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‘Do what you can to stay safe out there’ — Seattle gets new vax resources as cases, demand for testing surge

King County’s all-time 7-day average of COVID-19 cases (Source: New York Times Covid Tracker)

As the demand for quick — and vitally important — home tests for COVID-19 infections has soared with the spread of the omicron variant in Seattle, Mayor Bruce Harrell’s administration is responding with new vaccination resources to hopefully help slow the spread.

Harrell’s office has announced new partnerships to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for Seattle residents, including a new Virginia Mason clinic and community partner pop-up vaccination opportunities.

  • The new Virginia Mason clinic will open Monday, January 10, 2022 and operate Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and Mondays and Tuesdays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The clinic will provide Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, pediatric vaccines, and boosters, and have capacity for up to 1,000 doses per day.
  • The City’s Rainier Beach and West Seattle clinics will continue to provide Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, pediatric vaccines, and boosters through January 2022, with capacity for up to 700 doses per day at Rainier Beach and 800 per day at West Seattle. The Rainier Beach clinic operates Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. The West Seattle clinic will reopen January 7 and operate Fridays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • The City of Seattle will also be expanding mobile vaccination capacity through community partner pop-ups with Othello Pharmacy to ensure an equitable vaccine distribution, pop-ups will have initial vaccinations, booster doses, and pediatric doses available. This community-based work will focus efforts on reaching the least vaccinated and vulnerable communities in Seattle. Disparities in vaccination rates between white residents and residents of color continue to be a public health equity challenge and are even more pronounced among children ages 5-11.

Percent of those eligible reported to have received a booster shot (Source: King County)

You can learn more about these resources and other vaccination opportunities at seattle.gov/covid-19/vaccinations.

86.3% of King County residents 12 and older are considered fully vaccinated under current benchmarks. Around Capitol Hill, completion varies from 92% in ZIP code 98112, 75% in 98102, and 79% in 98122 including portions of the Central District. Booster percentage ranges from 41% to 58% in the area.

Top of mind for many is finding access to testing and rapid home tests. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday the state is acquiring 5.5 million home tests for distribution in partnership with CareEvolution and Amazon “to expand our testing infrastructure and create a web portal so families can order tests directly to their home for no charge.”

There are more direct paths in the meantime including searching online for testing kits being restocked by the nation’s large retailers. Sometimes, buyers get lucky and find the kits back in stock at the corner drugstore. Community organizations are also getting access to more test kits through programs with public health to distribute including Seattle Public Schools making test kits available for students who returned to in-person classes this week.

Inslee and officials have been adamant in their support of keeping services like schools open during the surge. “Students have lost too much already during this pandemic,” Inslee said. “Over the coming months, some classrooms may have to close. We will have to soldier through some frustrations, and I believe we will do that successfully.”

Small businesses, meanwhile, are being hit hard by staffing challenges. Wednesday, Capitol Hill bar Life on Mars announced it would be shutting down indefinitely due to a lack of workers.

“We don’t have enough healthy staff to serve y’all so we’re going to take of our crew and get them healthy,” the bar’s announcement reads. “Do what you can to stay safe out there.”

The E Pike venue hopes to reopen mid-month.

You can view Seattle-area testing resources here including walk-up clinics provided by Curative. Locally in the Central District, the Curative clinic at Garfield Community Center hasn’t been restarted with the new year. CHS is checking in on the situation.

Cases have continued to hit record highs in the nation and surge in King County, across Seattle, and on Capitol Hill. Hospitalizations and deaths have also risen here but, so far, at lower rates than infections, leading many to place hope in early studies showing omicron to be a fast burning, less deadly variant.

 

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