Washington Gov. Jay Inslee receives COVID-19 vaccine

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

The couple, both 69, received the Moderna shots at the Sea-Mar Clinic in Olympia.

“It’s a scientific miracle that we have this safe, comfortable, efficacious vaccine so quickly,” Inslee said after receiving the shot in his left arm. “I think it is important to give people confidence and I hope they’ll get vaccinated as soon as they possible can.”

Inslee expressed hope that with a new president, the number of doses states receive from the federal government will increase. But with the state currently receiving about 100,000 doses a week, he said patience from the public will be required.

“We’re going to go as fast as we can,” he said.

Earlier this week, the state moved into Phase 1B on the vaccination schedule, which was modified to lower the age of eligibility from 70 to 65. Phase 1B also includes those age 50 and older who live in multigenerational homes.

In December, the state started vaccinating health care workers, high-risk first responders and people living or working in nursing homes. Later phases will include people 50 and older who work in congregate settings like agriculture or grocery stores, and those 16 or older with underlying medical conditions.

The U.S. has recorded more than 24.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 412,000 deaths. There have been more than 283,000 cases in Washington state, and 4,065 deaths.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, although long-term effects are unknown. But for some, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

According to latest metrics released by the Department of Health on Friday, all of the state will remain in the first phase of an economic reopening plan, with prohibitions on indoor dining at restaurants and indoor gyms staying in place through at least Feb. 1.

Each week, the state looks at the regional case rates, hospital admission rates, ICU occupancy rates and test positivity rates for eight regions. In order for a region to advance, they have to show: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates over a two-week period; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates in that same timeframe; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%. None of the regions met all four markers this week in order to advance to the second phase, at which point restaurants and indoor fitness center can open indoor dining at 25% capacity, sports competitions can resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their number of guests.

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