LOCAL NEWS

Gov. Inslee defends decision to roll three counties back to Phase 2

Apr 15, 2021, 3:13 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2021, 6:03 am
Jay Inslee, pause, reopening, vaccine order...
Gov. Jay Inslee. (TVW)
(TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee has fielded frequent criticism this week following a decision to roll three counties back to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. On Thursday, he addressed those concerns, defending the move as essential in order to avoid a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases.

Gee & Ursula: What can the state do instead of a rollback to Phase 2?

In order to remain in Phase 3, large counties need to have 200 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks and five or fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past week. Pierce, Cowlitz, and Whitman counties fell short of both metrics when data was evaluated early this week, and will be moved to Phase 2, effective Friday.

While leaders in all three counties have been vocal in their opposition to the rollback, Inslee said Thursday that he believes “the action we’ve taken has been quite measured.”

“This is not without a lot of thought — we don’t do this cavalierly,” he said. “We’ve thought deeply about this. Fundamentally, we’re about saving lives and that’s what we’re doing.”

COVID-19 activity has been trending upward statewide in recent weeks, with the state now seeing over 1,000 new cases a day, similar to what was seen during last summer’s second wave.

That had Inslee voicing concerns that the state is now standing on the edge of a fourth wave, and that “we cannot wait until that wave engulfs us.”

“The science has told us that the virus is not waiting for us; the virus is not done with us,” he said. “When I see numbers going up, it’s extremely disconcerting. The virus doesn’t allow us to call a timeout, and that’s why we’ve had to act.”

Ross: No more going backwards and shutting down what’s open

As to why Inslee opted for a more targeted approach to rollbacks rather than moving the entire state to Phase 2, he argued that it wouldn’t have made sense for many other counties where case rates have largely been kept under control.

“There was enough disparity between our communities that it wasn’t appropriate to have a one-size-fits-all [approach],” he said.

As of early this week, 30 out of 39 Washington counties were meeting both required metrics to remain in Phase 3, while another six were failing to meet one of two.

For counties where cases are rising, Inslee urged residents to take any activities and gatherings outside to help minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Local News

(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Amazon Prime adding free Grubhub meal delivery for members

The deal is part of a partnership between Amazon and Just Eat Takeaway, the Amsterdam-based delivery company that bought Grubhub in 2020 for $7.3 billion.
1 day ago
(Photo by: Citizen of the Planet/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

King County tackles short and long term plans to restrict local gun violence

Since the mass shooting in Uvalde, 106 mass shootings have occurred across the U.S., resulting in 113 casualties and 493 people injured.
1 day ago
Flowers and candles are pictured at a makeshift memorial during a vigil on the third anniversary of...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Charleena Lyles inquest: Jury finds officers used reasonable force in deadly 2017 shooting

The jury ruled it did not appear as though a reasonably effective alternative to deadly force existed, and that the amount of force used was reasonable.
1 day ago
Photo from Tacoma PD...
KIRO 7 News Staff

14-year-old girl dead after shooting in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood

A girl is dead after a shooting in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, according to the Tacoma Police Department.
1 day ago
sorority...
MyNorthwest Staff

WA AG orders $500,000 in restitution from UW sorority over rent payment scheme

A UW sorority is accused of taking "advantage of students" by kicking them out during the pandemic but still charging them for housing.
1 day ago
trench...
MyNorthwest Staff

Two bodies recovered after trench collapse in Shoreline

The bodies of two men killed in Monday's trench collapse have been recovered this morning around 4:10 a.m.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Gov. Inslee defends decision to roll three counties back to Phase 2