5 of Washington's 39 counties aren't in Phase 2 yet. Here's why
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Washington has slowly started the process of reopening the state. The state's stay-at-凯发k8地址home order expired after May 31 and the state has since adopted a county-by-county approach.
There are 34 counties across Washington state that have applied for and been approved to move to the second or third phases of the state’s reopening plan.
But five other counties in the state remain in Phase 1 or a modified version of Phase 1.
Gov. Jay Inslee last month issued expanded guidelines for counties to move to the next phase of the state's reopening plan. The new criteria will also offer counties more flexibility, Inslee said, as the state continues to reopen on a county-by-county basis. The metrics will be looked at as a whole and thought of as "targets."
"They're not necessarily individual requirements," he said. "Each will be evaluated in their totality to make sure we can really move forward."
The new metrics includes having fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14-day period -- up from the original target of 10 cases. The state will also be looking to make sure hospitalizations in counties are flat or decreasing and that hospitals are prepared with enough beds and personal protection equipment to handle the virus.
Applications to move to the second phase need to include plans for testing, contact tracing and responding to outbreaks in congregate settings. They also need to have the support of public health officials and the county councils or commissions.
Phase 2 includes the opening of restaurants, hair and nail salons and retail stores at limited capacities. In Phase 2, certain outdoor recreation activities, such as camping, can restart. People can also gather in groups of five or fewer.
Throughout the second phase, residents are still asked to limit nonessential travel and to follow social distancing guidelines.
The Washington State Department of Health said in a blog post counties that continue to report large numbers of confirmed cases likely won’t be able to move to the next phase on June 1.
“We will continue to open slowly and cautiously, making decisions that are driven by public health data and science. Counties that continue to have large numbers of people with COVID-19 are not in a position to open up stores, restaurants and services safely yet,” the blog post said.
Here is where all of Washington’s counties stand.
Counties still in Phase 1:
Yakima County has seen large increases in the number of confirmed cases of the virus over the past several weeks. Between May 14 and May 27, the county reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus, about one-third of the total number of cases reported in the county since the start of the pandemic.
The county currently has more than 430 cases per 100,000 people, the highest number of confirmed cases per capita across the state.
Agriculture is a main industry in Yakima County, meaning many people in the area are essential workers that have continued going to work throughout the crisis. Earlier this month, people working at produce warehouses in the county protested, calling for more safety precautions to protect them from the spread of the virus, according to the Associated Press.
The county has also had a number of outbreaks at longterm care facilities. Over the past two weeks, the Washington State Department of Health, the Yakima Health District and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been working together to help slow the spread of the virus in the area.
Benton County has reported 757 total confirmed cases of the virus, including 62 deaths. It is reporting an average of 60 cases per 100,000 people between May 14 and May 27.
Benton County applied to move to Phase 2, but its application is on pause.
Franklin County has had a total of 535 cases, including 20 deaths. It still has a rate of cases per 100,000 people that exceeds that of the targets laid out by the state.
Franklin County applied to move to Phase 2, but its application is on pause.
Counties in Phase 1.5:
Chelan County has reported about 86 cases per 100,000 people between May 14 and May 27, far exceeding the guidelines to move forward with reopening.
Chelan County has reported 244 cases of the virus in total, including 6 deaths.
A group of officials and business owners in Chelan and Douglas counties filed a lawsuit against Inslee calling for him to end the state of emergency and allow the counties to reopen.
On June 10, Chelan County was approved to move to a modified Phase 1, which expands the businesses and activities that are allowed to reopen.
Douglas County, with 167 total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, still remains far from meeting the criteria laid out to move to the next phase of reopening. The county reported 39 new cases between May 14 and May 27, a rate of about 94 cases per 100,000.
On June 10, Douglas County was approved to move to a modified Phase 1, which expands the businesses and activities that are allowed to reopen.
Senior producer Alex Halverson also contributed to this report.
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