Inslee gives numerous counties reprieve on being lowered to Phase 2

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he is pausing for two weeks any changes to a county’s status under the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

As many as 12 counties in the state faced moving from Phase 3 to Phase 2 under the Healthy Washington reopening plan.

Inslee said he ordered the pause after the most recent data showed a “potential plateauing” of new COVID-19 cases in state.

Among the counties that had been expected to move to Phase 2 were some of the most populous, including King, Snohomish and Spokane counties.

Some even faced dropping to Phase 1, including Pierce County, where Tacoma is located.

Inslee said counties still can decide on their own to move to Phase 2, which he said Ferry County has done.

The county in northeast Washington saw a major spike in cases that were credited to a three-day super-spreader event at the Republic Elks Club.

The regional health district almost 100 new COVID-19 cases have been traced to the Elks club.

The pause also means three other counties, Pierce, Whitman and Cowlitz, will remain in Phase 2.

Both Chelan and Douglas counties seemed safe in remaining in Phase 3 prior to Inslee’s pause, but Grant County seemed likely to be moved to Phase 2.