OLYMPIA, WA — Monday signals a new chapter for Washington’s 39 counties, as the state activates the “Healthy Washington” plan — a roadmap that will allow for more recreational and economic activities to resume under new guidelines.

“No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020; many have and continue to suffer through no fault of their own,” Gov. Jay Inslee said last 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.”

Replacing the long-running Safe Start initiative, Healthy Washington sorts the state into eight regions, placed into one of two phases. The Washington State Department of Health said all regions would start in Phase 1, with the earliest possible date to move forward set at Jan. 18.

(Office of the Governor)
(Office of the Governor)

The new Phase 1 will allow for a few more activities, including small outdoor ticketed events and limited indoor fitness, while indoor dining and social gatherings remain prohibited. Once a region enters Phase 2, indoor dining will return along with outdoor, non-tournament sports with a maximum of 200 spectators.

Here’s how the two phases differ:

(Office of the Governor)
(Office of the Governor)

To qualify for Phase 2, each region must meet four new standards outlined by the state. Stead health officials will evaluate the metrics each Friday and move regions forward or backward on Mondays, as warranted.

Here are the requirements for moving into Phase 2:

  • 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%

Here are the requirements for remaining in Phase 2:

  • 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%.

According to the governor’s office, state and local health officials may choose to move a region outside of the standard timing, and more reopening phases are likely to be added as the state’s coronavirus outlook changes and more vaccines are distributed.

Learn more about the Healthy Washington plan on the governor’s blog.

[NORECIRC]

This article originally appeared on the Seattle Patch

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