Last week, the U.S. reached another pandemic milestone, surpassing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19

This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, October 4, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

Last week, the U.S. reached another pandemic milestone, surpassing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19. The record came just as hospitalizations started to dip slightly.

In schools, the debate over vaccine mandates continues. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied an emergency appeal to block New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and staff. Those who have not gotten at least their first shot face suspension without pay on Monday.

Meanwhile, California is poised to enact the first coronavirus vaccine mandate for schoolchildren once the government has fully vetted the vaccine for two age groups — 12 to 15 and 5 to 11.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

With just weeks remaining before federal workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the federal government on Monday outlined procedures for employees to request medical or religious exemptions from President Joe Biden’s mandate.

The Office of Management and Budget released the new guidance Monday afternoon ahead of the Nov. 22 deadline for workers to be fully vaccinated, outlining specific medical conditions that would warrant an exemption. Under the guidelines, agencies are to direct workers to get their first shot within two weeks of an exemption request being denied, or the resolution of a medical condition. They also make clear that federal agencies may deny medical or religious exemptions if they determine that no other safety protocol is adequate.

The Biden administration is drawing on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to determine approved medical exemptions, including a history of allergic reaction to the vaccines. Other conditions, including being treated with monoclonal antibodies or having a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, warrant a 90-day delay in vaccination, in accordance with CDC advice.

While the CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant get vaccinated against COVID-19, the federal government will consider requests to delay vaccination while pregnant depending on the worker’s particular medical circumstances

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