Statement from Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health:
“When we see increased rates of cases and hospitalizations, we need to act fast and do the right thing county-by-county to prevent more serious consequences from COVID-19 in our state. That is why the tough decisions are being made and some counties are being moved back to Phase 2.
There is still time to turn the tide and slow the spread of COVID-19 before it turns into a fourth wave. We need to take these preventative measures over the next few months at least to get numbers going in the right direction again.
We are still in a hopeful time. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last year and we continue to rise to the challenges as a state – not just with life-saving solutions, but with a sense of community and teamwork that has made Washington’s response the best in the country.
We need to focus on lowering disease transmission for the next several months, even though we have increased immunity across the state due to vaccination efforts.
Vaccine is a crucial tool, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t have enough yet to rely on it to shore up the virus and keep the majority of us safe from the spread of disease. We’ve administered more than four million vaccines to people in Washington so far, and more than 20% of our state population is fully vaccinated. We’ll keep up this important work of getting people vaccinated, with the goal of reaching a more robust level of community immunity.”