King County May Soon Roll Back to Phase 2

Photo credit Eliot Gentiluomo

Seattle and King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin announced Friday that King County would no longer meet the metrics for reopening Phase Three during its next evaluation. In his weekly press briefing, Dr. Duchin told reporters, “The state will evaluate King County’s phase placement on Tuesday, May 4, and based on the metrics outlined in the Roadmap to Recovery, our current case and hospitalization rates indicate we’ll be rolled back to Phase Two.” As Dr. Duchin explains, “Our 14-day new case rate is 242 per 100,000 and the metric for Phase Three calls for that number to be below 200.”

Dr. Duchin also noted that the current surge in cases is being driven by cases in young adults. “Over the past week, twice as many young adults (20 to 39) were hospitalized compared to people over 70. The increasing number of cases and hospitalizations among young adults reinforces that COVID-19 can cause severe disease in people of all ages, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about the disease and its long-term health impacts; even for people who do not require hospitalization.” This is, in part, due to low vaccination rates. “Unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t have enough younger and middle-aged adults vaccinated to counteract the impact of variants that spread more easily, and we’ve seen increasing numbers of people infected and hospitalized.”

A rollback to Phase Two means most indoor services will return to 25% capacity, a substantial decrease from the 50% capacity that Phase Three’s guidelines permit. Outdoor sports and entertainment will also operate at reduced capacity. Collegiate sports will not be affected by this rollback, as they operate independently of the state’s phase system.