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King County's health officer urges caution as state prepares to reopen

Duchin announced 70% of King County residents 12 and older have gotten both their COVID-19 vaccine shots.

SEATTLE — King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin updated residents Friday afternoon on the county’s COVID-19 trends and vaccination rates.

During his briefing, Duchin announced 70% of King County residents 12 years old and up have now completed their vaccination series. This comes after the county has shifted much of its focus from large centralized vaccination locations to more mobile efforts. 

The county's mobile teams have provided more than 52,000 doses, Duchin said.

"Our goal is to reach a minimum of 70% fully vaccinated within all racial and ethnic groups and in all zip codes, and ultimately have as many people as eligible vaccinated in King County as possible," he said.

He also addressed lagging vaccination rates in south and southeast King County, areas where COVID-19 rates are highest, he said.

In his closing remarks, Duchin urged caution to residents. "It is important to understand that COVID is not over," he said.

The county has seen more than 106,000 positive cases and a total of 1,612 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Duchin’s briefing comes at the end of a busy week for pandemic-related announcements for the county as well as Washington state.

On Tuesday, Public Health- Seattle and King County announced that 70% of residents ages 16 and up had completed their vaccination series. That means on June 29, two weeks after the milestone was hit, the county’s mask directive will be lifted.

Also on Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee said that the state will fully reopen on June 30 “no matter what” while visiting Vancouver, whether the state reaches its 70% vaccination threshold or not.

The Washington Department of Health website shows that nearly 68% of residents 16 years and older have received the vaccine as of Friday afternoon.

Tn Thursday, Inslee announced a new statewide vaccine incentive called “A Heroes Thanks” for anyone who has received their shot through the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs or the National Guard.

Before Duchin’s briefing on Friday, President Biden addressed the nation from the White House to mark 300 million doses of the COVID-19 being administered nationwide in the first 150 days of his presidency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 305 million doses had been administered as of June 10 with about 52% of Americans having received at least one dose of the vaccine.