Spokane Phase 3 evaluation on Monday

SPOKANE, Wash. — Communities like Spokane County have enjoyed being in phase three for the past several weeks, but now the first major hurdle for counties is to see if they can stay in this current phase come Monday.

On Friday, Governor Jay Inslee announced he was loosening the requirements to move back into phase two. The two key metrics now to pay attention to for larger counties are new COVID cases per 100,000 people during the last 14 days have to be less than 200, and COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 in the last week have to be less than five.

Currently Spokane County residents do not have much to worry about as recent numbers seem to meet the requirements to remain in Phase 3.

As of Friday, there are 172 new cases within the last two weeks and as of last week the number of hospitalizations was sitting at 3.1 per 100,000, although the data was incomplete.

Just south of Spokane in Whitman County it is a bit of a different story. According to Department of Health information, while the hospitalizations were at 2.0 per 100,000 , the confirmed cases were more concerning. On Thursday their cases rate sat at 271 per 100,000.

Governor Jay Inslee visited Spokane on Friday.

“So now communities will not have to go back unless they quote fail two of those instead of one of those things. We also believed looking at some of the experience that having the relationship between the number of cases and the number of hospitalizations is a better predictor of what’s really going on in your community,” Inslee said.

Moving into phase two would mean moving from 50 percent capacity to 25 percent capacity in places like retail and restaurants.

Reporting in Spokane Alex Crescenti 4 News Now.