Spokane County could be taking a step back to Phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — It looks like our path forward could soon become a path backward to Phase 2. In order to stay in Phase 3, we need to meet some metrics and the numbers haven’t been looking good.

The metrics are assessed every three weeks, and our movement forward depends on what these numbers show. For the second week now, they’re above where they should be.

To stay in Phase 3, Spokane County needs less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the last 2 weeks. Last week we had more than that, and as of Monday, it’s even worse. Now, we’re at 275 cases per 100,000 people.

Hospitalizations are also monitored in Phase 3. A large county like Spokane has to have less than five admissions per 100,000 people. Our numbers are nearly twice that amount, at 9.8 hospitalizations per 100,000, preliminary numbers show.

To give some perspective, the case rate number, now at 275, was just over 100 in March. All of this is illustrated in the graphic below.

Hospitalizations & Case Rates

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Hospitalizations & Case Rates

For local business owners, this could mean another heartbreaking setback. We caught up with Mark Starr, the owner of David’s Pizza. Like all restaurant owners, he was forced to close his doors a little over a year ago.

He explained that Phase 2 is just a money-losing proposition. With the recent move forward to Phase 3, he says restaurant owners are finally able to break even.

If we move backward though, he believes quite a few businesses will close their doors, again.

“It’s kind of like a bad dream,” said Starr. “You hope you don’t have one of those dreams again.”

“This is a bump in the road,” said interim health officer Dr. Frank Velazquez. “We need to really reenergize the community and really get back and get this under control. I know we can. We’ve done it before.”

He is hoping the community doesn’t lose hope, because he says we’ve done well.

We’ll know if we’re going back to Phase 2 on Monday, May 3. If there is a change, it will go into effect Friday next week.

RELATED: Spokane County in jeopardy of moving back to Phase 2

RELATED: Spokane County on verge of moving back to Phase 2