COVID updates: Gov. Inslee approves use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine for WA

Apr 19, 2021, 5:28 AM | Updated: Apr 26, 2021, 6:18 am

The state Department of Health says there have been over 366,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,434 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 4,919,206 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.

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 25

8:15am – “Our current metrics put as at a very high risk of rolling back to Phase 2,” King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said in his weekly briefing on Friday.

Duchin estimates that one person is now being hospitalized for COVID-19 every hour and 24 minutes in King County, and that since the county entered into Phase 3 on March 22, cases and hospitalizations have risen by 70% and 75%, respectively. Read more.

Saturday, April 24

6:43pm – Health officials say there have been 366,746 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,434 deaths since the outbreak began.

3:47pm – Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted on Saturday afternoon that he has authorized the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Washington state. The state Department of Health paused its use on April 13 following the guidance from the FDA and CDC.

The J&J vaccine was paused after six reported U.S. cases of a rare type of blood clot in people after receiving the vaccine, according to the DOH.

2:27pm – King County Executive Dow Constantine said on Saturday that about 37% of adults in the county have been fully vaccinated.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, alongside Constantine at a news conference on Saturday, said that the city and its partners will have more than 52,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to administer next week in the largest single-week vaccine allocation received to date.

The city expects this level of supply to increase and, if public demand continues, Seattle could vaccinate 70% of its residents and workers by the end of May.

7:59am – A stark access gap is prompting increased calls across the world for the U.S. to start shipping vaccine supplies to poorer countries. That’s creating an early test for President Joe Biden, who has pledged to restore American leadership on the world stage and prove to wary nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner after years of retrenchment during the Trump administration. Read more from the AP.

Friday, April 23

5:03pm – Health officials say there have been 365,209 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,434 deaths since the outbreak began in Washington state. The state says there have been 4,919,206 doses of vaccine administered.

3:45pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the city will be administering over 50,000 vaccinations next week, thanks to its “largest single-week allocation to date.”

“For weeks, I’ve been asking the White House and federal government for supplies that match the immense need and demand in our communities. We know that Seattle has the highest level of vaccine enthusiasm in the country, and if given the opportunity, we can vaccinate our residents and workers quickly, equitably, and on a massive scale,” Durkan said in a written release.

1:58pm – A CDC panel voted Friday to resume distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Read more from the Associated Press.

1:53pm – Citing concerns over the pandemic, Seattle’s Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival announced Friday that it will not be taking place for the second year in a row, and will be forming an exploratory committee to determine the future of the Labor Day event. Read more. 

11:35am – Bloodworks Northwest is facing critically low donations and has less than a 24-hour supply after donations have dwindled during the pandemic. If you would like to donate, click here.

10:00am – Earlier this month, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier told KIRO Radio that the county was not getting its fair share of COVID-19 vaccine doses at the time it was forced to rollback to Phase 2, but an investigation has now confirmed that it is getting its share.

“Pierce County is getting 100% of its pro rata doses from the state of Washington. This is clear, unequivocal fact, and anybody who says otherwise is simply wrong,” Gov. Inslee said. Read more.

8:18am – With five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered statewide, there’s a gender gap starting to show in those who have received their shots, and women are in the lead.

“Women are traditionally the health care decision makers in families and more likely to seek out health care on a routine basis,” said Michele Roberts with the state Department of Health as a reason why women may be more likely to get the vaccine.

The state DOH says 57% of those fully vaccinated are women, and 43% are men.

6:54am – Discarded face masks are polluting our environment, along with other PPE. KIRO 7 TV reports that people are finding them alongside roads, on beaches, and even floating in the water.

The Ocean Conservancy says in the last six months, its volunteers have collected over 107,000 PPE items from waterways and beaches. The Department of Ecology’s litter clean up crews say they find discarded face masks all along I-5, and believe most blew out of passing cars.

5:36am – In many parts of the state, vaccine providers are noticing demand is slowing. Gov. Inslee said Thursday that vaccine hesitancy is becoming a big problem due to the spread of misinformation.

“We have a rapidly mutating virus infecting and invading our state, and it has an ally and that’s social media and the internet. Because that new technology allows the mutation of information,” Inslee said.

He asks everyone to talk to their loved ones who have not yet been vaccinated about getting a dose, and to encourage them to speak to a doctor if they have questions.

Thursday, April 22

4:59pm – Health officials say there have been 363,840 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,428 deaths since the outbreak began in Washington state. The state says there have been 4,765,270 doses of vaccine administered.

3:31pm – Gov. Jay Inslee acknowledged Thursday that Washington now appears to be entering into a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, urging residents to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Read more.

1:38pm – Seattle-King County Public Health issued a warning Thursday concerning “unusual testing operations” popping up around the region.

According to Public Health, testing operations in Seattle and Auburn not authorized by the county are reportedly going “door to door to solicit testing without an appointment with people who live there.”

“If you have received a COVID test from an operation with these concerning practices, the results may not be accurate, and you should consider getting retested, especially if you were known to be exposed or had symptoms,” it said in a written release.

12:21pm – University of Washington researchers say some dogs have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in the state, a sign they may have had the virus at some point. Read more.

11:00am – Due to the difficulty of finding a vaccine appointment, some people have been signing up for spots at multiple locations. State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah says this is OK, as long as you remember to cancel the other appointments once you have one confirmed. He says too many people are forgetting to cancel and becoming no-shows at appointments, leaving providers with doses that could have gone to someone else.

10:17am – The pandemic has been putting a strain on child care providers in our state, with hundreds forced to close over the last year. Sen. Patty Murray has reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act to help. Read more.

9:49am – Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier is thanking volunteers and touting the planning and logistics that go into a mass vaccination site.

9:01am – Pierce County has a week and a half to get its coronavirus numbers down to a level that would let it move back to Phase 3, the highest allowable rate of business, religious, and social activity. For the past week, the county has been averaging about 10 cases per day above the limit.

King and Snohomish counties are both near the limit that would force a move back to Phase 2. Skagit County reports that positive tests are rising there, but at this point, it is not in danger of a rollback.

7:48am – Health leaders say much of the recent increase in cases is due to people letting their guard down and giving up too early on the social-distancing precautions as they go out to enjoy spring activities. Variants that are more contagious are also contributing to the spread. Read more.

5:55am – All people 60 years old or older are now able to walk-in to the community vaccination hubs in  West Seattle and Rainier Beach to be vaccinated, without needing an appointment. The goal is to help increase vaccinations among older adults, particularly those with digital or mobility barriers.

Thanks to the “Good Neighbor” program, anyone who accompanies an older adult to one of the two city sites can also get vaccinated. To qualify, one patient must be at least 60 years old and the other must be at least 16 years old, and neither patient should have received their first dose. Only one additional person gets vaccinated with the older patient.

Wednesday, April 21

5:04pm – Health officials say there have been 362,276 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,422 deaths since the outbreak began in Washington state. The state says there have been 4,765,270 doses of vaccine administered.

3:47pm – Pierce County is opening a mass vaccination site at the Tacoma Dome starting April 27. The site will be open for at least six weeks.

The county says the goal is to vaccinate at least 1,170 people each day — or 34,000 doses into arms.

The site will offer the Pfizer vaccine, which is available to anyone over 16. It’ll be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week except holidays. Visitors will have the option of drive-thru or walk-up.

2:21pm – Seafair announced Wednesday that for the second year in a row, it will take place “largely in a virtual format.” Read more

12:43pm – There was hope that after many major events canceled or moved online in 2020, this year would mark a return. But it’s looking like that won’t be the case for a lot of local favorites. Read more.

9:22am – State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said the state is setting a new goal of 90,000 vaccine doses administered per day. The previous goal was 45,000 daily doses, which has since been reached and topped. The state is now averaging about 50-60,000 doses per day. Read more.

8:00am – The United States is set to meet President Joe Biden’s latest vaccine goal of administering 200 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days in office. Read more from the Associated Press.

5:49am – Hospitalization and case counts continue to rise in many parts of Washington state. Spokane County is currently posting numbers that would trigger tougher COVID-19 rules there, and both King and Snohomish counties are very close to the limits that would force a rollback to Phase 2.

The state will re-assess COVID-19 metrics for all counties on Monday, May 3, with any changes to take effect by the end of that week.

Tuesday, April 20

5:09pm  – Health officials say there have been 361,104 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,407 deaths since the outbreak began. The state says 4,669,463 doses of vaccine have been administered.

4:19pm – The European Union’s drug regulatory agency said Tuesday that it found a “possible link” between Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and extremely rare blood clots and recommended a warning be added to the label. But experts at the agency reiterated that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

The European Medicines Agency made its determination after examining a small number of clot cases in people vaccinated in the U.S. It said these problems should be considered “very rare side effects of the vaccine.”

J&J immediately announced it will revise its label as requested and resume vaccine shipments to the EU, Norway and Iceland. In a statement, it said: “The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority.” Read more from AP.

2:21pm – Gov. Inslee visited a mass vaccination site at the Arlington Airport today.  He thanked all of the first responders on the front lines.

1:24pm – As of Monday, all schools in Washington state must offer at least part-time in-person learning for any student who wants it. While the state doesn’t keep track of the number of students who are learning in person, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal says numbers are good overall. Read more

12:07pm – Snohomish County is at risk of being one of the next counties to roll back to Phase 2 of reopening when the state re-evaluates COVID-19 data on May 3. Read more.

9:25am – The latest COVID-19 update from Pierce County indicates local case rates are not decreasing. The county had to revert to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan last week, in part because it was posting a two-week average above 200 cases per 100,000 residents. On Friday, that number was at 207 cases, and on Monday, it had risen by almost seven to 213.9.

7:42am – Vaccination rates are rising in Washington among all age groups, with about one in four people fully vaccinated statewide.

Nearly 75% of adults age 65 or older have had at least one shot; more than half of those age 50-60 have had one shot; more than 40% of those age 35-49 have at least one shot; and almost one-third of people 20-34 had one shot.

6:14am – Public Health — Seattle & King County has launched a new vaccination program for those in King County who are unable to leave their homes due to an injury, developmental disability, or medical condition. The mobile teams will make home visits, prioritizing those with the greatest challenges to leaving their homes first for the limited appointments.

The King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 is coordinating the appointments.

Monday, April 19

5:28pm – Health officials say there have been 359,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,394 deaths since the outbreak began. The state reports 4,669,463 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered.

3:57pm – Highline Public Schools is offering 2-day, 5-day, and 7-day meal kits for families to take home and cook. It’s are free for all families in the district to help get through the financial burdens of the pandemic.

Families can choose to pick up pre-ordered meal kits on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays.

3:22pm – Seattle Pride says it’s hosting festivities virtually again this year. The festival runs June 26 and 27 from 11am – 5pm both days. Big Freedia of New Orleans is headlining the event. Hosting are drag queen extraordinaire Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture. 

Check out for the full lineup.

2:44pm – Seattle-King County Public Health announced Monday that it is offering a new program to administer vaccines to those who are unable to leave their homes.

The program would offer services to those have an injury, disability, or medical condition “that makes it difficult” to leave their home to get vaccinated. It would also be available for those it “would require considerable and taxing effort” for.

1:29pm – With sunny weather continuing in the Seattle area, Mayor Jenny Durkan is echoing a message put forth by Gov. Jay Inslee last week, encouraging people to take their activities outdoors to reduce COVID-19 transmission rates.

10:47am – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Biden’s chief medical adviser, indicated Sunday that the government will likely move to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases.

In a series of news show interviews, Fauci said he expects a decision when advisers to the CDC meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J’s single-dose vaccine.

“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” he said. “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want to stretch it out a bit longer.” Read more from the Associated Press.

10:14am – A youth baseball team from Lacey has been forced to cancel their trip to Cooperstown, New York, to play in a tournament after being told that COVID-19 vaccinations are required to attend, but a vaccine for anyone under age 16 has not yet been approved for use. Read more.

9:04am – Gov. Inslee has approved a bill that allows business owners an extension through rest of the year to pay their property taxes if they can prove a 25% loss in revenue. No penalties or interest will be charged, but the deadline to file for the extension is April 30.

The form can be found through the state Department of Revenue online here.

7:58am – All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. President Biden set April 19 as the deadline for all states to make everyone 16 or older eligible.

Washington state opened eligibility to all adults 16 or older on Thursday, April 15.

7:10am – Two COVID-19 testing sites in Seattle are becoming full-time vaccination clinics. Saturday was the last day that the sties in West Seattle and Rainier Beach performed any tests. Both reopen Monday as vaccination sites to help meet increased demand.

5:23am – Middle and high school students in the Seattle Public Schools district begin their hybrid learning schedule Monday, meeting the governor’s deadline.

Gov. Inslee had issued an emergency proclamation requiring all schools statewide to offer a hybrid in-person and remote learning model or part-time options for in-person classes by April 5 for K-6 students, and by April 19 for K-12 students.

Check last week’s updates.

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