All Washington counties to move into Phase 3 after reopening pause

May 19 2021, 12:11 pm

All Washington counties have moved into Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery phased reopening plan, announced The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Wednesday.

“We are happy to see the beginning of declining disease activity in Washington and more people getting vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH in a press release. “However, we need to continue to focus on our vaccination efforts. To fully reopen and protect our communities, we want to see at least 70% of eligible Washington residents get their first dose – right now, we’re at about 59%, so we still have a ways to go.”

Phase 3 will allow for in-person spectators at sports events. Outdoor venues with permanent seating will be allowed to fill up to 25% capacity. Phase 3 will allow up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces including restaurants, fitness centers, movie theaters, and more.

Physical distancing and facial coverings are still required; however, the state is also moving toward June 30 as the date Washington will fully reopen.

Governor Jay Inslee’s medium page outlined several metrics that the counties will need to follow:

For large counties to remain in Phase 3, defined as counties with more than 50,000 residents, they must keep a 14-day average of new COVID cases at or below 200 per 100,000 residents, and a seven-day average of new hospitalizations per 100,000 at five or fewer.

Smaller counties, those with populations of 50,000 or less, must maintain a 14-day average of new cases at 30 or fewer, and a new seven-day hospitalization average at three or fewer.

If at any point the statewide ICU capacity reaches greater than 90%, all counties will move down one Phase. The Department of Health always maintains the ability to move a county forward or backward at their discretion.

The counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks, with state health officials continuing to monitor COVID-19 and vaccination data over the coming weeks. If statewide ICU capacity reaches 90% at any point, activities will be rolled back again.

Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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