Olympia, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the rollback of three counties that are not meeting the Phase 3 Healthy Washington reopening metrics.
The three counties returning to Phase 2 are:
- Cowlitz County
- Pierce County
- Whitman County
“These metric trends are driven by the virus and we must continue to do everything we can to sharpen our focus and keep COVID-19 activity down. We are so close to the end of the tunnel here — we have made tremendous progress and we must keep our focus,” Inslee said. “It’s like a football game; we have done 95 yards on a 99 yard-drive. We can’t let up now. These are not punitive actions; they are to save lives and protect public health.”
“Vaccine is a crucial tool that will help us end the pandemic, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t yet have enough Washingtonians fully vaccinated to rely on this alone to keep our communities safe from the virus,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for COVID-19 response, Department of Health. “We need to focus on lowering disease transmission in the next several weeks ahead as we continue our vaccination efforts in order to avoid a fourth surge of cases. This means wearing masks, watching our distancing and keeping gatherings small and outdoors.”
Last Friday, the governor announced updates to the Healthy Washington criteria:
- 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 a phase.
- 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 here.
- The Open Air Seating guidance is updated to allow flexibility for eating and drinking establishments. That guidance is available here.
- The next evaluation of counties will be in three weeks, on May 3.
This Thursday, April 15, all Washingtonians (16+) will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.