OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee will announce Monday whether some counties in Washington state will have to roll back to Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan because of rising cases.
At a news conference Thursday Inslee said “we’ve let our guard down to some degree.”
All of Washington’s 39 counties are currently in Phase 3 of Inslee’s reopening plan, meaning all indoor spaces — including indoor dining at restaurants, indoor fitness centers, and retail — have been able to increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies are OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.
To stay in Phase 3, counties must meet two metrics, and the metrics are different for counties that have fewer than 50,000 people.
Larger counties must have less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period and have fewer than five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 people over a one-week period.
For 17 smaller counties — Klickitat, Asotin, Pacific, Adams, San Juan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Lincoln, Ferry, Wahkiakum, Columbia, Kittitas, Stevens, Douglas, Okanogan, Jefferson, and Garfield — they have to have fewer than 30 cases over a two-week period and fewer than 3 new COVID hospitalizations over a one-week period.
On April 15 all state residents over age 16 will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccination.