‘Healthy Washington’: Benton & Franklin Counties are in danger of moving back

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. — On May 3, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will evaluate regional COVID-19 metrics to determine whether counties can remain in Phase 3 of ‘Healthy Washington‘ guidelines. As of now, Benton and Franklin Counties are both in danger of moving back to reduced capacity for indoor gatherings.

On Tuesday, April 27, Benton and Franklin Counties added a combined 46 coronavirus cases, per the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD). That may not sound like much, but this contributes to an influx of coronavirus cases in the bi-county region that began around mid-to-late March.

Hospitalizations caused by COVID-19 complications account for 6.7% of the regional hospital population, which is approaching the BFHD’s target indicator of sub-10% COVID-19 hospitalizations. This reflects an increasing hospitalization rate that’s been gradual yet steady.

PREVIOUS HEALTHY WASHINGTON UPDATE: South Central counties remain in Phase 3

Currently, the case rate for Benton County stands at 197 and the case rate for Franklin County stands at 306. These rates are calculated using an equation that determines the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period. Their equation is as follows: (14-day case count/population) x 100,000. Following these metrics, Franklin County would be forced to move back into Phase 2 of re-opening.

In Phase 2, indoor capacity at all non-essential businesses is reduced to 25%, cutting the occupancy for restaurants and other businesses in half. Though it isn’t an ideal development, it’s not one that couldn’t have been predicted.

Governor Jay Inslee recently proclaimed that Washington state was on the cusp of the fourth surge of COVID-19. This rise is happening despite over 5 million Washingtonians being vaccinated up to this point. Despite being one of the leading states in terms of vaccinations, community spread remains prevalent in the state of Washington.

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