0609 COVID-19 update

Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere nudged the city Monday toward reopening to the public in a show of confidence that state and national COVID-19 vaccination goals for those ages 16 and older will be met by June 30.

Gere announced City Hall will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning June 14, with masks required only for those who are not fully vaccinated. She said normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will resume June 30. And the city will celebrate the nation’s 245th year of independence on July 4 with the traditional town photo — Gere asked that participants be properly spaced during the photo shoot — followed by a patriotic program, parade and evening fireworks.

Still, the county and state lag behind the rest of the nation in meeting the goal of 70% of those 16 and older having received at least one dose of vaccine. That level of vaccination will give the acute respiratory disease less of an opportunity to spread, state and national health officials say.

Island Hospital CEO Charles Hall, an advocate of COVID-19 vaccination, was pessimistic Tuesday that Skagit County will meet the 70% goal by the end of June.

“Skagit County is currently at a 62% vaccination rate,” he said. “We average a 1 to 2% vaccine rate per week. I am not optimistic that we’ll hit 70% by the end of June.”

The rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths locally and globally is declining as the number of vaccinations climbs. That’s according to data from Skagit County Public Health, the state Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

There was a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in April in Skagit County, but the weekly rates of cases and deaths have been steadily decreasing locally and globally since then, the agencies reported.

As of Monday, there have been 5,243 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 74 deaths in Skagit County since the pandemic began 15 months ago. Some 54.53% of the county population 16 and older is fully vaccinated and 62.16% of that age group has received at least one dose, according to the state Department of Health.

Statewide, there have been 405,174 confirmed cases and 24,465 deaths; 55.66% of the population 16 and older is fully vaccinated and 63.66% of that age group has received at least one dose.

Nationwide, COVID-19 has infected 33.1 million people and caused 594,802 deaths, according to the CDC. Some 42.1% of the entire U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, and 51.6% of the population has received one vaccine dose, the CDC reported (the CDC website does not provide specific data for 16 and older). Of those ages 12-17, 61.1% have received at least one dose and 49.9% are fully vaccinated; of 18-64, 63.7% have received at least one dose and 53% are fully vaccinated; and of those 65 and older, 86.4% have received at least one dose and 75.6% are fully vaccinated.

Globally, the acute respiratory disease has infected 173 million and killed 3.7 million, according to the World Health Organization. More than 1.9 billion vaccine doses have been administered, though the organization does not estimate how many people have been fully vaccinated. The world population is 7.7 billion, according to the U.S. census.

Vaccinations available

• Island Hospital: The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available on Friday. Go to www.islandhospital.org/coronavirus to make an appointment. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for those 18 and older.

• Skagit County Fairgrounds: The first-dose of the Pfizer vaccine is available at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Vaccination staff will assist those being vaccinated with locating a second dose at another location, according to the Skagit Public Health website. For more information, call the Vaccine Hotline at 360-416-1500 or go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.

• Pop-up clinics: Vaccinations are scheduled today, 4-7 p.m., at Terramar Brewstillery in Edison; 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday at Skagit Speedway; 9 a.m. to noon June 19 at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 19 at Mount Baker Presbyterian Church in Concrete; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 3 at the Big Lake 3rd of July Festival; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 24 at the Clear Lake Fire Department.

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