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COVID updates: Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

The entrance to a vaccine clinic in West Seattle run by the Seattle Fire Department. (MyNorthwest photo)

The state Department of Health says there have been over 358,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,380 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 4,431,804 doses of vaccine have been administered. Check below for more updates.

As of April 15, everyone in Washington state age 16 or older is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who was eligible in an earlier phase or tier remains eligible now.

Find a vaccine location near you or call 800-525-0127 to get help finding an appointment.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, April 18

8:23pm – Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves.

Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated. Read more from AP.

7:21am – Gov. Inslee set a deadline of Monday, April 19, for schools statewide to return to at least a hybrid learning model for secondary students. Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction, said every district is poised to meet that deadline, and many are already back. Read more.

Saturday, April 17

6:30pm – There have been 358,592 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide with 5,380 deaths, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health.

1:48pm – King County is hovering right below the threshold for remaining in Phase 3, and the next reassessment date is May 3.

Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer with Public Health – Seattle & King County, said on Friday that the 14-day incident rate was 198.5 per 100,000 residents, which is similar to last week and about double the fall-winter surge. Read more.

9:29am – The global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million people Saturday amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil, India and France.

The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal. It is bigger than Chicago (2.7 million) and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined. Read more from the Associated Press.

6:58am – The Rainier Beach and West Seattle COVID-19 testing sites are closing to transition to vaccination sites. Saturday, April 17, will be the last day to register for COVID-19 testing at these sites. Both sites will reopen as full-time vaccination sites on Monday to “help meet increased demand.”

Find more information about testing in King County or register for a free test online here.

Friday, April 16

5:11pm – Health officials say there have been 357,122 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, and 5,380 deaths since the outbreak began last year. The state says 4,431,804 doses of vaccine have been administered.

3:55pm – Seattle University announced this week that it will be requiring all students returning to campus for in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 academic year to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“A key component to opening safely and returning to in-person consistent with public health guidelines is the requirement that all SU students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and report it to the university prior to arriving on campus in the fall,” SU said in a written release.

2:40pm – With Republicans across the country expressing resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine, KTTH’s Michael Medved believes that could be stifling the party’s potential resurgence. Read more

1:08pm – Dr. Anthony Fauci has been a regular presence on television, in Congress, and everywhere in between throughout the pandemic. On Friday, he sat down for a different kind of interview, fielding questions from former Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch. Read more

11:35am – Public Health — Seattle & King County shared advice about how to spot signs that a restaurant is following COVID-19 protocols when deciding where (or if) you want to dine in. The key things to look for include good airflow and ventilation, capacity limits, as well as masks and distancing. Read more on the Public Health Insider blog here.

8:51am – Dr. Keith Jerome, director of the University of Washington’s Virology Lab, says he understands why counties would feel shortchanged by the rollback to Phase 2, but also acknowledges that it may very well be a necessity with cases rising across Washington. Read more.

7:07am – The city of Olympia will require an additional $4 an hour at bigger grocery stores with more than 250 employees as of next month. Olympia joins Seattle, Burien, and unincorporated King County in requiring the extra pay. It will last for as long as Washington is under a state of emergency.

5:43am – King County says it is able to substitute other vaccines for some of the Johnson & Johnson shots that were supposed to be given out this week, but that’s not sustainable long-term.

“Obviously, over time, if the pause continues, it will impact our work,” said Patty Hayes, director of Public Health — Seattle & King County.

Snohomish County’s health department had to cancel 2,500 appointments at a clinic this week because it was using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is not being used right now due to concern it may be linked to rare blood clots after six reported cases nationwide. Nearly 7 million doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered before the pause earlier this week.

Thursday, April 15

5:04pm – Health officials say that there have been 355,387 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,362 deaths since the outbreak began.

3:13pm – Gov. Jay Inslee has fielded frequent criticism this week following a decision to roll three counties back to Phase 2 of reopening. On Thursday, he addressed those concerns, defending the move as essential to avoiding a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases. Read more

1:35pm – Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday that anyone who’s received both doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will “likely” need a third shot between six months and a year after being fully vaccinated.

Bourla went on to predict that an “annual revaccination” will likely be necessary in the years to follow, similar to how the flu vaccine is distributed annually.

11:56am – After six reported cases of blood clots out of 6.8 million administered doses, use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused in Washington state, and across the United States. Dr. Keith Jerome, director of the UW Virology Lab, says this matches standard procedure. Read more.

10:24am – Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% last month. That’s slightly down from the previous month, and better than the 6% national unemployment rate in March.

Washington also added 23,100 jobs last month, with leisure and hospitality, government, and education seeing the biggest gains.

8:55am – The pandemic means two tests Washington students normally take each spring are being postponed until fall. Read more.

7:12am – Skagit County health trackers say a few more days of COVID-19 case increases like they are seeing now, and the county will not meet the target to stay in Phase 3 at the next evaluation. They say transmission has been rising for two weeks and the numbers do not look promising right now, so they’re asking for residents and visitors to take extra precautions.

6:03am – “Opening up eligibility to all Washingtonians who are the ages of 16 and older — that is a tremendously important milestone for us,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the state secretary of health.

That opening of eligibility is now effective statewide as of April 15. With more people eligible than doses available at this point, state health officials encourage everyone to be patient when trying to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Wednesday, April 14

5:40pm – On Thursday, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens up to everyone in Washington state over the age of 16. Because that opens vaccinations to an additional 1.5 million people, the state is warning people to remain patient, and expect possible delays in making appointments. Read more

4:23pm – Health officials say that there have been 354,201 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,357 deaths since the outbreak began. The state says 4,299,351 doses of vaccine have been administered.

3:06pm – The CDC announced Wednesday that it will be delaying its decision on how to move forward on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Members of a CDC panel spent the better part of the day debating what its next steps regarding the single-dose vaccine would be, proposing everything from a one-month pause to resuming distribution in a few weeks.

The panel will convene next week to take more concrete action on the future of the vaccine’s use.

1:33pm – Governor Inslee has announced that three counties in Washington state, including Pierce County, will have to roll back to Phase 2 at the end of this week. Was that decision made fairly, and what impacts will it have? Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier joined the Gee and Ursula Show with his reaction. Read more.

12:19pm – The state has seen at least 217 breakthrough cases, which is when someone develops COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

“That’s up from our initial announcement on March 20 of 102 cases, and we know that vaccine breakthroughs have now occurred in 24 of our 39 counties,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.

Dr. Shah also reminded everyone that 217 is still fewer than one in 10,000 vaccinated Washingtonians  getting COVID-19, so you should feel confident getting a vaccine. Breakthrough cases do tend to be less severe than cases in unvaccinated people.

10:24am – Despite the state’s progress in vaccinations against COVID-19, health officials say we are now on the brink of a fourth wave. But there’s still time to turn it around. Read more.

9:02am – Everyone 16 years or older in Washington becomes eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday. At this time, the state does not think the pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccinations will stop the momentum in getting the public vaccinated.

“J&J is only about 6% of the total vaccine we’ve gotten in our state,” said Michele Roberts with the state Department of Health.

Moderna and Pfizer make up the rest of the allotment, and the state says there’s plenty to go around.

7:31am – Newer variants are crowding out older strains, and now make up a growing share of cases in Snohomish County, according to health department director Dr. Chris Spitters. He says the variants first found in California and the U.K. are the most common at this point, which have been found to now make up an estimated 70% of cases in Washington.

Dr. Spitters says even though there is not an official rollback to Phase 2 in Snohomish County, he hopes people will limit their activities voluntarily.

5:54am – On Tuesday, nearly 1,200 vaccine appointments at Lumen Field were canceled without explanation. The city later clarified that the appointments were canceled because people had booked the slots using links meant just for clinic volunteers or other specific groups of people. The cancellations had nothing to with the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to KIRO 7 TV, the appointments were mostly for the end of the week, when everyone 16 and older will be eligible. The city of Seattle says those who had canceled appointments should register to be notified by email when new ones are available.

Tuesday, April 13

5:00pm – Health officials say there have been 353,147 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,340 deaths since the outbreak began last year. The state says 4,189,884 doses of vaccine have been administered.

4:38pm – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday that anyone in Seattle who had a previous appointment scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have their appointment honored, and instead will receive Pfizer’s vaccine.

Statewide use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine was put on hold on Monday, after six women in the U.S. reported experiencing blood clots as a possible side effect. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered nationwide.

2:59pm – In the wake of Pierce, Cowlitz, and Whitman counties rolling back Phase 2 of reopening, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier issued a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday, urging him to immediately expand vaccine eligibility. Read more

1:31pm – Three audit reports released by the State Auditor’s Office on Tuesday conclude that the state Employment Security Department failed to take certain fraud prevention measures, making it more vulnerable to an attack that plagued the department at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and potentially leading to greater fraud losses than previously believed. Read more.

12:02pm – Lumen Field is planning to welcome back a limited number of fans for the first time in over a year as the Seattle Sounders open the 2021 season on Friday, April 16. There will be a number of enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in place, including pod seating. Read more.

11:28am – Gov. Inslee emphasized Tuesday that while the state is pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it will not be impacting the plan to open vaccine eligibility on Thursday.

“We are still opening up eligibility for all who want it on April 15,” he said on Twitter.

9:30am – With Gov. Inslee announcing Monday that three counties — Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman — will be moving back to Phase 2, local leaders have expressed a range of emotions in response.

“The news that our county will return to Phase 2 effective April 16 is discouraging,” said Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young. “This setback is a gut-punch to all of us, especially our Pierce County businesses that made it through the winter.” Read more.

7:16am – The Washington State Department of Health added a new data visualization tab to the COVID-19 data dashboard that will offer a picture into health care system readiness.

Data for the tab is provided by Washington’s acute care facilities through WA HEALTH, the state’s Healthcare and Emergency and Logistics Tracking Hub.

5:45am – The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

The pause is being recommended while the rare clots can be studied. The pause does not impact the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Read more from the Associated Press.

Monday, April 12

5:16pm – Health officials say there have been 352,391 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state, and 5,329 deaths since the outbreak began. The state says 4,189,884 doses of vaccine have been administered.

4:21pm – It looks as though Pfizer is working on a pill that you could give to somebody who already has COVID, and is in clinical trials right at the moment. It’s an effort that’s been a long time in the making. What can we expect of it? Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss. Read more

3:02pm – On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman counties would be moving back to Phase 2. With the state reevaluating data again in three weeks, which counties are now most at risk of following those three back to the prior phase? Check here.

1:46pm – Gov. Inslee announced Monday that Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman counties will be rolling back to Phase 2 of reopening. Read more

12:09pm – A large group of business organizations in Washington are urging Gov. Inslee to delay any decision to return some counties to a more restrictive COVID-19 phase for three more weeks. Read more.

10:00am – Researchers at UW Medicine are searching for volunteers for what is being called a second generation vaccine to fight COVID-19. The goal is to create a vaccine that can better fight the COVID variants.

The new vaccine could be a combination of vaccines that are already being manufactured. But the trial needs volunteers who haven’t yet been vaccinated, which is getting harder to find by the day as eligibility continues to open up. Read more from KIRO 7 News.

8:52am – With the threat of a rollback to Phase 2 for some counties in Washington, KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross worries that not only would a move back be demoralizing for a business owner or anybody getting a taste of freedom, but whether, going forward, “anyone is going to believe that government officials know what they’re doing, or trust these ‘data-driven’ decisions.” Read more.

7:14am – The first mass vaccination center on King County’s Eastside opens Monday, where about 300 each day are expected to drive through. Teams from Eastside Fire and Rescue will be giving the shots. The Snoqualmie Tribe is providing vaccines and coordinating appointments.

5:30am – Gov. Inslee says he will order counties with high COVID-19 and hospitalization rates back to Phase 2. The changes would have to take place by Friday.

“This is not judgement day Monday,” Inslee said. “The score is the score. This score is determined by the COVID virus, not us.”

In the Puget Sound region, Pierce County is in jeopardy Monday of moving back a phase. Most of the other counties expected to see tighter restrictions are in Central and Eastern Washington. Read more.

Check last week’s updates.

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