Will Phase 3 Metrics be Tied to Vaccination Rates? –Inslee Visit
According to local news reports out of Yakima, some officials say there could be details coming about Phase 3 in WA state soon. These surfaced as part of a whirlwind cut short visit by Gov. Inslee Tuesday. He visited Robert Frost Elementary and issued his typical comments about positive efforts being made to safely reopen schools with hybrid.
KEPR TV reported a Yakima County Health District official believes there could be some metrics or details about Phase 3. Currently there is no plan for the state's 8 regions.
Inslee told KEPR citizens can expect changes to metrics in Phase 3, Ryan Ibach with the YCHD said there have been a lot of discussions, some of them tied to vaccinations; according to KEPR.
Any such talk, however, is disturbing, says Yakima County Commissioner Amanda McKinney. She told KEPR she doesn't want to see any metrics tied to vaccination "saturation" because that will chip away at people's freedoms. She fears such policy would keep citizens from going to a movie, restaurant or other venues unless they have proof of vaccination.
We were not part of the invited small group of media for Inslee's visit, but KEPR TV says he was asked specifically about Phase 3. This is what he said:
"Well we are working on our next steps, we're optimistic about where we are as a state. And we are considering the next steps we have not finalized those decisions."
Based upon his previous quotes, actions, decisions, this is a typical Inslee answer in many situations. A non-answer.
KEPR did ask him directly if vaccinations would be tied to metrics, it would essentially force people to get vaccinated. This was his answer, according to KEPR:
"Well, we're not forcing anyone, we think there is plenty of appetite and desire to be safe and save lives, were having a tremendously positive response."
However, that response conflicts with local media reports from the Benton County Fairgrounds Vaccination site (which Inslee was supposed to visit but skipped).
Some reports say newly opened vaccination appointments at the Fairgrounds are not filling as fast as they were in recent days.
Inslee claims Franklin County has the fourth highest case rate of COVID-19 in WA state, believes it could have to do with working conditions-perhaps ag industry. However, the Benton Fairgrounds site has given out over 27,000 vaccinations, the most of any mass site in the state according to WSDOH. Nearly 2,000 more than #2 Vancouver.
As for the vaccination site, Inslee was supposed to tour it, but would only say he had to cut his visit short.
Views from various Washington state vaccination sites. East Side officials fear vaccination could be tied to Phase 3 metrics; forcing people to get it whether they wish to or not.
WA state mass vaccinations