More Tri-Cities teens getting COVID; Mass-vax site closing May 28

Roughly 100,000 people in Benton and Franklin counties have had at least one vaccine shot, Dr. Amy Person said Thursday.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The health officer for the Tri-Cities said Thursday we’re “beginning to reach a turning point” in the fight against COVID, but there are some things you should know to protect your family.

“For our local case rates, both Benton and Franklin counties are seeing disease activity trends going down, which is excellent news,” said Dr. Amy Person.

However, more local children are being infected with COVID-19.

“The one age group where we continue to see more cases and higher case rates is in our 15- to 19-year-old age range, and their disease rates are still rising in contrast to the rest of the demographics,” Dr. Person said.

“With the increase overall in cases in younger ages, we do see that reflected in our hospitalizations as well. In the first quarter of the year, half of the people who were hospitalized were over the age of 64. In the month of April, that had dropped down to age 54, so half of the people hospitalized were under 54.”

Dr. Person said, for people in their sixties or older, those who have been vaccinated are ten times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

The Benton-Franklin Health District’s main focus now is increasing vaccination rates. The Tri-Cities is about halfway toward Gov. Inslee’s plan for 70% of the population to get at least one shot (“vaccine initiation”) in order to fully reopen before June 30.


  • Benton County: 46% of people ages 16+ have at least one dose (~73,400)
    • 39% fully vaccinated
  • Franklin County: 38% of people ages 16+ have at least one dose (~26,500)
    • 31% fully vaccinated
  • Washington state: 59% of people ages 16+ have at least one dose

Source: Dr. Amy Person, health officer, BFHD

Also announced Thursday morning, the mass-vaccination site at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick will be closing May 28. Lately, supply of the vaccine dramatically outpaced demand, resulting in several hundred open appointments. Since fewer people are coming to the site for shots, and vaccines are more widely available at providers, a decision was made to demobilize the site.


Thursday 5/20:

Friday 5/21:

Saturday 5/22:

The COVID-19 testing site at CBC West (3110 W Argent Rd, Pasco) will be open for mass vaccinations 9 am – 3:30 pm on Sundays. The area’s many shot providers will continue helping the community to get inoculated.


    • No appointment required. Registration on site. All are welcome.
    • Vaccinations are open to all age 18+
    • No proof of residency or immigration status is required

Friday, May 21
4 – 7 pm

Pasco Farmer’s Market
Saturday, May 22
9 am – 2 pm