TRI-CITIES, WA - On Thursday Gov. Jay Inslee announced seven out of eight Washington regions would move to Phase 2 in the state's reopening plan, all except the South Central region which includes: Benton, Franklin, Yakima, Walla Walla, Kittitas and Columbia counties. Today many local businesses owners and residents are taking to social media, and contacting NBC Right Now claiming the decision is "politically motivated," because many "counties in the region did not vote for Inslee."
NBC Right Now reached out to the Governor's office who called the claims "ridiculous."
A rep for Inslee went on to say, in part “(The decision) is based on data and facts. It is a convenient excuse to say that it is not the actions of the region to help get cases and hospitalizations under control, it must be something else. But, the numbers don’t lie. Many other regions have moved forward and those are also regions that didn’t likely vote for the governor. And they moved ahead, so the logic is just a bit flawed here, ” said Tara Lee, Office of Gov. Inslee.
Now that data shows the South Central region is falling short to meet state metrics. In order to move to Phase 2, regions must meet at least three out four designated metrics. Right now, according to Department of Health, the South Central region is only meeting two out of four metrics.
Regional hospitalization rates have increased by 9% compared to 2 weeks ago, and our regional positive number of tests also remain high.
Reps for the Governor went on to say, "Inslee has deep ties to Central Washington as a former legislator and congressman from Selah. He has many personal connections there to this day and is well aware of and sympathetic to the region’s struggles."
To view the South Central's regional metrics and see how they compare to other parts of the state go to page 3 on : HealthyWashington.pdf