Gov. Inslee announces all regions will stay in Phase 2 for next ‘several’ weeks
Gov. Inslee announced Thursday that all 39 Washington counties will remain in Phase 2 of reopening for at least the next two weeks.
Inslee also iterated that no counties or regions are at risk of falling back into Phase 1, with the state putting a pause on assessing metrics for the next two weeks “in recognition of the fact that we’ve made incredible progress in knocking down the infection rate of COVID in these last few weeks.” Over that period, no regions have to worry about potentially moving backward.
The governor did not provide details on what any later phases might look like for counties whose metrics continue to improve, but said he expects to have answers to that question sometime in the “next several weeks as we look at the development of the science” surrounding COVID-19 variant strains. That timeframe will largely depend on how long it takes the state to get further clarity on the effectiveness of the vaccine in mitigating against variants.
Counties across the state have been grouped into eight regions based on health system resources over a geographic area. Typically, counties in their assigned region must maintain three of the four following metrics in order to remain in Phase 2: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.
In Phase 2, restaurants can have indoor dining operate at 25% capacity, same for fitness centers indoors. Sports competitions are also allowed in Phase 2 with limited spectators. Wedding and funeral ceremonies are able to increase their capacities from previous limits as well.