King County could be in Phase 2 this week

King County could be in Phase 2 this week

The county was planning on applying on Monday.

King County is planning to submit an application to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the economy. If approved, the county could be in the second phase by June 19.

The news came at a Board of Health meeting June 15, where King County Deputy Executive Rachel Smith provided an overview of the plan. The application is being recommended by Jeff Duchin, the county’s health officer.

“Because of the efforts of this community, we really did bend the curve,” Smith said.

Key measures of how the county is doing in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic include the rate of infection, the virus’ reproductive rate, testing capabilities and the capacity of hospitals.

King County entered a modified Phase 1 on June 5, allowing restaurants and other businesses to begin serving people on-site at 25 percent capacity. The second phase will increase this capacity to 50 percent.

The number of cases countywide over the past 14 days is just under 24 per 100,000 residents, just below the 25 per 100,000 resident benchmark that Inslee set for counties to enter Phase 2.

The rate of hospitalization is also decreasing. There are also adequate hospital beds available, and currently only 2 percent of people in hospitals are COVID-19 patients, according to the county.

King County is close to — but not yet — meeting testing capacity targets.

Smith said Duchin was comfortable moving into Phase 2 because of precautions already taken.

It’s unclear how the virus will spread in coming weeks. Protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have swept across the country, including several King County cities. Warmer weather is also driving more people outside.

“The more activity that is happening, the more cautious we need to be,” Smith said.

If another spike in COVID-19 cases emerges, Duchin could order the county back to previous phases. Smith said because of the cautious approach the county has taken, they anticipate that won’t happen.

If approved, the county will remain in Phase 2 for three weeks. Leadership could then apply to enter the third phase.

The mayors of several rural cities asked the governor in late May to allow them to enter into Phase 2 ahead of more densely-populated parts of the county. These mayors said a prolonged closure would lead to many small businesses closing permanently.

Revenue projections for the county have taken a nosedive as the pandemic continues.

Sales tax revenue is projected to be down this year and next, and also through 2022. Lodging tax is expected to decline through 2021 by about $13 million more than planned. At a recent county meeting, King County Budget Director Dwight Dively said it’s projected that the county won’t reach 2019 levels of lodging tax revenue for the next five years.

Nationwide, forecasters expect the national GDP will decline between 30 to 40 percent, Dively said. The effects could be felt for the next decade.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

County Tax Increases Could Cost Island Tax Districts Everything

Spurred by the Vashon Park District, a bill has been revived to potentially shake up state tax law.

x
Firmest Timetable Yet Released For Next Vaccine Round

Here’s what you need to know about Jan. 5 to Jan. 11.

x
Local Leading Man Is Recalled for His Talent and Kindness

Marshall Murray, an actor known for his virtuoso performances in local theater productions, has died

x
Helping Helpers: VashonBePrepared Replenishes Relief Fund

VashonBePrepared’s replenished COVID Relief Fund will continue its work in this new year.

x
Islanders Respond to Unrest At Capitol, Closer To Home

After a mob attack at the nation’s Capitol, members of Vashon’s Backbone Campaign went into action.

Addressing Grievance, New Talks Planned Between Union, Fire Chief

Negotiations will determine a new leave policy for Vashon firefighters exposed to COVID-19.

x
In a New Year, VALISE Celebrates Finding a Way Forward

The work of 12 artists in the collective will be featured in a show that will run until Jan. 31.

x
Marvin Charles Benham: Oct. 24, 1926 – Dec. 29, 2020

The islander’s death marks the second occasion that an islander has died of COVID-19 related causes.

x
Fulbright Scholar Brings the World to Vashon Classrooms

Becky Blankenship wants her McMurray Middle School students to see the world and feed their minds.

Most Read