Pandemic blog: Washington hospitals strained under Covid surge – KUOW News and Information

Updated news about the coronavirus pandemic in Seattle and Washington state.

According to data from King County and Washington state departments of health, as of Monday, January 10, 2021:

  • +18,793 new cases since Friday in King County. That’s +88% over the last seven days.
  • +255 new hospitalizations since Friday in King County. That’s a 110% increase over the past seven days.
  • 77.6% of King County residents are fully vaccinated.
  • 10,004 Covid-19 related deaths across Washington state; 1.1% death rate since the beginning of the pandemic.


2 Washington state senators test positive for Covid on eve of session

As the legislative sessions began Monday, at least two members of the Legislature are had tested positive for Covid-19.

They include Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, a Spokane Democrat and Senator John Lovick of Mill Creek, also a Democrat.

In statements, both said they are fully vaccinated, have gotten their boosters and are experiencing mild symptoms.

“I am grateful to have been vaccinated and boosted, which I know has prevented me from having any significant symptoms,” Billig said.

The senators will still be able to participate in the opening week of the session remotely. In fact, that’s how most lawmakers will participate — at least to start — because of the current omicron-driven surge.

— Derek Wang

Covid staffing forces Lake Washington High School online

It’s back to online learning for students at Lake Washington High School.

The district announced the shift will last through at least January 18, in part because the school is dealing with so many Covid-related staffing shortages.

The decision was made at the district level, considering pandemic conditions, according to a letter to parents from Dr. John Holmen, superintendent of the Lake Washington School District.

“To be clear, this is not a case where the health department is dictating closure due to an on-campus outbreak. This decision is being made by our district due to our inability to safely operate school as a result of so many staff being absent and the number of unfilled sub positions.”

Dr. Holmen also said that the goal is maintain in-person learning, but there are currently too many absences for the district to cover. In the meantime, affected staff will be in quarantine.

— Angela King

Seattle elementary school cancels classes

No in-person or online learning Tuesday for students at Seattle’s Kimball Elementary.

Staff at the elementary threatened to hold a sick out Tuesday because they said they can’t handle all of the students while so many of their colleagues are absent due to Covid.

They did call on the district to switch to online learning until the pandemic situation improves, but the district decided to cancel classes so administrators can figure out what to do next.

The pandemic has led to current staffing shortages throughout Western Washington, causing substitutes to be in short supply. Some schools have resorted to sending students to the gym or auditorium if they don’t have a teacher.

— Ann Dornfeld

UW offers online and in-person classes in light of Omicron

Some UW Students are back in class Tuesday after starting the winter quarter online last week.

Rising Covid cases prompted the online start. Now, the university of Washington says that it will give instructors the option to continue teaching on line through January 28. If they do hold in-person classes, they also have to offer an online option.

Over at Washington State University has had to cancel classes Tuesday and Wednesday, because of heavy snow. It will return to its regular schedule after that.

— Angela King

New vaccine clinic opens in Seattle

The city of Seattle and Virginia Mason opened a new Covid vaccination clinic Tuesday.

The new vaccination site is located at Virginia Mason’s Health and Resources building (909 University Street, Seattle)

The new site will be open Mondays and Tuesdays between 1-5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be providing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The plan is to administer up to 1,000 vaccine doses there every day.

The city says it’s also expanding its mobile vaccination capacity through pop-up clinics with the Othello Pharmacy.

Keep in mind, you can also get vaccinated at the Rainier Beach and West Seattle locations, if you can find an open appointment.

— Angela King

Read previous updates here