COVID-19 in Washington State: One Year Later

At noon today, the Washington State Department of Health will observe a moment of silence for all the lives lost to COVID-19 over the last year. We encourage you to join us or take a moment on your own today to reflect in silence.

At this time last year, we didn’t know how resilient Washingtonians could be. The first case of COVID-19 was announced in Washington state on January 21, 2020. This was the first time anyone had detected novel coronavirus in the United States.

This day marked the beginning of our state’s response to a pandemic that brought, and continues to bring, heartbreaking loss and disruption to the lives of people across our state and nation.

In the last year, we’ve witnessed countless acts of heroism from our first responders, frontline workers, scientists, educators and parents, small business owners and community members.

We’ve seen strength and courage and adaptability in our families throughout the state. And we took life-saving actions to change the trajectory of the pandemic here in Washington.

  • We learned how to protect our loved ones. We wear masks; we stay six feet away from each other; we wash and wash our hands.
  • We found new ways to stay connected, even when physically apart. We learned how to video chat and set up chairs outdoors, far apart from one another.
  • We learned to pay attention to our bodies and stay home when we feel sick. Millions of us have been tested for COVID-19.
  • We have quarantined, and we have isolated ourselves.
  • We talked and texted with public health contact tracers when they reached out to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
  • We put WA Notify on our smart phones, to alert us if we may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • We learned about vaccines and how they are made and we are eagerly waiting for our turn get vaccinated.

This one-year mark almost feels like a new beginning. Brighter days are ahead. Today, our state ranks among the lowest in COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. But the work is far from over.

If 2020 was a year for resilience, 2021 will be a year of hope. Get your COVID-19 vaccine when it is your turn. Until then, thank you for everything you have done — and will continue to do — to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe and to care for and support one another.

More information

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday — Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday — Sunday. Language assistance is available.



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