Kitsap Board of Health, commissioners expected to consider Phase 3 variance Friday

The Kitsap Board of Health and the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet this week to discuss and consider a variance application to move Kitsap County into Phase 3 of Washington’s “Safe Start” plan.

Kitsap becomes eligible to apply for Phase 3 on June 18, three weeks after applying for and receiving a variance from the state to move into phase two. The Board of Health and the commissioners have scheduled back-to-back meetings for Friday, June 19 at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively, to tackle the issue.

Both meetings will be held via Zoom. Neighboring Jefferson County becomes eligible the same day and is also expected to consider a variance as well.

The Kitsap Public Health District is accepting public comment on the issue this week. Residents can go online here and leave feedback for health and elected officials.

Kitsap has seen 11 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the first 13 days of June after having 11 in all of May, however, the increase comes as testing in the county has increased. The percentage of positive cases has now dipped to under two percent despite the amount of new confirmed infections.

In order to move on to phase three, the county has to meet a number of new targets, and is currently hitting all but one of them — the median number of days between symptom onset and specimen collections is currently three and it needs to be two or less. However, not meeting one specific target does not necessarily disqualify a potential application.

According to the data on the Kitsap Public Health District’s risk assessment dashboard, the county is well below the target infection rate of 25 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks — the rate is currently about 3.3. The county also does not currently have any COVID-related hospitalizations.

The dashboard will be updated again on Tuesday ahead of this week’s meetings.