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A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site begins operation at Highland High School on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Cowiche, Wash.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Yakima County as officials in Kittitas County urge vigilance over the Memorial Day weekend so that county can move into the next phase of opening.

Yakima County has 2,684 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday evening, according to the Yakima Health District, with 47 new cases and no new deaths reported for the second day in a row. Since mid-March, 79 people have died from COVID-19 in Yakima County.

Thirty-one people were hospitalized in the county as of Thursday — down four from Wednesday. A total of 838 people have recovered.

A community testing site will be set up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Harrison Middle School, 810 S. 16th St., Sunnyside.

Anyone with symptoms can be tested and should call 211 for an appointment. Test results will be received by phone.

As cases continue to increase, Yakima County has yet to meet benchmarks that would make it eligible to submit a variance application to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.

On the other hand, Kittitas County is preparing for the potential to move into Phase 2 on Wednesday, according to a news release from the Kittitas County Incident Management Team. Under Phase 2, more businesses can open.

“It is possible that our variance application will be approved on Tuesday the 26th, which means our county should be prepared to begin Phase 2 on May 27th,” county Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson said in the release.

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Coronavirus Cases

Source: Yakima Health District, Yakima Herald-Republic reporting

Kittitas County had 66 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, and 30 people had recovered.

The county plans to submit a report to the state on Tuesday to move forward with its variance application.

“The report will wrap up the IMT’s response to the known outbreak at Twin City Foods, but it will also report on our ability to coordinate efforts to prevent more outbreaks in the future,” a news release said.

Officials are asking all Washington residents to follow their county restrictions in response to COVID-19, especially over the Memorial Day weekend. Tourists are discouraged in Kittitas County.

In particular, officials reached out to businesses that might be affected by people entering Kittitas County despite coronavirus orders. The team has concentrated on specific areas that tend to see an increase in tourist activity during the holiday weekend, including Vantage,

Cle Elum and Roslyn.

“There is absolutely no overnight camping anywhere in Kittitas County at this time. We must mitigate COVID-19 exposure risk over Memorial Day weekend,” a news release said.

“Kittitas County residents are also urged to help mitigate exposure over Memorial Day weekend by staying home. If you are out, please wear masks if you are unable to maintain 6-foot physical distance.”

Coronavirus Coverage

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Reach Tammy Ayer at tayer@yakimaherald.com or on Facebook.