None of the state’s eight regions are moving on to Phase 2 of Washington’s recovery plan, the State Department of Health announced on Friday.
According to data published by the DOH, none of the eight regions designated in Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington reopening plan hit more than two of the four required benchmarks. Seven of the eight regions hit two benchmarks. The data is taken over seven-day periods and reassessed weekly. The next update is scheduled to be released on Jan. 29.
In order for moderate and high risk high school sports to return to competition, regions must reach Phase 2.
The state-imposed metrics were put in place to limit the spread of the virus and prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed. The four metrics regions need to show to move to Phase 2 are as follows:
- 10 percent decrease in positive COVID-19 cases
- 10 percent decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations
- Lower than 10 percent positive test rate
- Intensive care unit occupancy rate under 90 percent
The WIAA finalized its most recent iteration of a three-season high school sports calendar on Tuesday, with practice for fall sports starting Feb. 1, followed by spring sports second, then winter sports last. But the association gave leagues around the state the option to form its own calendar for the year, and many already have. The Greater St. Helens League will push the start of all moderate and high risk sports back a week to Feb. 8. It stipulated in its return-to-play the region needed to reach Phase 2 by Jan. 25 in order for those sports to start practice.
The data doesn’t mean all sports are on track to be pushed back.
Low-risk outdoor sports like cross country, golf and tennis can hold competitions in Phase 1. However, matches/meets may not have more than 200 participants — including coaches, athletes and event staff.
“We believe that this provides schools the ability to host more than four schools at an event in Phase 1,” WIAA Assistant Executive Director Justin Kesterson said in a video announcement Friday.