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Milestones and metrics

COVID-19 Timeline | Vaccinations underway, restrictions lighten, uncertainty remains

A year after COVID-19 arrived, North Central Washington residents and business owners are breathing a little easier, though no one knows for how long.

Vaccinations are underway and the region has moved into Phase 2 of the state’s “Roadmap to Recovery” plan. Restaurants, movie theaters and other indoor venues received a tentative green light to reopen Feb. 14 — at 25% capacity — with a caveat that every two weeks, if case counts increase or hospitals start to fill up, the doors will have to close again.

At the same time, word of new virus variants is raising questions about the efficacy of current vaccines, which are still in short supply. Double masking is the latest innovation under discussion as the Wenatchee Valley Business World heads toward the press.

Schools, though, have welcomed back students, at least part-time, creating a whole new logistical challenge for teachers and parents. High school sports are gearing up. All are welcome signs of normalcy.

Looking back at the pandemic’s first year, the region — like the rest of the country — has seen ups and downs and lessons learned. Change, and rapid change at that, has been one of the constants.

Here is a month-by-month review of how some of it played out:

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The shelves are empty that normally holds paper products at the Plaza Super Jet on March 18. According to meat manager Jeremy Hoffert, they get two shipments a week of the products and the last one put on the shelves lasted just over an hour.

March | A quick introduction to the novel coronavirus

Tuesday, Jan. 21

The first case confirmed in Snohomish County

Saturday, Feb. 29

Gov. Jay Inslee issues an emergency declaration

Wednesday, March 4

Quincy resident tests positive, the first case reported in Eastern Washington

Some Wenatchee Valley grocery store shelves empty out

Saturday, March 7

Three days after testing positive, the Quincy resident dies at Central Washington Hospital. It was the first death east of the Cascades.

Monday, March 9

Event cancellations begin

Tuesday, March 10:

School districts cancel indoor sports, close schools to visitors

Wednesday, March 11

Large gatherings (250 people or more) limited in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, “social distancing” recommended to slow the spread of the virus.

Thursday, March 12

Western Washington schools ordered closed starting March 17

Friday, March 13

Schools statewide ordered closed starting March 17. Cities, counties and other agencies postpone, suspend or move meetings online. Churches cancel in-person services.

Saturday, March 14

Confluence Health opens a drive-thru testing operation

Monday, March 16

State orders two-week closure of restaurants, bars, bans gatherings of 50 or more

Hospitals and medical facilities postpone routine appointments and elective surgeries

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Students walk home from John Newbery Elementary at the end of the school day March 16, 2020.

Tuesday, March 17

Chelan County reports first two positive cases

Schools start providing take-out lunches for students; grocery stores schedule special shopping times for at-risk shoppers.

Restaurants pivot to take-out and delivery

Thursday, March 19

Toilet paper, flour, beans and canned goods in short supply on grocery store shelves

Friday, March 20

Jobless claims show first wave of shutdown impacts

Chelan County reports third confirmed COVID-19 case

Monday, March 23

Governor’s “Stay at Home” order arrives

Douglas County reports first two cases

Wednesday, March 25

Food banks gear up for drive-thru distribution at the Town Toyota Center

Thursday, March 26

Unemployment claims jump

Saturday, March 28

Confluence Health receives 50 ventilators' health care providers waiting for personal protective equipment orders.

Monday, March 30

A second Chelan County resident dies from COVID-19

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Washington National Guard Sgt. Yoruw looks at the food stored in the Town Toyota Center arena April 7. "I've never seen so much food before," he said.

April | ‘Stay at home’ is followed by a recovery plan

Wednesday, April 1

National Guard arrives to help distribute food at the Town Toyota Center

Thursday, April 2

'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' order extended to May 4

Friday, April 3

Confluence Health expands ICU capacity, reopens drive-thru testing site

Saturday, April 4

Health district sends warning letter to "essential" businesses imploring them to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines

Monday, April 6

State closes schools through June

Chelan County orders vacation rentals, Air B&Bs and campgrounds to close

Pangborn drops to one daily flight

Tuesday, April 7

COVID-19 isolation shelter opens

Grants up to $10,000 are available for small businesses

Wednesday, April 8

Douglas County allows some home construction to continue

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The crew at Wenatchee's Pins & Needles sews face masks with fabric donated by JoAnn Fabrics that will be distributed by the Chelan-Health District. It's a change of pace from their usual spring tasks altering prom and wedding dresses.

Saturday, April 11

Community members donate more than 2,000 homemade masks and 100 homemade gowns to Confluence Health Foundation. Community also donates  7,000 manufactured masks, 15,000 pairs of gloves and 50 cases of hand sanitizer.

Sunday, April 12

First Douglas County resident dies

Tuesday, April 14

Eleven new COVID-19 cases are reported in Waterville, all connected to a single private residence.

Friday, April 17

The Governor's office pushes back against counties and cities attempting to restart construction amidst the COVID-19 quarantine. Letters are sent to Chelan and Douglas county commissions telling them the proclamations allowing pre-existing home sales to continue construction are not in compliance with the state's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order and violate state law.

Tuesday, April 22

More than 800 businesses in Chelan and Douglas counties apply for emergency relief grants from the state — but less than 5% are likely to receive funding

36 Stemilt employees test positive for COVID-19

Counties redraft construction proclamations

Gov. Jay Inslee announces recovery plan, with certain activities to resume … soon ... including elective surgeries, some outdoor recreation and construction.

Friday, April 24

Some local restaurants reopen to give to-go services another shot

Inslee says construction projects previously underway can be completed if safety guidelines are followed.

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Boaters gather near the George Sellar Bridge on the Columbia River to protest the closure of recreational fishing in Washington state.

Saturday, April 25

Protestors in boats, armed with fishing poles, gather on the Columbia River under the George Sellar Bridge to protest restrictions on fishing.

Monday, April 27

Gov. Jay Inslee announces outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, state parks and public lands, will be allowed starting May 5. Camping will remain closed, though.

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Road blockades on Front Street in Leavenworth are seen in the distance beyond the welcome sign along Highway 2.

May | Restrictions lift, pandemic concerns continue

Friday, May 1

Confluence Health asks community to continue to craft and donate homemade masks for patients visiting its facilities

More than two-thirds of businesses surveyed say they will not be able to sustain operations for another six months without help.

Monday, May 4

Inslee extends stay home order to May 31, explains four phases of recovery

Tuesday, May 5

More ag workers test positive, preventive measures in place

Chelan, Douglas counties ask governor to loosen quarantine

Thursday, May 7

Link Transit expects $7 million in federal aid. Chelan and Douglas counties and their cities anticipate $8.6 million in federal CARES Act funds.

Friday, May 8

Health district stops releasing COVID-19 ethnicity data, prompted by calls from Latino community members concerned the disparity in testing results could lead people to inaccurately believe they were responsible for the spread of the virus. Other Latino community leaders argue the information is important for an appropriate response.

Monday, May 11

Health district resumes reporting coronavirus test results broken down by patient ethnicity. The up-to-date case counts show 219 Hispanic, 48 non-Hispanic and two unknown cases. Hispanics represent 81.4% of positive COVID-19 cases, despite accounting for around 30% of the area's total population.

Tuesday, May 12

Port launches small business grant program

Health district drafts proposal to partially reopen counties

Thursday, May 14

No go on the counties’ early reopening request, says state Secretary of Health John Wiesman

Friday, May 15

Leavenworth’s downtown core closes to traffic, parking after busy Mother’s Day weekend.

Monday, May 18

Non-urgent medical and dental care is allowed, with new safety protocols.

The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health rescinds an order allowing the health officer to fine businesses not complying with the COVID-19 shutdown.

Tuesday, May 19

The Windmill owner sets May 27 reopening date, five days before the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order expires.

Friday, May 22

A group of 39 community leaders, business people and private citizens, led by Wenatchee City Councilman Jose Cuevas and Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton, sue Gov. Jay Inslee to force an end the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Tuesday, May 26

Unemployment rate hits 15.1%

The state Employment Security Department discovers a Nigerian fraud ring made off with “hundreds of millions of dollars” in unemployment benefits

Inslee announces emergency rules that give the Department of Labor & Industries the authority to cite businesses for defying COVID-19 closures. Businesses could be fined $10,000 or more.

Wednesday, May 27

In-person religious services can resume with outdoor services up to 100 people

Wenatchee’s Windmill Restaurant decides not to defy the state’s shutdown orders after a call from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board about the impact on its license.

Food banks supply boxes to about 1,700 families a week

Thursday, May 28

Tests ordered for all residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

Ag worker protection guidelines issued — physical distancing, handwashing stations, PPE, workplace disinfection, worker education, access to testing and a virus response plan.

Friday, May 29

The governor announces that counties in Phase 1 of the Safe Start plan — including Chelan and Douglas — can apply, starting June 1, to move to a modified version of that phase, allowing more businesses and activities to reopen. Making the move requires less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days. Previously the requirement was less than 10 new cases.

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Cafe Columbia barista Melinda Vargas sprays sanitizer on empty tables at the Pybus Public Market restaurant on June 12. She says they try to clean areas immediately after people leave. Jim and Linda Stewart, eating lunch, said they hoped we don't go backward or have another spike in COVID-19 cases.

June | Frustration, new guidelines, Phase 1.5

Monday, June 1

Health district forms committee to draft new proposal for restart application

Plaintiffs in Chelan and Douglas counties combine Inslee lawsuits

L&I makes first contact with businesses on COVID-19 enforcement — no fines yet, just education

Friday, June 5

Okanogan County approved for Phase 2. Chelan and Douglas are among five counties remaining in Phase 1

71 small businesses receive emergency COVID-19 grants processed through the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority

Monday, June 8

Masks required for workers. Businesses must post signs encouraging customers to wear face coverings

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Kevin McKinley, left, helps customer Jody Kane as she tries on shoes, June 12 at the American Shoe Shop in downtown Wenatchee. She was part of a wave of shoppers who were out after Chelan and Douglas counties moved to Phase 1.5 of Washington's Safe Start reopening plan.

Wednesday, June 10

State OKs Phase 1.5 for Chelan and Douglas counties, allowing some businesses and activities to resume with restrictions, including restaurants, retail, personal services and pet grooming

Friday, June 12

Slidewaters denied restraining order that would prevent fines if it opens in defiance of state orders

Wednesday, June 17

State budget cuts, furloughs coming to deal with projected $4.5 billion gap in the 2019-2021 budget

Friday, June 19

Confusion over paperwork prompts Slidewaters to move ahead with plans to open over the weekend

Saturday, June 20

Masks ordered for everyone in Yakima County

Tuesday, June 23

Masks ordered statewide starting June 26

Wednesday, June 24

Chelan County Superior Court Judge Kristin Ferrera denies a temporary restraining order that would have lifted Inslee's COVID-19 state of emergency.

Colleges say plan for fall is in-person if possible; masks likely

State and local law enforcement agencies clarify they will not write tickets to enforce the mask mandate, but encourage compliance

Thursday, June 25

Chelan-Douglas Health District Administrator Barry Kling, 66, announces he will retire

Friday, June 26

The new mask requirement begins

The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health appoints Bruce Buckles as interim health distirct administrator

Saturday, June 27

Rising case counts prompt pause on “Safe Start” reopening plan

Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest, scheduled over three October weekends, is canceled. The event typically has an attendance of 10,000 people per weekend.

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Judy Baumann of Beaver Wood Products sets up a display of puzzles July 18 in the outdoor plaza at Pybus Public Market. Artisan vendors normally rent space inside the market, but they’ve been absent since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The outdoor shopping allowed everyone to meet the Safe Start guidelines.

July | Face coverings key as economy restarts

Wednesday, July 1

The Safe Start proclamation, set to end on July 1, is extended through July 9, in anticipation of additional modifications.

Thursday, July 2

Inslee announces that businesses will be required to refuse service to customers not wearing a face covering starting July 7.

Chelan and Douglas counties brace for COVID-19 second wave, with counts at 126 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, up from 25 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period before moving to Phase 1.5.

Tuesday, July 7

“Safe Start” proclamation, including the masking requirements, extended to Aug. 6

Friday, July 10

Local COVID-19 hospitalizations reach new high. Central Washington Hospital reports 19 coronavirus patientsmore than previous peak of 14 on Aprl 14. Seven of the 19 patients in the ICU and four were on ventilators.

Grant County reports seventh death

Monday, July 13

Grant County reports its eighth death

National Guard’s mission extended through Dec. 31. More than 1,000 members have been deployed to help with food distribution, COVID mapping and testing

Tuesday, July 14

Michael McKee, owner of Mike's Meats, launches an initiative to limit the emergency powers of the governor. He needs 350,000 signatures by Dec. 31.

Pause in move to new phases extended to July 28.

Slidewaters’ lawsuit challenging the legality of emergency response is thrown out in the federal Eastern District Court of Washington.

Wednesday, July 15

Okanogan County reports third death

Thursday, July 16

All live entertainment, indoor or outdoor, is prohibited statewide, including drive-in concerts, comedy clubs and music in restaurants. The orders go into effect July 20.

Slidewaters says it will close for the season July 20, ending a 30-day run in defiance of restrictions accompanying the state's COVID-19 pandemic. It also received a $9,639 fine from the state Department of Labor & Industries.

The Washington State Apple Blossom Festival cancels preliminary plans to host a harvest festival in September.

Friday, July 17

Douglas County announces fourth death

Thursday, July 23

Citing continued increased case counts, the state rolls back activities that data shows provide a higher risk, including indoor dining at restaurants, bars, fitness centers, weddings and funerals. The changes also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.

Monday, July 27

Wenatchee and Eastmont schools announce plans to start the year with remote learning and move to face-to-face instruction as COVID-19 conditions allow. The districts also are offering an all-year virtual academy for those who are more comfortable with that option.

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Don Morse Park visitors enjoy a little sun — and some social distancing space — Aug. 8 in Chelan. The city added social distancing circles at the park and is limiting attendance in the park to help prevent overcrowding.

Tuesday, July 28

Chelan County reports two more deaths, bringing two-county total to 13

Chelan limits access to Don Morse and Lakeside parks to avoid overcrowding, hires private security firm to enforce rules.

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Bridgeport volunteers Omega Espino, left, and her sister Alpha hang up signs before the remote COVID-19 testing site opens Aug. 27 at Fireman Park. They said they learned about the opportunity to volunteer from their aunt who works for the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

August | Testing continues, schools in flux

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Confluence Health averages 400 people a day at the drive-thru testing site, and has tested 22,537 so far. The call center, which triages people before they're referred to the drive-thru, is fielding around 500-600 calls per day.

Friday, Aug. 7

Health officers advise school districts that students should not yet return to school. They support partial face-to-face school instruction when COVID-19 case counts go below 75 cases per 100,000 population for 14 days and would support students’ return to classrooms once the count drops to 25 cases. Chelan and Douglas counties’ counts for the two-week period ending July 31 were in the 700 range.

Saturday, Aug. 15

Almost 200 people attend a demonstration in Wenatchee’s Memorial Park to voice concerns about farmworker rights in response to COVID-19.

Monday, Aug. 17

Chelan, Douglas counties add three deaths, for 16 total, with 10 from Chelan and six from Douglas

Tuesday, Aug. 18

State helps Chelan-Douglas Health District with testing

Free testing events planned in Bridgeport, Chelan, Manson and Rock Island. Later test sites include Peshastin, Dryden, Leavenworth, Plain and Cashmere

Wednesday, Aug. 19

New regulations for ag workers coming after outbreak at Gebbers Farms where three workers died.

Thursday, Aug 20

Inslee issues guidance for museums, bowling alleys, agritourism and outdoor recreation

Of the 32 people who volunteered for testing in Bridgeport, 12 test positive. All those who tested positive were Hispanic and had no symptoms. The health district announces a plan to test all 2,500 residents starting Aug. 25.

New program helps renters facing eviction

Leavenworth cancels Christmas Lighting Festival, but lights will shine

Chelan PUD uses automatic temperature stations for employees

Wednesday, Aug. 26

Confluence Health seeks participants for coronavirus vaccine trial

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Many cars on Wenatchee Avenue were driving with headlights the afternoon of Sept. 7 in downtown Wenatchee. Smoke from area fires settled into the valley, downgrading air quality to "unhealthy" levels. 

September | Pandemic compounded by wildfires

Thursday, Sept. 3

Two more deaths bring two-county count to 18

Monday, Sept. 7

Chelan-Douglas Health District advises residents to stay home due to wildfire smoke and unhealthy air quality conditions. Guidance also is provided for agricultural workers and the use of masks for smoke vs. masks for COVID-19. The smoke is coming from the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County and the Pearl Hill Fire in Douglas County. Later in the week, smoke arrives from fires burning in Oregon and California.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Nathan Weed is named as the health district’s new interim director

Thursday, Sept. 10

Chelan, Douglas counties death count climbs to 19

Friday, Sept. 11

Gyms make moves to reopen after getting updated safety guidelines allowing indoor fitness and training facilities in modified Phase 1 counties to operate using Phase 2 guidelines. Blair McHaney, president of WORX gym, helped lead the Washington Fitness Alliance in its push to reopen gyms.

Friday, Sept. 18

15th death reported in Chelan County. Douglas County has seven.

Monday, Sept. 21

Gov. Jay Inslee updates guidance for agritourism operations, allowing wagon rides, animal viewing, pumpkin farms and corn mazes

COVID-19 positives in Chelan, Douglas start to fall, but masking compliance in both counties drops to about 70%, raising concern.

Thursday, Sept. 24

Data shows leisure, hospitality hardest hit by job loss rates

Chelan County reports 16th death in the county. Health district statistics show 162.5 positive cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period, the first time in about two months the rate of positive cases is below 200 per 100,000 people over two weeks.

Monday, Sept. 28

Eastmont welcomes select students back to the classroom

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Chelan County now reports 17 deaths. Douglas County has seven.

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Paraeducator Yosa Zavala has students maintain social distance after they get off the bus at Wenatchee's Lewis & Clark Elementary School. The school opened Nov. 3 to kindergarten through second-graders on a hybrid schedule.

October | Fall ushers in a new phase

Thursday, Oct. 1

Free testing continues across Wenatchee Valley

The COVID-19 response in Chelan and Douglas counties has been hampered by a lack of trust and communication with the area's most vulnerable communities, federal officials say.

Friday, Oct. 2

A declining case rate — 116 positive cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period — means schools can plan for move to hybrid instruction. The Wenatchee School District's preschool through second-grade classes would be the first to return to schools, with other grades being phased in gradually.

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Wenatchee High School hosts testing location

Thursday, Oct. 8

Chelan County reports 18th death

WVC will stay online through winter quarter

Tuesday, Oct. 13

Inslee moves counties in a modified Phase 1 — Chelan, Douglas, Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties — to a full Phase 2, easting restrictions for libraries, movie theaters, pet grooming and league-play bowling

Thursday, Oct. 15

Dr. Malcolm Butler begins hosting a weekly video series called “Community Update” to talk about COVID-19.

Gebbers Farms employees test results show 0.7% positive, or about 22 of Gebbers Farms' 3,100 employees.

Community testing in Chelan and Douglas counties shows 1.7% positive case rate.

Monday, Oct. 19

Cases back on the rise in the two-county area, with 170 cases per 100,000  population over two weeks , compared to a low of 110 in late September.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Grant County reports 25th death

Thursday, Oct. 29

Contact tracing duties, previously done by the state, are now being conducted by staff at the Chelan-Douglas Health District, Confluence Health, Columbia Valley Community Health and Cascade Medical.

Friday, Oct. 30

Community organizations help immigrants sign up for the $40 million COVID-19 relief fund.

Saturday, Oct. 31

State sees highest increase in almost four months. The counties are now at 178 positive cases per a 100,000 population over a two-week period. The counties were at 168 cases on Oct. 21 and at a low of close to 110 on Sept. 30.

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Movie theater patrons look down an empty hallway at Gateway Cinema in Wenatchee. The movie theater opened Nov. 6 with staggered screening times to reduce the number of people entering at the same time. The reopening lasted a bit more than a week before new restrictions arrived Nov. 15.

November | Two steps back

Monday, Nov. 2

Students in Eastmont, Wenatchee begin to return to classrooms part-time

Tuesday, Nov. 3

Chelan County adds three deaths, bringing count to 21. Douglas County has had seven deaths

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Chelan County reports a 22nd death

Thursday, Nov. 5

Chelan and Douglas counties see a jump in cases

Friday, Nov. 6

Grant County reports two more deaths, bringing the county total to 27.

Wenatchee theaters reopen after 8-month closure

Monday, Nov. 9

Iglesia Emanuel Bautista church members asked to quarantine after two members test positive

Tuesday, Nov. 10

State health officials ask residents to reduce social activity

Local COVID-19 positives hit 371.4 per 100,000 people over two weeks

Friday, Nov. 13

Inslee issues travel advisory, recommends 14-day quarantine, urges Washingtonians to cancel holiday gatherings

Mental health experts express concern about increased incidents of depression and anxiety linked to pandemic

Sunday, Nov. 15

Statewide rollbacks arrive, ordered through Dec. 14. The new rules close indoor restaurant and bar service, but allow outside service for limited groups. It closes gyms, museums, bowling alleys and movie theaters. It reduces indoor capacity at retail and grocery stores to 25%, along with reduced capacity for religious services and weddings. Indoor gatherings with people outside individual households prohibited unless participants quarantine for a week and test negative.

Monday, Nov. 16

Closing businesses is no solution, industry leaders say

Wednesday, Nov. 18

School districts delay returning more students to classrooms

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From left to right, Dr. Malcolm Butler, Dr. Peter Rutherford, Kevin Overbay and Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz participate in a town hall on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Nov. 19 at Pybus Public Market.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Health district hosts online town hall to provide information directly to the public about the increase in COVID-19 cases and threat posed to the community

Six more COVID-19 deaths reported in Chelan County, bringing total to 28

County commissioners criticize new rules, others push for individuals to step up

Friday, Nov. 20

Inslee announces $135 million will be available to help businesses and residents

Saturday, Nov. 21

Grant County reports nine more deaths

Tuesday, Nov. 24

Wenatchee Wild cancels 2020-21 season

Chelan, Douglas counties have a combined rate of 836.4 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Four more COVID deaths reported in Grant County, bringing total to 36.

Monday, Nov. 30

Hospitalizations spike, with 29 patients, the highest total in four months.

Okanogan County adds 11 deaths, bringing the county's total to 26.

Chelan County records 29th COVID death.

The state launches WA Notify, an app that will alert residents if they have spent time near another app user who later tests positive for COVID-19.

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Confluence Health ICU nurse Todd Avis is injected with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by fellow nurse Christy Winkle Dec. 17 in Central Washington Hospital. Avis was one of the first health care workers vaccinated in Wenatchee.

December | Vaccines arrive

Tuesday, Dec. 1

WVC keeps most classes online for spring quarter

Wednesday, Dec. 2

CDC updates quarantine guidelines, shortening isolation time if combined with tests

Thursday, Dec. 3

Grant County reports 18 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 54.

More non-emergency procedures canceled at Central Washington Hospital

Superior Court trials in Chelan and Douglas counties are delayed until at least January.

Friday, Dec. 4

Confluence Health CEO Dr. Peter Rutherford and Chelan-Douglas Health Officer Dr. Malcolm Butler issue a strongly worded plea for people to follow COVID-19 safety measures.

Monday, Dec. 7

Hospitalizations at Central Washington Hospital increase over the weekend to 36.

Luke Davies named new health district administrator

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Governor extends restrictions to Jan. 4, announces another $50 million in financial help for small businesses

Leavenworth’s lights are up and people are coming, prompting complaints from residents to the Chelan-Douglas Health District

Friday, Dec. 11

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for distribution under an emergency use authorization process.

Monday, Dec. 14

Third-graders return to Wenatchee classrooms. Fourth- and fifth-graders, will start attending school part-time after the holiday break. On Jan. 26, middle school and high school students will return.

Chelan County now has 31 COVID-19 deaths on record. Douglas County has seven.

COVID-19 infection rate in Chelan and Douglas counties is at 1,017.2 per 100,000 people over a two-week period

Tuesday, Dec. 15

First vaccine shipment arrives in Wenatchee, nearly 1,000 doses of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Nurses working in the hospital's ICU and emergency department, and support staff, will be among the first to receive it, with inoculations set to start Thursday.

Friday, Dec. 18

FDA approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Monday, Dec. 21

The state Department of Labor & Industries fines Gebbers Farms more than $2 million after an investigation into finds "dozens of safety and health violations"

Wednesday, Dec. 23

1 million Americans receive a COVID vaccine, CDC says

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Ten more Grant County COVID-19 deaths announced, bringing the county’s total to 83.

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Wenatchee police officers get their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Confluence Health

The COVID-19 rate in Chelan and Douglas counties is at 666.5 per 100,000 from Dec. 16 to Dec. 30

Inslee extends indoor dining ban, other restrictions until Jan. 11

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Bottles of sanitizer and stacks of towels greet YMCA members at the door on Jan. 12.

January | New plan, renewed hope

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Inslee announces new region-by-region reopening plan that starts Jan. 11 which groups counties into eight regions across the state. Each region will advance to the next phase, or not, depending on four metrics:

  • A 10% decreasing trend in case rates
  • A 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates
  • An ICU occupancy rate less than 90%
  • A test positivity rate of less than 10%

Chelan, Douglas Grant and Okanogan counties comprise the North Central Region. Decisions on whether each region will advance will be made each Friday.

The second phase allows restaurants to open indoor dining and indoor fitness centers to open at 25% capacity. Sports competitions can resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can have more attendees. Regions also could move backward if two or more of the metrics worsen.

New rules also allow gyms and fitness centers to reopen in current phase with restrictions, and restaurants to offer indoor "open air" dining.

Thursday, Jan. 7

Eight more COVID-19 deaths reported in Grant County, for a total of 91.

Friday, Jan. 8

Chelan, Douglas counties remain in Phase 1 of the new two-phase reopening plan after failing hospital admissions and case counts metrics.

Monday, Jan. 11

Six more COVID-19 deaths reported, bringing the total to 35 in Chelan County and nine in Douglas County

Thursday, Jan. 14

Law enforcement, firefighters get vaccinations

Friday, Jan. 15

North Central Region remains in Phase 1

Chelan County’s COVID-19 death toll climbs by three, bringing the total to 38

Monday, Jan. 18

Town Toyota Center is designated as a state COVID-19 vaccination site

Gov. Jay Inslee announces vaccines will be available to everyone 65 years or older and those 50 years or older in multi-generational housing. The Department of Health introduces new Phase Finder tool,

Pybus opens concourse for 'open air' dining. Other restaurants get creative to provide outdoor experience.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

Chelan County reports 39th death

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Douglas County reports 10th COVID-19 death

Friday, Jan. 22

North Central Region stays in Phase 1

Tuesday, Jan. 26

The mass COVID-19 vaccination site opens at Town Toyota Center, with a goal of 400 people per day to start

Chelan County adds two deaths, for a total of 36, and Grant County adds seven, for a total of 98. Douglas County has 15 deaths.

Wednesday, Jan. 27

Seven more deaths added to Grant County, bringing the total to 105.

Thursday, Jan. 28

State tweaks reopening plan so decisions will be made every two weeks, but only three of four metrics need to be met to move to Phase 2.

Friday, Jan. 29

North Central Region remains in Phase 1, faiing three of four metrics.

Residents continue scramble for vaccination appointments

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Amalia Martinez, Leavenworth resident, gets a COVID-19 vaccination Jan. 30 from registered nurse Lori Sweet, at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

February | Milestones and metrics

Monday, Feb. 1

Wenatchee vaccination clinic targets Latinos and others who need help getting appointment

Thursday, Feb. 4

Unemployment claims drop slightly in Chelan, Douglas counties

Tuesday, Feb. 9

Town Toyota Center site reaches 6,000 total vaccinations

Thursday, Feb. 11

North Central Region and the rest of the state learn they will move to Phase 2, starting on Valentine’s Day. Phase 2 opens indoor dining, along with other indoor entertainment activities like bowling and going to a movie theater, at 25% capacity. It also allows indoor social gatherings with a maximum of five people from two different households.

An additional $87 million in state funds is on the way to help people pay rent and help businesses.

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Garlini's Napoletana manager Breanna Allstot puts out Valentine’s Day decorations on Feb. 12 in preparation for Phase 2 inside dining to re-open on Sunday.

Friday, Feb. 12

Seven more die from COVID-19 in Chelan and Douglas counties, bringing the total deaths to 42 in Chelan County and 16 in Douglas County. Grant County has recorded 109 deaths, while Okanogan County has had 34.

Businesses approach second economic reopening with caution

A 90-year-old East Wenatchee woman is the state's 1 millionth person to get vaccinated. She received her shot at the Town Toyota Center mass vaccination site.

Wednesday, Feb. 18

What's safer than wearing a mask? Double masking, health experts say

Douglas County reports a 17th death from COVID-19

To be continued ...

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151