PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On the day the state of Washington opened their vaccine availability to anyone 16-and-over, Gov. Jay Inslee warned about an increase in COVID cases in the state.
“There’s strong evidence of a 4th wave potentially developing in the state of Washington,” he said during a press briefing held outside of his residence.
“We have to prevent it from happening,” he said. He encouraged people to go outside when doing social and recreational activities to help stop the spread.
As of Thursday, all Washingtonians are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The federal government had directed states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1, but most states had earlier plans, with many opening up eligibility to all adults in recent weeks.
Oregon is set to expand eligibility to all people 16 and up next Monday.
Gov. Jay Inslee had previously resisted expanding eligibility too quickly, saying that he wanted to ensure those most at risk were vaccinated first and noting that eligibility didn’t guarantee vaccination right away and would depend on supply.
But on March 31, he said that the federal government’s assurances of increased allocations, plus concerns about rising cases in many parts of the state, led to the decision to open up eligibility sooner.
Meanwhile, Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties were moved back to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan on Monday.
Inslee previously said he would be make an announcement if any counties had to move back to Phase 2 because of rising COVID-19 cases.
Last week Inslee altered the criteria used to determine whether a county moves from one COVID-19 reopening phase to another.