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As we settle into a new month, I can report that COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations at UW Medicine remain at a plateau — there has been no major rise in numbers. At the same time, we are not seeing a decrease in cases, particularly here in western Washington. We continue to emphasize the importance of vaccinations as our best tool to slow the pandemic, in addition to wearing masks indoors and avoiding large gatherings when possible. Our hope, of course, is that we will begin to see a downward trend in cases and hospitalizations — further, tangible proof that our approach to fighting the pandemic is working.

Late last week, the FDA authorized emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. And this week, the CDC unanimously endorsed the use of a low-dose formula of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group. Health officials nationwide anticipate that the immunization of 5- to 11-year-olds will help keep schools open during the winter months and will prevent approximately 600,000 new cases between November 2021 and March 2022.

To commemorate this exciting new eligibility moment at UW Medicine, 10 children under age 12 became among the first in Washington state to receive an initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. UW Medicine has opened a COVID-19 pediatrics vaccine appointment waitlist in expectation of high demand. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to call 844.520.8700 to get on the waitlist to receive a callback about vaccine scheduling for children. Appointments are required and walk-ins are not accepted at any UW Medicine location at this time. For questions or to learn more about the vaccine recommendation for children, please contact your child’s doctor or learn more from our UW Medicine experts. I visited the Harborview vaccination site yesterday, and it was fantastic to see all those under-12s lined up for vaccinations and watching cartoons afterwards. Thank you to the vaccine teams for making the process as comfortable for children as possible.

As vaccines are now more accessible to an even wider portion of the population, I also want to take a moment to recommend a new COVID-19 vaccination verification tool from the Washington Department of Health, available at This resource makes it very easy to register and gives fast access to proof of vaccination for both parents and their children.

While we’re encouraged by the approval of the pediatric vaccine, we do not know yet how the vaccine will affect mask mandates in schools and other public places. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate this next stage in our effort to end the pandemic.

Today’s update also includes:

  • Local/National/Global Epidemiology
  • Vaccination Summary
  • Employee and Family COVID-19 Testing
  • Social Gatherings at Work

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 166,419 total confirmed cases and 2,033 deaths as of Thursday, Nov. 4. The number of new positive tests is currently at 121.1/7 days/100,000 people (community transmission level = high).

Washington: The Department of Health reports 648,779 confirmed cases and 8,767 deaths as of Nov. 3. As of Sept. 15, 9,842,443 people have been tested; due to an unexpected delay, DOH is not able to restart its testing reporting until Nov. 30.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 79,820 new cases, 46,180,190 total COVID-19 cases and 747,970 deaths as of Nov. 4.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 248,467,363 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,027,183 deaths as of Nov. 4.

UW Medicine Vaccination Summary as of Oct. 27

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

With the holidays fast approaching and many of us hoping to plan social gatherings at work, our recommendations remain unchanged. While it’s important to recognize all the hard work our colleagues and teams have put in over the past year, we encourage you to consider other ways of celebrating that do not require gathering in person yet. If we all continue doing our part to follow health and safety guidelines, I’m hopeful we will get back to this type of activity.

Finally, I hope you’ll tune in to today’s Town Hall at 3 p.m., when we’ll discuss the rollout of the pediatric vaccine and our plan to meet demand. And in the next session of our Community Conversations about COVID-19, I will join Drs. Margaret Green, Anita Chopra, and guest panelist Dr. Shaquita Bell of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic and Seattle Children’s Hospital to further discuss the topic of vaccines for children ages 5-11 and answer questions from our community. Please submit your questions and join the conversation at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Until next week, stay warm, and don’t forget to “fall back” your clocks when daylight savings ends this Sunday!


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