Three Counties Will Roll Back to Phase 2, Including (Surprise!) Pierce
After some confusion over the metrics, which were 'changed' by Gov. Inslee and state officials just prior to last weekend, we now know that three Washington counties will move back to Phase 2.
They are Pierce, Whitman and Cowlitz Counties. Whitman is likely due to WSU student activity, while specific sof Cowlitz are not clear. It's a sparsely populated county, lumber, timber and ag. Not exactly a lot of population centers.
Prior to last weekend counties only had to 'fail' one of the two metrics to be pushed back. They are: number of new cases per 100K population (for larger counties) or 50K for smaller counties. Larger ones cannot exceed 200 new cases for a 14 day period; smaller ones it's 100.
The other metric was new hospitalizations over the same period. Friday, Gov. Inslee and WSDOH officials changed it so that a county would have to be failing BOTH metrics to move back.
Some critics and GOP legislators said when it became clear that King and Snohomish Counties would likely fail at least one of the metrics under the original system, the state changed them 'on purpose.'
This was a relief to many in Yakima and Franklin County, as their new cases per 100K of population were pushing towards 190.
Inslee said, via his medium.com state website that these moves are "not punitive actions, they are to save lives and protect health."
Officials continue to push for vaccinations, so far about 33 percent of all Washington residents have received one dose of any of the three that are being administered. The next round of evaluations for counties will be May 3rd.
Benton County, prior to last Thursday, had been at a rate of 133 new cases per 100K, well below the threshold. WSDOH data showed Benton was one of a number of relatively 'safe' counties when it came to possible rollbacks.
WSDOH officials say the three counties will not be in Phase 2 long, they will possibly be re-evaluated prior to May 3.
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