All Washington counties now in Phase 3 of reopening plan

Washington
Ted S. Warren
FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2021 file photo, a Washington State Patrol vehicle drives past the Insurance Building with the Legislative Building in the background at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., the night before the opening of the 2021 legislative session.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — All Washington counties moved to Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan on Tuesday.

This includes Cowlitz, Ferry, Pierce and Whitman counties, which were previously in Phase 2.

Governor Jay Inslee announced the phase moves during a press conference last week, in which he also announced the state will also be moving toward a full reopening by the end of June.

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A full reopening could happen earlier if 70 percent or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination.

The decision to move all counties to Phase 3 and move toward a full reopening comes as COVID-19 case counts have declined and vaccination rates have increased.

“We are happy to see the beginning of declining disease activity in Washington and more people getting vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah. “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 percent of eligible Washington residents get their first dose — right now, we’re at about 59 percent, so we still have a ways to go.”

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State health officials continue to monitor COVID-19 and vaccination data, and added that activities will be rolled back again should statewide ICU capacity reach 90 percent at any point.

“The next chapter of recovery from this pandemic is within our reach and we can get there faster with vaccination,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary for 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.

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