Back up, Gov. Inslee | Editorial

Posted 2/4/21

If this plan isn’t in peril, it should be.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has carved the state into eight regions that fall along county …

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Back up, Gov. Inslee | Editorial

Posted

If this plan isn’t in peril, it should be.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has carved the state into eight regions that fall along county lines.

The plan was put in place Jan. 11, and Inslee said the regional and phased approach was based on the health care services that were available in counties across Washington state. The plan was also connected, he said, to metrics on COVID-19 hospitalizations, case data, and the general mobility of individuals.

The problems with that plan, however, go far beyond the often out-of-date or incomplete information gathered by state health officials. Some health experts have pointed out that percentage changes in the metrics that will be used to allow regions to move into future phases of the reopening plan can be skewed by the inconsistent metrics and apples-to-apples assumptions.

Notable words of caution on the plan were raised by District 24 lawmakers last week following the advancement into Phase 2 last week of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties — three of the top four counties in the state in numbers of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) and Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) correctly noted the Roadmap to Recovery plan was not fair or sound. 

“With these latest moves ... we have lost faith that the governor is on a course to safely open Washington and beat COVID-19. He is reopening hot-spot counties based on poorly designed metrics that leave low-rate counties closed,” the trio said in a statement.

“This plan’s senseless punishment of counties with low COVID-19 rates leaves us no choice but to speak out in opposition,” they added.

The District 24 lawmakers also blasted the plan for grouping “widely dissimilar counties in an arbitrarily drawn region.”

The governor needs to rethink his plan, with a reconsideration of the original approach that allowed counties to advance in reopening phases based on each county’s individual success in responding to the pandemic.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all be working in the same direction to control the spread of COVID-19; we should. But fairness and common sense also dictate that counties that are making major advances in the defeat of the coronavirus should not be held back by other counties that have not been as effective in their efforts.

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