The number of new COVID-19 cases in Chelan and Douglas counties continued to fall in the health district’s latest weekly report.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District’s weekly “thermographic” showed 323 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, down from 472 new cases per 100,000 reported last week.
New cases for the two counties has been steadily declining since reaching its peak of more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents in December.
A month ago, the rate was almost 700 per 100,000.
The improvement likely will help the North Central region of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan meet at least one of the three metrics needed to loosen restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
The other two counties, Grant and Okanogan, also have been reporting a declining number of positive test results.
The North Central region met only one of the four metrics last week and will be reevaluated next week.
The region also fell short in meeting the necessary decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations. But reporting on hospitalizations from the region’s health districts and hospitals in the past two weeks indicates those numbers are likely to easily meet the metrics when the state issues a new report next week.
Another metric, the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who were positive, also fell short of the needed number. Whether this region is close to achieving that number is difficult to assess with testing so wide-spread and involving numerous public and private testing efforts.
The North Central region met the necessary percentage for hospital intensive care occupancy last week, and numbers from Central Washington Hospital have shown those numbers continuing to decrease in recent days.
Meeting three of the four metrics would allow the region to move to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery plan.
In that phase, limited indoor restaurant dining, among things, would again be allowed.