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@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.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

Glenfield Arthur Watkins/Facebook 2014
Federal Way teacher charged with raping 13-year-old student

Taught math at Totem Middle School on West Hill in Kent

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Kent, Federal Way men charged in 2017 murder of Seattle woman

Prosecutors say three gang members fired up to 16 shots at vehicle

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

Federal Way Police Department to hire more officers with grant

Department’s current staffing level still not at full capacity.

Brookdale nurse placed on leave after oxycodone pill goes missing | Police blotter

The medication was noted as administered, however the patient was not present to receive the pill at the time.

Sound Transit gets $100 million federal grant for Federal Way light rail extension

Portion of $790 million payment toward $3.1 billion project

Assistance grant application opens for Federal Way small businesses

$2 million available in grants; application deadline is July 15.

Most Read