Washington state blocks counties from reopening as coronavirus cases increase

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announces measures to help contain the spread of the coronavirus at a press conference on March 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.

John Moore | fake pictures

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Saturday that the state would prevent some of its counties from moving to the next phase of reopening as the coronavirus shows signs of accelerating.

“The increase in statewide cases and concerns about the continued spread of the COVID virus have made Phase 4, which would essentially mean that no restrictions, impossible at this time,” according to Inslee and John Wiesman’s state order, Washington secretary of health.

Washington state is taking a redacted approach to reopening, allowing some counties to reopen earlier than others. Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan would resume all recreational activities and allow gatherings of more than 50 people, according to the state’s plan. It would also allow people at high risk for serious illness to resume public interactions with physical distancing.

A phase 4 county could also reopen its nightclubs, concert venues, and major sporting events, according to the state plan. Eight of the state’s 39 counties were prepared to go to phase 4, according to the order.

On Tuesday, Inslee joined a handful of other states in requiring people to cover their faces when they are in public spaces.

Washington is one of 34 states in the US where coronavirus cases are growing by 5% or more, according to a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported an average of 465 additional new cases in the past seven days, an increase of almost 34% compared to a week ago, according to Hopkins data.

Other states with increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have paused or reversed some of their reopening plans.

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state would close its bars and reduce the ability to eat inside its restaurants, among other modifications and closings, as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Florida also closed bars across the state. On Saturday, the state health department recorded her. second consecutive day of registration of coronavirus cases.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Friday that the city would delay its reopening scheduled for Monday, which included nail salons, hair salons, and outdoor bars, as the coronavirus shows signs of acceleration in California.