The latest Cowlitz County Department of Health report projects that the county will drop back to Phase 2 of reopening when the counties are reevaluated, as it reported 70 new coronavirus cases over the weekend and one death.

The entire state entered Phase 3 on March 22, but to stay there the county must have a new case rate of less than 200 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than five new hospitalizations per 100,000 people over the past seven days. Each county will be evaluated April 12, and any changes in phase would take effect that Friday.

“We do not have the exact methods that the state DOH will use to calculate metrics for phase determination. However, based on our best estimates (and) if current trends continue … we will revert to Phase 2 next week,” the health department report said.

According to the weekly Cowlitz County Department of Health report, cases are increasing while hospitalizations and deaths are holding steady. The county saw an average of 17 new confirmed and probable cases per day from specimens collected March 17-23, “sharply increasing” since mid-March, the report said.

From March 10-23, the county saw 152 new cases per 100,000 people, while from March 3-16 the rate was 140 new cases per 100,000 people.

Local hospitalization rates are trending down, with an average of 3.7 people per 100,000 admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, from March 8-14. From March 1-7, the average was 6.4 people per 100,000 people.


On Friday, the county said a woman in her 90s who was not hospitalized and was connected to a long-term care facility died of COVID-19. There have been 63 total deaths in the county, according to the local health department.

Test positivity is decreasing, according to the report. From March 9-15, 6.7% of tests in the county have been positive. From March 2-8 the test positivity rate was 10.9%.