Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday regions would not move backward in the Healthy Washington phased reopening plan, and that the pause would last at least several weeks.
All eight regions have been in Phase 2 since Feb. 14, which allows for more activities including indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Future phases are still being discussed by state leaders in partnership with stakeholders in local government, business and labor.
Inslee said he is optimistic about current trends in COVID-19 activity, particularly the steady decrease in cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic's third wave peaked toward the end of 2020. These trends coincide with progress in another important front in the battle against COVID-19: More than 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Washington.
A Third Vaccine
The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. One dose was 85 percent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents. In the USA, the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95 percent protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J's one-dose effectiveness of 85 percent against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66 percent when moderate cases were rolled in, according to The Associated Press.
COVID-19 by Numbers
The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 510,000 people in the USA. Through last Wednesday, there were 335,693 positive cases of the coronavirus in Washington with 19,160 hospitalizations and 4,881 deaths. There have been 742 positive cases in Pacific County and 10 active cases with a total of 10 deaths. There have been 3,283 cases in Grays Harbor County through Feb. 24.