Governor Jay Inslee announces new regional reopening plan

Governor Jay Inslee recently announced “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery,” a new regionally focused reopening plan that will begin on January 11th. The Inslee Administration believes the new plan will allow the state to ease some business restrictions without overwhelming hospital systems.

“No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020; many have and continue to suffer through no fault of their own,” Inslee said. “We aren’t out of this yet, but we are close to turning the corner on COVID-19 and this third wave of infection.”

Whatcom County is located in the state’s “North” region, which includes Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties.

Each region will begin in Phase 1.

To go from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet each of the following metrics:

  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases.
  • Decreasing hospital admission rates.
  • ICU occupancy rate of less than 90%.
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 10%.

To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases.
  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission.
  • ICU occupancy of less than 90%.
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 10%.

Regions that do not meet two or more of the above metrics will be placed back in Phase 1.

“We are pleased to see the Governor try a new strategy,” said Barbara Chase, Whatcom Business Alliance Executive Director. “However, we must make every effort to reopen, as soon as possible. The long-term economic and health impact of year-long restrictions is staggering. Whatcom County businesses are closing while families struggle with their mental and physical health. We also encourage the Governor to visit Whatcom County businesses to see just how hard our private sector leaders are working to keep the public safe, including those industries still under severe restrictions.”

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