OLYMPIA - Despite an increase COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday all counties will remain in their current phase of the state’s reopening plan.
Inslee announced a two-week pause on any phase changes to allow the state more time to analyze virus data. Kitsap County and about a dozen other counties were not meeting the threshold to remain in Phase 3 and were expected to move back to the more restrictive Phase 2.
Inslee says the most recent data shows the COVID-19 case rate may be plateauing after a fourth wave of increased cases and hospitalizations.
Currently in Washington, just four of the state’s 39 counties are in Phase 2: Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman, which were rolled back from Phase 3 last month, and Ferry County, where county health officials voluntarily moved back due to a super spreader event that caused a virus outbreak.
Under the current metrics, larger counties must have less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period and fewer than five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 people over a one-week period in order to be in Phase 3.
Seventeen smaller counties — Klickitat, Asotin, Pacific, Adams, San Juan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Lincoln, Ferry, Wahkiakum, Columbia, Kittitas, Stevens, Douglas, Okanogan, Jefferson, and Garfield — must have fewer than 100 new cases over a two-week period and fewer than 3 new COVID hospitalizations over a one-week period in order to avoid going to Phase 2. Phase 1 is the most restrictive, including no indoor dining at restaurants allowed.
All state residents over age 16 have been eligible for a coronavirus vaccination since April 15. As of this week, more than 5.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered, with more than 54% of those eligible getting at least one dose. Nearly 39% of those eligible in the state are fully vaccinated.