COVID-19

Washington Covid Vaccine Finder

For the last few months, Washington has limited who has access to coronavirus vaccines. But those limits go away on Thursday. All adults and 16- and 17-year-olds will be eligible to apply for vaccination appointments.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Washington state health officials plan to announce today [Monday] whether any of the state’s 39 counties will have their Covid phase status changed.

“The good news is that we’re making progress in communities across the state, but there are communities or counties where we are seeing increases that are of concern," said Health Secretary Umair Shah.

Rebecca White/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday that counties now must fail in two metrics to be moved back a phase in their reopening – and some counties may have if the guidance had stayed the same.

Courtesy of State of Idaho

The Idaho Senate has voted to put limits on the governor’s powers during declared emergencies, such as the pandemic.

Legislative leaders came to Boise this session unhappy that the governor has kept Idaho in a state of emergency since the start of the pandemic.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County topped the 100 mark in new Covid cases for the second consecutive day. The timing isn't good, given that Washington state health authorities will soon decide whether counties will continue in Phase 3 of the state's reopening protocols or slip back to Phase 2.

Idaho's Governor Says No Vaccine Passports In His State

Apr 7, 2021
Idaho Public TV screenshot

Idaho Governor Brad Little is not a fan of the concept of a vaccine passport.

“Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports violate individuals’ freedom to choose the vaccine," Little said.

Gonzaga Men's Basketball Team Returns To Spokane

Apr 6, 2021
Courtesy of NCAA

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team returned to campus Tuesday afternoon, one day after losing the national championship game to Baylor.

In non-Covid years the players and coaches might have returned to a boisterous welcome. This year, though, the response was muted as the university restricted public access to avoid the potential spread of the virus.

Courtesy of Veterans' Administration

The Veterans’ Administration in Spokane is expanding its Covid vaccination efforts to veterans, their caregivers and family members.

The expansion is authorized by the Saves Lives Act approved recently by Congress.

Flickr Creative Commons

When Washington opens Covid vaccinations to anyone older than 16 on April 15, some believe that will lead to a rush of new people that will overwhelm the state’s Covid vaccine application system. The Department of Health's Michele Roberts isn’t so sure.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state will soon make Covid vaccine available to anyone older than 16, effective April 15.

Inslee made his announcement this afternoon [Wednesday].

Flickr Creative Commons

The Covid vaccine will soon be available to anyone 16 and older in Washington and Idaho. But what happens if a 16- or 17-year-old wants to be inoculated, yet his or her parents say no?

Screenshot from Murray Roundtable

Spokane County officials say they allocated about $23 million in CARES Act money last fall to help small companies stay afloat during the pandemic. On Tuesday they reported that money went to more than 1,100 small businesses and nearly 200 non-profits.

The next batch of relief money for small businesses is on the way, says Sen. Patty Murray [D-Washington].

Courtesy of State of Idaho

Washington and Idaho health officials say each state has recorded about 100 cases of people who contracted Covid after receiving a vaccine. Those are called “breakthrough” cases.

In Washington, the number is 102. In Idaho, it’s 97.

Will K-12 Spring Breaks Lead To Covid Spike? Probably Not

Mar 29, 2021
Screenshot from WA State Hospital Association briefing

Most Inland Northwest school districts are off for spring break either this week or next.

We’ve heard the news about how Covid has spread in areas where students are congregating while on break, especially in Florida. Or in Pullman, where Whitman County health authorities reported 73 new cases last weekend and 185 during the last 14 days.

But health experts, such as Dr. Dan Getz, aren’t as worried about a Covid spike with K-12 students out of class.

TVW screenshot

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state is adopting new school distancing recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That guidance will allow schools to return with less space to have to be reserved in the classroom, approximately three feet instead of six," he said.

Global SuperTanker Services

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the state learned a valuable lesson last Labor Day weekend. She says it can’t rely on other states for airborne help when wildfires break out. She’s making the case for a bigger state investment.

Screenshot from Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little says the Gem State will soon drop most of the restrictions related to the Covid vaccine.

“I am glad to announce today that starting Monday, April 5, all Idahoans, regardless of their age, medical condition or occupation will be able to make an appointment to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Also, starting Monday, March 29, any Idahoan with at least one medical condition will be able to access the Covid-19 vaccine," the governor said.

Shef Screenshot

A Washington Senate committee is considering a bill that would encourage the development of small home-based food businesses.

The legislation is a response to people who are trying to make a living during the pandemic, who may have lost their jobs and have begun making food they sell to people in their communities.

Courtesy of Grant County Health District

Many older people in Washington have now been vaccinated for Covid and attention has turned to other groups. Now that agricultural employees, both food processors and field workers, are eligible for shots, one central Washington health district expects to be especially busy over the next few weeks.

Screenshot from Idaho Public Television

Six Idaho legislators have tested positive for the coronavirus and, as a result, the legislature is taking a two-week break. House Speaker Scott Bedke broke the news today.

“I’m not all that surprised," he said. "We knew it was a possibility and we planned for it as best we could. It would have been nice if we could have finished completely, but we didn’t. We will come back and finish the job.”

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

An Idaho House committee has approved a bill that prohibits the state or any local government agency from imposing a mask mandate to deal with an infectious disease.

The legislation says entities such as health districts may recommend wearing masks, but not require it.

The bill had broad support during a Monday hearing in Boise. 

Next Covid Vaccine Phase in WA Opens On Wednesday

Mar 15, 2021
Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Washington will open Covid vaccinations to a new group of people on Wednesday.

The new phase will add high-risk workers in certain settings where there are large numbers of people: grocery stores, food processing and correctional facilities, fishing vessels and buses. It will also apply to people 16 and older who are pregnant or who have a disability that puts them at high risk for severe disease if they contract the virus.

Courtesy of Post Falls School District

About 40 school officials in eastern Washington are asking Governor Jay Inslee for flexibility in how they space students in their schools.

Rebecca White/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says school districts must now offer in-person options for children to attend school.

“By April 5, all students in kindergarten-through-six must have the opportunity to engage in an onsite, hybrid model of instruction. By April 19, all other K-through-12 students must be offered a hybrid model of instruction," Inslee said on Friday.

Spokane Indians Celebrate Having Fans Back In 2021

Mar 12, 2021
Courtesy of Spokane Indians Baseball Club

The Spokane Indians minor league baseball club welcomed the news about the move to Phase 3 in Washington. It means they’ll have actually have a season with fans in the seats.

The season opens May 4.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Washington's Department of Health is moving its vaccine prioritization soon to more essential workers rather than just those over the age of 65. But one set of workers not found on the priority list is restaurant employees.

Noah Fortson/NPR

On Thursday, March 11, 5:00 p.m. PT, watch President Biden giving the first prime-time address of his presidency to mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic, a day after Congress passed a massive relief package. More than 500,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

Courtesy of Pullman Regional Hospital

Many people are eager to get their Covid vaccine shots. Others are in no hurry. Still others say there’s no way they’ll be vaccinated.

Leaders at Pullman’s hospital say they’ve had some success in convincing some of their vaccine hesitant employees to take the needle.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

If you’ve received your Covid shots, the CDC has announced it’s ok to get together, without masks, with others who have been inoculated.
 
Seattle infectious disease expert Shireesha Dhanireddy says she agrees, to a point.

State of Idaho

Idaho officials say the days of time-consuming searches for Covid vaccines in the Gem State are over.

“What we’ve done is created one spot where people can go and they can enter their information and say, 'I’m interested in being vaccinated,'" said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen.

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