VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Clark County isn’t wasting any time as it works to enter the second phase of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.
Governor Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that Clark County is among 10 new counties eligible to apply to enter Phase 2 of his reopening plan.
“I think the people in the community—certainly business owners—are very much excited about this and want to move forward,” said Clark County Chair Eileen Quiring.
Quiring said the first step for Phase 2 approval involves the local board of health. In this case, it’s the Clark County Council.
The next step is submitting paperwork promising the county meets specific requirements such as adequate testing sites. Hospitals must have the capacity to handle a potential spike in cases and be equipped with a two-week supply of personal protective equipment.
For Clark County to enter Phase 2, it must also prove that there have been fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 people for at least two full weeks.
“Clark County has 488,500 people and we’ve averaged 2.6 cases a day,” Quiring said.
The council is still tying up some loose ends, including securing a deal with a company that will handle contact tracing. Inslee said last week Washington will have 350 members of the National Guard to help with contact tracing but Quiring said that won’t extend to Clark County.
“Clark County will not be using the National Guard at all,” she said.
The county—like countless others across the nation—has plenty of reasons to want to move forward quickly. For everyone in the area who is out of work, Quiring said the state’s approval can’t some soon enough.
“They are dying on the vine and they’re ready to get going,” she said.
Quiring said the county hopes to have an answer from the state on whether it can enter Phase 2 within the next few days.
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