Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced the state will wait two weeks before deciding whether to shift counties up or down in the coronavirus reopening protocol.
State health officials had said last week that a dozen or more counties weren’t meeting the metrics necessary to continue in the current Phase 3. But the governor said there are positive signs that should be watched before making a decision that could affect a significant part of the state. He says the most recent Covid data collected by the Department of Health shows that case rates are stabilizing in areas that had seen significant increases, including Ferry County, which has been fighting an outbreak in Republic for the past 2-3 weeks.
Inslee says vaccination rates continue to slowly climb. Fifty-four percent of people who are eligible have received at least one shot, 38% are fully vaccinated. When that figure edges higher, he says, the state will experience more reopening, perhaps as early as this summer.
The governor says local health officers still have the authority to act in their areas if they feel more restrictive measures are warranted. One example of that came last week when the Tri-County Health District unilaterally moved Ferry County back to Phase 2 as a response to an outbreak in Republic.