The Benton-Franklin Health District released the COVID-19 numbers on Friday and frankly, it's not good. The criteria for moving to Phase 2 in the Washington Safe Start Reopening Plan includes having 50 new cases or less over a two-week period for Benton County, 24 new cases or less over a two-week period in Franklin County.

On Friday, officials announced 107 new cases of coronavirus in Tri-Cities. 59 new confirmed cases in Benton County, 48 new confirmed cases in Franklin County. Yakima had 123 new cases and three deaths in one day. Yakima County's hospitals are full, patients are currently on a waiting list.

In other words, in JUST ONE DAY, Benton County has surpassed the allowed TWO-WEEK total allowed to move to the next phase, Franklin County DOUBLED the allowed fortnight case total in just a SINGLE DAY. No wonder there is great concern for Benton, Franklin and Yakima Counties around the state and the comment from Benton County Commissioner Shon Small was right on the mark: "We've exhausted all other resources."

It is time to wear a mask, people. All of us.

Meanwhile, the numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations has had an alarming uptick in the last couple of weeks, as coronavirus cases keep soaring ever higher and higher. The number of cases requiring admittance stands at about 70 in area hospitals. Tri-Cities does not have enough beds to handle continued doubling of bi-weekly confirmed coronavirus case hospitalizations.

Health district officials say not all patients who are in Lourdes, Trios and Kadlec have the virus, but available beds are quickly filling as reports of daily sharp increases of COVID-19 confirmed cases coincide with more and more beds being needed.

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