Governors Inslee, Little Say Idaho And Washington Nearing COVID-19 Goals
More than two-thirds of Washington residents 16 and older have had at least their first COVID shots. That puts the state just four percentage points away from 70%, the goal Governor Jay Inslee established to reopen the state before June 30.“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made to be able to yet hit our 70% goal. We’d love to do that before June 30, we don’t know if that’s possible or not, but if we do hit those numbers we are going to reopen our state essentially immediately," he said.
Inslee spoke at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He says the state’s updated vaccination rate now includes veterans and members of the military who were not previously counted. Even after the state reopens, some restrictions will remain. For instance, Inslee says indoor venues that seat 10,000 people or more will still be capped at 75% of capacity.
Idaho’s rate is lower than Washington's. The state’s coronavirus website reports 49% of people 18 and older have had at least one shot.
Governor Brad Little says he would like Idaho to reach the 70% mark as well because it would mean children are safer when they return to school in the fall. But he says he’s more concerned about another statistic.
“My North Star has been hospitalization. Can you get into Kootenai Health if you have to today? Our health care capacity is fine. We want people to get vaccinated and we’re going to continue with that," he said.
The first drawing for a Covid-related lottery prize was conducted this week in Washington. It was one of many incentives intended to get non-vaccinated people to take the leap and get the shot. The state intends to award about $2 million in lottery winnings. A variety of other prizes, from college tuition to gift cards and airplane tickets, will also be awarded over the next few weeks.
About two-thirds of Washingtonians have received at least one shot. About one-in-two Idahoans have started the vaccination process. Governor Brad Little says he will continue to encourage his state’s residents to get immunized, but he says his state isn’t ready yet to go the incentive route. But if it did…
“The one that I probably am most inclined to do is work with the universities and state Board of Education because that’s kind of a two-for. You get kids to get vaccinated and also sign up to go on to college or career-technical or whatever that might be because you can use some kind of incentive program to get people to get vaccinated and also get them to get trained so they can be a machinist here in this building that we’re standing in right now," Little said.
That building was a factory hanger at Empire Airlines near Coeur d’Alene.