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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Sanchez

North Central Washington Region has met COVID-19 requirements to advancing to Phase 2 this weekend

- Olympia, WA

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today five new regions have met the metric requirements to progress to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan, starting this weekend. The West and Puget Sound regions have maintained their metric requirements to stay in Phase 2 making 90% of the states population in Phase 2.

In Phase 2, a maximum of five people from outside of a person's household can gather indoors and indoor dining is available at 25% capacity until 11 p.m., among other changes. Indoor fitness centers can also open at 25% capacity.

Last month Governor Inslee relaxed the criteria to move between phases. Counties must now meet three of the following four metrics to be allowed to proceed.

  • 10% decreasing trend in case rates

  • 10% decrease in coronavirus hospital admission rates

  • ICU occupancy that’s less than 90%

  • Test positivity rate that’s less than 10%

The South Central region failed to meet two metrics – hospital admissions and test positivity rate.

The new regions progressing to Phase 2 are:

  • North (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island)

  • North Central (Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant)

  • Northwest (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason)

  • East (Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Whitman, Garfield)

  • Southwest (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, Clark, Klickitat)

The only region not moving to Phase 2 is the South Central region – which includes Ellensburg, Yakima metro, the Tri-Cities metro and Walla Walla area.

Additionally, the governor announced Thursday evening that the five regions progressing will be able to do so starting Sunday, Feb. 14. The holiday weekend provides a large portion of a restaurant's yearly revenue, and by moving up the region's reopening date will allow dining establishments to benefit.

"I know this creates more options for restaurants to make Valentine's Day special for couples who hoped they could have a night out," Inslee said. "I am confident people, young and old, will celebrate safely. And if it's a first date that doesn't go well, remind them to stay six feet away from you."

Inslee praised the state for making “real progress on the pandemic” as the number of new cases dropped “significantly” over the last few weeks. On average, Washington recorded 2,894 new cases per day at the most recent peak on Jan. 8. King 5 News Seattle reported that Since then, the seven-day average dropped to 1,327 new cases as of Jan. 30, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health.

“People have been following science,” Inslee said. “We have been masking up. Business owners have been complying with the ‘Healthy’ rules and being very innovative in this way.”

Inslee also announced he authorized the Department of Commerce to distribute an additional $87 million from the state’s Disaster Response Account for rental and business assistance programs.

BY: Brandon Sanchez MLWA 7 News / TEGNA KING 5 News Seattle

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