Inslee announces metric changes to Healthy Washington's plans to reopen the state
- Olympia, WA
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced several changes to the state’s Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery. The governor first announced the regional, phased reopening plan Jan. 6. The plan will be changed in two ways; first, the evaluation criteria for regions to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and the timeframe in which regions can progress.
“We are getting closer to finding our way out of this mess, but we aren’t there yet,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “We have sacrificed too much to let our frustrations get the best of us now when the finish line is in sight, however distant that may seem in our field of vision.”
The changes come after further conversations with public health partners and the state’s increasing vaccination rates.
In accordance with the roadmap, several regions will be eligible to enter Phase 2 beginning Monday. The progression is contingent on whether their metrics continue their positive trends.
Regions moving to Phase 2 effective Monday are:
West (Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston, Lewis)
Puget Sound (Snohomish, King, Pierce)
“The fact that these two regions are moving into Phase 2 is encouraging news,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, secretary of health. “As we continue our community efforts, we hope more such progress will be made. Ultimately our goal remains ensuring the health and safety of all of Washington.”
Under the new plan, regions will only be required to meet three of the four public health metrics to progress to Phase 2. The original roadmap required regions to meet all four.
The four metrics remain the same. They are:
Trend in case rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100K population;
Trend in hospital admissions rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100K population;
Percent ICU occupancy: Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds; and
Percent positivity: 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests.
The metrics provide an overview of current COVID-19 trends and health care system readiness in each region, ensuring that health care systems will efficiently and equitably respond to potential future outbreaks. The requirement to maintain three metrics to remain in Phase 2 remains unchanged. If any region fails to meet any two metrics, they will still regress to Phase 1.
The governor also announced that the Department of Health’s timeline for region’s evaluation will change. Beginning next week, regions metrics will be evaluated every two weeks instead of every week.
Read the full Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery plan here.