Several counties in Washington could move back a phase in the state’s reopening plan if COVID-19 metrics don’t improve by evaluation on Monday.
As of Friday, seven counties did not meet both metrics to remain in Phase 3 of the “Healthy Washington” plan. 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.
Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised reopening plan, which was announced on 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 Eastern and Central Washington, Adams, Asotin, Douglas, Pend Oreille and Yakima counties are failing both metrics as of Friday and at risk of moving back into Phase 2 of reopening, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). 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.
Whitman County is failing the metrics for case rate, with 381 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people – the highest rate in the state. But it is meeting the metric for hospitalizations.
Spokane County is not meeting the state's goal for its hospitalization rate but its COVID-19 case rate is on track, according to the DOH data.
Spokane County Interim Health Officer Dr. Frank Velazquez recently warned that the county was "very close" to surpassing the metrics necessary to stay in Phase 3 of reopening, noting "concerning" trends in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.