Yakima County to Remain in Phase 3 of State Reopening Plan
Yakima County will stay in Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan after state officials on Monday announced that three counties in the state will move back to Phase 2 on Friday. On Friday Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties will move to Phase 2 which means that capacity for dining, retail and gyms moves from 50% capacity to 25% capacity. Under Phase 2 the counties will see limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. State officials say cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations went beyond the metrics in Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties. The Governor will make another evaluation on May 3 and may announce that more counties have to move back or stay where they are.
Remaining in Phase 3 means the counties need to meet one of two specific metrics;
Cases of COVID-19 remain below 200 per 100,000 residents during a two week period or below five cases per 100,000 over a seven-day average.
Yakima County officials say there's still major concern in the valley as health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated. The move by the governor on Monday happened despite some 70 business organizations in the state asked the Governor in a letter last Friday to delay any decision for three weeks. The organizations are concerned the restrictive standards hurt businesses that already have been struggling for the past year.
Yakima County continues to receive additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 58,616 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 34,356 people have received their second dose. April 15th, anyone 16 and older will become eligible to receive the vaccine.