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caption: Volunteer registered nurse Amy Rioux, left, administers a Covid-19 vaccine for Teddy Haile of Seattle, right, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor.
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Volunteer registered nurse Amy Rioux, left, administers a Covid-19 vaccine for Teddy Haile of Seattle, right, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Blog: Pandemic updates for Washington

This post will be updated with information about the Covid-19 pandemic in Washington state.

Need a vaccine?

As of Monday, April 12, the Washington State Department of Health reports:

  • 5,329 Covid-19 related deaths; 352,391 confirmed cases; 25,561 probable cases; and a 1.4% death rate among positive cases.
  • Compared to white people and Asian people, the rate of Covid cases is nearly three times higher for Black people, and nearly seven times higher for Latino/x people and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.
  • So far, 4,189,884 doses (not total number of people) of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to Washingtonians.
  • Pre-register for a vaccine in Seattle.


Three Washington counties to slide back to Phase 2

2 p.m. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that three counties will move back into Phase 2 due to high Covid case counts.

Cowlitz County, Pierce County, and Whitman County will move back to Phase 2. The rest of the state will remain in Phase 3.

three counties phase 2
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Credit: Washington Governor's Office

To move from Phase 3 to Phase 2, a county must fail both case rate and hospitalization metrics. Under Phase 2, indoor events cannot be larger than 25% capacity or 200 people. The same goes for most businesses (under Phase 3, businesses can operate at 50% capacity).

“These metric trends are driven by the virus and we must continue to do everything we can to sharpen our focus and keep Covid-19 activity down. We are so close to the end of the tunnel here — we have made tremendous progress and we must keep our focus,” Inslee said. “It’s like a football game; we have done 95 yards on a 99 yard-drive. We can’t let up now. These are not punitive actions; they are to save lives and protect public health.”

— Dyer Oxley

Sounders tickets go on sale this week

1 p.m. — Seattle Sounders are getting ready for their season opener this Friday at Lumen Field.

They played a preseason match in front of 200 healthcare workers over the weekend and beat San Diego 1-0. It was the first time the team played in front of fans in more than a year.

Tickets for the upcoming season go on sale to the general public Wednesday with season ticket holders able to get theirs Tuesday.

The team has gotten permission to host 7,000 fans for the first five home matches.

— Angela King

Why some counties may slide back to Phase 2

Noon — All 39 of Washington's counties are in Phase 3 which allows for most businesses to operate at 50% capacity.

But those located in counties that fail to meet the Covid hospitalization and case rate reopening metrics will have to fall back to 25% capacity. If that happens, the changes go into effect this Friday. Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce if any counties are slated to slide back into Phase 2.

To stay in Phase 3, counties must have fewer than 200 cases per every 100,000 people over two weeks and no more than five new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents within a week.

The next county evaluation will happen on May 3.

Gov. Inslee updated the criteria last Friday, saying counties must now fail both the Covid case and hospitalization metrics to fall back (previously it was just one).

At least 14 counties are currently failing to meet at least one metric under the state's reopening metrics.

Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies are OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.

— Angela King

Businesses urge Gov. Inslee to hold off deciding if counties will slide backward to Phase 2

11 a.m. — Nearly 70 business organizations in Washington state are urging Gov. Jay Inslee to delay Monday's decision over whether counties may slide back into Phase 2. They would like the governor to hold off by three weeks.

Inslee is expected to announce if any counties will go back to Phase 2 because of high Covid case counts.

They sent a letter to the governor Friday, saying that moving counties backwards would punish struggling businesses and do little to stop the spread of the virus.

Among those signing the letter: the Association of Washington Business; the Washington Hospitality Association; and several chambers of commerce across the state.

— Angela King

Vaccine eligibility to open up soon, but there will likely be a wait

10 a.m. — We're now just three days away from Covid vaccine eligibility opening up to everyone 16 and older in Washington state.

But health officials warn that people may still have to wait a few weeks after the April 15 sign up date before they can get a shot. That's because demand will outweigh vaccine supply and people will have to wait in line.

People who live or work in King County can pre-register to get their vaccinations at one of the four mass clinics run by the city of Seattle. You'll receive an email confirming your appointment.

Right now one and five Washingtonians is fully vaccinated.

— Angela King

Fewer doses than expected arriving in Washington state

8 a.m. — Washington state isn't getting as many doses of the Covid vaccine this April as it had anticipated. That's because of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine production problem.

That means, when everyone 16 and older becomes eligible on Thursday, supply won't meet demand.

"Overall, our vaccine supply is decreasing below what it has been for the past two weeks," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County's public health officer. "So, in all areas, there will be fewer first doses available."

More than half of the adults in King County have yet to receive their first dose of the Covid vaccine. That's more than a million people.

If the county gets the number of doses it now expects, only about one in five of them will get their first dose in the next three weeks.

— Eilis O'Neill