MYNORTHWEST NEWS

‘We’re going to be pretty close’: State’s progress to early reopening inches ahead

Jun 25, 2021, 10:12 AM | Updated: 10:14 am

Seattle, reopening...

People eat near Pike Place Market in Seattle. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

As Washington approaches its scheduled June 30 reopening, it’s looking more and more unlikely that the state will hit the threshold needed to reopen prior to that date.

GOP leaders again call on Gov. Inslee to fully reopen Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee set the ground rules for a potential early reopening in May, requiring the state to have at least 70% of residents ages 16 and up receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. As of Thursday, that number currently sits at 68.1%

Meanwhile, Washington’s progress toward its 70% goal has slowed in recent weeks, inching forward roughly a tenth of a percent on a daily basis. That’s also in line with a similar trend nationally.

“We’re making progress — there’s no doubt about it,” state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said during a Thursday press conference. “But nationally speaking, there has been a slowdown of momentum when it comes to vaccines.”

Even so, Dr. Shah remains “hopeful” for Washington’s chances of reopening before June 30, while also expressing that it will likely come down to the wire if it happens at all.

“I’m actually optimistic, but I’m also watching the numbers,” he noted. “We’re going to be pretty close, but the question is whether we’re going to be able to hit it.”

GOP leaders again call on Gov. Inslee to fully reopen Washington

“I do think it’s going to be in the hands of all Washingtonians,” Shah added.

He also reported that the state’s vaccine lottery “is making a dent” in encouraging more people to get vaccinated.

Prizes include a weekly $250,000 cash giveaway, airline and sports tickets, gift cards, game systems, smart speakers, higher education tuition and expense assistance, and gift cards. That fact that eligibility is limited to those who have already been fully vaccinated has seen calls to the DOH hotline to set up appointments spike ever since the contest was first announced.

“It is helping,” Shah said.

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