PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new roadmap for reopening the state based on regional data instead of county-to-county statistics.
Inslee said during a press conference on Tuesday the “Healthy Washington” plan will move forward based on COVID-19 metrics gathered by the Washington Department of Health. The governor said the regional plan will go into effect on Jan. 11. On that date, some live entertainment activities will be allowed to resume with very limited in-person gatherings as well as some fitness programs.
“What we announce today won’t result in big, significant reopenings today — but it is a plan so we can do that tomorrow when these conditions exist to allow us to move forward,” Inslee said.
There won’t be an application process to move from Phase 1 to subsequent phases. Each region automatically starts in Phase 1 and will advance automatically once the Health Department determines they are eligible to do so.
When a region moves to Phase 2, restaurants will be permitted to reopen with 25% capacity as well as indoor fitness centers, sports competitions can resume with a limited number of spectators and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their capacities from current limits.
Each of the state’s eight regions will have to meet metrics in four categories including COVID-19 hospitalization rates, ICU capacity, case data and case positivity data.
Washington health officials said regions must meet the following state-mandated criteria to advance: a 10% decrease trend over the last 14 days, a 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospital admission rates over the same period, that the ICU occupancy rate is less than 90%, and that the test positivity rate is less than 10%.
Inslee said it’s possible that a region could move backward if they see an influx in these metrics.
The rollout of the vaccine has gone slower than anticipated throughout the United States, including in Washington.
Inslee said Tuesday the state is working with multiple partners to move forward as quickly as possible. He said they’re working to try to accelerate the program in various ways, but their progress is limited by the federal government’s delivery schedule of vaccines and the information provided to them.
The US ramped up COVID-19 vaccinations in the past few days after a slower-than-expected start, bringing the number of shots dispensed to about 4 million, government health officials said Sunday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, also said on ABC’s “This Week” that President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to administer 100 million shots of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office is achievable.