Four more counties approved to move into phase 2 of reopening

Four more counties approved to move into phase 2 of reopening

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman on Friday approved the applications for four more counties to move into phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.

The approved counties are: Adams, Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Spokane.

Fourteen counties have now been approved to move to phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Lincoln, Lewis, Ferry, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman.

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State officials said 11 more counties are eligible to apply to move to phase 2: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, San Juan and Thurston.

Officials stressed that businesses approved to move into phase 2 must comply with the health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen.

Kittitas County’s application is “on pause” until Tuesday due to an “outbreak investigation,” officials said.

To apply for variance to move into phase 2, counties must have an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. Officials say the application also requires support from the county’s local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals, and the county commission/council.

Each county also needs to show they have adequate local hospital bed capacity and adequate personal protective equipment to keep health workers safe.

According to the state, the application also must include plans for:

  • Making testing available and accessible to everyone in the county with symptoms.
  • Staffing case investigations and contact tracing.
  • Housing residents in isolation or quarantine who can’t or don’t want to do so at home.
  • Providing case management services to those in isolation and quarantine.
  • Responding rapidly to outbreaks in congregate settings.

The applications are reviewed by the Secretary of Health, who can approve the plans as submitted, approve with modifications or can deny the application.

Officials say if circumstances change within the county, the variance can be revoked.