County Applying to Reopen Sooner

Mason County will be applying to the Washington State Department of Health for a variance to move from Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopen Plan to Phase 2 earlier than the proposed three weeks. In the County’s eight-page application, officials explain that Mason County meets the same criteria as neighboring counties, Grays Harbor and Jefferson, which are already at Phase 2 and “is strongly prepared and ready” to move ahead with recovery.

The applications states, “Mason County continues to experience very low occurrence of new cases since the observed peak in late March.” And goes on to says, “As new cases trickle in, they fall well within the capability of the current resources available in Mason County to maintain further test, track and trace.”

The application also explains how Mason County residents have been “incredibly responsible in complying” with the “Stay Home. Stay Health.” order which has brought the case levels down while having “increasingly harsh effects” on the county’s economy and residents’ lives.

The application calculates Mason County’s rate of infection at .38, well below the CDC’s recommendation of .77 new cases per 100,000 people. County officials calculation: Convert .77/100,000 to x/64,000 (Mason County Population) = .45/64,000 cases per day. From March 1st to May 1st = 64 days. 25 cases/64 days = .38 cases per day.

Officials also show how Mason County has protected the most vulnerable populations including long-term care facilities and the homeless; has adequate healthcare resources including hospital beds, ventilators and PPE; has adequate testing capacity and availability; and has highly trained staff for case and contact investigations.

The application for the variance and a resolution approving the application need approval from the Mason County Commission and the Mason County Board of Health. Special meetings are scheduled for Monday, May 11, 2020. The County Commission meets meet at 11:15 AM while the Board of Health will meet at 11:30 AM. Both meetings will be streamed live by MasonWebTV Powered by HCC as part of the County briefings which begin at 9 AM.

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