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New statewide recovery plan put into place

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New regions defined by the new COVID-19 phase recovery plan

Governor Jay Inslee announced a new COVID-19 phased recovery plan last week called "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery." This began on January 11, and reset every county into Phase 1. According to this new plan, retail occupancy remains at 25%. It also allows for limited live entertainment and fitness center activities.

"No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020; many have and continue to suffer through no fault of their own," said Inslee during a press conference on Tuesday, January 5. "We aren't out of this yet, but we are close to turning the corner on COVID-19 and this third wave of infection."
This new plan is laid out in hopes that it will avoid overwhelming the state's health care systems. The new recovery system aims to safely ease some restrictions while ensuring care for Washingtonians and encouraging economic recovery.

New Regions

One of the biggest steps right now is the division of the state into regions instead of counties. The regions are based on Emergency Medical Services regions used for evaluating healthcare services. There are eight regions, each with four or more counties.

Regions:

  • West: Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston
  • Southwest: Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania, Wahkiakum
  • South Central: Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Kittitas, Walla Walla, Yakima
  • Northwest: Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason
  • North Central: Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan
  • North: Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom
  • East: Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman
  • Central: King, Pierce, Snohomish

New Metrics
Each region can move into the next phase of recovery if they meet the new metrics determined by the DOH. Each Friday the regions' metrics will be examined and any changes will take effect the following Monday.

  • To move forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2 the region must meet all four metrics.
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
  • ICU occupancy (total of COVID and non-COVID patients) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 10%

To remain in Phase 2 the region must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
  • Decreasing or flat trend in two week rate of new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
  • ICU occupancy of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 10%

If a region fails to meet two or more of the defined metrics they will be moved back to Phase 1. The DOH and local health departments reserve the right to move a region outside of this timing. Additional phases may be added as the state's COVID-19 situation evolves with continued vaccine distribution and other changes in public health response.

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