COVID-19 updates: 1.1% of Washington population vaccinated
The state Department of Health says there have been more than 297,513 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 4,285 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 616,589 doses of vaccine have been administered. Check below for more updates.
We are currently in Phase 1B tier 1 of vaccine distribution, which means the vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household.
Sunday, Jan. 31
5:36pm – Two regions in Washington state move to Phase 2 on Monday. To advance, a region must meet three of the four criteria: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.
Moving forward are King, Pierce, Snohomish, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston, and Lewis counties. Gov. Jay Inslee has made it clear that regions will move back to Phase 1 if they fail to meet the criteria. Regions are now evaluated every two weeks.
Find out what changes in Phase 2 here.
12:45pm – Three mass vaccination sites will be closed on at least Monday and Tuesday in Snohomish County for a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine, according to county health officials. Read more.
12:09pm – A group of 10 Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for him to meet with them to negotiate over his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Their smaller counterproposal calls for $160 billion for vaccines, testing, treatment and personal protective equipment and more targeted relief than the president’s plan to issue $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman suggested that the checks should be limited to individuals who make no more than $50,000 per year and families who make $100,000 per year. Read more from AP.
8:03am – Two mass vaccination sites open in King County on Monday — one in Kent and another in Auburn. According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, all appointments are booked at the Kent location for the next two weeks. As of Saturday afternoon, there were appointments available the second week at the Auburn site.
KIRO 7 reports that the age requirement at the sites is 75 and older, even though the county is also operating under Phase 1B tier 1, which allows vaccine for anyone 65 and over.
Saturday, Jan. 30
8:17pm – The Department of Health says more than 10,000 people got their COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state’s mass vaccination sites last week. Read more.
5:34pm – Health officials say there are 297,513 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state. On Saturday, DOH did not update the number of deaths and vaccine doses administered, which remain the same as Friday.
1:27pm – While millions of Americans wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, hospital board members, their trustees and donors around the country have gotten early access to the scarce drug or offers for vaccinations, raising complaints about favoritism tainting decisions about who gets inoculated and when.
The Seattle Times has reported that Overlake Medical Center & Clinics emailed about 110 donors who gave more than $10,000 to the hospital system, telling them that vaccine slots were available. The email gave the donors an access code to register for appointments “by invite” only. Read more from AP.
11:32am – Travelers on airplanes and public transportation like buses and subways will be required to wear face masks starting next week to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mask-wearing rule late Friday that builds on an order announced Jan. 21 by President Joe Biden. Read more from AP.
8:39am – According to Johns Hopkins, over 616,000 people in Washington have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, 86,269 people have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Two doses are required to be considered fully vaccinated. Those 86K people represent about 1.1% of the Washington state population.
Friday, Jan. 29
6:04pm – There are 295,861 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 4,285 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. Additionally, there are 13,940 probable cases reported, which brings the total cases for Washington state to 309,801 though that total number could include up to 670 duplicates.
The state DOH updated the number of vaccine doses given as well, now at 616,589.
4:25pm – Moderna is asking the FDA to allow it to put additional doses in its COVID vaccine vials as a means to alleviate a bottleneck in vaccine manufacturing.
2:30pm – Dr. Aysha Morgan, a physical therapist at Pacific Medical Center in Bothell, has been seeing a large uptick in back, neck, and shoulder issues over the last several months due to people working from home. Read more.
11:48am – Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced a new partnership Friday, which will look to have the state’s teachers vaccinated by the end of spring. Read more.
10:05am – On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would be allowing two regions — including King County — to move into Phase 2. Despite early rumblings that Seattle might enact its own restrictions in the wake of that announcement, Mayor Jenny Durkan confirmed that she will allow the city to join the rest of the Puget Sound region in reopening. Read more.
8:36am – A peculiar scene played out in Seattle late between Thursday night and early Friday morning, after hundreds of people roused themselves out of bed in hopes of receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses that were hours away from expiring. Read more.
6:58am – A new single-dose vaccine is said by its manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, to be 66% effective against COVID-19.
That’s a stark difference from the two-dose vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer, which trials revealed to be between 94% and 95% effective. Even so, some could be tempted by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine making it so they don’t have to return for a second dose weeks after the first.
5:17am – The UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation expressed concern Thursday for a “spring spike” in COVID cases in the event that variant strains of the virus “spread widely and people let down their guard.”
The IHME is tracking two variants: one first detected in South Africa, and another that was first seen in the United Kingdom. Given that, it recommends people “continue taking precautions even once they are vaccinated.”
“What we’re seeing is sobering and will require us to continue taking this pandemic very seriously,” IHME head Dr. Chris Murray said.
Thursday, Jan. 28
5:39pm – There have been 293,978 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 4,243 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. There are an additional 13,831 probable cases reported, which brings the total cases in the state to 307,809.
The data note from the state DOH warns that total case counts may include up to 690 duplicates.
4:27pm – The Tulalip Tribe announced plans this week to donate hundreds of its own vaccines to Marysville teachers and school staff. Tribal members told KIRO 7 TV they simply had more doses left after a majority of tribal members had been vaccinated, so they called the Marysville superintendent and offered their spare doses to district staffers.
The demand for vaccination among Marysville educators was clear when 300 school district employees showed up in a single day. At that rate, nearly every employee in the district will likely be vaccinated by the end of this week. The Tulalip Tribe says it still has enough doses of tribal members who need it. Read more from KIRO 7 TV.
2:49pm – Regions in Washington must now only meet three metrics, not all four, to move to Phase 2 as part of a change in Gov. Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan. The state had been divided into eight regions based on health system resources over a geographic area, two of which will now move to Phase 2 on Monday under the updated criteria. Read more.
2:03pm – Amazon and Virginia Mason are teaming up for another COVID-19 vaccine clinic in downtown Seattle. It will be a one-day event, just like last weekend when 2,000 people got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Amazon hopes to deliver another 2,000 doses this Sunday. Anyone interested and eligible must sign up first through Virginia Mason’s website here.
12:34pm – The Kent School District was going to start organized sports Feb. 1 — in line with the timeline from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association — but now has said athletics won’t return before Feb. 22. An email to athletic directors indicated that sports in the district will start once students can safely return to in-person classes, but Kent families worry that won’t happen anytime soon. Read more.
11:17am – Gov. Jay Inslee will be delivering a press conference today at 2:30 p.m., to provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response efforts, including Washington’s “roadmap to recovery.”
8:54am – A new tracker from Johns Hopkins University ranks Washington 25th out of 50 states in the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, sitting at 1.03%, just behind Texas and directly ahead of Utah.
Alaska has vaccinated the largest portion of its population at 2.59%.
7:08am – A mom in the Northshore School District is among the families pushing the district to let kids in the building and reopen, at least partially, for in-person learning. Read more.
5:24am – The Washington Department of Health is urging people not to come from out of state to get vaccinated, stating that “people need to get vaccinated in the state they live and work.”
“We are relying on the honor system to get us through these phases in an EQUITABLE way,” it said Wednesday. “That means trusting that people will NOT cross state lines into WA for the purpose of getting vaccinated.”
Wednesday, Jan. 27
5:40pm – There have been 291,701 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,211 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. The state DOH lists another 13,588 probable cases, which brings the total case number to 305,289.
The number of vaccine doses given in Washington state has been updated to 545,226, though it could be more than that due to a lag in data reporting.
4:21pm – The Washington State Department of Health is asking everyone to get vaccinated only in the state where they live. Neighboring states Washington and Oregon, for example, are taking different approaches to vaccine prioritization. Additionally, the federal government allocates vaccine doses to states based on population size. Right now, the DOH says, neither state has enough for everyone who needs it, and Washington only has enough for those living and working in Washington.
2:55pm – Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, a UW Medicine OB-GYN, and senior author on new research published today, was surprised to learn that the rate of pregnant patients who die from COVID-19 infection is 13 times higher than that of those in the same age group.
“This was a shockingly high rate of mortality for pregnant patients in Washington state,” Adams Waldorf said. “We weren’t expecting it. This was the first time that fatality rates in pregnant patients have been studied on a population-wide level.”
Adams Waldorf warns against letting “pandemic fatigue” set in, and asks pregnant women not to let down their guard. In other words, mask up, and talk about getting the vaccine with a primary-care provider.
2:02pm – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on large public gatherings, Seattle Pride will shift its annual LGBTQIA+ celebratory events to a virtual weekend again in 2021, filled with speakers, performances, and more.
“With the pandemic still spreading at a rapid pace, we could not in good conscience move forward with plans for our June events which bring thousands of people together in close proximity,” said Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx. “Our efforts now shift to building on the success of last year’s virtual Pride, so we can continue to bring our community together to celebrate diversity.”
Last year’s virtual Pride weekend averaged more than 3,300 online participants each day.
11:17am – The first day of a new mass vaccination site in Kennewick saw 925 people receive their first doses, well ahead of the target pace of 500 for these sites in Washington.
9:24am – How did we develop a vaccine so quickly, only to immediately struggle to get it into people’s arms? Dave Ross traces our troubles back to the source. Read more.
7:09am – Gov. Inslee believes schools in Washington state can open safely now and that students and educators can return to classrooms, and should, as he expressed in response to a question during a Tuesday press conference. Read more.
5:22am – The Washington National Guard is pitching in to help set up mass vaccination sites across the state. The latest effort includes four new sites in Kennewick, Ridgefield, Spokane, and Wenatchee.
The hope for sites like these is to provide up to 500 vaccinations per site, per day.
“In the beginning, it will be less, but we will quickly ramp up to that goal,” the DOH promised.
For information about how to register for an appointment, you can go to this link.
Tuesday, Jan. 26
5:45pm – The Washington State Department of Health now reports 290,168 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,167 deaths statewide. There are an additional 13,314 probable cases, bringing the total cases to 303,482. More than 500,000 vaccines doses have been given in Washington state so far.
5:32pm – The Microsoft campus in Redmond is expected to soft launch as a COVID-19 vaccine site as early as next week as two Eastside hospitals prepare to move their clinics. Read more.
4:06pm – In just over a week since Governor Jay Inslee announced a number of new measures intended to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine distribution statewide, he says the measures are working and the state has made “significant progress” in its vaccination efforts.
The state’s goal is to build capacity up to 45,000 vaccinations per day, which could be reached with the federal government’s promised increase of doses going to states. Read more.
1:38pm – The Biden administration is giving states an approximately 17% boost in vaccine over the next three weeks following complaints of shortages so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot.
Detailed figures posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Tuesday showed that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The increase comes amid complaints from governors and top health officials about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much vaccine is on the way so that they can plan accordingly. Read more from the Associated Press.
12:24pm – Gov. Jay Inslee will be delivering a press conference Tuesday at 2:15 p.m., to provide an update on the state’s vaccination efforts. You can stream it live on TVW at this link.
10:29am – Bellevue teachers and the Bellevue School District have reached a tentative agreement Monday night allowing for a modified in-person expansion plan. Read more.
8:36am – Seattle’s City Council voted on Monday to require large grocery stores and chains to pay workers $4 more per hour during the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately. Read more.
6:58am – The post-COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic at Harborview Medical Center has seen a multifold increase in patients needing clinic services through the fall and winter months. Read more.
5:23am – Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that the state administered a record 40,000 vaccine doses in a 24-hour period, officially cresting the 500,000 dose mark.
Washington has now given out 57.4% of the doses allocated to the state by the federal government, on pace for 23,960 a day over a seven day rolling average. That’s up from 16,000 doses a day the previous week.
“We have taken action, we expanded our distribution and infrastructure and it is working,” Inslee said in a Monday news release. “We still have a long way to go, but if Washingtonians have proven anything throughout this pandemic, it is that we are up to the task. We have taken action, and we will continue to improve until we meet and exceed our goals.”
Monday, Jan. 25
5:35pm – There are 288,948 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,148 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. The number of vaccine doses given was updated Monday, which is now at 500,105.
4:26pm – The Kent School District has postponed the start of any high school and middle school sports to no sooner than Feb. 22, and told athletic directors there will be no sports until kids are able to safely be in class in-person again. Justin Callander, a math teacher and the head football coach at Kent Meridian High School, joined the Gee and Ursula Show to share how students and coaches feel about that decision. Read more.
3:07pm – The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management tweeted that the county is going in the right direction in terms of COVID-19 case rates, but “still have a long way to go.” For the two week period ending Jan. 23, cases in Snohomish County are currently at 253 per 100,000 population, and case rates have been declining in recent weeks.
2:10pm – At a pop-up vaccine clinic organized by Amazon and Virginia Mason on Sunday in downtown Seattle, 2,000 people received their first does of the COVID-19 vaccine.
11:24am – A Snohomish County vaccination site will be closed Monday “due to risk of inclement weather.”
The Paine Field & Edmonds College site was set up to host high-volume drive-thru vaccinations. Those with appointments for today are advised to look for an email with a new date and time.
9:33am – Moderna scientists say that the company’s vaccine appears to be effective against a newly-discovered, more-infectious strain of COVID-19.
That data comes from early lab tests, with more studies said to be necessary in order to fully confirm the vaccine’s effectiveness against the variant strain.
7:01am – President Biden will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions Monday on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. Read more from the Associated Press.
5:20am – The presence of a new, more-infectious variant of COVID-19 was recently identified in Snohomish County. County health officials are now telling residents that while there is “cause for concern, there is no need for alarm.”
“It was only a matter of time for one of the variants to emerge here in Washington,” Snohomish County Health said over the weekend.
The variant — known as B.1.1.7 — first spread widely in the United Kingdom, and had recently showed up in Oregon.