Pandemic updates for Washington state
This post includes updates about Covid-19 in the Seattle area and Washington state.
Need a vaccine?
Many locations are now accepting walk-ups. Washington state and the city of Seattle are closing mass vaccination sites in favor of mobile and pop-up clinics.
As of Sunday, June 13, the Washington State Department of Health reports:
- 5,782 Covid-19 related deaths; 408,999 confirmed cases; 35,723 probable cases; and a 1.3% death rate among positive cases.
- Compared to white people and Asian people, the rate of Covid cases has been nearly three times higher for Black people, and nearly seven times higher for Latino/x people and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.
- So far, 7,466,299 doses (not total number of people) of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to Washingtonians. A total of 55% of eligible people in Washington state (ages 12 and up) have been fully vaccinated; and 68% of eligible people in King County have been fully vaccinated.
- As of June 9, Seattle was 78% vaccinated, making it the most vaccinated major city in the United States.
TUESDAY, JUNE 15
Hoping for the "Southwest Effect"
Noon — Beginning November 7, Southwest Airlines will offer a daily flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas, and twice daily to Oakland.
Port of Bellingham officials tell the Bellingham Herald that they're hoping the current uptick in travel will grow in the months ahead, and for what's known as the "Southwest Effect." That's when airline travel increases in communities after the budget carrier arrives.
Officials are also keeping an eye on if and when restrictions ease up at the Canadian border.
— Ruby de Luna
11 a.m. — It's been exactly six months since a nurse at Harborview Medical Center became the first person in Washington state to get a Covid vaccine (outside of trials). They got a dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.
The first person in the USA to get a dose received it one day prior.
Now, six months later, more than 2/3 of Washingtonians 16 and older have gotten at least one shot as the state prepares to fully reopen on June 30. Statewide infection rates continue to drop.
Meanwhile, health officials at UW Medicine are tracking the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant. Doctors warn it's more transmissible than other variants and is responsible for new surges in India, China, Sweden and the UK.
The UW's Virology lab has detected 170 local cases of the Delta variant since June 14, and it is on the rise throughout the United States.
— Angela King
Another vaccine lottery today
9 a.m. — State lotto officials are getting ready to hold the second drawing in the Covid vaccination lottery Tuesday morning.
This time, in addition to the big $250,000 takeaway, they'll be giving out 15 Guaranteed Education Tuition prizes for vaccinated individuals between 12 and 17 years old.
A second college tuition drawing will be held next Tuesday.
Just be sure to remind your teen, and yourself, to beware of scammers and to never give out any banking, social security numbers, or password information over the phone or through email.
The only thing legit lotto officials will ask you to confirm, if you are a winner, is your home address and email. Also be sure to claim your prize within 72 hours. Otherwise, it'll be thrown into the final drawing in July 13 and lottery officials will pick another winner.
More than 100 prizes from the first drawing last week went unclaimed.
— Angela King
Kirkland extends eviction moratorium
8 a.m. — The Kirkland City Council could vote Tuesday on a measure that would extend the city's eviction moratorium from June 30 to September 30.
The Kenmore city Council passed a similar measure on Monday.
Eviction moratoriums the city of Seattle and the state of Washington are scheduled to expire at the end of June. No word yet if either will be extended.
— Angela King
MONDAY, JUNE 14
Seattle closes Lumen Field vaccination site
11 a.m. — What was once described as the "largest civilian-led vaccination clinic in the country" is now closed.
The city of Seattle shut down the Lumen Field Event Center hub Saturday after doling out more than 102,000 since it opened in March. A total of 534 shots were given on its last day.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that Seattle became the first major city in the country to fully vaccinate 70% of its population. In fact, 78% of residents 12 and older are vaccinated in Seattle.
The city will close the clinic in Rainier beach next week on June 23, but the one in SoDo will remain open throughout the summer.
— Angela King
'We are at the end of the beginning'
9 a.m. — "We've hit a tricky part of all this .... we are at the end of the beginning" is what Dr. John Lynch with UW Medicine told Seattle Now this morning while discussing the current state of the pandemic.
The virus is now preying upon vaccination gaps, hitting the unvaccinated hardest. People who are vaccinated are not being affected as much — they're protected against severe illness and hospitalization.
Expect surges in the fall, along with a return of the flu, among unvaccinated groups. Lynch says "it's going to be awful" because new variants are more infectious and much more harsh. "If you are not vaccinated, you are basically just waiting to get infected," Lynch said.
The good news is that this summer will likely be better than last, in terms of case numbers.
Listen to more of Lynch's comments on today's Seattle Now as they ask: "when is the pandemic over?"
— Dyer Oxley
Mariners increase tickets/capacity for vaccinated fans
8 a.m. — Starting Monday, more fans will be allowed to watch the Mariners games at T-Mobile Park. Both the state and King County gave the team permission to increase the crowd capacity for those who are vaccinated.
Now, more than 26,000 people will be able to sit in the fully-vaccinated section. Another 4,600 tickets will be made available to those who haven't been vaccinated. They will be seated in socially-distanced areas of the stadium. They will only be sold to groups of six people or fewer.
Capacity for the stadium will now be around 30,000. Full capacity at T-Mobile Park is around 47,000. About 26,000 tickets will be exclusively for vaccinated fans.
— Angela King