The Washington State Department of Health has announced that all eight regions in Washington state, based on Gov. Jay Inslee’s new two-phased plan for reopening, will remain in Phase 1 until at least Jan. 18.

Walla Walla and Columbia counties are part of the South Central region, which includes Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Kittitas counties.

To progress to Phase 2, regions must meet each of the following four metrics:

  • Decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.
  • Decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • Less than 90% Intensive Care Unit occupancy.
  • COVID-19 test positivity of less than 10%.

The South Central region’s metrics released Friday by the Washington State Department of Health are:

  • Decreasing trend of 4% in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.
  • Increasing trend of 12% in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • 93% Intensive Care Unit occupancy.
  • COVID-19 test positivity of 21%.

The department will reassess the metrics each week and announce changes to current phase status every Friday, according to the release.

Walla Walla, Columbia and Umatilla counties saw more COVID-19 cases Friday.

In addition, Umatilla County Public Health reported one more Umatilla County resident has died after testing positive for COVID-19, health officials announced Friday evening.

The victim was identified as a man in his 50s.

The county also reported 39 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the case total to 6,185, including 60 deaths.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health reported 19 cases of COVID-19 for Friday.

The county’s case total is 3,841 since mid-March, including 36 deaths, which includes one more death from Thursday’s account, local officials reported. The county has not released any data on the new death.

The county’s active case count was 395 people, including 47 people who live at the Washington State Penitentiary.

The state Department of Corrections is reporting a total of 854 inmates and 153 staff members at the prison have tested positive for the illness; two incarcerated people who died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Washington state Department of Health is reporting 40 virus-related deaths in Walla Walla County. State and local numbers sometimes do not match.

State data shows Walla Walla County has 583.1 cases per 10,000 residents.

The number of people hospitalized here Friday was eight.

Washington state Department of Health has reported 197 people in Walla Walla County have been hospitalized since the pandemic started.

The number of county residents considered recovered is 3,410.

Walla Walla County’s test positivity rate was unable to update due to delayed and incomplete data at the state level, according to the county website.

Columbia County Public Health reported 12 active COVID-19 cases Friday, and 83 people have tested positive and recovered; there have been four deaths reported.

Washington‘s Department of Health reported 4,829 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

There were 65 more virus-related deaths.

Those numbers bring the state’s totals to 268,607 cases and 3,699 deaths, meaning 1.4% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, as of Thursday.

The agency reported 15,557 people now have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus.

Oregon Health Authority reported 1,755 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the state total to 122,847.

There were seven new deaths, making the state’s death toll 1,575.

The state has recorded 7,994 doses of vaccine administered, including 578 second doses, raising the total number of vaccinations given to 74,914, according to preliminary reports.

All were dispensed at Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical agencies, local public health departments and urgent care facilities.

As of Friday, 252,350 doses of the vaccine have been delivered to sites around the state.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon decreased to 451, 11 fewer than Thursday.

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Chloe LeValley can be reached at or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.