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There is reassurance in the numbers this week. The plateau we’ve been experiencing with COVID-19 case trends is slowly starting to decline, both in our hospitals and within the region. Transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths are all down this week, and I’m hopeful that we’re tracking the onset of a sustainable trend in the right direction and not just an anomaly.

Part of the reason I’m optimistic is that, although hospitals are full of patients needing our care, a decreasing number of them are patients with COVID-19. More and more, patients are coming to us for surgeries and illnesses that went untreated or surgical procedures that were postponed over the previous 19 months.

While all of this is certainly good news and cause for continued optimism, it’s yet another reason we should maintain our efforts on the pandemic front, continuing to do the things that will help slow transmission and reduce infections. Everything we are doing — vaccination, masking, staying home when ill — is helping to slow the pandemic and getting things closer to normal.

A major step in the right direction is authorization of pediatric vaccination. Since the Pfizer vaccine became available for children 5 to 11 years old, we have nearly 6,000 upcoming appointments scheduled from the waiting list and have given more than 7,300 shots thus far. Just last weekend, the Shoreline School District pop-up vaccination site administered more than 2,000 first doses to the community.

One of the most common questions we’re hearing from concerned parents is whether children who will soon turn 12 years old should receive the pediatric vaccine or wait and get the adult vaccine. Our advice: don’t wait. The pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine is very effective against COVID-19, so we recommend that parents get their child’s first dose as soon as possible. If the child turns 12 before the second dose is due, the FDA allows for either the pediatric or adult dose at that time. The important thing is not to wait — getting a first dose of the vaccine for your child will protect them and reduce risk of infection. Many of these questions were addressed by Dr. Shaquita Bell during the last UW Medicine Town Hall, which I recommend listening to if you haven’t already.

Today’s update also includes:

  • Local/National/Global Epidemiology
  • Vaccination Summary
  • Employee and Family COVID-19 Testing
  • Media Story: From Vaccine Sceptic to Advocate

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 168,882 total confirmed cases and 2,050 deaths as of Friday, Nov. 12. The number of new positive tests is currently at 106.2/7 days/100,000 people (community transmission level = high).

Washington: The Department of Health reports 657,469 confirmed cases and 8,857 deaths as of Nov. 10.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 81,184 new cases, 46,626,034 total cases and 755,201 deaths as of Nov. 10.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 251,788,329 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,077,907 deaths as of Nov. 12.

UW Medicine Vaccination Summary as of Nov. 11

*Site numbers show the number of employees, patients and community members who received vaccines and the total number of doses administered at each site.

Employee and Family COVID-19 Testing

We encourage all employees and families to be tested if you have symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. You and your family can easily access information about how to schedule a COVID-19 test by visiting Employee Resources on the website and clicking on the COVID-19 Testing Access quick link. Testing is easy and helps slow transmission of the virus.

Finally, I will leave you with the story of Howard Breidenbach, a man whose journey from vaccine skeptic to COVID survivor to vaccine advocate, reminded me that many of the people who resist vaccination have personal reasons for doing so. It’s our job, as medical professionals tasked with the care and healing of our patients, to help them overcome their resistance, get the facts and help us as we continue our efforts to control the pandemic and get back to our lives.

As always, please stay safe and healthy.


John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine