COVID-19 cases declining slightly in Washington

WASHINGTON STATE — COVID-19 cases in Washington are declining slightly, but health officials urge people to use caution over the Fourth of July weekend.

They suggest people celebrate outdoors and take tests before gatherings.

In these early days of summer, people are eager to get back to normal, but reminders of COVID-19 are everywhere.

Molly McMonagle was excited to attend last weekend’s Pride parade.

“I was so happy to see everyone and enjoy it. It felt so good, but then I got an exposure notification later, so I was like, ‘OK, we’re still in this,’” McMonagle said.

While new cases are slightly down, hospitalizations are slightly up, and state health officials say the system remains stressed.

People are also struggling with colds, allergies and even the flu.

Some pharmacies are running low on products that provide relief.

“We are seeing a lot of respiratory viruses here in Washington state, including a pretty late flu season,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy health secretary.

State health officials are now making a push to get more kids vaccinated.

Starting last week, shots were available for the first time to children as young as six months.

State officials said some parents initially had trouble finding appointments, and shipments last week were delayed.

They say all 173,000 doses ordered for Washington are now in the state and that about 7,000 of the youngest children have had their first shot.

Health officials continue to recommend vaccines for all age groups, including children between 5 and 11.

Right now, less than a third of children in that age group in Washington are fully vaccinated.