How San Juan County compares to 10 counties that might skip ahead to Phase 2; Detailed list of Phases posted

Ten Washington state counties with a combined total of just under three percent of the population -  Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kittitas,  Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania,  Wahkiakum - may be able to advance to Phase 2 of Governor Inslee's four-phase reopening plan earlier than the other 29 counties in the state. The ten have had low numbers of positive COVID-19 test results and no deaths. 

On May 4, 2020, Governor Inslee released more information about waivers. Counties that meet the criteria and wish to submit a variance application must:

1) Submit a signed recommendation from the local public health officer to the local board of health with one of the following recommendations: not to request a variance and stay in Phase 1; to request a variance to include all of the Phase 2 modifications above; or request a subset of Phase 2 modifications.

2) The local board of health, if they choose to move forward with a variance request, must vote on such a request.

3) The local hospital(s) must submit a letter certifying that they have adequate bed capacity to serve their community and adequate PPE supplies to keep their workers safe.

4) The county commission/council must request to move to Phase 2 (or a subset of Phase 2) of the “Safe Start” plan.

To proceed they will need to submit reopening plans to the state Department of Health demonstrating adequate hospital capacity and personal protective equipment. 

San Juan County Council has a discussion of COVID-19 on its Tuesday, May 5 agenda. The three council members will also discuss the San Juan County Fair which traditionally takes place in August.

The numbers of tests conducted and positive results on the list below are from the state Department of Health as of 11:59 April 30, 2020. There were no deaths in any of the counties listed below. The Department of Health posts an updated data set on Sundays showing the date of the most recent positive test in a county. The dates listed are from the Sunday, April 26 data set. 

San Juan County - population 17,128 (2018) - has tested 620 people. Test results were positive for 14 for a 2.3 percent positive rate.  The number tested is different than the 772 shown on the county's website on May 1. The county isn't able to list the number of tests pending results, that might explain the discrepancy. The county's most recent positive test was April 16 according to the county's Emergency Operation Center. The state's DOH has the date listed as April 12.

Here are the stats on the 10 counties that may be able to skip ahead to Phase 2. 

Columbia County - population 4,059 (2018)  - has tested 67 people  with one positive test result for COVID-19 for a 1.5 percent positive rate.

Ferry County - population  7,649 (2018) - has tested 123 people. One tested positive for COVID-19 for a 0.8 percent positive rate.

Garfield County - population 2,247 (2018) - has tested 17 people with zero positive results. 

Grays Harbor - population 75,061 (2019) - has tested 940 people with 12 positive results for a 1.3 percent positive rate. Most recent positive test recorded on April 5, 2020.

Jefferson County - population 31,729 (2018) - tested 298 people. There were 28 positive results for a 9.8 percent positive rate. Most recent positive test recorded on March 29, 2020.

Kittitas County - population 47,935 (2019) - has tested 708 people. There were 15 positive results for a 2.1 percent positive rate. Most recent positive test recorded on April 5, 2020.

Lincoln County's - population 10,740 (2018) - has tested 157 people with two positive test results for a 1.3 percent positive rate. The most recent positive test result for  COVID-19 was on April 10 according to Lincoln County's website. One of the two cases was from a non-resident. According to the county's website: The non-resident was tested in Lincoln County and is recovering at their vacation home in Lincoln County. 

Pend Oreille County - population 13,602 (2018) - has tested 212 people. There were two positive test results for a 0.9 percent positive rate.

Skamania County - population 12,083 (2019) - has tested 124 people. There were three positive test results for a 3.4 percent positive rate.

Wahkiakum County - population 4,426 (2018) - has tested 57 people. There were two positive test results and no deaths. That's a 3.5 percent positive rate.


PHASE 1 -  begins Tuesday, May 5 and allows: 

High-Risk people:

- Continue to Stay Home, Stay Healthy


Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, boating, hiking) 


- Drive in spiritual service with one household per vehicle


Only essential travel


- Essential businesses open

- Existing construction that meet agreed upon criteria

- Landscaping

- Automobile sales

- Retail (curb-side pick-up orders only)

- Car washes

- Pet walkers

PHASE 2 - if each phase takes three weeks, it would begin on May 26 - would allow:

High-Risk people:

- Continue to Stay Home, Stay Healthy


- All outdoor recreation involving fewer than five people outside your household (camping, beaches, etc.)


-Gather with no more than five people outside your household per week

Travel :

Limited non-essential travel within proximity of your home


- Remaining manufacturing

- New construction

- ln-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)

- Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)

- Real estate

- Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)

- Hair and nail salons/Barbers -

- Housecleaning

- Restaurants (no more than 50% capacity, table size no larger than five people)

PHASE 3  - if each phase takes three weeks, it would begin on  June 16 - would allow:

High-Risk people:

- Continue to Stay Home, Stay Healthy


- Outdoor group rec. sports activities (5-50 people)

- Recreational facilities at no more than 50% capacity (public pools, etc.)


- Allow gatherings with no more than 50 people


- Resume non-essential travel


- Restaurants capacity table size no larger than 10

- Bars at no more than 25% capacity)

- Indoor at no more than 50% capacity

- Movie theaters at no more than 50% capacity

- Government (telework remains strongly encouraged)

- Libraries

- Museums

- All other business activities not yet listed except for and events with greater than 50 people

Phase 4 -  if each phase takes three weeks, it would begin on  July 7 - would allow:

High-Risk people:

- Resume public interactions, with physical distancing


- Resume all recreational activity


- Allow gatherings with 550 people


- Continue non-essential travel


- Concert venues

- Large sporting events

- Resume unrestricted staffing of worksites, but continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene

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1 comment

  • Sue Patterson
    Sue Patterson Saturday, 02 May 2020 17:18 Comment Link

    How can I communicate with someone from the San Juan County Council before their May 5 meeting? Email? Phone? I have some input and a couple of questions.


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