Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday a two-week pause in the state's COVID-19 reopening plan, a move that allows Snohomish County and 12 other counties to remain in their current phase.
In a briefing Tuesday, Inslee said the state will take the next two weeks to continue to review data. While new cases and hospitalizations have been increasing statewide in recent weeks, he said health officials have observed a possible plateau over the past several days.
"We are in a constantly evolving situation," Inslee said, adding more will be known in two weeks about a possible leveling off.
“We are at the intersection of progress and failure, and we cannot veer from the path of progress,” Inslee said. “Our economy is beginning to show early signs of growth thanks to some of our great legislative victories and we know vaccines are the ticket to further reopening — if we adhere to public health until enough people are vaccinated.”
At that time, Snohomish County will have had to report fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period, and have fewer than five hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period to remain in Phase 3.
Phase 3 of the state plan allows for 50% occupancy at restaurants, retail stores, gyms and most other businesses.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and up to 50 people are allowed to gather outside.
Phase 3 also allows high-risk high school sports such as basketball and wrestling to continue. Stanwood High plans to start those sports this week.
New cases in Snohomish County have been increasing for the past seven weeks, and are the highest they've been since late January, according to data posted on the county website.
According to state and county data, the county reported a rate of 229 new cases per 100,000 residents, and a rate of 7.1 new hospitalizations per 100,000, far exceeding the goals outlined in the state plan.