WENATCHEE — Gov. Jay Inslee says counties will either move up or remain in Phase 3 of COVID-19 restrictions and that the state is headed toward a lifting of most restrictions by June 30.
Indoor capacity will increase from 50% to 100% on June 30 for the majority of businesses and public places — restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and more, the governor announced at a Thursday news conference.
The statewide COVID plateau of cases that postponed the "Healthy Washington" county evaluations on May 4 has proven to be a decline, according to the governor.
A full reopening will occur even sooner if the state reaches a 70% threshold of eligible people vaccinated with at least one dose before June 30, according to the governor.
Statewide, approximately 57% of people 16 and older have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Department of Health.
In Chelan County, around 60% of people 16 and older have received the first dose of a two-dose vaccine as of May 10, according to data from the state Department of Health. Around 52% of people 16 and older have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Douglas County as of May 10.
The state of emergency will not end on June 30, however. If statewide ICU capacity reaches 90%, activities and event will be scaled back again, according to the governor.
Inslee also announced Thursday that the state would be adopting the new masking guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a news release from the governor's office.
The new CDC guidelines do not require that fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings. Someone is fully vaccinated after two weeks have passed after receiving the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
This new guidance, however, does not apply to places like hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctors' offices, schools, and public transportation, according to the governor. Everyone is still required to wear a mask in these settings.
In the North Central Region, COVID-19 incidence rates have dropped in the week in every county with the exception of Okanogan County.
Okanogan County has had 88 new COVID cases between April 28 to May 11, slightly higher than the April 19 to May 2 period when it was 66, according to Okanogan County Health District data. Okanogan County would have still remained in Phase 3 regardless of the governor's change, according to "Healthy Washington" metrics.
Grant County's COVID data has improved a bit since the postponement, seeing the incidence rate drop from 290.6 per 100,000 on April 30 to 276.6 per 100,000 between April 21 to May 4, according to Department of Health data.
Grant County was at risk of being sent back to Phase 2 of the "Healthy Washington" plan based on the "Healthy Washington" COVID-19 metrics but now will remain in Phase 3 along with every other county in the state.
The incidence rate in Chelan County has continued drop, dipping below 100 as of May 10 with 96.7 per 100,000, according to Chelan-Douglas Health District data. In Douglas County, the incidence rate is close to dropping that additional digit with a 107.4 per 100,000 new COVID cases as of May 10.
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This is a developing story and will be updated.