NCW — The Chelan-Douglas Health Board will delay submitting a next-phase application to the state as both counties face a second wave of COVID-19 positives.

The rate of COVID-19 positives has risen after the partial reopening from close to 25 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, to now 126 cases, said Dr. Malcolm Butler, Chelan-Douglas Health officer. It appears to be a second wave, he said during a Chelan-Douglas Board of Health meeting on Thursday.

In the last 14 days Chelan County has had 88 positives and Douglas County 64, according to the health district.

There are 11 people on ventilators at Central Washington Hospital. Six of them have COVID-19. The caseload has the hospital close to shutting down elective surgeries again, Butler said.

“So that does not mean we are in a crisis, but it does mean that we are now getting ready to be in a crisis,” Butler said.

The board did not take action on the application for Phase 2 Thursday, but is ready with 24-hour notice to submit an application, Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton said. Sutton is also a member of the health board.

The state’s goal for counties to move to the next phase is 25 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, Butler said. He believes that if Chelan and Douglas counties get down to 75 cases and are headed toward 50 cases per 100,000, the health district could submit an application for Phase 2.

“I can tell you at Columbia Valley Community Health in the last 48 hours, about 50% of the tests have come back positive,” Butler said. “So, this is not just an increase in the amount of testing.”

Central Washington Hospital can handle the current level of positives it is receiving, but any increase will lead to limiting other services, Confluence Health CEO Dr. Peter Rutherford said. If the disease plateaus at its current level, Confluence Health would support increased economic and recreational activities.

Sutton supports holding off submitting a Phase 2 request because of the increase in positive cases and the number of people on ventilators.

“A very sound argument by some of the medical professionals (was) that submitting an application at this point in time wouldn’t be acceptable to the state and may even damage our credibility by doing so,” Sutton said.

A lot of the increase in COVID-19 positives came from a single location, Butler said. A large packing warehouse in East Wenatchee had 26 positives over the past few days. In addition, Columbia Valley Community Health tested 98 individuals from the packing house on Thursday.

Butler did not identify the warehouse or provide any reasons for the large number of cases at the facility.

Tony Buhr: 664-7123 or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr