Washington Hospitals Association ‘hopeful’ for summer 2021 and beyond

SEATTLE, Wash. – With Memorial Day and summer time activities right around the corner, Washington health experts said we’re at a pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19.

“Treat Memorial Day this year, a lot like we did last year except for those folks who know they’re all vaccinated,” Dr. John Lynch with UW Medicine said.

During a statewide briefing with the Washington Hospitals Association on Monday, experts urged people to still practice COVID-19 caution even if they’re fully vaccinated.

“We’re in this sort of tricky transition where as activities open up, where masks get removed, you’re gonna be around lots of non immune people, lots of non immune people, because we’ve been so successful leads to a bit of a risky transition,” Dr. Lynch added.

Even though cases are declining across the state, health officials are still worried about young people catching the virus and those who are in hospitals.

“Unfortunately, we continue to have a large amount of people particularly in those ICU’s with COVID-19 who are just taking very long periods of time to get better and unfortunately we continue to see deaths due to COVID-19 right up until now,” the doctor said.

Locally, between Benton and Franklin Counties, only 15 out of the 392 people in nearby hospitals are COVID-19 patients.

Still, these experts would like to see more of the state get vaccinated, especially the younger population who was recently made eligible.

“I don’t think there’s anything that you can do for yourself better to ease your mind than get yourself vaccinated,” Gordon Oakes with Overlake Medical Center added.

Oakes explained it’s important that health entities try to focus on the vaccine hesitant or communities who may not have easy access to the COVID-19 vaccines, in Washington.

“Move past vaccine hesitancy by moving to the pockets where these people are in our community and making it so easy to get vaccinated that you really aren’t without an excuse,” Oakes said.

Between Benton and Franklin Counties, over 187,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

In Washington, over 6.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.

For all your vaccine questions and answers, visit KAPP KVEW’s Vaccine Section.