Last week, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he is modifying the requirements for regions to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery Plan. Regions can now move to Phase 2 when they meet three of the four metrics for COVID-19 trends and healthcare system readiness, rather than needing to meet all four.
The four metrics are:
- Trend in case rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100K population;
- Trend in hospital admissions rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100K population;
- Percent ICU occupancy: Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds; and
- Percent positivity: 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests.
This news means that effective today, February 1, the Puget Sound Region, which includes King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, will move to Phase 2. Our region currently meets the metrics for hospital admissions, percent ICU occupancy, and percent positivity. This is significant news for our restaurant industry in particular – under Phase 2, restaurants are permitted to open for indoor dining at 25% capacity. Our region’s cultural and entertainment venues will also be able to increase their activity. You can see more of the changes in allowed activities between Phase 1 and Phase 2 here.
Governor Inslee also announced that going forward, regional metrics will be evaluated every two weeks, rather than every week. Phase 2 regions must continue to meet three or more of the metrics to stay in Phase 2.
Even though the progress on our metrics is encouraging, it is critical that all of us keep taking the precautions we know so well by now: wear a well-fitting mask, limit interactions, continue to physically distance from those outside of your household, and remember that well-ventilated areas are safer. As King County Public Health reminds us, especially with a new, more transmissible variant circulating in our community, we need to stay committed to taking these precautions each and every day.
We also strongly encourage you to get the vaccine when you are eligible. Vaccination is the critical path to a safe and full reopening of our economy. We appreciate Chamber members such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, and Virginia Mason, who are applying their resources and expertise to help get vaccines distributed as swiftly as possible. We hope to have more news to share soon about how more employers can get involved in this all-hands-on-deck effort.