Kittitas County: No word on Phase 2 until May 26

State's top health official requires incubation period
Dr. Mark Larson, Kittitas County
Kittitas County Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson answers questions for a Twin City Foods, Inc. employee. (Courtesy: Kittitas County Public Health Department)

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Kittitas County will have to wait another week to see if it can move to Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan.

Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman told the Kittitas County Incident Management Team that the county will be required to wait until May 26, the IMT said.

Secretary Wiesman said the county must observe a two-week incubation period for COVID-19, “since it is possible that there may be others who have been exposed to COVID-19.”

RELATED: Kittitas County passed up again for variance amid outbreak

The county sent a news release addressing residents’ concerns while they sit and wait for word from the state:

The IMT knows that people of Kittitas County want to be in Phase 2. We know that people feel they can no longer maintain Phase 1 for various reasons. We anticipate some residents’ reactions to this news may be to act in a way that does not comply with state directives. But the job of the IMT and Kittitas County Public Health Department is to continue to fight COVID-19 in every way possible, and we ask our residents to support the local Kittitas County effort.

There are 59 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kittitas County. A recent uptick is associated with the outbreak at Twin City Foods, Inc. in Ellensburg, however there are no new cases from that outbreak, said Dr. Mark Larson, the county’s public health officer, said Monday.

RELATED: Two Kittitas County businesses deep-cleaned due to COVID-19

The incubation period appears to be the last step toward approval for a variance to move to Phase 2.

The news comes as Asotin County was granted state Phase-2 approval, making it the tenth Washington county to advance to the next level of reopening.

Under Phase 2, stores, hair salons, barber shops, and restaurants can accept a few customers at a time.