The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Tracy Thompson
The Times 

Additional cases put Phase 3 in jeopardy for Walla Walla County

Benton, Franklin and Yakima Counties see alarming case increases


WALLA WALLA—Walla Walla County’s application for entry into Phase 3 appears to be in jeopardy (see story, page 5) due to Monday’s announcement from health officials that twelve additional COVID-19 cases were reported since Friday, June 19th’s total.

As of Tuesday, June 23, the county has 29 active cases all of whom are under home isolation. The county has had three deaths from the virus to date.

City of Walla Walla Development Services Director Elizabeth Chamberlain speaking as Liaison for Unified Command, remarked in a video shared to Facebook that the county is not yet at community transmission which means the virus is not currently spreading through unknown sources of infection.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health connected some of the new cases to travel outside the county and to travelers who have visited the county from outside the area. Both the city and county officials urge residents to take all precautions listed under phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start plan.

Cases in Yakima, Benton, Franklin counties all continue to rise. Yakima Valley now has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast and has 22 percent of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations. Gov. Jay Inslee visited Yakima on Saturday, June 20, and announced that face coverings will be required in all public spaces in Yakima County. Without immediate action case counts could double in the next two weeks, Inslee warned.

Benton County case counts increased by 270 over the past week, with one additional resident passing away due to the virus. Franklin County cases rose by an alarming 369 infections in the same period.

Other counties are advancing through the phases with approval for Kittitas County to move to Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan on Monday evening.

A total of three counties are in Phase 1, two counties are in a modified version of Phase 1, 18 counties are in Phase 2 and 16 counties are in Phase 3.


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