Pandemic blog: Updates for the Northwest
This post includes updates about Covid-19 in the Seattle area and Washington state.
Need a vaccine?
Many locations are now accepting walk-ups. Washington state and the city of Seattle are closing mass vaccination sites in favor of mobile and pop-up clinics.
As of Tuesday, June 29, the Washington State Department of Health reports:
- 5,930 Covid-19 related deaths; 414,785 confirmed cases; 36,810 probable cases; and a 1.3% death rate among positive cases.
- Compared to white people and Asian people, the rate of Covid cases has been nearly three times higher for Black people, and nearly seven times higher for Latino/x people and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.
- So far, 7,813,386 doses (not total number of people) of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to Washingtonians. A total of 58.7% of eligible people in Washington state (ages 12 and up) have been fully vaccinated.
- As of June 29, Seattle was 71% vaccinated, making it the most vaccinated major city in the United States.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30
$100K for Point Robert's only grocery store
Governor Jay Inslee has issued $100,000 in relief funds for the only grocery store in Point Roberts, Washington.
Border restrictions have largely cut off the Washington community from the rest of the state. The town sits on a peninsula that's connected to British Columbia at the north, and is surrounded by ocean on all other sides.
The owner of Point Roberts International Marketplace told KUOW she would have to close by July 15 if she didn't get some kind of help. But now the governor says this move will help Point Roberts avoid a food security crisis. He's also continuing to urge both the US and Canadian governments to reopen travel across the border, consistent with public health guidelines.
— Angela King
Proposal for downtown storefronts aims to help with pandemic recovery
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wants to make it easier for downtown businesses to use their empty storefronts as a means of helping the city recover from the pandemic.
Right now, city guidelines reserve such storefronts for very specific things. But Durkan wants to open up the guidelines so business owners can use them to offer things like medical services, museums, bike parking and more.
Durkan hopes the move will help quicken downtown's recovery.
The proposal is being run by the city's Land Use Neighborhoods Committee, which is slated to consider it in July.
Durkan's proposal comes after the city is already putting $9 million toward downtown recovery.
— Angela King
Cooldown in time for reopening
Temperatures around Seattle are cooling down from Monday's record highs. That's a relief to some business set to fully reopen to customers Wednesday.
The Yakima Fruit Market sits on the side of a highway through Bothell. It has rows and rows of ice cold coolers.
"We've got these sections of the store called the wet rack and that we put all of our vegetables like celery, romaine lettuce, you know all the beets," said Kyle Penwell, a manager at the produce market. "... so the coolers are just absolutely vital for us,"
During the heatwave, his cooler broke. Luckily he was able to get it fixed in time for the reopening Wednesday. Refrigerator repairman Joe Palomera said he was busy with orders like Penwell's.
As other grocers and restaurants scrambled to be ready for Wednesday, when the state's Covid restrictions are lifted. Penwell says he expects more people out to market as the days cool down.
"So things have been going smoothly if not a little extra sweaty," Penwell said.
— Casey Martin
TUESDAY, JUNE 29
Mask mandate in King County ends
After more than a year of restrictions and lockdowns, the King County mask directive has ended for those who are fully vaccinated.
The end of the directive comes as 70% of people 16 and older in King County are now considered fully vaccinated. Now that the local mandate has ended, the Washington state mask guidance will take effect in King County.
But before you think about throwing your mask away, state health officials are also asking King County residents to "respect the rules of the room they are in." Although vaccinated people are no longer required to wear a mask in most public settings, businesses still have the right to ask customers to mask up, regardless of their vaccination status.
Three public orders that require wearing face coverings or masks in certain settings are also still in place. The general public order requires Washingtonians to wear face coverings in public settings with some exceptions.
Travelers and commuters are also still required to wear a face covering on all public transportation, like planes and buses, under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's travel order. And Washington employers are still following the state's workplace order, which allows business owners to require face coverings for employees.