Island Hospital celebrates 5,000 vaccine dose given

Island Hospital staff celebrated 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses given on Tuesday, March 23.

About 2 million more Washingtonians will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine today as health officials warn of a potential increase in cases.

Skagit County saw 52 new cases between Monday, March 22, and Monday, March 29. The week prior, there were 34 new cases. Statewide, the number of new cases has remained about 650 a day.

“I am increasingly concerned about the signs we’re seeing in our data. Previous declines have stopped, and disease activity may be increasing,” acting state Health Officer Scott Lindquist said in a news release.

“We all need to recognize that the pandemic is not over and significant risk remains, even as we vaccinate more and more people,” Lindquist said.

Infection rates among those older than 60 years have stayed down, however, as more of those in that age group get the vaccine.

In Anacortes, vaccinations will continue as Island Hospital received 800 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, with scheduling beginning today.

The hospital received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week from Skagit County Public Health, as no allotment was given to the hospital from the state.

By press time Tuesday, the hospital still had available appointments, which are self-scheduled on the hospital’s website at islandhospital.org.

Last week, the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic reached 5,000 doses given.

More than 3 million doses have been given in the state and more than 1 million Washington residents are now fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health.

Officials are still advising to wear masks in public indoor spaces and outdoors when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible. This guidance still remains even for those who are fully vaccinated.

The state Department of Health will no longer be requiring the use of the Phase Finder tool at findyourphasewa.org. Instead, it is asking people to check their eligibility on doh.wa.gov.

“The goal is to vaccinate as many vulnerable community members as fast as possible before opening vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years and older in just a few weeks. Removing Phase Finder will help speed up the process by reducing barriers for eligible individuals,” Michele Roberts, state health official, said in a news release.

The latest phase eligible beginning today includes:

• Those 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions

• Those 60 years and older

• People, staff and volunteers in certain congregate living settings: correctional facilities; groups homes for those with disabilities; settings where those experiencing homelessness live or access services

• High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings: restaurants, food services, construction and manufacturing

Reporter

I cover health, environment, business and more at the Anacortes American. Feel free to send me tips at qinghram [at] goanacortes.com.

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