COVID-19 cases up in Washington, vaccinations to be expanded

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state Department of Health says COVID-19 cases appear to be increasingly sharply in the most recent data. State officials said Wednesday the flat and declining case count trends in mid-to-late December may be due to fewer people seeking care or getting tested over the holidays. Officials also said Wednesday the state will move into its next phase of COVID-19 vaccination sooner than expected and will begin inoculating people aged 70 years and older, among others. The Seattle Times reports health secretary Dr. Umair Shah acknowledged the state’s rollout had been uneven and that the department needed to hasten the pace of vaccination.