OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Monday is expected to announce a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in some of Washington’s counties, as cases of the coronavirus once again begin to rise.
King County, however, was meeting a key public-health metric as of Friday that determines COVID-19 restrictions and could avoid new restrictions, according to county data.
Other places — like Pierce, Yakima and Kittitas counties — could go backward, according to case data collected by The New York Times.
Since March 12, all 39 counties have been in the third phase of the governor’s “Healthy Washington” plan. That has allowed retailers, restaurants, fitness centers and other indoor spaces to operate at up to 50% capacity.
The rollbacks expected Monday aren’t likely to be as far-reaching as they could have been. On Friday, Inslee announced a softening of the criteria for determining which counties would regress.
Counties are evaluated under two key metrics: new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people across 14 days, and new hospitalizations per seven days. Larger counties and smaller counties must meet different thresholds for each of those two metrics.
Under Friday’s revision for the criteria, a county would have to fail to meet the thresholds for both key metrics. Previously, a county would be required to go backward if it failed just one of those metrics.
Counties rolling back to the second phase in the Healthy Washington plan would have to cap indoor business activities — like restaurants and fitness centers — at 25% of occupancy, among other restrictions.
Changes announced Monday are set to take effect Friday.