COVID updates: Sounders open ‘vaccinated only’ seating at Lumen Field
The state Department of Health says there have been over 394,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,702 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 6,541,234 doses of vaccine have been administered. Check below for more updates.
As of May 12, everyone in Washington state age 12 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.
Sunday, May 23
1:32pm – A bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is now requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry. Read more.
7:43am – Starting today, the Seattle Sounders have opened a vaccinated only section at Lumen Field.
Unlike other areas, the vaccinated only sections are sold at 100% capacity. Fans must bring proof of being fully vaccinated and masks are still required.
Those who are between the ages of 5 and 15 can still sit in the fully vaccinated section if they can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, but they must wear a mask. Children between the ages of 2 and 4 are not required to show proof of a negative test.
Saturday, May 22
12:04pm – Pierce County believes that a recent increase in fatal crashes could be the fault of drivers returning to the road post-pandemic. You can read more from KIRO 7 TV here.
7:21am – Seattle will be hosting a neighborhood pop-up vaccination clinic in Greenwood this weekend.
The pop-up will be located at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, and will be partnering Bluebird Ice Cream. Anyone who receives a dose will get a free pint of beer, while Bluebird will be offering free ice cream to the first 75 vaccinations.
The event will run between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. For more details, check out this link.
Friday, May 21
4:49pm – The last day of operations at the Seattle Fire Department’s West Seattle vaccination hub will be Wednesday, June 9, due to a significant drop in demand. To date, SFD has administered 48,135 vaccinations at the West Seattle hub alone since it opened in late February.
The city of Seattle says it is moving toward a new phase of the vaccination effort to “meet people where they are at breweries, ball games, and schools,” and with an increased focus on mobile vaccinations.
4:04pm – There have been more than 394,143 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,702 deaths in Washington, as reported by the state Department of Health. More than 6.5 million doses of vaccine have been given statewide.
3:07pm – The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle has changed its mask policy, following updated guidelines from the CDC.
Effective tomorrow, masks are encouraged for all (ages 5+) in outdoor spaces, but not required. The zoo is asking visitors to bring their masks because they’ll need them for indoor spaces, such as restrooms, restaurants, shops, and indoor exhibits. Timed entry reservation requirements remain in effect.
1:24pm – A COVID-19 vaccination will get one lucky college student free tuition for a year. David May, interim president of Eastern Washington University, says one student will win free tuition in the “EagsVaxUp” drawing. May says more details and prizes will be announced next week.
12:19pm – The Seattle Mariners are reporting “at least one” person within the organization has tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan.
According to Passan, there is also “concern within the organization that the relatively low level of vaccination within the clubhouse could be problematic.”
“The Mariners, a source said, are among the least vaccinated teams in MLB,” he noted.
9:54am – Reduced property taxes, rent assistance, or gift cards for goods or services are among the COVID-19 vaccination incentives that King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn is proposing for local residents who get their shot. Read more.
8:37am – The Seattle Kraken announced that their pop-up vaccine clinic scheduled for May 25 will also be offering the Pfizer vaccine for anyone age 12 and up, in addition to the previously announced single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The pop-up will run between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Seattle Kraken team store located at Chandler’s Cove. Anyone who receives a dose at the pop-up will get 25% off at the store, and will be entered to win a pair of tickets to see Eric Church, Bad Bunny, or Kane Brown at Climate Pledge Arena later this year.
7:15am – Prior to the directive from Public Health — Seattle & King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin that was released Thursday urging all residents, vaccinated or not, to keep wearing masks indoors, local leaders knew that updated mask rules for the county would be coming this week.
King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert spoke to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH about the direction it seemed the county was heading toward. Read more.
5:49am – Speaking to NBC Nightly News on Thursday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that over 70% of eligible King County residents have now received at least dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is part of Seattle’s ongoing push to be the first big city in the nation to be fully vaccinated.
“When history’s written, they’ll say that Seattle got it right,” Durkan said.
Thursday, May 20
5:06pm – Wild Waves announced today that it will reopen on Friday, June 18. There will be capacity restrictions, at least until June 30, when Gov. Inslee said the state would fully reopen. Visitors must make online reservations from June 18 until at least June 30.
“We encourage everyone to visit WildWaves.com when planning their outing, looking for a job or grabbing the best deal on tickets and Season Passes. You’ll want to visit the website to confirm hours of operation, learn about our health and safety protocol, buy your tickets, and make your Season Pass reservation (at least through June 30).”
The park, located in Federal Way, also said new benefits have been extended to 2020 Season Pass holders.
Additionally, masks will not be required for guests who are fully vaccinated. They’re also not required for guests while in the water or on water slides.
4:34pm – After releasing an updated directive urging all King County residents, vaccinated or not, to continue wearing face masks in public indoor settings, county health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin answered questions about the directive in a blog post on Public Health Insider here.
He also hosted a live media briefing Thursday afternoon, which you can watch on Public Health — Seattle & King County’s Facebook page here.
3:39pm – There have been 392,754 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,690 deaths statewide, as reported on the Washington State Department of Health’s data dashboard.
3:22pm – COVID-19 transmission is going up in Thurston County. The county’s health director says all variants are active there and more cases are showing up in children with people 19 and younger having made up 27% of positive tests this past week, followed next by adults age 20-39.
2:04pm – Holland America is resuming cruises between Seattle and Alaska in late July. The company says it plans to have dining rooms open and offer live entertainment.
Holland America will follow federal COVID guidelines, so onboard rules may evolve as those change.
12:17pm – King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a local health officer directive that “strongly urges” all residents to keep wearing a face mask in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. Read more.
9:57am – The Washington State Department of Health reports that 47% of people in Washington 16 years and older have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while a total of 59% of people in that age range have received at least one dose.
In the first four days the Pfizer vaccine was approved for use in children between the ages of 12 and 15, nearly 28,000 kids in that bracket received their first dose in Washington. That encompasses 7.4% of that population, “and more than double the national average vaccination rate for 12 to 15-year-olds,” the DOH said Thursday.
8:13am – A suspect alleged to have played a role in a scam that saw nearly $650 million paid out in fraudulent unemployment claims at the start of the pandemic will remain in custody pending his transportation to Western Washington to stand trial. Read more.
6:51am – Public Health — Seattle & King County will be offering vaccinations set to live Cuban salsa and jazz music from Mambo Cadillac this Saturday at the Auburn Outlet Collection Clinic, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more details, head to this link.
5:14am – The Skagit County Fair will be returning in 2021, scheduled to run for four days between Aug. 11-14.
The fair plans to have “most of the traditional elements” it typically features, “including a carnival, livestock, vendor booths, live entertainment and much more.”
“As we emerge from our ‘COVID caverns’, there is a renewed demand to celebrate the flavors and festivities of Skagit County,” Skagit County Parks & Rec Director Brian Adams said in a written release. “The 2021 Fair will provide the venue for reconnecting you to the entertainment we have yearned and fun we all crave. Join us as we welcome a new dawn to celebrate farms, food, family and performers.”
Wednesday, May 19
5:46pm – Cases of COVID-19 and pandemic related restrictions may be dropping, but don’t be surprised if you’re not ready to celebrate.
For many, the emotional and mental health impacts of the pandemic will linger, according to Dr. Kira Mauseth, co-lead of the Behavioral Health Strike Team at the state Department of Health. Read more.
4:20pm – Seattle Opera announced its first outdoor recitals. Tickets are on sale for two shows next month outside the opera house on Seattle Center grounds. Seattle Opera says it will resume its regular season next fall. It was the only American opera company to pivot to streaming and deliver its full slate of shows when the pandemic started.
3:34pm – There have been 391,925 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,673 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 6,424,110 vaccine doses have been given in Washington as of Wednesday.
3:20pm – Kroger says it is making masks optional for those who are fully vaccinated at its stores, which include QFC and Fred Meyer, according to Newsweek.
“Starting May 20, fully vaccinated customers and most fully vaccinated associates no longer need to wear a mask in our facilities, including stores, distribution centers, plants and offices, unless otherwise indicated by state or local jurisdiction,” the statement read. “If there is a state or local mandate, please follow that requirement and timing.”
Kroger said it will continue with enhanced cleaning and social distancing guidelines, and will offer a one-time $100 bonus to associates who get vaccinated.
1:48pm – Employment at private companies and nonprofits in our state has increased more than 9% since this time last year, but there are slightly fewer public sector jobs than there were last spring.
Washington state’s unemployment rate has held steady at 5.5% for the past two months, and the state continues to have a slightly better employment picture than the national average of 6%.
12:14pm – Lumen Field will be hosting student and family days at its mass vaccination site today and Saturday, along with “special Seattle Seahawks programming for kids and families.”
Wednesday’s iteration will run between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., while Saturday’s will run from 11:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, with no appointments required.
10:58am – Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah indicated Wednesday that the state will leave the door open for counties to enact their own mask rules. Read more.
9:14am – Can next year’s 60th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair mark the start of the city’s post-pandemic rebirth? KIRO Radio historian Feliks Banel believes so. Read more.
7:44am – In some cases, trying to protect people from adversity ends up limiting them, as evidenced by one person describing their recent period of unemployment. Read more.
6:19am – King County plans to announce its own rules for mask wearing sometime later this week, according to Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.
“Local health officials have the option to diverge from state if they believe it’s in the best interest of their jurisdiction’s residents,” Duchin said on Twitter on Tuesday.
More details are expected during the public health department’s weekly briefing this Friday.
5:03am – The Seattle Kraken will be joining the city’s other professional sports teams in offering the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Kraken will be distributing doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine next Tuesday, May 25, at their team store on Fairview Avenue North between noon and 6 p.m.
Fans who get vaccinated during the promotion will get 25% off Kraken gear, and will be entered to win tickets to see Eric Church, Bad Bunny, or Kane Brown perform at Climate Pledge Arena.
Tuesday, May 18
5:50pm – The Spokane Arena Mass Vaccination Site is hosting Vaccination Happy Hours from 5-7 p.m. on May 25, and June 2, 8, and 16. The events will include free food from local vendors, music, drawings, and giveaways. Tickets to live, in-person entertainment coming to the Spokane Arena will be one of the giveaways, including to to see Dude Perfect, Eric Church, The Weeknd, and Jason Aldean.
You must receive your vaccination during the happy hour to be eligible in the random drawings. Both walk-up and scheduled appointments are available.
4:58pm – It’s back to appointment-based clinics for COVID vaccine doses being given out by Thurston County’s health department in order to manage traffic and reduce wait times as demand is high.
Thurston County says it will still allow people without appointments to show up as long as there are doses available, but they should expect longer wait times.
3:43pm – There have been 391,188 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,653 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 6.3 million doses of vaccine have been given in Washington.
3:09pm – Your mask can come off if you’ve been fully vaccinated, according to updated guidance from the CDC. But did this update come too soon?
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, virologist and weekly guest of KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show, says the challenge is not so much the science of what we know about the vaccines and how protected vaccinated people are, but rather the rate of vaccination and the prevalence of the virus. Read more.
1:48pm – The Washington State Department of Health says all counties are now in Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan. This includes Cowlitz, Ferry, Pierce, and Whitman counties, which were previously in Phase 2.
State health officials say they will continue to monitor COVID-19 and vaccination data in the coming weeks. If the statewide ICU capacity reaches 90% at any point, activities will be rolled back.
1:12pm – You can now find a list of upcoming vaccination pop-ups in King County online here. At the same site, you can schedule a vaccination appointment at King County’s ShoWare and Auburn Outlet Collection clinics, though many sites in the county do not require appointments.
11:41am – The Seattle Fire Department is holding COVID-19 vaccination clinics at local schools over the next few weeks to improve vaccine access for teachers and students, reports KIRO 7. The hope is to get students and teachers vaccinated for in-person graduations and ahead of full-time, in-person return to class in the fall.
9:54am – Snohomish County is reporting that 59% of its residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
While Gov. Inslee set June 30 as the target date to fully reopen the state, that could occur sooner if 70% of Washingtonians age 16 or older have initiated the vaccination process before then.
8:10am – Despite the CDC’s latest guidance stating that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear facial coverings in most indoor and outdoor public settings, Public Health — Seattle & King County is considering the possibility of implementing stricter mask rules in the weeks ahead. Read more.
6:36am – Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all counties will be able to move to Phase 3 as of May 18, regardless of their case and hospitalization rates. That said, several counties remain over the threshold in both metrics the state had previously used to determine phases of reopening. Read more.
5:10am – COVID-19 case rates have been falling in Snohomish County, after an increase that previously had the county at 227 cases per 100,000 residents. As of the two week period ending on May 8, it’s now dipped below that 200 cases per 100,000 threshold, sitting at 193.
Local health officials credit increased vaccination rates and fewer large indoor crowds to this recent decrease.
Monday, May 17
5:26pm – There have been 390,630 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,640 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. There have been 6,337,924 doses of vaccine given across the state.
4:57pm – A Snohomish County landlord tells KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show that his tenants are not paying rent, and with the statewide eviction moratorium extended to June 30, he says he doesn’t have a lot of options to get back the money he’s owed. Read more.
3:22pm – Bars and restaurants in Washington can now serve a complimentary drink to customers who have proof that they have been fully vaccinated, if they so choose. This is part of a “mutual effort” to encourage vaccinations, and has come at the request of industry representatives.
The Liquor and Cannabis Board made the announcement Monday, but the optional allowance does come with conditions, including a one drink limit and effective dates between now and June 30.
3:03pm – California won’t lift its mask requirement until June 15 to give the public and businesses time to prepare and ensure cases stay low, the state health director said Monday.
“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. Read more from the Associated Press.
1:43pm – Beginning with Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, fully vaccinated fans attending home Mariners games will no longer be required to wear masks. Read more.
11:02am – Even as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced vaccinated people can now ditch masks and social distancing in most situations, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Thursday he’s not ready to loosen rules in the islands.
“We are unable to determine who is vaccinated and who is not vaccinated,” Ige said. “The best mitigation measure is for everyone to wear a mask.” Read more from AP.
Ige said he would review the CDC guidance and plans to incorporate vaccination rates into future restriction guidelines, but for now people in Hawaii must keep their masks on.
10:27am – The Washington Department of Health reports that vaccine appointments are available this week at Kennewick’s Fairgrounds site. For more details, head to this link.
8:56am – A decision on reopening the U.S/Canada border could come as soon as this week, according to KIRO 7 TV’s Michelle Millman.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020. The closure was extended in April and is set to expire Friday. Canada’s health minister says she is in favor of a vaccine certificate or passport if the border reopens.
7:11am – With the CDC fielding questions over its newly-updated mask guidance, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin provided some clarification last week, urging people — regardless of vaccination status — to consider masking up in certain scenarios. Read more.
5:50am – With the Pfizer vaccine expanded to 12-15 year-olds, the University of Washington’s Dr. Vin Gupta expressed hope that the nation could achieve a key milestone by mid-summer.
“I am optimistic that we’re actually going to see us reach 70% plus by the middle of July,” Dr. Gupta told the Washington Post.
He believes that younger individuals in the U.S. could help drive vaccination rates, even if “it might take a little bit of time” to reach that 70% benchmark.