COVID updates: 3 million people in Washington now fully vaccinated

May 24, 2021, 5:08 AM | Updated: May 30, 2021, 8:10 am

Phase 2 King County, federal vaccine data...

The observation area at the Lumen Field vaccination site. (MyNorthwest photo)

(MyNorthwest photo)

The state Department of Health says there have been over 401,526 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,765 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 6,908,004 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.

Confirmed coronavirus cases across Washington state

Sunday, May 30

8:09am – An elementary school in Eastern Washington is switching to remote learning after an outbreak of COVID-19. Officers at Waitsburg Elementary School announced the change Friday after seven students and two employees tested positive. Read more from the Associated Press.

Saturday, May 29

3:39pm – There have been 401,526 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,765 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health.

7:28am – In King County, 97% of current COVID-19 cases are among those who are unvaccinated. The county’s health officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin, says people who are unvaccinated are actually more at risk now than they were last Memorial Day. Read more.

Friday, May 28

4:52pm – There have been 400,615 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide with 5,765 deaths, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 6.9 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Washington.

2:21pm – Idaho’s ban on mask mandates in schools and public buildings is over after being on the books for about 24 hours. While Idaho Gov. Brad Little was out of town this week, the lieutenant governor issued the executive order, saying face-coverings threaten individual freedom.

On Friday, Gov. Brad Little repealed the mask-mandate prohibition, calling it a tyrannical abuse of power and a “self-serving political stunt.” Read more from the Associated Press.

1:58pm – Seattle leaders unveiled the “Seattle Rescue Plan” on Thursday, a proposed spending plan for $128.4 million in COVID-19 relief dollars from the federal government to aid the city’s recovery from the pandemic and related economic impacts. Read more.

12:29pm – Snohomish County is reporting that 24% of those between the ages of 12 and 15 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as 47.6% of residents between the ages of 16 and 19.

“We’re currently fifth in the state for the percentage of residents over 16 initiating vaccination, which is excellent progress,” Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said in a written release.

10:37am – Over 3 million people in Washington have now been fully vaccinated, the state DOH reported Friday. In total, 41% of the state is fully vaccinated, as well as 51% of residents ages 16 and up. Over 61% of people in that age bracket have received at least one dose.

8:59am – The Washington State Department of Health has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send investigators after more than a dozen reports of myocarditis. The feds will investigate if the heart inflammation is being triggered by the vaccine or is just a coincidence as more people get vaccinated. Read more

7:17am – If President Biden gets his way, in three months we will know the truth about how the coronavirus escaped, and whether or not it was deliberate. But KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross hopes we’ll discover the answer to an even bigger question: Did China really win the pandemic? Read more.

5:44am – Japan has extended a state of emergency over a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in several cities, including Tokyo, with questions swirling over the Olympic games set for late July.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin in Tokyo on July 23. With the country’s vaccine rollout lagging and hospitals continuing to be overwhelmed, calls to cancel the games for the second time in as many years have begun to take shape.

Just 2.3% of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated. Despite that, government officials have been insistent that they hope to move forward with the games regardless.

Thursday, May 27

4:32pm – There have been 399,710 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,754 deaths statewide, as reported on the Washington State Department of Health’s data dashboard.

3:28pm – With 60% of Washingtonians 16 and older now having had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and about half of the state’s adults being fully-vaccinated, can we start envisioning a COVID-free future? That depends. Read more.

2:17pm – With Idaho’s governor out of the state, the lieutenant governor has issued an executive order Thursday banning masks in schools and public buildings, saying the face-covering directives threatened people’s freedom.

Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is acting governor while Gov. Brad Little is at the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He was expected to return Thursday evening. Read more from the Associated Press.

1:35pm – King County’s COVID-19 testing site at Enumclaw Middle School is closed until further notice due to high winds. Check for updates here.

12:19pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Council President Lorena Gonzalez are unveiling the city’s “Seattle Rescue Plan” on Thursday,” designed to use federal funds allocated by the latest stimulus package passed by Congress.

“The #SeattleRescuePlan will kick start our city’s long-term recovery & make critical community investments to support our residents, reopen programs, & house our neighbors,” Durkan said on Twitter.

9:54am – Vaccination sites in Kent and Auburn will be open on Memorial Day, with no appointment required. Head to this link for more information on vaccination sites over the holiday weekend.

8:18am – The Washington State Department of Health has brought the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in to look into more than a dozen cases of a rare heart problem among Washingtonians, especially younger people, who were recently vaccinated.

But state health officials insist bringing in CDC officials was out of “aggressive caution” and do not right now see any link between the vaccine and the heart complication. Read more.

6:37am – In the latest sign that the U.S. economy appears to be stabilizing, jobless claims nationwide dipped to 406,000 over the last week, according to the latest data from the Department of Labor.

That marks the lowest number of jobless claims since the start of the pandemic.

5:19am – Under new spectator guidance released by Governor Inslee on Wednesday, unvaccinated people no longer have to go through separate entrances at outdoor venues, including stadiums. Inslee also announced that those locations can double capacity to 50%, but cannot have more than 9,000 spectators in total. Read the full spectator guidance here.

Wednesday, May 26

5:21pm – There have been 398,316 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,741 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 6.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Washington.

4:04pm – People under the age of 20, most of whom are not yet eligible for vaccination, now make up the majority of Thurston County’s COVID-19 cases, where health officer Dimyana Abdelmalek says she is also seeing an increased number of outbreaks in schools and long-term care facilities.

Only 38% of residents in the county are fully vaccinated, so residents are encouraged to keep wearing masks until the majority of the population is vaccinated.

“We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know if we keep taking precautions for just a short while longer, the health of our county and our community will be better off for it,” Abdelmalek said.

2:19pm – The percentage of breakthrough cases — when someone who is fully vaccinated tests positive for COVID-19 — in Washington remains low.

“In Washington state, we’ve got 3 million fully vaccinated people, almost 4 million who initiated, and to date, there’s approximately 1,000 cases that meet the breakthrough definition,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health director in Snohomish County.

1:11pm – The school board for the state’s largest school district, Seattle Public Schools, will vote Wednesday on a reopening plan for full in-person learning this fall. Read more.

11:39am – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday that Seattle plans to close down most of its fixed mass vaccination sites in June, leaving a site in SoDo as the only remaining location. The Seattle Fire Department will continue operating mobile pop-up clinics, while medical providers will also continue to provide vaccinations as well.

“Now that the vast majority of Seattleites have begun the vaccination process, we are able to safely reopen and recover as a city – without the need for our fixed sites,” Durkan said in a written release.

The city’s mass vaccination site at Lumen Field will close on June 12, while the West Seattle and Rainier Beach sites will close on June 9 and June 23, respectively.

9:58am – Despite vaccination rates in Washington continuing to trend upward, state health officials still have concerns over counties where rates remain low. Read more

8:03am – At what point does masking up become less a safety measure and more a normal, everyday habit akin with wearing a seatbelt? Read more

6:52am – Leavenworth has announced changes to its annual holiday lights festival for 2021, which is scheduled to take place in December. Notably, the ceremonial “flipping of the switch” to turn on all the lights on Saturdays and Sundays will be absent in order to help reduce crowd sizes.

The Festival of Lights still promises over half a million lights every day of the week, concerts and entertainment, and holiday activities. Find more information here.

5:10am – Health experts remain concerned about the presence of more infectious COVID-19 variant strains, after a new study revealing that variants have been “overrepresented among post-vaccination breakthrough infections in Washington state.”

The study identified 20 vaccine breakthrough cases in Washington, all 20 of which “were due to variants of concern.”

Tuesday, May 25

5:45pm – There have been 396,713 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,722 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health.

4:11pm – Washington’s eviction moratorium is set to expire when the state reopens on June 30, and a local group is now sounding the alarm over what it believes will be a sizable increase in evictions in the Seattle area. Read more.

2:53pm – You can now get vaccinated on a Washington State Ferry. Vaccinations are only offered on the Seattle to Bremerton route for now, and will be given in the first 30 minutes of each sailing.

Peninsula Community Health Services is administering the vaccines through Thursday, and will also offer shots on the same route next week, Tuesday through Thursday.

2:09pm – Thurston County’s summer fair is now cancelled. The county is one of the few in the Puget Sound region where coronavirus rates are still rising.

Last week, the 2021 Evergreen State Fair in Monroe announced it will be live and in-person this year, same for the Skagit County Fair.

1:03pm – A group of state pediatricians says the benefits of coronavirus vaccines outweigh the risks for adolescents. Washington’s Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is responding to the heart inflammation some children have developed after getting a shot.

The doctors say there is no proven link between the vaccine and those cases of myocarditis. The condition is often treated with over-the-counter medication and rarely causes long-term health problems.

11:42am – Washington’s pandemic eviction moratorium is set to expire when the state reopens on June 30, and a local group is now sounding the alarm over what it believes will be a sizable increase in evictions in the Seattle area. Read more

10:01am – The U.S. State Department issued an advisory against travel to Japan this week, spurred by a troubling rise in COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations within the nation’s borders.

Health experts believe Japan’s fourth wave is being driven by a slow vaccine rollout, which has seen less than 5% of the country’s residents having taken at least one shot, with just 2% fully vaccinated.

This has led to concerns over the Tokyo Olympics, which are still scheduled to take place less than two months from now. Currently, Japan’s hospitalization rate for COVID-19 cases is at 14% nationwide, and 37% in Tokyo.

8:49am – Fred Meyer and QFC announced an update to its mask policy for Washington state stores on Tuesday, stating that it will no longer require fully vaccinated customers and most fully vaccinated employer to wear masks, “unless otherwise required by local jurisdiction.”

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated will still have to mask up, while pharmacy and clinic workers will also have to wear masks as well due to the CDC’s guidance for health care settings.

Fred Meyer and QFC locations will continue to “implement enhanced cleaning and physical distancing across all facilities,” while offering employees a $100 one-time payment for getting fully vaccinated.

7:17am – The Washington State Department of Health says it is monitoring the possibility of a rare side effect that health experts say could have been brought on by the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

5:55am – Moderna announced Tuesday that it has completed a new round of testing that indicates its vaccine provides protection for those between the ages of 12 and 17. The company plans to submit its latest data to the FDA and global regulators sometime in “early June” in hopes of gaining authorization for the vaccine’s use in teens.

Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one authorized for use in children.

5:18am – UW Medicine is partnering with the City of Seattle to establish long-term COVID-19 testing hubs in Rainier Beach and West Seattle.

“Even as vaccination rates climb in Seattle and King County and COVID-19 cases continue to dramatically drop, it’s critical that we continue to have citywide free and accessible COVID-19 testing available for our communities for the long term,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a written release.

The hubs will have testing trailers available by appointment for now, where patients self-swab under the supervision of a medical professional. Results are typically delivered between 24 and 48 hours post-test.

Monday, May 24

10:09pm – Health officials say there have been 395,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,709 people have died from the virus. They say 6,749,266 doses of vaccine have been administered across the state.

4:53pm – Community Transit is now offering free bus rides through June 30 for those heading to get vaccinated. The free round trip requires no documentation, just tell the driver you’re going to get your vaccine.

Community Transit has also partnered with the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce to provide the first transit-focused mass COVID-19 vaccination site in the county at Ash Way Park & Ride. The site is easily accessible through transit as there are 17 bus routes serving the location. Appointments are encouraged but not required.

3:12pm – There has recently been a downward trend in Washington state for people needing hospital care for COVID-19.

“It is a slow decline but that is so much better than the fast acceleration we saw three or four weeks ago,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association.

Sauer says about 500 people are getting in-patient treatment right now in the state. More than 23,000 people have had to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in Washington since the pandemic began.

1:50pm – As of Monday, Amtrak is restoring daily service out of Seattle to Los Angeles and Chicago. The train runs were down to three times a week during the pandemic due to low ridership. Amtrak is also increasing daily trips between Seattle, Portland, and Eugene.

12:06pm – Monday, May 24, is the last day that businesses can apply for Seattle’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Applicants have until 5 p.m. today, and contact the Office of Economic Development at (206) 684-8090 for any assistance.

9:53am – Increased online orders during the pandemic have put extra demand on shipping vessels in Puget Sound area waters, and in turn are putting pressure on the Coast Guard that protects more than 3,500 square miles of water.

Adding to that, boat sales have been on the rise during the pandemic, resulting in a 20% spike in search-and-rescue calls compared to last year.

The Coast Guard is also responsible for sweeping the Washington State Ferry docks with their bomb and drug sniffing dogs.

8:17am – Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has officially relaxed its masking requirements for all guests age five and older. Read more

6:49am – India crossed another grim milestone Monday with more than 300,000 people lost to the coronavirus, while a devastating surge of infections appeared to be easing in big cities but was swamping the poorer countryside. Read more from the Associated Press here.

5:05am – Benefits for vaccinated Seattle Mariners fans have been extended to include the team’s upcoming homestand between May 27 and June 2.

Fully vaccinated Mariners fans will be eligible for prizes like airline tickets, gift cards, electronics and more during the team’s upcoming home stand. Other perks of being vaccinated at the ballpark include discounted seats in the fully vaccinated sections, discounts on concessions, a free T-shirt, and access to the T-Mobile ‘Pen and Trident Deck.

Those who get their vaccine at a game will be entered for prizes and receive an Amazon gift card.

Check out last week’s updates here.

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