NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 7th, 2022

COVID-19 Update: New Secretary of State Steve Hobbs implements vaccine mandate

On Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 4th, Wash­ing­ton’s newest exec­u­tive depart­ment offi­cer Steve Hobbs extend­ed Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 state work­er vac­cine man­date to cov­er the Office of the Sec­re­tary of State, which he now leads, break­ing with his pre­de­ces­sor Kim Wyman’s deci­sion not to require employ­ees to be vac­ci­nat­ed. NPI com­mends this deci­sion and thanks Sec­re­tary Hobbs for act­ing to pro­tect lives and health and strength­en our state’s response to COVID-19.

At a news con­fer­ence on Wednes­day, Gov­er­nor Inslee announced that the state Depart­ment of Health has ordered five and a half mil­lion at-home tests. He also not­ed that eight hun­dred thou­sand such tests have already been received and that the remain­der will like­ly be received with­in the next week. In addi­tion, the state will tap into its per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment inven­to­ry with plans to dis­trib­ute rough­ly 10 mil­lion KN95 and sur­gi­cal masks in the com­ing weeks.

This is all in response to the lat­est omi­cron-fueled wave of the pandemic.

Schools will be the pri­ma­ry ben­e­fi­cia­ries of these orders, but a por­tion of each sup­ply of tests will be made avail­able to com­mu­ni­ties where access can some­times be some­where between prob­lem­at­ic and difficult.

Dur­ing the news con­fer­ence, Gov­er­nor Inslee said: “We have to do every­thing we can to main­tain as much in-per­son instruc­tion as pos­si­ble, which this wave of cas­es will make more dif­fi­cult… Stu­dents have lost too much already dur­ing this pan­dem­ic. That is why we are focused heav­i­ly on mak­ing sure tests, masks, and boost­ers are read­i­ly avail­able for our school staff and students.”

The state will also be part­ner­ing with CareEvo­lu­tion and Ama­zon to cre­ate a new web por­tal where fam­i­lies can order tests to be deliv­ered to their homes at no charge. The por­tal is expect­ed to launch with­in the next two to three of weeks.

Final­ly, efforts are under­way to expand access to COVID-19 vac­cine boost­er shots. The governor’s office said a FEMA mobile vac­ci­na­tion site in Auburn recent­ly tripled its through­put to 1,500 shots a day. Anoth­er high-vol­ume vac­cine site is sched­uled to open in North­west Wash­ing­ton lat­er in the month.

Mean­while:

  • Port­land-area schools are respond­ing to their state Depart­ment of Health’s rec­om­men­da­tions to mit­i­gate the rise in omi­cron-spe­cif­ic COVID-19 cas­es and are begin­ning to imple­ment new rules;
  • British Colum­bia is con­sid­er­ing remote-access edu­ca­tion in response to like­ly staff short­ages at schools;
  • … and health offi­cials in Ida­ho are con­cerned that, with the end of mask man­dates in most pub­lic schools with the start of the end of year hol­i­days, there could be a sig­nif­i­cant rise in cases.

Here’s where to go in Wash­ing­ton State, Ore­gon, Ida­ho and British Colum­bia to get a COVID-19 test if rapid at-home tests are unavail­able to you.

The hard, cold numbers (plus vaccinations)

Wash­ing­ton has had 903,372 cas­es and 9,968 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the forty-sev­enth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the forty-sixth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

9,958,651 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 13,915,795
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 11,268,717 (80.98%)

Ore­gon has had 441,648 cas­es and 5,719 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the fifti­eth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the forty-fifth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

8,802,957 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 7,953,005
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 6,193,364 (77.87%)

Ida­ho has had 323,965 cas­es and 4,192 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the twen­ty-eighth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the thir­ty-fourth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

2,469,916 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 2,741,310
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 1,881,077 (68.62%)

British Colum­bia has had 270,508 cas­es and 2,427 attrib­ut­able deaths.

5,161,935 tests have been recorded.

British Colum­bia has the sev­enth worst infec­tion rate and the sixth worst death rate among the thir­teen Cana­di­an provinces and ter­ri­to­ries per hun­dred thou­sand pop­u­la­tion. (If it were an Amer­i­can state, it would be fifty-third and fifty-third, respec­tive­ly, out of fifty-three.)

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the province: 10,284,212
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 9,502,325 (92.39%)

That does it for this install­ment of COVID-19 Update. Stay safe and well!

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