Inslee threatens to roll counties back to Phase 2

Washington

Governor Inslee in Vancouver, Washington, April 2 2021. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Jay Inslee has threatened to roll back some counties back to Phase 2 after an uptick in COVID cases.

He’ll be making an announcement on Monday.

“This is a critical moment,” he said. All counties are now in Phase 3 of his reopening plan.

“We’ve let down our guard to some degree,” Inslee said.

Inslee said 20% of Washington state residents have been vaccinated. He said he is still troubled by the number of seniors who have still not been vaccinated despite being eligible.

“90% of physicians have had the vaccine, they know it’s safe,” he said. He encouraged everyone to become advocates for their families to get the vaccine.

He said he is doubling the budget to create public service announcements about the safety of vaccines.

Inslee also said he is hoping to use money from the American Rescue Plan for affordable housing in Washington state. Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet and Chair of Skagit County Board of Commissioners Lisa Janicki also expressed support for the idea.

Last week, Inslee announced Washington is opening up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older starting on April 15.

Inslee had previously resisted expanding eligibility too quickly, saying that he wanted to ensure those most at risk were vaccinated first and noting that eligibility didn’t guarantee vaccination right away and would depend on supply. But, he said that the federal government’s assurances of increased allocations, plus concerns about rising cases in many parts of the state, led to the decision to open up eligibility sooner.

This decision came several days before President Joe Biden announced all Americans aged 16 and older would be eligible no later than April 19.

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