OLYMPIA — As of today, about 5 million of Washington state’s more than 7.6 million residents will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest tier expansion was announced by Inslee earlier this month. Starting Wednesday, eligibility will be extended to those 16 and older with two or more comorbidities, anyone between the ages of 60 and 64, and workers age 16 and older who work in restaurants, manufacturing and construction. In addition, those living in congregate settings like correctional facilities or group homes for disabilities, or those experiencing homeless will now also be eligible for a vaccine.

The latest tier builds upon previous tiers that started with vaccinating health care workers, first responders and those in nursing homes in December, and later included the elderly, teachers and those who work in grocery stores.

That leaves about 1.2 million more who are not yet eligible, excluding kids younger than 16. Gov. Jay Inslee has said that the remainder will be eligible by May 1, a federal deadline set by President Joe Biden. Many states have moved to lift eligibility requirements sooner, but Inslee has said he wants to ensure the most vulnerable receive the shot before eligibility opens to everyone.

More than 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered to date in the state, and more than 16 percent of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, including those vaccinated by the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More than 27 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccines that require two shots, by Pfizer and Moderna.

The U.S. has recorded more than 30.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 550,000 deaths. There have been more than 339,000 cases in Washington state, and 5,226 deaths.

Pullman compliance checks

The City of Pullman is taking extra precautions in anticipation of Washington state’s plan to evaluate each county to see if they meet certain COVID-19 metrics.

Pullman announced this week it has increased messaging, initiated compliance checks, and continues to respond to reports of COVID-19 mandate violations in advance of statewide evaluations that begin April 12.

The city says these efforts are meant to help assure the community stays safe and is able to advance to the next level along with other counties. Currently, all counties are in Phase 3.

Counties will be evaluated on the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations during a specific time period.

The Pullman Fire Marshal’s Office started conducting onsite visits to various businesses throughout Pullman, including eating and drinking establishments, to assure occupancy and social distancing mandates are being observed. The Pullman Police Department continues to respond to reports of proclamation violations.

Whitman County has received one new positive COVID-19 test result Tuesday. This is a significant decrease since this past weekend when 73 new cases were reported.

There have been 3,853 cases in the county, to date. There have been 46 total deaths related to COVID-19 and 95 total hospitalizations.

Whitman County residents will have more opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine at local vaccine clinics held at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Palouse Medical and Palouse Regional Hospital.

For information on when these clinics will be held, visit the Whitman County Public Health’s website for a list of clinics and updated vaccine eligibility guidelines.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories will host a clinic Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Visit selinc.com/vax-scheduler or call (509) 592-4784 to schedule an appointment.

PRH is scheduled to offer vaccines Friday. Call (509) 336-7722 for more information.

Phase Finder, Washington’s online vaccine eligibility tool, will no longer be required to verify COVID-19 vaccine eligibility starting today.

That means that people who want a vaccine should check the state’s Department of Health website to see when they are eligible to get vaccinated. Those who are eligible can then use Vaccine Locator at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov to find an appointment. Those who visit the Phase Finder site will be directed to Vaccine Locator.

Latah County on Tuesday reported three new COVID-19 cases. The patients include one person between ages 18-29, one in their 40s and one in their 60s.

There have been 2,751 confirmed cases, 157 probable cases and eight total deaths in Latah County, to date.

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