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Snohomish County moves to Phase 2 COVID-19 status

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — The word of approval came down at 10 a.m. Friday of Snohomish County's request to advance to Phase 2, effective immediately.
The county received the official letter transmission at 10:27 a.m., county spokesman Kent Patton said, and it is effective immediately.
Phase 2 reopens salons, limited indoor dining and some other amenities.

Graphic: Screenshot from Snohomish Health District website

As of May 30, the county's rolling total of new COVID-19 cases is right at the edge of the modified standard set by the state government on Friday.



Inslee’s Stay Home order concluded May 31. New health and safety obligations regarding masks will be put in place.
“Beginning June 8, all employees will be required to wear a cloth facial covering, except when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction,” Inslee’s office explained in a May 29 essay.
Retailers can request customers wear masks, and can deny service to people who are not wearing a mask.
Last Friday, the state modified the criteria for a county to advance phases.
Looser thresholds about new case counts in a 14-day window, one of Friday’s modifications, means Snohomish County is at least close.
The barrier to advancing changed from no more than 10 new cases per 100,000 people to now no more than 25 new cases per 100,000 people.
The county’s trend line continues to decline. From May 10 to May 23, there were 29.4 cases per 100,000 in this 14-day window.
“It is anticipated that a recent downward trend in new cases this week will reflect an incidence rate well within the new threshold for Phase 2,” the Health District said in a joint news release.
The county says it has assembled all of the pieces to advancing. The state Health Department is evaluating requests on a county-by-county basis. An answer about any county might take days to evaluate their circumstances against target metrics, state Secretary of Health John Wiesman said previously.
The county says it already meets all the other requirements for testing, contact tracing protocols and having available personal protective equipment. It’s plunged millions of dollars received through the federal CARES Act toward these goals.
The county said in a statement it believes hospital capacity is sufficient enough to absorb a case surge, which is among the state’s criteria.
The governor’s Stay Home requirement concluded May 31. He added requirements that employees wear face masks at all times unless alone.
Barring approval to Phase 2, a county in Phase 1 can ask for some restrictions loosened. Inslee called it “Phase 1.5.”
These looser restrictions allow in-store retail at 15 percent of building occupancy, gatherings of less than 5 people, outdoor fitness events with less than 5 people, outdoor dining at restaurants, and pet grooming services, among others.
In April, Western Washington’s infection transmission rate fell and has stayed below a 1:1 ratio, from data as of May 4 from the Institute for Disease Modeling. Anything higher is considered unacceptable by health authorities. Inslee credited this drop to residents wearing masks and largely adhering to social distancing safety measures.



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