Coronavirus: New vaccine plan includes everyone 65 and older as state aims to vaccinate 45,000 people per day

SEATTLE — Everyone 65 and older can now get the COVID-19 vaccine as Washington includes more people in the next distribution phase and launches an ambitious plan to vaccinate 45,000 people per day.

As of Monday, Washington is ready to move statewide into phase 1B of vaccinations, Gov. Inslee announced.

The state is loosening the requirements for phase 1B to include those over 65 in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines. It also now includes all people 50 and older who live in multigenerational households.

“About 80% of the COVID deaths in Washington have occurred among individuals 65 and older. Our vaccine prioritization reflects the need to protect these individuals quickly,” Inslee said.

The state is setting a new goal of 45,000 vaccinations per day. Inslee said that while the goal is higher than the current vaccine allocation from the federal government, trying to meet the goal will help get the proper infrastructure in place as doses increase.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the counties with the highest totals: King County has 1,166 deaths among 74,077 cases; Snohomish County has 444 deaths among 26,498 cases; and Pierce County has 421 deaths among 31,474 cases.

Click here to see where other counties in the state stand.

Key coronavirus updates:

Coronavirus: Gov. Inslee announces new COVID-19 reopening plan for Washington

A week before COVID-19 restrictions were set to expire, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new statewide reopening plan.

The new plan, called “Healthy Washington,” moves away from a county-based oversight system to one focused on regions. Washington’s 39 counties will be divided into eight geographic regions based on health system resources.

Regions can reopen when they meet certain metrics based on hospital capacity and case data, Inslee said.

Under the new plan, there are currently only two reopening phases to start. The state will add more phases as the state of the pandemic improves.

Most states vaccinating more people than Washington

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show most states are getting more people vaccinated than Washington.

CBS News reviewed data showing Washington is not administering COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as most other states and is in bottom 20 of the list.

But experts told KIRO 7 that there’s a lot of factors to consider.

The state is using certain metrics to evaluate when and how to lift various restrictions. The five metrics being used are: COVID 19 disease activity; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; risk to vulnerable populations, and health care system readiness.

KIRO 7 asked University of Washington Bothell’s vaccine expert Dr. Dan Bustillos to weigh in after seeing vaccination numbers ranging drastically across the country.

For example, West Virginia administered 77% of its available vaccines so far while Washington is sitting at 34%, which is lower than the national average of 35%. As of Jan. 14, Washington had administered 225,238 doses out of the 655,575 vaccines that have been distributed.

How you can protect yourself and what to do if you think you were exposed

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Patients reportedly have mild to severe respiratory illness. These are steps health officials recommend to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
  • Washington State Department of Health: What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease
  • Washington State Department of Health: What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease
  • If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact: coronavirus@kingcounty.gov.
  • For general concerns and questions about COVID-19, call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 800-525-0127 and press #.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.