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Spokane County won't meet Phase 3 metrics for Monday evaluation, health officer says

The next reopening phase evaluation for counties in Washington will take place on Monday, May 3 and an announcement will be made on Tuesday.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Spokane County will likely move back to Phase 2 in Washington state's reopening plan next week, limiting capacity at restaurants, gyms and other businesses. 

The next evaluation for counties in Washington will take place on Monday, May 3 so coronavirus numbers from the weekend can be included, a spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee's office said on Wednesday. An announcement will be made via press conference on Tuesday, May 4. 

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised reopening plan, which was announced on March 11, counties are evaluated every three weeks on two metrics – coronavirus case rate over two weeks and hospitalization rate over one week. Although counties originally had to meet both metrics to avoid moving backward, Inslee announced on April 9 that counties could remain in Phase 3 by meeting just one metric.

Spokane County is not meeting either metric needed to remain in Phase 3 of the "Healthy Washington" reopening plan.

The county reported 299 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people from April 11-24, according to data provided by the Spokane Regional Health District on Tuesday. Large counties, including Spokane, must have fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during a two-week period to remain in Phase 3. 

Spokane County also reported 8.6 hospitalizations per 100,000 people from April 18-24, according to SRHD data. Large counties must have fewer than five new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 10,000 people over seven days to stay in Phase 3. 

Dr. Francisco Velazquez, interim health officer for SRHD, said during a press conference on Wednesday that Spokane County has not been meeting the Phase 3 metrics "for quite some time now."

“If nothing changes and the assessment is done exactly the same way that has been proposed…we’re not meeting and will not meet those two metrics come next Monday," Velazquez said. 

Indoor dining is reduced from 50% capacity in Phase 3 to 25% capacity in Phase 2. Fitness, training and indoor sports, along with indoor entertainment establishments, are also reduced to a maximum of 25% capacity.