Whatcom County and the rest of Washington State moved into Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery plan on Monday, March 22. That means we’re getting a step closer to normal.
This is great news, but Whatcom County residents should still be cautious. Our case rates are higher than other similar counties, and we also have the second highest recorded number of variant B.1.1.7 cases in the state, second only to much more densely populated King County. This variant, which is also known as the UK variant, spreads more easily and may be more likely to result in hospitalization or death than the original COVID-19 strain.
What’s allowed during Phase 3?
Restrictions on private gatherings are much looser during Phase 3. Indoor gatherings with up to 10 people from outside your household are allowed, and outdoor gatherings with as much as 50 people are also permitted.
It’s still safest to gather small or not at all, especially given current case rates in our county. When you gather, make sure you still mask up and keep your distance. Practicing good COVID-19 hygiene - wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands - is especially important at private gatherings, since this is where viral transmission usually happens in our community.
There are also fewer restrictions on public gatherings during Phase 3. Starting today, the following are allowed in public spaces:
For a complete list of Phase 3 guidelines, refer to the chart below. For more detailed information about the statewide move to Phase 3, check out Washington State's Roadmap to Recovery Metrics.
What metrics must we meet to stay in Phase 3?
There are only two metrics to pass to stay in Phase 3, but we’ll have to meet both of them if we don’t want to go back to Phase 2. Those metrics are:
Metrics are no longer measured based on healthcare region, but on a county-by-county basis. These metrics will be evaluated for each county every three weeks. If Whatcom County fails either metric, we will move back to Phase 2. Evaluations will occur on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect Friday. The first evaluation of these metrics is scheduled for April 12.
The State will report these metrics on their Roadmap to Recovery Metrics page.
What can I do to help Whatcom County meet these metrics so we can stay in Phase 3?
Thankfully, there’s nothing new to do to keep us progressing along the Roadmap to Recovery. All you have to do is remain diligent and keep following COVID-19 safety precautions whenever you’re around people you don’t live with. These precautions include: