Inslee pauses ‘Healthy Washington’ phases for two weeks

Rachel La Corte

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to reporters outside of the governor's mansion on the Capitol campus Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Olympia, Wash. Inslee held the outdoor news conference to urge people to get vaccinated and to socialize and conduct business outside as much as possible to help slow further the spread of COVID-19.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — With counties throughout Washington state preparing for a rollback, Governor Jay Inslee announced a two-week pause to the ‘Healthy Washington’ guidance. This means that all counties in Phase 3, including Benton, Franklin and Yakima Counties, will remain in this phase instead of moving back to Phase 2.

This pause wouldn’t be possible without the state’s advanced COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Gov. Inslee said that more than 54 percent of eligible Washingtonians have received their first dose and that at least 38 percent of the state’s eligible people are fully vaccinated. However, the Governor noted that epidemiologists are monitoring a fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

“We are at the intersection of progress and failure, and we cannot veer from the path of progress,” Inslee said. “Our economy is beginning to show early signs of growth thanks to some of our great legislative victories and we know vaccines are the ticket to further reopening — if we adhere to public health until enough people are vaccinated.”

While COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalization rates are on the rise in Washington state compared to weeks prior, the state isn’t in as dire of a situation as it was before vulnerable populations were vaccinated. As a result, much of the at-risk population of Washington state is already inoculated. This means that COVID-19 death rates in Washington state are down.

According to Healthy Washington guidelines here, Phase 2 brings a sharp reduction in the number of people you can have in businesses, events, services and gatherings of all kinds. Increasing case rates in Benton County, Franklin County and Yakima County were detrimental to their ability to remain in Phase 3. However, the Governor’s two-week pause allows more time for the region to limit its COVID-19 transmission


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