COVID-19 cases up in Washington, vaccinations to be expanded

The Washington state Department of Health said Wednesday that COVID-19 cases appear to be increasingly sharply in the most recent data.

In a news release, officials say the flat and declining case count trends in mid-to-late December may be due to fewer people seeking care or getting tested over the holidays.

Many counties have had post-Christmas spikes in cases and that the number of people becoming infected is increasing.

Officials also say the state will move into its next phase of COVID-19 vaccination sooner than expected and will begin inoculating people aged 70 years and older, among others. Health secretary Dr. Umair Shah acknowledged the state’s rollout has been uneven and that the department needs to increase the pace of vaccination.

Shah didn’t give an exact date for when the state would move to the next phase of vaccinations, called Phase B1, which includes people 70 years and older and people 50 years and older in multi-generational households. (AP)

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