County to prioritize vaccinating WSU students


The Whitman County Public Health director said Monday that one of the county’s main priorities is to get as many Washington State University students vaccinated as possible before they leave for summer break.

Washington will allow anyone age 16 and older to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting April 15. Director Chris Skidmore said he is hoping there are enough vaccine allocations to meet demand and to ensure students get their shots before the spring semester ends.

“I think this is going to help stop the spread into other areas of our state and other states, but it also will protect our community for when they return back in the fall,” he told the Whitman County Commissioners on Monday.

Skidmore said he has heard from WSU that many students are willing to stay in Pullman until they get their second dose of the vaccine. If they do leave Pullman, Skidmore said they should be able to get their second dose at their hometown pharmacies.

COVID-19 spread among students has led to an increase in Whitman County cases. On Monday, Whitman County Public Health reported 45 new cases since Friday and one new hospitalization.

In total, there have been 3,964 cases, 46 deaths and 97 hospitalizations. Skidmore said daily case counts have receded since Friday when 34 new cases were reported. COVID-19 transmission outside of Pullman has been low, he said.

However, Skidmore said there have been enough new cases that Whitman County could move back a phase in Washington’s phased recovery plan.

In Latah County, 13 new cases have been reported since Friday. In total, there have been 2,771 confirmed cases, 158 probable cases and eight deaths.

The newest patients include one person between ages 5-12, two people between ages 13-17, five people between ages 18-29, three people in their 40s, one in their 60s and one in their 70s.

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