There’s little hope King County can avoid retreating to the more restrictive Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan under his COVID-19 rules, Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said Friday.
Bars, restaurants, retail stores and gyms must reduce indoor capacity from 50% to 25% capacity, among other shifts, should an assessment on Monday declare the county no longer qualifies for Phase 3. Any changes would take effect next Friday.
To stay in the less restrictive Phase 3, large counties are required to average fewer than 200 new coronavirus cases for every 100,000 residents over 14 days and fewer than five hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents over seven days.
King County on Friday reported those figures at 245.5 cases and 6.1 hospitalizations, according to the county dashboard. State officials will review the data and officially decide next week.
“The dates on which those metrics are calculated are in the past — it’s already happened — it’s a done deal,” Duchin said. “We have to live with the consequences of our actions.”
Public health officials earlier this week warned county leaders this was the likely trajectory. Evaluations take place every three weeks.
Cases of coronavirus in King County have plateaued after rising steeply over the past month.
Duchin sounded a hopeful tone as the county makes progress on vaccination. If people continue to seek shots, “we could be very close to our pre-COVID lifestyle over the summertime,” Duchin said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee moved Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties back to the second phase.