SPOKANE, Wash. — On Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee announced new benchmarks that larger counties had to hit if they wanted to apply to move to Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan early, which would allow Spokane County to apply.
Spokane County is one of 10 counties that are now eligible to apply for the variance.
One of the major benchmarks a county needs to hit is less than 10 new cases of the virus per 100,000 people in the county for a 14-day period. This has led a lot of people to ask: does Spokane County satisfy this requirement?
Data appears to show that Spokane County is well under this threshold, meaning this requirement is satisfied.
According to the Spokane Regional Health District, the county had 375 cases reported on May 5. On May 19, the county had 412, or an increase of 37 new cases in the last 14 days.
The other statistic needed to calculate if Spokane meets this requirement is the population. Since these waivers are done on a county level, the entire county's population is taken into account, not just the city of Spokane.
The United States Census Bureau's most recent data on the population of Spokane County comes from a July 2019 population estimate, which lists the total number of people as 522,798. Using this number, Spokane County has seen about 7.08 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people over the last 14 days, which means the county would satisfy this requirement.
Even if Spokane County had to use data from the last official census in 2010, it would still satisfy the requirement. Back in 2010, the Census Bureau counted 471,221 people in the county, meaning Spokane County would have seen 7.85 cases per 100,000 people.
So, assuming the county and the Washington State Department of Health are using numbers provided by the U.S. Census and the Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane County should pass this requirement comfortably.