Inslee’s Phased COVID Recovery Plan

Posted January 5, 2021 at 9:56 pm by

From Gov. Inslee’s Office

On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced “Healthy Wash­ing­ton — Roadmap to Recov­ery,” a COVID-19 phased recov­ery plan.

Begin­ning on Jan. 11, the state will fol­low a region­al recov­ery approach with every region begin­ning in Phase 1.

“No one was untouched by the effects of the pan­dem­ic in 2020; many have and con­tin­ue to suf­fer through no fault of their own,” Inslee said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Tues­day. “We aren’t out of this yet, but we are close to turn­ing the cor­ner on COVID-19 and this third wave of infection.”

Wash­ing­ton has avoid­ed over­whelm­ing the state’s health care sys­tems through­out this pan­dem­ic so far through rig­or­ous safe­ty mea­sures, such as phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing and mask­ing, as well as social and eco­nom­ic restrictions.

This new recov­ery sys­tem aims to safe­ly ease some restric­tions while also main­tain­ing cru­cial hos­pi­tal capac­i­ty, ensur­ing care for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans that need it and paving the way for eco­nom­ic recovery.


The regions are most­ly based on Emer­gency Med­ical Ser­vices regions used for eval­u­at­ing health­care ser­vices. There will be eight regions of four or more coun­ties, divid­ed accord­ing to avail­able health care ser­vices based on met­rics such as hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, case data and dis­ease mobility.

The eight regions are as follows:

  • Cen­tral: King, Pierce, Snohomish
  • East: Adams, Asotin, Fer­ry, Garfield, Lin­coln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman
  • North: Island, San Juan, Skag­it, Whatcom
  • North Cen­tral: Chelan, Dou­glas, Grant, Okanogan
  • North­west: Clal­lam, Jef­fer­son, Kit­sap, Mason
  • South Cen­tral: Ben­ton, Colum­bia, Franklin, Kit­ti­tas, Wal­la Wal­la, Yakima
  • South­west: Clark, Cowlitz, Klick­i­tat, Ska­ma­nia, Wahkiakum
  • West: Grays Har­bor, Lewis, Pacif­ic, Thurston

“Our intent is to ensure that regions, the com­mu­ni­ties with­in them, and our state as a whole have a bal­anced path toward recov­ery from the pan­dem­ic that relies on mul­ti­ple key met­rics that look at dis­ease tra­jec­to­ry and health sys­tem capac­i­ty,” said Deputy Sec­re­tary for COVID Response Lacy Fehren­bach. “This plan offers the start of a clear way for­ward as we con­tin­ue to slow the spread of COVID-19, while we get more peo­ple vac­ci­nat­ed over the next few months.”


A region’s phase will be deter­mined by the Depart­ment of Health in response to four met­ric requirements.

The final met­rics for regions will be cal­cu­lat­ed on Fri­day, Jan. 8 and will be effec­tive Jan. 11.

To go for­ward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet all four metrics:

  • Decreas­ing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cas­es per 100K pop­u­la­tion (decrease >10%)
  • Decreas­ing trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hos­pi­tal admis­sion rates per 100K pop­u­la­tion (decrease >10%)
  • ICU occu­pan­cy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test pos­i­tiv­i­ty rate of <10%

To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreas­ing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cas­es per 100K population
  • Decreas­ing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hos­pi­tal admis­sion rates per 100K population
  • ICU occu­pan­cy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test pos­i­tiv­i­ty rate of <10%.
  • Regions that fail to meet two or more of the above met­rics will be moved back to Phase 1.

The met­rics for each region will be updat­ed on the Risk Assess­ment Dash­board every Fri­day. Depen­dent on a region’s met­rics, DOH will move into a new phase — for­ward or back­ward — the fol­low­ing Monday.

DOH and local health depart­ments reserve the right to move a region out­side of this tim­ing, and addi­tion­al phas­es may be added as the state’s COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion changes with con­tin­ued vac­cine dis­tri­b­u­tion and oth­er changes in pub­lic health response.

“Our goal is to reopen our econ­o­my safe­ly and to do it as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. Every week, we plan on track­ing our ongo­ing progress in pro­tect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties against COVID-19,” said Sec­re­tary of Health Umair Shah. “The governor’s new plan will allow all of us to under­stand what mea­sures are being used for the path for­ward includ­ing when it makes sense to ease restric­tions across the state.”

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Categories: Health & Wellness, Safety

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