Tag Archive for: COVID-19

Seattle, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a requirement for most state workers, and on-site contractors and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. State employees and workers in private health care and long-term care settings will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated.

The requirement applies to state workers, regardless of teleworking status. This applies to executive cabinet agencies, but the governor encouraged all others such as higher education, local governments, the legislative branch, other statewide elected officials and organizations in the private sector to do the same.

“It is the mission of public servants and those providing health care to serve our fellow Washingtonians. These workers live in every community in our state, working together and with the public every day to deliver services,” Inslee said. “We have a duty to protect them from the virus, they have the right to be protected, and the communities they serve and live in deserve protection as well.”

The governor made the announcement at a press conference on Monday at Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. He was joined by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Kaiser Permanente Washington President Susan Mullaney, Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah, and Seattle-King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin.

“State employees, health care and long-term care workers are extremely pivotal in the fight against COVID-19, and we hope these steps will further our goal of getting as many people vaccinated,” Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, said. “We should all be concerned with the increases of COVID-19 cases in our state and we know that vaccines are our best tool to end this pandemic.”

The announcement comes as Washington is experiencing a severe increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations in every county, due to the Delta variant, with the overwhelming majority of cases and hospitalizations being among unvaccinated Washingtonians.

Prior to the governor’s announcement, Kaiser Permanente WA mandated that it would be requiring all its employees to be vaccinated.

“The growing threat of the Delta variant has put our unvaccinated communities in a serious and precarious situation. We have at our disposal the key to ending this deadly surge and even the pandemic — vaccines,” said Susan Mullaney, president of Kaiser Permanente Washington. “As the largest integrated health care provider in the state of Washington, Kaiser Permanente has taken the important step of requiring that all employees and physicians be fully vaccinated. We look forward to working with the governor, the state, labor partners and our fellow health care systems to protect our state.”

King County leads the state in vaccinations, with approximately 81.5% of eligible residents 12 years of age and older having initiated their vaccination series, 12% higher than the statewide average as of August 2.

“No patient should have to worry about getting COVID-19 from their health care provider, period,” said Jeff Duchin, King County Public Health officer. “Requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care personnel protects not only patients and health care workers, but also their families and our community — including those who cannot be vaccinated or do not respond to the vaccine due to being immunocompromised. I thank Governor Inslee for taking this important action as the threat of COVID-19 is increasing locally and nationally.”

This new requirement includes well-defined exemptions to the vaccine. Individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons will be exempt. The exemptions do not include personal or philosophical objections.

To keep staff, families and communities safe, there will be no test-out option for employees. Past opt-out testing policies in congregate facilities for unvaccinated staff have not been efficient at preventing outbreaks that impact employees, clients and families, resulting in the loss of life of dedicated staff. Providing a test-out option would be both a financial burden for staff and taxpayers and ineffective at protecting the lives of Washingtonians.

Employees who refuse to be vaccinated will be subject to dismissal from employment for failing to meet legal job qualifications. The state will work with labor organizations on meeting collective bargaining obligations and adhering to civil service rules.

Vancouver, WA — Clark County Public Health issued a statement today recommending the use of face masks in indoor settings, in conjunction with today’s guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Here is the health department statement:

Today, the CDC issued updated guidance on face coverings as more is learned about the highly infectious delta variant driving increases in virus activity across the country.

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness that can lead to hospitalization and death, even among those infected with the delta variant. A small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated may still get COVID-19, but infections in fully vaccinated people tend to be mild. 

Most COVID-19 cases continue to be among people who are unvaccinated. However, some people who are fully vaccinated and get infected with the delta variant may be able to spread the virus to others. 

As a result of increased virus activity and new information about the delta variant, the CDC is recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings indoors when in areas with substantial or high virus activity. Clark County is currently categorized as having substantial virus activity.

Given the current virus activity in Clark County, Public Health is recommending face coverings for everyone in indoor settings, in alignment with CDC guidance.

The Washington State Department of Health is reviewing the CDC guidance and may make updates to state guidance on face coverings. 

The CDC is also recommending everyone wear masks in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and community virus activity. The state Department of Health establishes the guidance for schools in our state. Public Health is awaiting updated school guidance from the state.

Getting vaccinated continues to be the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus in our community. Public Health strongly recommends everyone 12 years and older get vaccinated.

Vancouver, WA — In their latest COVID-19 report, Clark County Public Health said the number of new cases doubled over the previous seven days (July 7-14). The July 15 update included 151 total new cases in a one-week period; this week, we have 302 new cases.


• 302 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update

• 24,931 confirmed cases to date (+251 since last update)

• 1,626 antigen probable cases to date (+51 since last update) 

• 301 active cases (in isolation period)

• 5.3% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID cases and persons under investigation for COVID-19 (awaiting test results)


• 292 total deaths to date (260 confirmed, 32 suspect)

• No new deaths since last update 


• COVID-19 activity rate is 50.1 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (down slightly from 53.3 cases per 100,000 last week). 

• COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 2.8 per 100,000 people over 7 days (up from 2.2 per 100,000 last week)

To learn more, visit the Clark County Public Health webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data 

The Clark County Health Department is now issuing weekly COVID-19 reports. The last update was issued Thursday, July 1. Here is the latest data:

  • 138 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update
  • 24,540 confirmed cases to date (+111 since last update)
  • 1,564 antigen probable cases to date (+27 since last update) 
  • 155 active cases (in isolation period)
  • 2.6% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 cases and persons under investigation for COVID-19 (awaiting test results)


  • 288 total deaths to date (254 confirmed, 34 suspect)
  • 1 new confirmed death since last update: a woman 80+ years old with underlying health conditions


  • COVID-19 activity rate is 67.5 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (down from 95.4 cases per 100,000 last week)
  • COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people over 7 days (down from 2.2 per 100,000 last week)

Learn more at the Clark County COVID-19 data webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data 

Olympia, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today ahead of Washington’s upcoming June 30 reopening for individuals and businesses preparing to return to normal capacity and operations.

“Washington has come a long way since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country was found in our state January 2020, and that is in no small part due to Washingtonians’ dedication and resilience in protecting themselves and their communities throughout the pandemic.

“Because folks listened to science and stayed home to stay healthy, wore masks and got vaccinated, we can now safely fully re-open our state’s economy and cultural centers after 15 long months. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud of how Washingtonians came together, persevered and sacrificed to fight this virus, and now we’re finally in a place that is safe enough to end this chapter.

“Even though Wednesday marks a new stage in our continued efforts to defeat this pandemic, we still have work to do. Continued success depends on everyone getting vaccinated and encouraging any loved one who has not yet received this lifesaving vaccine to do so, and quickly.

“Let’s keep it up, Washington – get vaccinated and stay safe.”

Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, MPH, thanked Washingtonians for their dedication to personal and community safety, but emphasized that the work to defeat the COVID-19 virus is not done.

“Washington was one of the first in the country to begin the fight against COVID-19. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of everyone in the state we have one of the most effective responses in the nation. I am so grateful for our partners in public health, health care, government, businesses and communities across the state, as well as the public,” Shah said. “Your tireless efforts have saved lives and made reopening possible. While this step forward is exciting, it does not mean the virus is gone or our work is over. Vaccination, testing and precautions like wearing masks if you are unvaccinated will be needed more than ever as businesses try to resume normal operations. If you have been waiting to get vaccinated, do it now in order to safely enjoy reopening and protect your loved ones and people around you.”

Commerce Director Lisa Brown praised the resilience of Washington’s business community and emphasized the tie between economic recovery and continued increase of vaccination rates.

“We know our businesses are deeply dedicated to reopening safely and ensuring the health of their employees and customers. And Commerce remains committed to a strong economic recovery across all our communities – particularly those that were hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic,” Brown said. “But our economic recovery remains tied to our success fighting COVID-19. We hope this milestone inspires anyone who can get their vaccine but hasn’t done so yet to take that important step and help us become more resilient now and into the future.”

Indoor and outdoor guidance effective June 30

Effective 12:01 AM on June 30, all industry sectors previously covered by guidance in the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery or the Safe Start Reopening Plan may return to usual capacity and operations, with limited exceptions for large indoor events (any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an indoor, enclosed space.)

Reopening guidance:

  • Vaccine verification/negative testing: Recommended but not required for large indoor and outdoor events
  • Capacity limitations: No restrictions in restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, theaters etc. (except large indoor events)
  • Physical distancing: No requirements
  • Facial coverings: Not required for vaccinated individuals, unless required by individual business
  • Travelers: Follow CDC recommendations
  • Some exceptions will include schools and childcare centers that will continue to have some facial coverings and physical distancing requirements.

Olympia, WA — Washingtonians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be subject to the face mask mandate in most indoor and outdoor settings, effective immediately. 

Gov. Jay Inslee said the state is adopting the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which states that fully vaccinated citizens no longer need to wear masks except in crowded indoor settings like schools, buses, planes, hospitals, and homeless shelters, among others. He also plans to have the state completely open by June 30.

The CDC said people are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires one dose.

Inslee hopes easing the state’s mask restriction will encourage people to get vaccinated.

“This is a heck of a benefit for people who have been annoyed by this mask,” said Inslee. “This is a ticket to freedom, that shot is a ticket to freedom from masks, and we hope people will avail themselves to it.” 

Inslee said businesses can still legally require customers to wear masks if they choose, and they can also inquire about a customer’s vaccination status, which may legal challenges given privacy health laws.

“Our hope is that it will increase people’s interests in fighting COVID,” said Inslee, “because it will give people an additional incentive to getting vaccinated.


Vancouver, WA — Clark County Public Health reported today that the COVID-19 activity rate, which had gone down to 90 cases per 100,000 has climbed steadily over the last few weeks and is now at 198 cases per 100,000.

The health department’s Tuesday COVID-19 update includes the following data:

  • 90 new confirmed cases (21,101 to date)
  • 9 new antigen probable cases (945 to date)
  • 1 new suspect death
  • 255 total deaths to date (226 confirmed, 29 suspect)
  • 646 active cases (in isolation period)
  • Clark County COVID-19 activity rate is 198.1 cases per 100,000 (up from 147.6 cases per 100,000 last week)
  • 31 COVID-19 patients hospitalized
  • 4 people hospitalized awaiting COVID-19 test results

Additional information about the new suspect death: Man in his 50s, unknown whether underlying health conditions.

Reminder: Confirmed cases are people with a positive molecular (PCR) test for COVID-19. Antigen probable cases are people with a positive antigen test and no molecular test.

A confirmed death means COVID is listed as cause of death or contributing factor on the death certificate and the case has a positive COVID test. A suspect death means COVID is not listed as a contributing factor on the death certificate (but wasn’t ruled out as cause of death) and the person died after testing positive for COVID within 28 days.

Learn more on the COVID-19 data webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data

Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines on Tuesday showing which activities that COVID-19 vaccinated citizens may enjoy, including attending small outdoor gatherings without face coverings.

The new recommendations detail many situations in which fully vaccinated citizens may forgo wearing a face mask, but emphasized their continued use in most indoor settings and crowded outdoor areas.

“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do. Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”

The new recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can engage in the following activities without wearing face coverings:

  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends.
  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household.
  • Dining at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said that “the risk of infection outside is really minimum. If you’re vaccinated, and you’re outside, it’s even less.”

Fully vaccinated people may also attend “a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event,” as long as they remain masked.

Walensky urged fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors, citing there are 50,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, but said it is “safe for those who are fully vaccinated to return to the activities they love doing inside while wearing a mask.”

The CDC website says “Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

The new guidelines suggest that fully vaccinated individuals continue wearing masks when in public spaces, when gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from more than one household, when visiting unvaccinated high-risk individuals or in an outdoor setting or venue where masks are required. The updated CDC guidance recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.

Vancouver, WA — According to Clark County Public Health, the COVID-19 vaccination site at Tower Mall in central Vancouver will have more than 4,000 first-dose appointments available this Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday (1,000 per day).

For now, only those currently eligible to be vaccinated (those in Phase 1a and 1b) can schedule appointments. But when eligibility changes Thursday, anyone 16 and older can schedule an appointment. Minors can be vaccinated at the site if their consent form is signed by a parent or guardian.

Visit the Safeway/Albertsons website to schedule an appointment (https://kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/VncvrTwrMllWeek3).

Those who do not have Internet access or need help scheduling an appointment can call Public Health at 888.225.4625. Call center representatives can assist with scheduling, and language assistance is available. The Tower Mall site is administering Pfizer vaccine. Second-dose appointments will automatically be scheduled for three weeks later at the same time, day of the week and location. Those vaccine scheduling appointments are asked to ensure the time and day of week they select will work for their first- and second-dose vaccine appointments.

Find more information about COVID-19 vaccines and how to access appointments on our website: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-vaccine

Olympia, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the rollback of three counties that are not meeting the Phase 3 Healthy Washington reopening metrics.

The three counties returning to Phase 2 are:

  • Cowlitz County
  • Pierce County
  • Whitman County

“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.”

“Vaccine is a crucial tool that will help us end the pandemic, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t yet have enough Washingtonians fully vaccinated to rely on this alone to keep our communities safe from the virus,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for COVID-19 response, Department of Health. “We need to focus on lowering disease transmission in the next several weeks ahead as we continue our vaccination efforts in order to avoid a fourth surge of cases. This means wearing masks, watching our distancing and keeping gatherings small and outdoors.”

Last Friday, the governor announced updates to the Healthy Washington criteria:

  • In order to move down one phase, a county must fail both metrics for case counts and hospitalizations. Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back a phase.
  • The spectator events guidance is updated to make clear what is allowed for counties in Phase 2 and how these events are related to school graduation ceremonies. That guidance is available here.
  • The Open Air Seating guidance is updated to allow flexibility for eating and drinking establishments. That guidance is available here.
  • The next evaluation of counties will be in three weeks, on May 3.

This Thursday, April 15, all Washingtonians (16+) will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.