The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that all Washington counties have moved into Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery phased reopening plan. This includes Cowlitz, Ferry, Pierce and Whitman counties which were previously in Phase 2. As the governor announced last week, the state is also moving toward June 30 as the date Washington will fully reopen. The full reopening could happen earlier if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. The decision to move all counties to Phase 3 and announce the tentative reopening plans comes amid declining COVID-19 case counts and a push to increase vaccination rates.
“We are happy to see the beginning of declining disease activity in Washington and more people getting vaccinated,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “However, we need to continue to focus on our vaccination efforts. To fully reopen and protect our communities, we want to see at least 70% of eligible Washington residents get their first dose – right now, we’re at about 59%, so we still have a ways to go.”
State health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 and vaccination data over the coming weeks. If statewide ICU capacity reaches 90% at any point, activities will be rolled back again.
“The next chapter of recovery from this pandemic is within our reach and we can get there faster with vaccination,” says Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary for the COVID-19 Response. “With vaccine now available to kids 12 and older, we have an opportunity to protect Washington’s youth before summer and all the fun activities that come with it, like camps, sports, and social gatherings. Getting our children and communities vaccinated now will set us up for a safer and more normal summer and beyond in Washington state.”