OLYMPIA — Governor Jay Inslee announced today that five counties east of the Cascade Mountains will advance to the second phase in his four-part state reopening plan.

Those five counties — Yakima, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, and Franklin — have stayed for months in a modified first phase, which is the most restrictive of Inslee’s pandemic emergency plan that locks down many businesses, social activities and social events.

It’s the first major movement forward since Inslee put his entire county-by-county plan on hold amid a statewide spike in corona virus cases.

These five counties were major corona virus hot spots this summer as Yakima County ranked among the nation’s most severely afflicted, and was the first area to require a face mask mandate. Days following, Inslee issued a statewide face mask mandate.

Inslee praised people in those communities for tamping down the spread of the virus, including through the use of facial coverings.

“And as a result of masking up, they have knocked down these numbers down dramatically,” Inslee said.

He told Washingtonians to keep masking up, and said those who don’t wear masks are “irresponsible” and even encouraged families to wear masks in their homes. Inslee also noted that cases continue to spike in Clark and Spokane counties. 

In today’s Clark County Public Health update another 23 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has died – a man in his 80s with no underlying health conditions. To date, 3,979 Clark County residents have tested positive and 64 people have died.

The current incidence of new COVID-19 cases in Clark County is 100.1 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days. That’s an increase from last week (95.6 cases per 100,000), and means Clark County remains in the “high” range under the state’s school reopening guidance.

Currently, Clark County has 135 active cases. 

“The number of active cases reflects the number of confirmed cases who are currently in their isolation period. For most people, isolation is based on when symptoms began, not when they received the positive test result. Some individuals learn they are COVID-19 positive and only have a few days of isolation remaining,” said Marissa Armstrong, of Clark County Public Health.

There are 20 COVID-19 patients and nine persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 hospitalized. 

Governor’s Reopening Plan.

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