State orders 5.5 million at-home tests for public

More boosters, masks also in the works

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday the state has ordered 5.5 million at-home tests to distribute to the public and will improve booster vaccine access and supply about 10 million free protective masks amid a steep increase in COVID-19 cases due to the more contagious omicron variant.

Inslee’s office said the state has already received 800,000 of the tests from manufacturers this week and that another 4.7 million are expected to arrive next week.

Those tests will be distributed in various ways, including through a web portal that is expected to become available in the coming weeks so that families can order tests directly to their homes at no cost.

Tests also will be sent directly to schools and local health departments to be distributed to underserved communities.

A spokesman for Inslee said the overall number of tests acquired or expected doesn’t include additional tests that have been promised by the federal government.

And it doesn’t include the purchase of an additional 400,000 test kits King County Executive Dow Constantine announced earlier Wednesday. That brings the total amount of tests purchased by King County — which includes Seattle — to 700,000.

As of Tuesday, the state had more than 888,000 confirmed or probable cases since the start of the pandemic and 9,909 deaths. After months of in-person news conferences by the governor, Tuesday’s was held remotely due to concerns over omicron.

Nearly 78 percent of the population 5 years old and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 71 percent is fully vaccinated.

As of this week, more than 1.9 million people have either received a booster or a third dose, according to the Department of Health.

The state also is trying to bolster booster availability and plans to add a mass vaccination site in northwest Washington the week of Jan. 18. The governor said that the capacity of a FEMA mobile vaccination clinic in King County has already tripled its output from 500 shots a day to 1,500.

Inslee also announced in the coming weeks the state will release about 10 million masks, including KN95 and surgical masks, from the state’s supply, to the community, including K-12 schools.

More in News

A pair of Clallam Transit buses sit at The Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles in preparation for their fixed-route runs on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam Transit sees large rise in ridership

No issues seen with new zero-fare policy

Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

Peninsula College Foundation reports record levels of giving

Programs, students both recipients of funds

County to repave section of Carlsborg Road

Clallam County commissioners will consider awarding a contract for… Continue reading

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading

Port Townsend approves utility rate changes, renames skate park

Public hearing set for Transportation Benefits District

Slate of initiatives has upended Olympia, lobbyist says

‘Potential showstoppers’ described at Coffee with Colleen

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port Townsend, uses a pencil for scale as she sketches the work at the new entrance to Point Hudson Marina on Monday morning. A group in town, the Port Townsend Urban Sketchers will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to sketch at the Port Townsend Aero Museum. Sessions are free and open to sketchers of all skill levels. For more information, see www.urbansketchersporttownsend.wordpress.com. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Marina art

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port… Continue reading

The site of the former Rayonier mill in Port Angeles, shown on Tuesday, awaits completion of environmental cleanup almost 27 years after the last roll of pulp rolled off the line. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Cleanup at Rayonier site still years away

Action plan to be approved in 2024-25

About 25 people, including Warren Musgrove of Port Angeles, far right, rallied in support of Palestine on Saturday in front of the Clallam County Courthouse. The event, also scheduled to run from noon to 1 p.m. this Saturday and March 2, included an information table that provided information about the history of occupation in the Gaza Strip, organizer Christy Cox said. (Lois Danks)
Rally for Rafah

About 25 people, including Warren Musgrove of Port Angeles, far right, rallied… Continue reading