EAST WENATCHEE — The rate of COVID-19 cases went up a little in the last two weeks in Chelan and Douglas counties, a slight setback as the two counties look to move forward in Gov. Jay Inslee’s new reopening program.

The positive COVID-19 case rate increased to 693.9 per 100,000 people over a two-week period from Dec. 23 to Jan. 6, according to Chelan-Douglas Health District data. The rate was 666.5 per 100,000 from Dec. 16 to Dec. 30.

The rate has stayed relatively stable, though, for the past three weeks, remaining in the 600s. It hit a record 1,017 per 100,000 between Nov. 27 to Dec. 9, according to health district data.

It is unclear what the stability of the rate could mean for the counties, though, as Inslee announced a two-phase reopening for Washington state on Tuesday. The “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery” plan combines counties into regions and sets new metrics for reopening. It goes into effect on Monday, with all counties starting in Phase 1.

Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Grant counties have been grouped together in the North Central region. The four counties, combined, need to meet the following metrics to move to Phase 2:

  • A 10% decrease in the COVID-19 rate over a two-week period
  • A 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospitalization by 100,000 person population
  • Less than 90% of intensive care unit beds occupied
  • The number of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is less than 10%

The Chelan-Douglas Health District has not figured out all the details in regards to the new phased plan, Dr. Butler said Thursday. At this point, it does not have access to the combined metrics for the four counties that would signal whether the region qualifies for Phase 2, for instance.

The COVID-19 rate in Grant County is 650 per 100,000 over a two-week period as of Jan. 4, according to the Grant County Health District data.

The COVID-19 rate in Okanogan County is 346.4 per 100,000 over a two-week period as of Jan. 6, according to Okanogan County Health District data.

As for some of the other metrics just in Chelan and Douglas counties, COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped at Central Washington Hospital to 32 people as of Thursday, according to health district data. The hospital had more than 40 COVID-19 patients as of Dec. 28. Hospital staff were stretched thin with that many patients, Dr. Jason Lake, Confluence Health chief medical officer, said in previous interviews.

The health district, this week, also started releasing details about the cases reported at long-term care centers after numerous requests from media sources, said Veronica Farias, district spokesperson. The agency is not releasing the names of centers experiencing outbreaks.

In Chelan County 10 long-term care centers reported COVID-19 outbreaks as of Jan. 4, with a combined total of 11 residents and six staff members testing positive, according to health district data. No residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. The health district defines an outbreak as when one staff member and one resident catch COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 information provided by the health district, go to cdhd.wa.gov.