SEATTLE — Several counties in Washington could move back a phase in the state’s reopening plan if COVID-19 metrics don’t improve by evaluation Monday.
As of Friday, seven counties, including two in western Washington, did not meet both metrics to remain in Phase 3 of the “Healthy Washington” plan.
Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised reopening plan, which was announced March 11, counties would be evaluated every three weeks on two metrics – case rate over two weeks and hospitalization rate over one week. Although counties originally had to meet both metrics to avoid moving backwards, Inslee announced Friday counties could remain in Phase 3 by meeting just one metric.
Larger counties and small counties with fewer than 50,000 people would be evaluated on different target data.
April 12 is expected to be the first evaluation since all counties moved to Phase 3.
See whether your county is meeting the targets required to remain in Phase 3 on the map below.
In western Washington, Pierce and Cowlitz counties were missing the mark on both metrics, according to Washington State Department of Health data as of April 9. Pierce County saw 241.1 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks and recorded 6.1 new hospitalizations per 100,000 people over the last week.
However, they were in better shape than some central and eastern Washington counties, like Whitman County, which recorded 381 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people – the highest rate in the state. Douglas County, which has a case rate more than double its goal, has the highest hospitalization rate in Washington – 16.3 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.
Although it currently meets metrics to stay in Phase 3, Skagit County has sounded the alarm to rising case and hospitalization rates, worried it could be pushed over the edge by April 12.
Phase 3 allows for 50% occupancy in indoor spaces, including restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, small indoor group gatherings up to 10 people and spectators at sporting events.