Chelan, Douglas counties aren’t close to meeting Inslee’s Phase 2 guidelines

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Chelan, Douglas counties are nowhere near meeting the new guidelines for an early move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

Inslee on Tuesday said counties with no more than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days could apply for a variance to move to Phase 2, which allows a wide range of businesses to reopen.

Data on COVID-19 cases released Wednesday by the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

But numbers released Wednesday by the Chelan-Douglas Health District showed Chelan County with 81 cases per 100,000 people in the 14 days leading up to May 18. Douglas County had 108 cases per 100,000 over the same period.

Among businesses allowed to reopen in Phase 2 are hair salons, barbers, professional services, real estate, new construction and restaurants at 50 percent capacity.

But meeting the cases per-100,000 standard apparently is not mandatory for an early move to Phase 2.

Thursday evening, Inslee announced three more counties that could apply to move to Phase 2, including Grant County, which does not meet that requirement.

The Grant County Health District on Wednesday estimated its county needs to be at .71 cases per day for 14 days to meet the new guidelines, but the county averaged 1.5 cases per day for the past 14 days.

Cowlitz and Pacific also were added to the list of Phase 2-eligible counties Thursday.

Most counties are expected to move to Phase 2 on June 1 under a previously announced timeline but it’s unclear if all will.

On Tuesday, Inslee allowed 10 more counties to apply to move to Phase 2. Those included Thurston and Spokane counties, by far the most populous counties to be eligible thus far.

So far, 25 of Washington’s 39 counties have moved to, or are eligible to move to Phase 2.

Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order expires May 31, but he is almost certain to extend it.

The governor earlier said there would be at least three weeks between each phase of his four-phase reopening plan, but also said his decisions would be driven by data, not dates.

Chelan and Douglas counties earlier this month requested an accelerated reopening plan but were turned down by the state Department of Health.