Washington state workers union agree to COVID mandate terms

Days after suing to block what is believed to be among the nation’s strictest COVID-19 employee vaccine mandates, Washington’s largest state labor union has announced a tentative agreement for Gov. Jay Inslee’s order for state workers. The Northwest News Network reports the Washington Federation of State Employees has negotiated terms for Inslee’s mandate that all 46,000 of its union members be fully vaccinated by October 18 or lose their jobs. The new agreement, which still needs to be ratified, was announced Saturday and defines the exceptions and religious and medical exemptions process for employees who can’t or won’t get their shots.

Police, firefighters sue Gov. Brown over vaccination mandate

A coalition of police and firefighters are suing Gov. Kate Brown over her mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination for state workers. KOIN-TV reports the lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, says the plaintiffs are the Oregon Fraternal Order of Police along with troopers from around the state and firefighters at the Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base. The group is asking a judge to declare the order “unenforceable” because it allegedly works against existing Oregon statutes and would result in wrongful termination of employees. It names the governor and the state of Oregon as defendants. Brown’s office declined to comment on the pending litigation. 

Portland: City employees must get COVID-19 vaccine

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — City employees in Portland, Oregon, must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus — or obtain a medical or religious exemption — by the middle of October or they will be fired. “With COVID-19 filling hospitals and…

COVID-19 hospitalizations rise across Washington + Delta variant impacts younger demographic

Health officials say that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in is doubling every 18 to 19 days in the state. The the state has documented 5,879 possible vaccine breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in Washington state, but the vast majority of cases involve unvaccinated patients. More than 94% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized between Feb. 1 and Aug. 3 were not fully vaccinated.  Chief Science Officer Scott Lindquist said a young person died of COVID-19 at a Seattle-area hospital on Tuesday. As of Monday,  72.4% of people age 12 and older have initiated vaccination and more than 63% are fully vaccinated.

Tri-Cities officially suffer worst COVID-19 spike of the pandemic

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Tri-Cities and surrounding regions officially suffered their worst coronavirus spike of the entire pandemic in mid-August with record-setting case counts and 14-day case rates—Two key metrics used by public health officials to assess coronavirus severity in…