Yakima County could move back to Phase 2 next week

Yakima Mass Vaccination Clinic State Fair Park
Credit: Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — The State Department of Health will evaluate on Monday whether Yakima County and other counties statewide will be allowed to remain in Phase 3.

Yakima Health District officials said with the county’s current COVID-19 numbers, it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to stay in Phase 3. To do so, the county would need to pass one of the state’s metrics, either for case rate or hospitalizations.

“As of yesterday, we had a rate of 257 new cases per 100,000,” said Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, Communications Specialist with the Yakima Health District. “In order to meet that measure, we have to have less than 200.”

Badillo-Sanchez said the hospitalizations numbers have been fluctuating too much to predict whether the county will be able to pass that metric. The threshold is less than five new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents and as of Wednesday evening, the county’s rate was at 4.6.

“We’re still not sure which time frame the Department of Health will be looking at,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

Regardless of whether the county stays in Phase 3 or gets moved back to Phase 2, the health district is encouraging community members to continue following public health recommendations so that future state evaluations can be met with less uncertainty.

“That’s very important, so we can continue to reduce our COVID-19 cases, reduce our hospitalizations, so we’re not in a ‘Will we go back? Will we stay?’ type of situation,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

Badillo-Sanchez said they’re encouraging anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to do so: at the federally-funded mass vaccination site at State Fair Park, a mobile vaccine clinic or one of the other vaccination sites listed at yakimavaccines.org.

“Our site is open every day from noon to 8, on-site registration is available and no documentation or identification is required,” Badillo-Sanchez said. “All we will ask is your name and date of birth and that goes the same with our mobile units as well.”

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