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Inslee: Counties Now Must Fail In Two Metrics To Be Moved Back a Phase

Rebecca White/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday that counties now must fail in two metrics to be moved back a phase in their reopening. The governor says the state won't act unless counties have both a high hospitalization and case rate.

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 cases for the state to regress a county to a more restrictive phase.

"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 in his Friday release.

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.

In the last week of March, the county's hospitalization rate was 2.7 per 100,000 people.

Kelli Hawkins, the spokeswoman for the district, said the State Department of Health may be using slightly different metrics than the health district. She said their process could mean slightly different numbers will be used to make the decision on whether the county stays in this phase on Monday.

Earlier this week, Spokane Regional Health District interim health officer Francisco Velazquez raised concerns over the rising case rate in the county.

“The line is headed into the area that could potentially hit those 200,000, the 200 per 200,000 if we continue the trend that we are," he told reporters Wednesday.

He urged community members to keep following public health restrictions and get vaccinated as soon as they can.

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