Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday that counties now must fail in two metrics to be moved back a phase in their reopening – and some counties may have if the guidance had stayed the same.
Previously, a county could be forced to regress to more restrictions if they had more than 200 cases per 100,000 people. Now they also must have more than five hospitalizations per 100,000 people for the state to regress a county to a more restrictive phase.
During a visit to a Spokane Mass Vaccination clinic Friday, Inslee said several counties, including Spokane were at risk of going back a phase if he had not changed the guidance.
“There will probably be some counties, which could include Spokane, which would have had to go back under our previous rule, and will not now,” he said. There will probably be some, we can’t tell you exactly who it is. Spokane’s doing pretty good right now, but this is not a final thing, we’ve got to look at the final numbers to make a decision. We’ll do that Monday.”
On Monday, Inslee will announce which counties have failed to meet the criteria to stay in Phase 3 of his re-opening plan.
Spokane County currently has 193 cases per 100,000 people and 4.7 hospitalizations per a 100,000 people, according to the Spokane Regional Health District. Whitman County has more than 400 cases per 100,000.
Inslee also said the state has a good system now for tracking COVID-19 variants and hospitalizations are a better way to track how a community is responding to the virus.
“We believed, we were confident this was the right thing for the state of Washington,” he said. “Now, communities will not have to go back unless they quote fail two of those, instead of one of those things. We also believed … that having the relationship between the number of cases and the number of hospitalizations is a better predictor of what is really going on in your community.”