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Spokane Arena mass vaccination site set to open Wednesday

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 25, 2021

The mass vaccination site at the Spokane Arena will open on Wednesday, Jan. 27, local health care partners confirmed on Friday.

The site is one of four set to open statewide as part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s push to get more vaccine doses out in communities. Originally, state health officials said the site would open on Monday.

In Spokane, CHAS Health, the Spokane Regional Health District and the Washington National Guard will work in tandem to offer vaccinations inside the Spokane Arena.

The site will be open to all Washington residents eligible for the vaccine, which currently includes health care and frontline workers as well as residents 65 and over (and those 50 and over in multigenerational households).

Local health officials are asking people who are eligible to contact their health care providers first and get on their lists to be vaccinated, as there are many sites receiving doses beyond the arena.

Appointments are needed to get a vaccine at the arena, and people will need to register in advance at CHAS’ website. Appointment sign-ups will be made available on Wednesday morning.

The site has not received doses yet, Kelley Charvet, chief administrative officer at CHAS, said in an email, but organizers are hopeful they will receive supplies in advance of Wednesday.

CHAS officials do not know yet exactly how many doses they are supposed to receive for the site. CHAS will store the doses, according to Kelli Hawkins, public information officer at the health district, since they are supposed to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which the district does not have the facilities to store.

The number of doses available will determine how many people can register to receive the vaccine. There are no walk-up options for residents trying to get vaccinated, and CHAS plans to make the appointments available match the amount of doses.

Supply is not currently meeting demand for the vaccine in the state. There are more than 1 million residents in the newly expanded vaccine phases, but this week, the state received only 93,300 first doses. State health officials are hopeful federal supply levels will pick up in the coming weeks to help meet growing demands.

In Spokane County, at least 23,607 people had at least one dose of the vaccine as of Jan. 20.

The Washington National Guard is sending teams to Spokane, Kennewick, Wenatchee and Vancouver to support the state’s four vaccination sites. A team of about 30 Guard members is scheduled to arrive in Spokane on Monday and will work to support the logistics and administration of the site. Some medics are a part of the team as well, and they will help vaccinate alongside CHAS and health district staff.

The Spokane Regional Health District is helping with logistics and guidance of the clinic, ensuring COVID-19 safety measures are taken inside the arena, where people will be vaccinated.

On Friday, no counties were eligible to move ahead in the new Roadmap to Recovery reopening phases. The “East” region, of which Spokane County is a part, is not meeting two of the four criteria necessary to move ahead.

While hospital and ICU capacity is not overly strained, the number of people testing positive for the virus and the rate of new cases in the last two weeks has not decreased enough to meet the state’s standards.

Both the region’s case rate and percent positivity are projected to decrease in the coming week, but these data points depend on community members continuing to wear masks, watching their distance and avoiding gatherings. Additionally, more widespread community testing will be necessary to bring down percent positivity.

Currently, 21% of people tested for the virus in the “East” region have had a confirmed case of the virus. This percentage must come down to 10% before the region can advance in reopening phases.

Local numbersCOVID-19 activity in the Inland Northwest appears to be slowing down compared to previous weeks. On Friday, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 188 new cases and six additional deaths.

There are 105 patients with COVID-19 being treated in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 86 cases on Friday and one additional death. Hospitalizations continue to decrease in the Panhandle.

There are 54 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus, and 40 of them are at Kootenai Health.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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