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Inslee could announce stricter COVID-19 rules for some counties Monday

Gov. Jay Inslee will announce Monday whether some Washington counties will have to roll back to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan due to rising cases.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — 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.

RELATED: Does your county meet metrics to stay in Phase 3? Check this map

While most of the counties in jeopardy of rolling back are in central and eastern Washington, Pierce County in western Washington is also on the list. 

According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, cases in Pierce County have been on the rise since mid-March. The county hasn’t been able to keep cases and hospitalizations down far enough to maintain its Phase 3 status under the state’s Roadmap to Recovery metrics.

If implemented, the county could be dropped back to Phase 2 by April 16.

“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen this whole pandemic, it really isn’t one place or one group of people that is contributing to our high case rate in Pierce County,” says Cindan Gizzi, Deputy Director of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “We’re seeing them in business, in schools, in congregate care facilities, we’re still seeing them throughout the county.”

RELATED: Skagit County could slip back to Phase 2 if COVID-19 trends continue rising