The fourth wave of the pandemic has been under evaluation for weeks by experts, and their reports have led Governor Inslee to announce a two-week pause of the Roadmap to Recovery plan. During the pause, all Washington state counties will stay at their current phase. Then, after the two-weeks, each county will be re-evaluated.
The Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) new data indicates the pandemic has hit a plateau and is leveling out. The Governor’s office is crediting this flattening to the increase in people getting vaccinations, as well as the resulting reduced illness severity and shorter hospital stays. To make an appointment, visit VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.
A press release by the Governor on May 4th stated, “Over 54% of eligible Washingtonians have received their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.” Vaccines are now available to all individuals 16 years and above. One thing to remember when setting up your appointment is that currently the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination is the only one that can be used on people 16 and up. The other two vaccines from Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) start at age 18. The Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine was stopped because of side effects; however, as of April 25th the CDC and FDA are again recommending resuming it in the United States. Physical distancing, washing hands, and wearing a mask while indoors away from your own house is still strongly recommended to help reduce risk of spreading the virus.
So where does your county come in?
With three of our local counties falling short of goals to maintain Phase 3, the governor initially planned to send them back to Phase 2. The new data from the DOH, however, has led Inslee to allow a two week pause before making a decision.
Over the last two weeks, per 100,000 residents, new cases were well over the accepted allowances to meet Phase 3 standards.
Data release from the DOH and the Washington State Office of Financial Management (population) reported between Apr. 14 and Apr. 27 that the new cases per 100,000 residents in our local counties are as following:
- Pend Oreille
To stay in Phase 3, Spokane County must keep a 14-day average of new COVID cases at or below 200 per 100,000 residents, and a seven-day average of new hospitalizations per 100,000 at five or fewer.
To stay in Phase 3, Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties must keep a 14-day average of new COVID cases at or below 100 per 100,000 residents, and a seven-day average of new hospitalizations per 100,000 at 3 or fewer.
Photo by Alex Mecl