Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, left, Gov. Jay Inslee, center, and Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, director of health at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department walk together March 4, 2021, during a visit to a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit as its massive response to the pandemic continues.

Agency leaders anticipate a funding gap of at least $14.8 million for 2021, even after factoring in state and federal COVID-relief dollars. And some of that funding is subject to pending eligibility, meaning it isn’t a sure thing just yet.   

No new COVID-19 rollbacks in Washington – for now, Inslee says

May 4, 2021
A look at COVID-19 case counts in Washington over the last year.
Office of the Governor

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday said all of the state's counties will remain in their current phase of the state's economic reopening plan and won't face more restrictions because new COVID cases are levelling off after a recent spike.

Students walk between classes near blooming cherry trees on the University of Washington campus on April 3, 2019, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

The University of Washington will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before fall quarter begins.

Safety guidelines due to precautions against the spread of COVID-19 are shown on a video display at Lumen Field as socially distanced fans wait for an MLS soccer match between the Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

More people will be allowed at indoor and outdoor spectator events and indoor religious services if there are designated COVID-19 vaccination sections, under new guidance issued by Gov. Jay Inslee Monday.

British Columbia Solicitor General Mike Farnworth
Province of British Columbia

More details are being released on COVID-19 travel restrictions within British Columbia. And discussions are underway that could allow Washington state to share vaccine with its northern neighbors.

Pacific Northwest faces shutdowns amid rising virus cases

Apr 28, 2021
Residents wearing masks walk in downtown Lake Oswego, Ore., on April 11. Rising COVID cases are threatening to cause more shutdowns in counties in Oregon and Washington.
Gillian Flaccus / The Associated Press

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, their governors quickly reacted with shutdowns. Now they are about to impose new restrctions again as infections and hospitalizations rise to alarming levels.

British Columbia Solicitor General Mike Farnworth
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Authorities in British Columbia have announced more details on travel restrictions within the province as hospitalizations due to COVID-19 climb to an all-time high there. 

The Tacoma Dome will be home to a mass COVID vaccination clinic for six weeks.
John Froschauer / The Associated Press file

Pierce County is getting a daily mass COVID vaccination site.

The Tacoma Dome will host a daily vaccine clinic beginning April 27. It will operate from noon to 8 p.m. every day, except holidays, for six weeks. There will be drive-thru and walk-up options, and language assistance will be available.  

Inslee warns of 4th COVID-19 wave in Washington

Apr 16, 2021
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to reporters outside the governor's mansion in Olympia on April 15, 2021. Inslee held the outdoor news conference to urge people to get vaccinated and to socialize and conduct business outside as much as possible.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday warned that Washington state was on the cusp of a fourth COVID-19 wave with case numbers and hospitalizations rising.

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, left, leader of the minority Republicans in the Washington state House.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Starting Friday, three Washington counties will be back in Phase 2 of the state’s pandemic reopening plan.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office announced this week that Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties had case counts or hospitalization rates that warranted things like lower restaurant capacity, tighter limits on indoor gatherings, and other steps.

People enjoy a sunny day outside the Washington state Capitol.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file


Changes are happening on the COVID front in Washington this week. Three counties are moving back to Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan. That announcement comes as all Washingtonians age 16 and older are about to become eligible for the COVID vaccine.

Three counties will return Friday to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington plan.
Office of the Governor

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday afternoon that three Washington counties are not meeting the Phase 3 Healthy Washington metrics for reopening activities. 

Inslee alters COVID criteria for counties to reopen — or roll back

Apr 9, 2021
A customer, wearing a mask because of the coronavirus outbreak, puts in an order at a bakery Wednesday, June 17, 2020, in Yakima.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday altered the criteria used to determine whether a county moves from one COVID-19 reopening phase to another, making it easier for counties to remain in their current phase.

Boxes of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Carlos Osorio / Pool via The Associated Press

British Columbia has reached a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases, now averaging over 1,000 a day for the first time. This surge of cases in British Columbia is matching trends in other parts of the country.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a news conference Nov. 30, 2020, in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Gov. Jay Inslee will announce Monday whether some counties in Washington state will have to roll back to Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan because of rising cases.

Syringes with doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, are shown next to vaccination cards, Saturday, March 13, 2021, on the first day of operations at a mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Events Center in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Anyone 16 or older who lives or works in King County can now pre-register for a vaccination in Seattle.

British Columbia officials  shut down the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort until at least April 19.
Gero Breloer / The Associated Press file

While Washington state has eased restrictions on indoor dining and gathering, British Columbia is taking the opposite approach. B.C. is pausing indoor dining, until at least April 19, although outdoor dining is still allowed. 

An EMT with the Seattle Fire Department gives the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at a City of Seattle community COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic in Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The Washington State Department of Health is investigating reports of people in the state who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they were fully vaccinated.

In this April 2, 2020 photo, a nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle holds a medical face shield prior to the start of her shift in a triage tent outside the hospital's emergency department.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A local long-hauler clinic continues to see demand from patients recovering from mild to moderate cases of COVID.

Chris Miller, left, and Gilly Regev are co-founders of Vancouver-based SaNOtize.
Courtesy of SaNOtize

A Vancouver, B.C.-based company has created a nasal spray that reduces the chances of developing COVID-19. 

A clinical trial has shown that the nasal spray developed by the company SaNOtize reduces the viral load of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, by 95 percent in 24 hours and by 99 percent in 72 hours.

People wear masks as they cross a street Tuesday, July 7, 2020, near a sign for the Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Even as older and more at-risk people continue to get vaccinated, the Seattle area is still at risk for a “fourth wave” of the coronavirus. That’s according to King County’s top public health doctor.

Students carry sack lunches as they walk through a hall, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at Elk Ridge Elementary School in Buckley.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday reduced the COVID-19 social distancing requirements for K-12 classrooms in the state from 6 feet to 3 feet as more schools in the state begin to open up.

Gloria Winston, 94, left, a resident at Laurelmead Cooperative retirement community in Providence, R.I., reaches out to hug her great-niece Wensday Greenbaum, right, and her 5-year-old great-great niece Cordelia Cappelano on March 18, 2021.
Steven Senne / The Associated Press

Outdoor visits have been allowed to happen, from a distance, but now after a year of protecting residents from COVID, long-term care facilities and nursing homes can let loved ones inside for visits. 

A “Now Hiring” sign hangs at a Safeway store on Thursday in Seattle. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay increase for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed an industry lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay boost for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Setting up a mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Events Center in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press


When 65-year-old Bonnie McGuire was vaccinated earlier this year for COVID-19, a huge weight of worry disappeared in an instant. 

“I felt amazingly serene," she says. "It was a strange feeling. I've never had this experience, and none of us in this country ever have, where this shot will keep you, you know, you will not die on a ventilator alone in a hospital – with this one little jab in your arm. It's startling the simplicity of that." 

Customer Kyung Kim, right, and her daughter Alexa Oh, 9, are handed their purchased baked goods through an open door by cashier Donna Te as they maintain social distance and wear masks Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Workers at supermarkets in unincorporated King County will begin receiving hazard pay in a couple of weeks. The King County Council voted Tuesday to require large grocery stores to pay an extra $4 an hour to employees.

Volunteers are key at vaccine sites. It sometimes pays off with a shot

Mar 9, 2021
As he nears the end of his volunteer shift, Pete Graham, left, directs new volunteers to a health screening station on Feb. 26, 2021, at a mass vaccination clinic at Seattle University. Graham received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine after his shift
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

When Seattle's largest health care system got a mandate from Washington state to create a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, organizers knew that gathering enough volunteers would be almost as crucial as the vaccine itself.

Seattle Public Schools Instagram

It’s been a contentious couple of weeks, but the Seattle and Highline school districts have made progress toward bringing some students back to classrooms.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visits the Marion County and Salem Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Salem, Ore., on Jan. 13, 2021.
Abigail Dollins / Statesman Journal

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she will issue an executive order to mandate that public schools provide in-person instruction.

Under her order, schools will be required to offer face-to-face learning for students up through fifth grade by the end of March and by mid-April for older students. Students who prefer to remain in online learning will have that option.

Vaccine eligibility in WA to expand to more groups on March 22

Mar 4, 2021
Dr. Greg Hoeksema fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Thursday at a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup. Officials said they expected to deliver approximately 2,500 second doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the site Thursday.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Workers in agriculture and grocery stores will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 22, as will those in law enforcement and others included in the next eligibility phase that focuses on workers in certain congregate settings, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday.