Gov. Jay Inslee today updated and clarified the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state's Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan.
Under the plan that took effect March 22, counties are individually evaluated every three weeks. The first evaluation occurs this coming Monday, and changes to a county's phase status take effect Friday, April 16. In addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties have different sets of appropriate criteria based on case counts and hospitalizations.
In advance of each county's evaluation on Monday to determine its phase, the governor established that:
1. In order to move down one phase a county must fail both metrics for case counts and hospitalizations. Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back one phase.
2. The spectator events guidance is updated to make clear what is allowed for counties in Phase 2 and how these events are related to school graduation ceremonies. That guidance is available at this link.
“Given the incredible progress on vaccinations and our focus protecting people from severe illness, we believe analyzing and requiring both metrics together is the right approach to make sure we’re considering the connection between COVID cases and our medical system and hospitalizations,” Inslee said.
Case counts and hospitalizations are rising in Washington. This is a concerning trend that is also happening nationally. Vaccines are making a difference in this fight, but millions of Washingtonians still need to be fully vaccinated. About 60,000 doses are being administered daily in Washington, but we still have to be mindful of our distance, wear our masks, and keep our gatherings small until COVID activity becomes less of a threat.
Following Monday's evaluation, the next Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan evaluation will occur May 3.