New county ratings coming today

By on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

OLYMPIA – State analysts spent Monday going over the metrics so Gov. Jay Inslee could announce today whether counties have to move down or remain in Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan. An estimated 16 counties were on the brink of demotion based on figures from late last week.

Among those counties considered likely to fall back to Phase 2 are Benton, Franklin, King, Yakima, and Kitsap. Three counties, Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman were already demoted after Inslee began the system by placing all of the state’s counties in Phase 3.

Counties are evaluated every three weeks on two metrics. Originally, the counties had to meet both of them, but Inslee loosened the requirement to only having to meet one of the two. The metrics are the two-week case rate and the hospitalization rate over one week.

Political observers say it is possible the governor could loosen the metrics further to allow counties with higher case counts to remain in the current phase, but it’s not deemed likely.