With metrics ‘a done deal,’ data points to Phase 2 rollback for King County


The observation area at the Lumen Field vaccination site. (MyNorthwest photo)


The observation area at the Lumen Field vaccination site. (MyNorthwest photo)

If Gov. Inslee sticks to his word to roll back counties that don’t meet required thresholds, King County will roll back to Phase 2 this week.

“Based on the metrics outlined in the Road to Recovery, our current case and hospitalization rates indicate that we’ll be rolled back to Phase 2,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Washington counties most at risk of being next to roll back to Phase 2

The state plans to reassess the counties’ rates on Monday, with an announcement expected on Tuesday.

King County is reporting 5.8 hospitalizations and 242 cases per 100,000 people. In order to remain in Phase 3, large counties need to have 200 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks and 5 or fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past week. Counties with a population under 50,000 need to have 100 or fewer total new cases tallied over two weeks and 3 or fewer hospitalizations over the past week.

“It’s a done deal,” Duchin said, explaining that the dates on which the metrics are calculated are in the past. “As much as I’d love to go back in time and change things in a way that would decrease the number of COVID-19 cases and the hospitalizations that occurred in King County, I just can’t do that. We have to live with the consequences of our actions.”

King County entered Phase 3 with the rest of the state on March 22 as cases and hospitalizations were rising, Duchin said. They’ve continued to do so since then.

“We’ve increased by 80% since that date and the hospitalization rate has also doubled since that time,” Duchin said.

He said the situation would be much worse without three effective vaccines.

“It’s a simple fact,” Duchin said. “If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things safely and that’s the best way out of this mess of a pandemic for everyone.”

There are over 1.75 million people in King County over 16 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, he said. That equates to 64% of the county’s residents. Fully vaccinated people make up 42% of the county’s residents.

MyNorthwest COVID updates

Duchin added that 81% of adults 65 and older in the county have completed their vaccinations, compared to 68% across the U.S. Still, there’s work to be done with 36% of adults in the county who have not been vaccinated.

If you’ve had issues in the past trying to find a vaccine appointment, Duchin recommends trying again now.

“It’s much easier and it’s much quicker,” he said.

Mass vaccination sites at the Kent Showare Center and the Auburn outlet mall are open to all King County residents 16 and older, regardless of zip code. There are also walk-in sites at Kent and Auburn with no appointment needed Monday through Saturday, open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Find more details about getting vaccinated in King County online here.

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