‘This is an amazing moment in our state’; Washington on the verge of reopening

NeeedlSPOKANE, Wash. — Washington is on the verge of reopening.

The state has given one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to 64 percent of people 16 and older in Washington, meaning it’s just 6 percent away from reaching the goal of 70 percent.

Once that happens, almost all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. Reopening will happen no later than June 30 anyway, but there’s strong optimism about that happening sooner with increased vaccinations.

Especially, because the state said federal doses given at military bases and VA facilities will soon be added to the state’s vaccination totals. That has not been happening, because all medical data at those type of facilities has always been under federal allocations.

But since that will soon be added, Washington will be even closer to reaching its vaccination goal to reopen the state.

“This is an amazing moment,” Governor Inslee said.

We don’t know exactly what a normal summer will look like, but Washington is ready to see for itself.

“We are off the fourth surge,” Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said. “It’s going in a positive direction, and we want to continue to move in that direction.”

In the last two weeks, cases are down 32 percent, hospital visits are down by one percent and 10 people are dying from COVID-19 each day in Washington. Those are all marks of progress

Vaccinations are the only thing on the rise; slowly but steadily.

That’s with the help of vaccine incentives like gift cards, free consoles, free beer or Washington’s vaccine lottery.

“It really helps us move people we hope to get vaccinated, if they’re still not certain about that,” Dr. Shah said.

060921 Flattening The Curve In Spokane County FullAs Washington gets closer to its 70 percent goal for adults, kids are also making solid progress.

The state has given one dose to 116,000 12-15 year-olds.

Limiting the spread among teens and younger people is improving Spokane’s case trends.

“Not only have we officially plateaued but we started to go down,” Dr. Frank Velazquez of SRHD said.

That’s caused Spokane’s case curve to flatten in recent months.

In the last seven days, Spokane is averaging 50-60 cases per day in the county. That’s helping Spokane’s hospitals, which the health district said are all managing capacity well right now.