OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Saturday that a recent increase in coronavirus numbers means counties won’t be able to move to the fourth phase of his reopening plan for now.
Inslee and state Secretary of Health John Weisman made the announcement Saturday.
“Rising cases across the state and concerns about the spread of the COVID virus have made Phase 4, which would essentially mean no restrictions, impossible at this time,” the governor’s office wrote in a prepared statement.
Before Saturday, eight counties were eligible to move from the third to the fourth phase of the reopening plan. To qualify, counties had to show that they had declining infection levels, enough personal protective equipment, testing and hospital capacity and a contact tracing system.
Washington had more than 30,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 480 new cases were reported on Friday.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.