BFHD reports Benton and Franklin counties are in a "good place" to stay in phase 3

TRI-CITIES, WA- The Benton-Franklin Health District says Benton and Franklin counties are in a "good place" and are on track to remain in phase three through the next few weeks.

Doctor Amy Person, health officer with the Benton-Franklin Health District says they are encouraged by the numbers and those getting vaccinated. But they are watching increasing case numbers statewide. 

"Nationally and statewide we have seen concerning trends and increasing case counts. However, in Benton and Franklin counties at this point we still are in a good place," Dr. Person said.

Dr. Person said although the decrease is promising in both counties they are concerned that may change with spring break and Easter coming up.

"We always watch that closely... it has been a pattern that after holidays particularly when people get together in groups or travel that we do see an increase," Dr. Person said. "Our hope for spring break as it has been for past occasions is that people are weighing the risks regarding being with those outside of their household."

This week 35,000 more people in the Tri-Cities region became eligible for the vaccine. With more people getting vaccinated, Dr. person hopes it will help make a difference.

"What we will be looking forward to seeing is whether the availability of vaccines and whether the individuals being vaccinated is going to reduce the spike we normally see after the holidays," Dr. Person said. 

Even with more eligible for the vaccine and more added in the next few weeks, Dr. Person said she's confident there will be enough doses for everyone who wants it. 

"We expect that our vaccine availability will keep up... We are seeing increased allocations of all of the vaccines," Dr. Person said.

Dr. Person said the Benton-Franklin Health District is continuing to watch for new spikes within schools and around the community but is urging people to not let their guards down.

"We can continue to maintain those good habits, to maintain that care for ourselves our families and our community I have no doubt we will remain in phase three," Dr. Person said.