be the final nail in the coffin for many local restaurants? The Washington Hospitality Association calls the plan a roadmap to a near complete collapse of Main Street, neighborhood restaurants. Read more.

5:19am New data appears to indicate that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is effective against a more infectious variant of the virus first discovered in the United Kingdom.

This comes courtesy of a lab study conducted by Pfizer, which has yet to be peer-reviewed.

Thursday, Jan. 7

5:03pm – Even patients who have had severe allergic reactions to food, medicine, latex, pets, pollen, or bee stings should get the COVID-19 vaccine. UW Medicine experts say with more than one million shots given so far, allergic reactions are proving very rare.

Dr. Shireesha Dhanireddy says everyone who gets the shot should wait in place for 15 minutes, in case they have a reaction. Anyone who has an allergic reaction to the first shot, however, should not get the second one. Dhanireddy added that you should only avoid the shot if you know you are allergic to something in it.

3:57pm – The state Department of Health says there have been 253,401 confirmed cases statewide since the start of the outbreak, with 3,634 deaths. King, Snohomish, Pierce, Yakima, Spokane, and Clark counties have the highest numbers of cases.

Jan. 7, 2021, data note from the DOH: “Total case counts may include up to 550 duplicates and negative test results data are incomplete from November 21-30, 2020 and December 23 through today. Thus, percent positivity (Testing tab) and case counts should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.”

2:26pm – Pandemic layoffs are adding to the expected job cuts at this time of year that typically sees slowdowns in retail and construction. The latest report from the state shows initial unemployment claims are up 55% from the week before. Also up is the number of state residents collecting unemployment, which is currently more than half a million people.

12:09pm – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) voted to move traditional fall sports to WIAA Season 1 and will review Seasons 2 and 3 at its Jan. 19 meeting. Season 1 will be seven weeks long, beginning with pre-competition practice on Feb. 1, ending on March 20. The sports for that season include cross country, football, golf, slowpitch softball, girls and boys 1B/2B soccer, girls swim and dive, tennis, and volleyball.

This change comes after the governor’s new Healthy Washington plan outlined a set of guidelines and metrics for the resumption of education-based activities and sports.

“The change in guidelines allow all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2 while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”

11:15am – For the first time since 1980, there won’t be a point-in-time count of Seattle’s homeless population, with local officials citing COVID-19 risks as the driving reason behind the decision.

9:34am Walgreens announced Thursday that it expects to complete administering the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in “skilled nursing facilities” by January 25.

“Since receiving our first allotments of vaccines in late December, Walgreens has remained on track in vaccinating our most vulnerable populations, and we are steadfast in our commitment to accelerating access to COVID-19 vaccines as we receive additional guidance from state governments and jurisdictions,” Walgreens President John Standley said in a news release. “Walgreens takes immense pride in being a part of protecting our communities from COVID-19 and helping the country take this first step toward emerging from this pandemic.”

7:41am – As Washington state’s COVID restrictions continue and restaurants must remain closed to indoor dining, some business owners have expressed they can’t survive on to-go and outdoor service alone. Read more.

5:23am – UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation warns that if states don’t react “in a timely way” to climbing COVID-19 death rates and cases, that trend could continue for as long as it takes to ensure enough people are vaccinated.

You can see the full breakdown from IHME head Dr. Chris Murray here.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

6:34pm – Health officials say there have been 250,306 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 3,605 deaths since the outbreak began. There have been 15,415 people hospitalized and 3,969,589 people tested.

2:56pm – While Washington state remains in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccination effort at this time, health officials did announce the details of Phase 1B and the following tiers during a weekly update on the state’s response to the pandemic. Read more.

10:41am – The Washington Department of Health will be hosting a panel of state health officials Wednesday at 12 p.m., providing a briefing an update on the state’s current response to the COVID-19.

8:49am – Some Washingtonians got an unwelcome surprise this week when they checked the IRS website … only to find their stimulus went to an account they didn’t recognize. Read more.

7:11am – Health experts are now saying that the variant of COVID-19 that has forced a national lockdown in the UK is likely already circulating undetected in Washington. Dr. Angela Rasmussen, virologist with Georgetown University, and weekly guest of the Gee & Ursula Show, doesn’t expect another lockdown in the United States, but she is concerned about the variant. Read more.

5:24am – King County announced Tuesday that it has closed Stimpy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Kent “due to non-compliance” with COVID-19 restrictions regarding indoor dining.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

5:53pm – The restraining order against Spiffy’s Restaurant in Chehalis for offering indoor dining has been upheld Tuesday. The order says the restaurant must halt indoor dining in accordance with the governor’s restrictions, but it does not shut them down. Read more.

4:19pm – The state Department of Health is reporting 248,580 confirmed cases with 3,541 deaths since the start of the outbreak statewide. The data note for Jan. 5 says the total case counts — which includes confirmed and probable cases — may include up to 700 duplicates.

The full data note reads: “Total case counts may include up to 700 duplicates. Negative test results data from November 21, 2020 through today are incomplete, thus percent positivity (Testing tab) and case counts should be interpreted with caution. The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is updated daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.”

3:34pm – As Washington approaches one year since the first diagnosed COVID-19 patient was recorded in the state — on Jan. 21, 2020 — Governor Jay Inslee announced a new, regional reopening plan for 2021 called “Healthy Washington.” Read more.

1:47pm – An estimated 80% of available vaccine in Washington has not yet been administered. The state’s new health secretary, Dr. Umair Shah, says that’s partly due to the timing of the vaccine rollout.

Shah says the state plans to unveil this week who’s next in line to receive the vaccine. Health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities have been in the first group.

11:38am – The City of Sammamish announced Tuesday that it will be canceling all large in-person events through July 4.

That includes the city’s Lunar New Year celebration originally scheduled for Feb. 13, Sammamish Earth Day on April 25, Rig-A-Palooza on May 16, and Fourth on the Plateau on July 4.

9:46am – With a new COVID-19 variant now spreading in dozens of countries, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin is issuing a warning to Washingtonians. Read more.

8:19am – Despite growing vaccine access, January is looking grim around the globe as the virus resurges and reshapes itself from Britain to Japan to California, filling hospitals and threatening livelihoods anew as governments lock down businesses and race to find solutions. Read more from the Associated Press.

6:55am – Numerous business owners and restaurateurs are in a situation where they are going to lose their business if they stay closed, and a few are opening in defiance of Governor Inslee’s lockdown orders. One such establishment that made the decision to reopen indoor dining as of Jan. 1 is the Mountain View Diner in Gold Bar, Wash. Read more.

5:18am – Snohomish County is reporting an increase in case rates over the last week. This marks the first time this has happened since late November, with cases per every 100,000 resident having been gradually declining ever since.

Over the last week, the county reported an increase from 329 to 350 new cases per 100,000 over a two-week rolling period.

“This is a good reminder that we must remain vigilant in all that we are doing to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” the county said on Twitter. “We can do better.”

Monday, Jan. 4

5:11pm – Health officials say there have been 246,376 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 3,482 deaths since the start of the outbreak. The state reports that there have been 15,160 people hospitalized and 3,935,760 people tested.

Monday, January 4, 2021 data note: Negative test results data from November 21, 2020 through today are incomplete, thus percent positivity on the Testing tab should be interpreted with caution.

5:08pm – The city of North Bend says it has the highest rate of positive cases for King County cities in the past 15 days. It’ll provide an update soon on the age groups that have seen increases in the past month.

 

3:13pm – The Grant County Sheriff’s office tweeted on Monday about the passing of one of its deputies, Jon Melvin, due to COVID-19. Sheriff Tom Jones wrote the following statement:

“We recently learned the cause of Deputy Melvin’s death is confirmed to be attributed to COVID-19.

I know I speak on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office staff by saying that this helps us understand Jon’s untimely loss, although it still hurts deeply.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to support Jon’s family with helping them work through this time of loss and grieving by preparing for a future public ceremony to honor Jon.

We will stay the course by sharing our strength and love with Jon’s family.”

2:22pm – What does it feel like to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen got the Pfizer vaccine over the holidays. He joined Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Radio to discuss his experience and the temporary side effects he felt. Read more.

12:18pm – Washington health officials updated guidance for vaccine distribution late last week, taking into account new information from clinical trials, new federal guidance, and feedback from communities. You can read through the latest guidelines here.

10:51am – A COVID-19 outbreak at a hospital in Vancouver, Wash., has infected at least 30 patients. All these patients at the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center had tested negative for the virus when they arrived at the hospital and were admitted for other reasons.

Six employees have also tested positive and 86 employees are now in self-quarantine due to possible exposure.

The hospital’s medical officer says they’re working to discover the source of the outbreak.

8:27am – With a new COVID-19 variant now spreading in dozens of countries, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin is issuing a warning to Washingtonians. Read more.

6:56am The latest data from the UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation indicates that as many as 50,000 lives could be saved by April 1 with 95% mask use across the United States.

In recent weeks, combined mask use nationwide has increased to “nearly 75%,” a number the IHME says it’s “thrilled by,” while hoping this upward trajectory continues.

5:14am Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s seen “some glimmer of hope” as vaccine distribution ramped up to 1.5 million doses over the previous 72 hours.

That’s an average of roughly 500,000 vaccinations a day, a significant increase over numbers that had been lagging in the early days of distribution across the United States.

“There have been a couple of glitches. That’s understandable,” Fauci said. “We are not where we want to be, there’s no doubt about that.”

Check last week’s updates here.

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