South Central Washington held back as the state moves into Phase 2 of re-opening

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that seven regions in the state will move into Phase 2 of re-opening, but the South Central region that encompasses the Tri-Cities, Yakima and other neighboring communities will remain in Phase 1.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — During his press conference on the afternoon of Feb. 11, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that seven of eight regions will move into Phase 2 of re-opening. However, the South Central region that encompasses the Tri-Cities and neighboring communities will remain in Phase 1 at this time.

The South Central region includes six counties: Benton and Franklin counties, Kittitas County, Yakima County, Walla Walla County and Columbia County. Each of these counties will remain in Phase 1 at this time, but have a chance to turn that around over the course of the next two weeks.

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KAPP-KVEW reached out to the Governor’s Office for a comment, which was provided by Deputy Communications Director Mike Faulk.

A region must meet at least three of the four metric trends in the plan in order to move ahead to Phase 2. The South Central region currently meets two metrics, but test positivity and hospitalizations are still trending upward.

 For the South Central region, the 14-day trend in hospitalizations for COVID is up 9% and the 7-day percent positive of COVID tests is up 14%. Every other region has seen a decrease in hospitalizations over the last 14 days.”


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Of the eight regions in the state of Washington, only the South Central (+9% COVID hospitalizations per 100k population) posted an increase in COVID-related hospitalizations. The second-highest hospitalization trend in the state of Washington was a -14% trend in the Puget Sound region.

With a 14% positivity rate over 7 days, the South Central region ties the Southwest for the highest positivity rate out of the eight regions. The South Central’s 86% ICU occupancy rate over a 7-day span is just 1% behind the North Central for the highest rate in the state of Washington.

Statewide, Washington has shown much improvement. The state is registering a 7% positivity rate overall, a -16% trend in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and a -40% trend in new COVID-19 cases.


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By moving into Phase 2, certain restrictions on business and entertainment are being loosened. Once in phase 2, entertainment venues are allowed to open once again in a reduced capacity. Restaurants and indoor businesses can operate at 25% capacity. Gyms will re-open in a limited capacity.

Overall, Phase 2 allows Washingtonians to get back to some semblance of normalcy amid the looming restrictions of this pandemic.

For more information about vaccinations in the South Central Region of Washington, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.

LOCAL COVID-19 UPDATE: Just 34 cases added on Feb. 11

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