King County risks rollback as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise


If King County were to return to Phase 2 of the Healthy State Plan for Washington, the capacity of retail businesses and restaurants would drop by 50% to 25%.

SEATTLE – Washington Governor Jay Inslee made a the public pushes people to get vaccinated On Thursday, as a “fourth wave” of the coronavirus hit the state, potentially sending more backtracking counties, including King County.

The announcement comes as measurements show case rates and hospitalizations continue to rise.

“We are looking at these metrics very carefully, we think it is very likely that we will exceed this threshold in the coming weeks,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told KING 5 in a neutral tone.

King County has now passed one metric it needs to stay in to stay in Phase 3, and is dangerously close to overtaking the other.

The state has mandated that a county must have no more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents in 14 days, and no more than five new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in 7 days.

King County has 209.6 new cases per 100,000, exceeding that metric, and 4.7 hospitalizations per 100,000.

If the number of hospitalizations reaches 5 people per 100,000, that would force King County to revert to Phase 2, with retail and restaurant capacity dropping from 50% to 25%.

Neighboring Pierce County returned earlier this month from phase 3 to phase 2.

“It is really important that people realize that we are not out of the woods, we need people to double safety precautions, wear their masks, keep a physical distance, not have all these gatherings without masks and close together.” , said Durkan.

This comes even as the distribution of vaccines by the state seems to be going relatively well. Inslee said the state is expected to pass the 5 million dose mark this week, with nearly 2 million people fully vaccinated.

Inslee said now is not the time to hesitate about the vaccination.

“I’m sure you’ve heard people say, ‘Well I’m kinda on the fence with this vaccine.’ Being on the fence is too dangerous a position right now, ”said Inslee.

Seattle’s waterfront has been hit hard from COVID-19, and the loss of another cruise season is particularly damaging.

But Ivar CEO Bob Donegan said he remains optimistic with warmer weather ahead.

“It’s getting better today than it’s felt in 14 months,” Donegan said Thursday.

But he said many companies would be hit hard by another dismantling.

“If you’re a mom-and-pop or a chef-run restaurant, it only has 20 or 30 seats, and you can’t have 10 or 15 seats,” Donegan said. “You can only do a fraction of that. You can’t cover your costs. Much smaller restaurants are going to have to rely on pickup, take-out and delivery. And that’s not a good model because delivery companies take 15%. from the top. “

The next state assessment of the Healthy Washington criteria will take place on May 3.

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