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Within Washington State, the Roadmap to Recovery plan has been established as a phased reopening based on a county-by-county evaluation. For counties with a population of less than 50,000 the following metrics are used as indicators of COVID-19 risk:
New COVID-19 cases over 14 days
New COVID-19 hospitalizations over 7 days
The next statewide review period is scheduled for May 4 and will utilize data from earlier in April. While most counties will be adjusted in their phase through this normal scheduled process, the Roadmap to Recovery plan also allows for adjustments to be made on a county basis as conditions warrant.
Within the last two weeks, Ferry County has experienced a sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. At present, there have been 106 cases reported in Ferry County residents since April 12. Seven people have required transport to other hospitals and there have been additional people hospitalized. There has been one reported COVID related death as of this morning.
Ferry County Hospital continues to experience a significant increase in ER visits as a result of the rapid spread and severity of patients’ symptoms. Ferry County Hospital’s small facility has limited space and their dedicated staff is at capacity. In addition, neighboring local and regional hospitals have been very busy and are limited in ability to receive these patient transfers. Emergency Medical Services transport remains a challenge as well. As a result, Ferry County Hospital is working with Washington Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID Response Team for medical staffing assistance, in-person home monitoring, coordination with regional hospitals, and logistical assistance. Ferry County Hospital may need to divert non-COVID admissions to maintain staffing and bed availability to care for patient’s suffering from more severe COVID symptoms while awaiting transfer out of the area.
Ferry County has the highest case rates adjusted for population in Washington State and ranks among the highest nationally. In the most impacted community of Republic, many businesses, agencies, and governmental offices have had to close their doors to the public and are using modified practices aimed at reducing disease transmission.
Given these conditions and in consultation with the DOH, Northeast Tri County Health District (NETCHD) is moving Ferry County into Phase 2 effective immediately. Such action is necessary now to reduce transmission and keep within the capacity of the local medical system to provide care. NETCHD will continue to monitor both case rates and hospitalizations closely for the next three weeks and update the Roadmap to Recovery phase as conditions warrant. As soon as these important metrics stabilize and see improvement, Ferry County will move back into Phase 3.
A move into Phase 2 reduces the size of gatherings, occupancy within establishments, sporting events, along with other restrictions as noted in the Healthy Washington Phased Chart. While this move into Phase 2 is difficult, it is also critical to help curve disease transmission rates in the right direction. We ask that Ferry County residents and organizations help by implementing the safeguards under Phase 2.
As a community, let’s work together and take precautions we know work-