2020 DSHS News Releases

Welcome to DSHS' news releases for 2020. You may search by keyword and release number.

To read archived news releases, please choose the appropriate year below:


COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Eastern State Hospital

Dec 29 2020

DSHS Office of Communications, Kelly Von Holtz, 360-902-7739

MEDICAL LAKE – Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Eastern State Hospital near Spokane on Monday, December 28 and staff deemed to be at the highest risk of exposure will begin being vaccinated today.

“The ability to provide a vaccine to our frontline staff at Eastern is the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes work done by employees at every level of DSHS,” said Sean Murphy, DSHS Assistant Secretary for the Behavioral Health Administration. “It is an honor to work ...read the full news release


Third patient at Western State Hospital dies of COVID-19

Dec 28 2020

DSHS Office of Communications, Kelly Von Holtz, 360-902-7739

LAKEWOOD – A third patient at Western State Hospital has died due to COVID-19, the Department of Social and Health Services announced.  

The patient had been at a local hospital for several weeks due to COVID-19 symptoms and succumbed to the virus on Christmas Eve.

“We are saddened that this virus has taken another one of our patients,” said Sean Murphy, Assistant Secretary for DSHS’ Behavioral Health Administration.

The first patient from Western State Hospital passed ...read the full news release


First COVID-19 Vaccines given to frontline staff at DSHS Facilities

Dec 23 2020

DSHS Office of Communications, Kelly Von Holtz, 360-902-7739

LAKEWOOD – Department of Social and Health Services employees eligible for the first round of COVID-19 vaccines got their first dose today, Wednesday, Dec. 23 at Western State Hospital.

DSHS worked with its partner agency, the Department of Health, to apply through the Emergency Use Authorization agreement approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month to receive vaccine for staff who are at the greatest risk of ...read the full news release


Second patient from Western State Hospital dies of COVID-19

Dec 21 2020

DSHS Office of Communications, Kelly Von Holtz, 360-902-7739

LAKEWOOD – The Department of Social and Health Services announced today that a second patient at the state’s oldest and largest psychiatric facility has died due to COVID-19.

The patient had been sent to a local hospital due to the seriousness of their illness and had been there for several weeks.

“We are devastated that this virus has taken one of our patients,” said Sean Murphy, Assistant Secretary for DSHS’ Behavioral Health Administration.

The first patient from ...read the full news release

WHAT:  Along with caring for  residents who have developmental disabilities and being on the front line at a 24/7 long-term care facility during a pandemic, staff at Yakima Valley School in Selah are working like elves to ensure the residents don’t miss out on holiday traditions. One tradition typically includes taking residents to watch the Selah Lighted Christmas Parade.

                YVS is a residential habilitation center that includes a certified nursing facility for DSHS ...read the full news release