SPOKANE, Wash. — The East region, including Spokane County, is not yet eligible to move into Phase 2 of reopening after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a revised Roadmap to Recovery plan on Thursday.
Inslee said during a press conference that the criteria for regions in Washington to move from Phase 1 to 2 of reopening is becoming less stringent, allowing for the Puget Sound and West Regions to move into Phase 2 on Monday, Feb. 1. The counties in these regions represent about half of the state's population, Inslee said.
Phase changes will remain in effect until Monday, Feb. 15, Inslee's office said. The Washington State Department of Health will also calculate regions' metrics to determine phase status every two weeks from this point forward.
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Under the revised plan, regions are required to meet three of four health metrics to progress, instead of all four. The changes follow conversations with public health leaders and the state's increasing vaccination rates.
To move on to Phase 2, a region must meet the following four targets:
- Decreasing trend in two-week rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people
- Decreasing trend in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people
- Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds less than 90%
- Seven-day percent positivity of COVID-19 tests less than 10%
The East region was meeting two out of the four metrics as of Thursday, Jan. 28, according to Inslee's office.
Hospital admissions have decreased by 16% and ICU occupancy is sitting at 76% in eastern Washington, according to the data provided by Inslee's office. However, the two-week rate of new COVID-19 cases has increased by 22% and the positivity rate is sitting at 18 percent.
Inslee announced the state's “Healthy Washington” plan earlier in January as a road map to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. The state was grouped into eight regions, all of which started in Phase 1 of reopening on Jan. 11. Under Inslee’s initial plan, there were only two phases and the state planned to add more once the situation improved.
In Phase 1, indoor social gatherings are prohibited. Indoor worship services, retail stores, and professional and personal services are limited to 25% capacity. Indoor dining remains prohibited unless restaurants meet “open air” requirements and outdoor dining is limited to six people per table or two households per table.
In Phase 2, a maximum of five people from outside of a person's household can gather indoors and indoor dining is available at 25% capacity until 11 p.m., among other changes. Indoor fitness centers can also open at 25% capacity.