Washington Dept. of Health urges patience as state nears reopening

SPOKANE, Wash. — Vaccinations are already making life feel a lot more normal, and more shots will allow Washington to completely reopen.

“We are entering a phase in which we have a lot more control because of immunization and other good work that has been done but the virus is still out there,” Dr. Frank Velazquez of Spokane Regional Health said.

Despite the end of this pandemic inching closer, health experts are urging people to be cautious until more people are vaccinated.

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“If you have two-thirds of the population that have received at least one dose, there’s the other side of the equation which is one-third of the population has not and that is the area of focus,” Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said.

We know the vaccines are working because Spokane County’s two biggest hospital systems, MultiCare and Providence, are treating fewer than 40 people combined for COVID-19.

Most of those people haven’t been vaccinated.

“They’re becoming the vast majority of cases that we see in the hospital specifically,” Dr. Velazquez said.

COVID-19 deaths are also down in Washington.

The virus has killed six people in Spokane County in the last two weeks, one of which was in their thirties.

That’s why the health district is urging younger people to get vaccinate, and they’re trying to do that with mobile clinics.

“you deploy and apply in the areas in which it’s most needed at a particular stage.”

There hasn’t been an overwhelming number of people at those clinics, but the health district said even just a few shots go a long way.

“You’re not typically aiming for a thousand people, you’re typically aiming from 50-100 and we’re seeing that,” Dr. Velazquez said.

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