COVID updates: 336 new cases, 1 new death
The state Department of Health says there have been over 415,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, and 5,939 people have died from the virus statewide. The state says 7,846,649 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.
Friday, July 2
5:40pm – This concludes MyNorthwest’s daily Covid updates. We will continue to follow news about Covid-19 in Washington state and update cases and deaths here. We appreciate your support during the past 15 months.
4:58pm – Health officials say there have been 415,515 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,939 deaths since the outbreak began last year. The state reports 7,846,649 doses of vaccine have been administered across Washington.
2:48pm – People unable to pay their utility bills because of the pandemic get another extension.
Governor Inslee says this is the final grace period and it runs out on September 30, 2021, which aligns with the final day of the state’s bridge on the eviction ban.
“Utilities and housing are inextricably linked,” Inslee said. “Our priority is to keep Washingtonians safe and housed, and give them a glide path to long-term stability.”
2:36pm – The 75th anniversary Bellevue Arts Fair will not be in person this summer.
A virtual event will allow artists to show and sell their work for two weeks, starting July 21.
More than 130 exhibitors have signed up, so far.
12:05pm – Despite the state fully reopening this week for the first time since the pandemic started, state health officials warn that we haven’t seen the end of our COVID troubles. Read more.
9:57am – BoltBus service in the Northwest has been killed off by the COVID-19 pandemic after demand dropped off significantly. The bus was affordable and offered WiFi for travelers as it made runs between Vancouver, B.C., and Eugene, Ore., with stops in Seattle and Portland.
Greyhound is taking over the operations in most markets.
6:21am – T-Mobile Park will host its Grand Reopening Night for the Mariners on Friday, marking the return of full capacity to the stadium for the first time since the end of the 2019 season. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a pregame ceremony.
After the game, a patriotic fireworks who in honor of the July 4 weekend will take place. It will be the first T-Mobile Park postgame fireworks show since September 2019.
Thursday, July 1
5:15pm – Washington state is one of few places in the world seeing a high number of cases of the newer Gamma variant of COVID-19. State epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist says an estimated 16% of cases in our state are from the Gamma variant. Other parts of the world are seeing surges of the Delta variant, but those cases are actually dropping in Washington.
Dr. Lindquist says Gamma has up to twice the hospitalization and death rate as earlier variants. He says the vaccines do appear to protect against the Gamma variant, or make it less severe if a person does get a breakthrough case after being fully vaccinated.
3:33pm – There have been 415,179 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,938 deaths statewide, as reported by the state Department of Health.
Beginning July 1, DOH will no longer update the data dashboard on weekends. New COVID-19 epidemiological data will be reported Monday-Friday. The DOH says: “This transition is a milestone towards more sustainable COVID-19 reporting and a response to recent declines in COVID-19 disease activity, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
2:58pm – The state’s final $250,000 winner in the “Shot of a Lifetime” vaccine lottery drawing has claimed their prize. Stephen T. from Walla Walla says his schedule does not allow for easy interviews at this time, but he did provide the following statement:
I was at work in a managers meeting when the phone rang. I saw it was a 253 number and said Fife, WA on the caller ID, so I asked if anyone knew where Fife was, then let it go to voicemail. When we finished the meeting, I played the voicemail in the room and three of the guys said that has to be a scam, and I didn’t really know that the program was going on, but one of the guys said they’re not asking for money or anything personal….you should call them back, just in case. So I did and I’m sure glad I did! They told me to search for the Shot of a Lifetime on the Internet so I knew it wasn’t a scam, and I did and then I called the main Lottery number, and they told me it was really real.
I didn’t believe it at first and still kind of don’t, but I think it’s great that the state is doing this, because it really helps give people another big reason to get their shots. I just hope more and more people get vaccinated because it’s really important. My wife and I never gamble, never bet, but this just proves that even the little guy can win sometimes.
There are no drawings next week, so the state says people who have not yet been vaccinated should take the opportunity to do so prior to the Tuesday, July 13, drawing for the $1 million prize.
1:27pm – With Washington reopened and COVID-19 cases continuing to trend downward, health officials in King County are refocusing their efforts to ensure that as many people as possible get vaccinated. Read more.
12:10pm – Most of the Puget Sound region’s buses, trains, and ferries return to full capacity and are opening all seats today. Officials remind passengers they still must wear masks on public transportation and while inside at transit stations.
10:14am – The “Washington Ready” flag was raised above the Space Needle on Thursday, with Gov. Inslee calling it a “great day in the state of Washington” following June 30’s reopening.
8:47am – Since Washington first started distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the state has seen residents in many counties hesitant to participate. UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation mapped that hesitancy between January and June of this year, tracking it as it waned in several areas over that period. Read more.
7:06am – Seattle University is joining with several other schools across the country to give students the option for a post-pandemic gap year abroad, all while continuing to earn college credits. Read more.
5:25am – Chinese dragons, drums, and dancing took place in Tacoma’s Wright Park on Wednesday to celebrate the state’s reopening.
That saw Governor Inslee attend the community celebration at Wright Park with Mayor Victoria Woodards. Inslee thanked the people of Washington and called out first responders, members of the medical community, essential employees, and business leaders for their efforts over the last year-plus.
While celebrating the state’s reopening Gov. Inslee chose his citizen of the day, tagging nurse Pam Kitzner. As has become tradition, he took off his apple lapel pin and presented it to the retired nurse, who has been working as a volunteer vaccinator.
Inslee later attended a separate celebration at Spokane’s River Park Square Atrium, and will be at one in Seattle on Thursday.
Wednesday, June 30
5:18pm – A brand new flag will fly at the top of the Space Needle on Thursday morning. Gov. Inslee will help raise the new “Washington Ready” flag to celebrate the state’s reopening.
4:30pm – The King County Library System will gradually reopen all its remaining library buildings by July 14. Several libraries are already open for modified in-building services. Masks are no longer required for staff and library patrons who are fully vaccinated.
3:23pm – There have been 414,785 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,930 deaths statewide, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health. More than 7.8 million vaccine doses have now been given in Washington, with 68.8% of those aged 16 or older having received at least one dose.
2:36pm – It may not be long before you can get your COVID-19 booster and flu shot with one jab.
“You could actually mix potentially multiple agents into one vaccine so you just get one shot that might contain several things,” said Virginia Mason’s Dr. Chris Baliga, explaining that both the COVID and flu shots are messenger RNA vaccines.
Promising human trials are underway to approve other ways to use mRNA vaccines against dangerous viruses, and possibly some types of cancer.
1:51pm – Buses, trains, and ferries in the Puget Sound region are returning to full capacity and opening all seats again starting in July. Passengers must still wear masks on transit and at indoor transit facilities in compliance with the federal Transportation Security Administration mandate.
11:12am – With Washington now fully reopened, the state Department of Health has updated its mask rules. Read more.
9:23am – After 15 long months of COVID-19 lockdowns, countless reopening phases, and even more news conferences, Washington state officially reopens today. Despite that, state leaders say that there’s still work to do on getting people vaccinated.
7:38am – With Washington now fully reopened, Seattle will soon be hosting a series of “Welcome Back Weeks” to get people vaccinated, help local businesses, and provide information on what the city’s own reopening process looks like. Read more.
5:41am – Despite Wednesday’s reopening, Washington state fell just short of its goal to have 70% of residents over the age of 16 receive at least one dose before June 30, reporting just 68.8% as of Tuesday morning.
Federal data — which uses a different methodology than the state Department of Health — paints a different picture, estimating that 73.7% of Washingtonians ages 18 and up have initiated the vaccination process.
State officials continue to urge Washingtonians to get vaccinated in the days ahead, labeling it a “critical” step in fully quashing the presence of COVID-19 statewide.
Tuesday, June 29
4:23pm – Health officials say there have been 414,509 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,920 deaths since the outbreak began. The state says 7,795,522 doses of vaccine have been administered across Washington.
2:05pm – As Washington State “reopens” from the pandemic, the hospitality industry is looking to rebound. Industry spokesman Anthony Anton predicts restaurant business will quickly “boom.” Entertainment venues will fill a little more slowly, and the hotel industry could take a while to get back to normal.
“Getting out to see your favorite places in Washington this year will be huge because international travel and state-to-state travel is probably going to lag for a couple of years,” Anton said in a Tuesday news conference. “Our tourism effort is really going to be important to get our lodging locations back to normal.”
12:32pm – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a measure on Tuesday to allow more permitted uses for empty downtown storefronts, in a bid to “revitalize the heart of the city with new shops and businesses” as the city targets post-pandemic recovery efforts.
Under Durkan’s proposal, the over 400 now-empty storefronts in downtown Seattle would be allowed to be used for medical offices, gyms, art installations, bike parking, and more.
10:54am – A community teetering on the edge of financial collapse — that is the reality that the fire chief of Point Roberts says the U.S./Canada border closure the pandemic has forced upon his town. Read more.
9:12am – Snohomish County continues to approach the 70% mark for fully vaccinated residents, currently sitting at 67%.
With the state reopening on Wednesday, county officials are still urging people to get vaccinated in the days ahead as well.
“We came close in reaching the 70% vax goal ahead of the state’s June 30 COVID reopening, but the reasons behind the push remain,” the county said on Twitter. “Vaccination remains the best tool against the virus. It’s still time to take your shot.”
7:27am – On Wednesday, the state officially moves out of Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee’s Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery plan to fully reopen. But what will actually change once we reach June 30? Read more.
5:31am – King County’s mask directive officially ends today, two weeks after the county announced that 70% of its residents had been fully vaccinated.
Health officials wanted to wait until the last patients who got their shot two weeks ago reached full immunity.
Despite the change, masks will be still be required on transportation thanks to a federal order. Businesses like grocery stores are permitted to maintain their own mask policies.
Monday, June 28
4:25pm – Health officials say there have been 414,249 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state, and 5,911 deaths since the outbreak began last year. The state says 7,795,522 doses of vaccine have been administered across Washington.
2:58pm – Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot.
The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over. Read more from Associated Press.
11:42am – UW Medicine will still be hosting its vaccine clinic between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. inside an air-conditioned gym on the north end of Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines.
The clinic will be open to students, staff, and members of the community.
10:13am – As Washington nears its reopening Wednesday, Snohomish County health officials put together a brief video with a guide for “life after the vaccine.”
You can watch the full video at this link.
8:46am – After 15 months living in some kind of stay-at-home order prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, Washington state is officially reopening on June 30. Given that, MyNorthwest has curated a timeline of events from the first confirmed case in Snohomish County until now. Relive the events to remind yourself that you’re a part of a unique time in history. Read more.
7:12am – Closures for COVID-19 testing sites remain in place Monday across King County over ongoing concerns related to the region’s record-setting heatwave. The list of cities closing sites today includes Auburn, Enumclaw, Federal Way, and Tukwila.
The county’s mobile vaccination team will also not be going out on Monday. Officials will make a decision later today on whether the team will resume its efforts on Tuesday.