COVID-19 updates: Washington hits goal of 45,000 vaccine doses per day
The state Department of Health says there have been over 325,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,041 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 1,865,640 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, in addition to those populations eligible during Phase 1A. As of March 2, educators and child care workers have been added to Washington’s Phase 1B-1.
Sunday, March 7
2:00pm – COVID case rates in Washington state appear to still be on the decline, with the latest daily report from the state Department of Health on Saturday showing 584 new confirmed cases. At its peak, Washington was seeing up to 3,000 new cases each day.
The Washington State Department of Health does not update its data dashboard on Sunday.
11:35am – On Saturday, 650 teachers and school employees were vaccinated in Everett. The COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Evergreen Middle School was a partnership between the Everett School District, Safeway and Albertsons. Teachers were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
7:23am – The Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett is now open as a mass vaccination site, marking the fifth mass vaccination site in Snohomish County. Appointments are required, and hours will be based on vaccine availability.
Saturday, March 6
5:22pm – The Washington State Department of Health is reporting 325,053 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide with 5,041 deaths. The state DOH does not update the death total on weekends.
4:36pm – An exhausted Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday as President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies notched a victory they called crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and economic doldrums. Read more from the Associated Press.
7:45am – The Washington State Department of Health shared Friday that the state has reached its goal of vaccinating 45,000 people per day. As of March 3, an average of 45,221 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given and reported each day for the past week.
So far, more than 1.8 million doses have been given statewide, which the state DOH says is “more than 77% of the 2,414,000 doses that have been delivered to our providers and long-term care programs.”
While health officials say the dose allocation is moving in the right direction, and is expected to increase over the next three weeks, the allocation for next week “is about 100,000 fewer doses than all our providers requested.”
Friday, March 5
5:27pm – There have been 324,469 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,041 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 1.8 million vaccine doses have been given in the state.
3:39pm – There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic in respect to COVID-19, Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer with Public Health — Seattle & King County, said in his weekly update. But he also warned now is not the time to let up on prevention measures. Read more.
1:43pm – A fifth mass vaccination site opened in Snohomish County on Friday. Jason Biermann, Director of Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management Director, says they’ll be using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the walk-in site.
“We’re excited that this will be certainly the first in the county and perhaps the first in the state rolling out the J&J vaccine,” Biermann said.
Health officials in Snohomish County reiterated that the best vaccine is the one you’re able to get. If you’re concerned about whether to get the Pfizer, or Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they say to talk with your physician.
Biermann said the county is also working on opening another walk-in mass vaccination site in south county and a drive-in site in north county — at Boom City. He added that the county continues to work on bringing the vaccine to people most at risk. Eighteen skilled nursing facilities and 46 assisted living facilities have had on-site vaccination clinics. There are 615 adult family homes in Snohomish County and the last of the first dose clinics for those homes will wrap up this week, with many second dose clinics underway.
12:19pm – Snohomish County has decided to close its Sultan drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, and is reducing hours for sites at Funko Field and the Monroe Fairground.
The decision was made “after careful consideration.” You can see more details about the new hours here.
10:23am – Can we trust the latest reopening plan proposed by Washington state Republicans? Read more.
8:56am – You probably noticed it on the roads this week: Traffic is getting closer to where it was before the pandemic. Read more.
7:09am – Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday that more than half of elementary schools in Washington state have returned to some form of onsite instruction, and roughly half of elementary school aged students are back in the classroom after nearly a year since schools moved remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
5:15am – A bill that would provide aid to both landlords and renters who have struggled over the course of the pandemic passed in the state Senate on Thursday.
The bill includes measures designed to balance the needs of renters unable to pay rent as a result of the ongoing COVID crisis, and landlords who haven’t been receiving payment from tenants during the state’s eviction moratorium.
“The ultimate goals of this policy are twofold: To keep tenants housed and to help landlords pay their bills,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue).
Thursday, March 4
4:58pm – Health officials say there have been 323,839 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,032 deaths since the outbreak began.
4:34pm – Military veterans of all ages who are enrolled in the VA system can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Washington state.
Veterans that are high-risk, and who are older and have existing health problems receive priority. Veteran Affairs of Puget Sound says it is now contacting former service members who are high risk to help coordinate their appointments.
To get a vaccine appointment, veterans must schedule through a Veterans Affairs medical center or clinic. Call your primary care doctor or 206-716-5716.
3:33pm – Based on Washington state’s current trajectory, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that it’s expected the state will move to an expanded Phase 1B, tier 2, before the end of March. On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that pre-K-12 educators, school staff, and licensed child care workers are now included in the state’s current vaccine tier. Read more.
1:54pm – The teachers’ union in Seattle voted Wednesday night to not return to the classroom. It said it’s not confident in the district’s plan to keep educators safe from COVID-19. Read more.
11:37am – With states like Texas pushing forward with plans to fully reopen, Republicans in the Washington Legislature have unveiled their own proposal, which would aim to have the state return to 100% capacity for all activities and businesses within the next month. That proposal had Washington health officials cautioning against a more aggressive approach to reopening. Read more.
9:51am – The Washington Department of Health provided additional details Thursday on the progress of its vaccine distribution efforts, highlighting how the state’s seven-day average for distributed doses has now risen to 43,000 doses a day.
The state still has a goal to provide 45,000 vaccines daily, but with Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine garnering emergency use authorization from the FDA last week, that benchmark will likely be met soon.
That said, Washington received over 60,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, but was notified by the federal government that it won’t receive additional doses until April. Supplies for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remain low, and manufacturing is still ramping up across the country.
In total, the state estimates that it will receive up to 330,000 total vaccine doses across all manufacturers a week by late March. But while it’s currently still about 100,000 shy of what providers are requesting, “we’re moving in the right direction,” Deputy Health Director Lacy Fehrenbach said Thursday.
9:25am – Facebook announced Tuesday that it plans to bring its Seattle employees back to its offices at 10% capacity. Read more.
7:21am – The mental health and the educational health of students has long been a major concern during the pandemic and school closures. A 13 year-old named Melanie Gabriel organized a group called Open Schools USA, and in her email to the Dori Monson Show, detailed the struggles that so many kids like her are dealing with. Read more.
5:40am – The Washington Department of Health held a meeting Wednesday night to answers a series of crucial questions regarding the next steps for vaccine distribution.
That included detailing some of the more common side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, providing data on the percentage of people who have received first and second doses, and addressing rumors of “extra vaccines” handed out to people who aren’t currently eligible.
Wednesday, March 3
5:18pm – There have been 323,123 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,012 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 1.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in Washington.
Governor Jay Inslee released the following statement after the state’s 5,000th COVID-related death was confirmed:
“As we recognize the loss of 5,000 Washingtonians to COVID-19, let us both mourn for the families who have lost loved ones and be thankful for the Washingtonians who have pitched in to prevent further passing. Each of these 5,000 lives were more than a number to us. Each represents the loss of a unique individual who has left an empty chair in the lives of family, friends, and community.
“At the same time, it is fitting and proper to be thankful for the efforts of our citizens to fight COVID-19. Our residents have kept each other safe. If we had suffered the same death rate as other states, such as South Dakota, we would be mourning an 11,000 additional Washingtonians right now. Washingtonians do right by each other. We will continue to do all we can to help reduce infections, hospitalizations and deaths, so that more Washingtonians can emerge from this pandemic to enjoy healthy lives.”
3:05pm – The Washington State Labor Council, which represents some 500,000 union members across the state, says all essential workers should be getting the COVID-19 vaccine, not just educators and child care workers. Union President Larry Brown says in a statement that Washington’s “essential workers who must work in congregate settings should be prioritized in the state’s vaccination distribution plan.”
1:42pm – Thurston County will host a drive-through mass vaccination event at the Thurston County Fairgrounds on Friday, March 5. This clinic is by appointment only, and will serve residents 65 years of age and older, residents 50 years of age and older living in a multigenerational household, and pre-K educators, K-12 teachers and educators, and child care workers.
Appointment scheduling will open to this public this afternoon online here. Slots are limited to 800 registrants, and are expected to fill up quickly.
12:55pm – On Tuesday, President Biden asked all states to prioritize teachers for the COVID vaccine. Moments after that announcement, Governor Jay Inslee sent out a statement saying that educators, school staff, and licensed child care workers have been added to the current vaccine tier in Washington.
Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show that’s good news, but it will create a bit of a bottleneck for a short time until supply ramps up. Read more.
11:03am – The B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant strain first identified in the United Kingdom has been found in Skagit County.
The individual in the county first tested positive for the virus roughly two weeks ago, and has been cooperating with contact tracers. They have not traveled, and are believed to be connected to a separate person also infected with the variant.
“We knew this was coming,” Skagit Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson said in a written release. “The B.1.1.7 variant has already been found in Whatcom, Snohomish and Island Counties, and given the way COVID-19 spreads it’s likely it’s been here for a while. We should assume that this variant is circulating widely in Skagit at this time.”
9:24am – Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that the Western States Scientific Safety Review Group has approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
That means the vaccine can be received in Washington, Oregon, and California as soon as Thursday, with the FDA having handed down emergency use authorization over the weekend.
8:12am – While Washington state cases have started to drop from the most recent peak, and similar trends have been seen across the country, public health experts are still warning that the game is far from over, advising us to stay strong on defense. Read more.
6:56am – Renton teachers have reached an agreement with their school district, after voting against the district’s reopening plan on Monday.
The two parties now have a memorandum of understanding regarding key health and safety concerns, which will see some Renton educators return to the classroom Wednesday morning. Classes will be held for preschoolers, kindergartners, and special education students.
5:35am – Washington state is fast approaching its goal of vaccinating 45,000 people a day, with the state Department of Health reporting a current average of 37,000 daily doses distributed.
Supply is expected to continue increasing in March thanks to increased supplies from Moderna and Pfizer, and the recent approval of Johnson & Johnson’s new single-dose vaccine.
Tuesday, March 2
5:14pm – According to the Washington State Department of Health dashboard, there have been 322,487 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,988 deaths statewide.
4:01pm – COVID-19 patients in Washington may have ended up in hallways or temporary tent structures if not for the agreement among hospitals statewide to share the load. Read more.
3:35pm – Renton school teachers will not be coming back to classrooms on Wednesday as expected. KIRO Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports that their union voted against the district’s plan to welcome back special education, pre-school, and kindergarten students. The district says it will still allow kindergartners back tomorrow, but they’ll be taught by substitutes and support staff instead.
1:38pm – President Biden said Tuesday that he is pushing for states to prioritize teachers and school staff for the COVID vaccine. He wants every educator to receive their first shots by the end of the month.
Biden also said the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot. Read more from the Associated Press.
11:40am – Millions of counterfeit N95 masks sold to Washington hospitals may actually be usable, despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Homeland security plans to remove them from service. Read more.
9:52am – Gov. Jay Inslee will be touring Bellevue’s Phantom Lake Elementary School on Tuesday, as part of a push to encourage schools to return to in-person learning.
Inslee is also expected to sign several school-related bills, including one that allows waivers on graduation requirements when local, state, or national emergencies disrupt schooling. Another one waives required instructional hours for private schools.
8:24am – Is it time to start balancing the science of reopening schools with the needs of students and families? Read more from KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.
6:57am – University of Washington Medicine has temporarily stopped scheduling first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments because it doesn’t have enough vaccines.
UW Medicine said first-dose appointments will resume when its facilities have a stable supply of vaccine from the state Department of Health. For now, the public is asked to not call the contact center or clinics to ask their supply.
5:31am – King County has now reportedly handed out over 500,000 vaccine doses.
That includes 70% of the county’s health care workers, and 60% of residents who are 75 and older. Of those who are eligible in the current tier, two-thirds have received at least one dose.
This latest data came as part of Executive Dow Constantine announcing Monday that eligibility at mass vaccination sites in Auburn and Kent would expand to include those who are 65 and older.
Monday, March 1
5:22pm – There have been 321,881 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide with 4,969 deaths, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 1.6 million vaccine doses have been given.
4:19pm – The millions of counterfeit medical masks sent to Washington state likely did not contribute to the spread of COVID-19, and might actually be of very high quality. Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer says the investigation is not over, but the masks appear to be nearly exact copies of 3M’s N-95 masks.
“The best theories about where these masks came from are either someone working at a 3M factory stole the specs, and went and built them someplace else. Or that they’re actual overruns in an actual 3M factory that someone is operating, at like an overnight shift,” she said.
Sauer says it is still expected that all the masks will be collected and taken out of service by the Department of Homeland Security.
1:28pm – In a Monday briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci credited local researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for performing immunological testing and identifying coronavirus antibodies. Fauci’s referring to Fred Hutch data that shows COVID-19 antibodies perform better than those in people who did not have COVID and had received two doses of a vaccine.
12:05pm – Public Health — Seattle & King County’s Kent and Auburn vaccination sites have expanded eligibility to include adults age 65 and older. The two sites previously focused on south King County residents ages 75 and older, and individuals who are unable to live independently and their caregivers.
Find more information about getting vaccinated in King County online here.
10:53am – UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that a continued increase in vaccine distribution could save over 88,000 lives by June 1.
As of Monday, nearly 73 million doses have been administered nationwide, while 19% of all adults have received one or more doses.
9:17am – Seattle boasts the lowest COVID cases per capita in the nation among 30 major U.S. cities, according to recent data cited by Mayor Jenny Durkan.
In terms of deaths per capita, Seattle is the third lowest in the U.S., ranking just behind San Francisco and Portland.
7:40am – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that the city will be opening a mass vaccination site at Lumen Field in mid-March.
The site will be capable of administering as many as 21,000 vaccinations a day and 150,000 a week to the entire region.
Appointments at the Lumen Field site will be prioritized for community-based organizations serving BIPOC communities, KIRO 7 reports.
6:53am – Gov. Jay Inslee conducted a rare at-home bill signing on Sunday, officially enacting a measure that waives the annual liquor license fee for bars and restaurants across Washington. And according to KIRO Nights host and Streamline Tavern owner Mike Lewis, it’s also a proposal that could prove essential for an industry that’s struggled during the pandemic. Read more.
5:07am – With the FDA granting emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine over the weekend, the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup is meeting Monday to provide what Gov. Jay Inslee describes as “an extra layer of evaluation.”
The Western States workgroup is made up of vaccine experts from Washington, California, Oregon, and Nevada. They meet to review the data and analysis to ensure the safety of the vaccines. They also approved Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines shortly after the FDA and CDC authorized its use.