Governor Inslee announced today that 2 of the 8 Health regions will advance to phase 2 opening up all Fall High School sports to start beginning next Monday on February 1st. The other 6 Regions remain in phase 1 and can still begin all low risk sports as scheduled so Cross Country, Tennis, Golf and Girls Swimming are all set to go in all regions of the State. The phase 2 sports of Football, Volleyball, Girls Soccer and Slowpitch can begin in the Puget Sound and West Regions only. The other 6 will now have to wait 2 weeks for the next update.
With the announcement came two significant changes, first, regions will now only have to hit 3 of the 4 metric targets to move on to phase 2 and second they will count the data every two weeks instead of every week. Governor Inslee said the reason for the two-week time period was chosen because it is a two-way street. He said even though some regions will have to wait an extra week to see if they can advance it also means if a region who has moved on to phase 2 can have a bad week and then rebound without having to bounce back to phase 1. He says they believe the data will continue to become more predictable and allow each Health Region more confidence that once you get to phase 2 of staying in phase 2.
The next step is phase 3 but the Governor says they have not yet finalized the criteria of getting to phase 3 at this time. It will take phase 3 to allow high risk indoor sports to compete which include basketball, wrestling and competitive cheer.
Health Region Updates
Phase 2 Regions
Puget Sound (Snohomish, King & Pierce counties): This week the Puget Sound region hit 3 of 4 which is now enough to get into phase 2. The Region missed the 14-day trend in cases rate but did improve dropping from -23% to just 4% so a big improvement. They also improved in the hospital admissions rate which pushed them into phase 2 from -9% to -16%. The 7-day measurements remained in the satisfactory range holding steady at 84% of ICU beds and 9% for the 7-day positivity rate..
West (Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific & Lewis counties): The West region was similar to the Puget Sound in as they missed hitting the 14-day trend of new cases but losing a little ground going from -8% to +15% so one stat to keep an eye one for the West. They turned the admissions around with a big move from +14% to -10%, this is the turn-around that pushed them into phase 2. The 2 7-day metrics saw the ICU occupancy drop from 88% to 82% and the positivity rate remain the same at 9%
Phase 1 Regions with 2 targets met
East (Spokane, Whitman, Pend Orielle, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Adams, Garfield and Asotin counties): The East had 2 last week and missed the same two targets. The East lost a little ground in the new cases rate falling from +12% to +22% but improved a bit in the positivity rate from 21% to 18%. The Hospital rate increased a tad but remained in the safe zone from -20% to this week’s -16% and improved the ICU occupancy rate from 82% filled down to 76%.
Northwest (Kitsap, Mason, Jefferson and Clallam counties): The Northwest again missed both 14-day measurements but improved on both. The rate of new cases dropped from 24% to 20% and the hospitalizations rate which just 2 weeks ago was 114% dropped to 44% last week and this week is all the way down to 16% that’s a 98-point drop in less than 3 weeks. The ICU bed occupancy also improved dropping from 77% to 71% and the rate of positive tests went from 8 to 9%.
North (Whatcom, Skagit & San Juan counties): The North also made improvements in their 2 misses from last week and both the 14-day trends. In the rate of new cases there was significant movement from 89% last week to 69% this week a 20 point positive change and in the hospital admissions rate it fell from 50% to 16%. Both good signs for the North. They improved in the ICU bed space down from 60% occupied to 58% and the positive test rate was flat from 8 to 9%
South Central (Yakima, Kittitas, Benton, Columbia & Walla Walla counties): The South Central showed dramatic improvements going from hitting just 1 target to getting 2 and not far from that 3rd to get into phase 2. The one they had last week was the rate of admissions at -36% and this week still well under at -29%. They made gains in the ICU beds from just missing last week at the 90% cut-off down to 87%. They just missed in the 14-day trend of new cases gong from 9% to -1% and the positive test percent flat from 23 to 22%.
Phase 1 Regions with 1 target met
North Central (Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas & Grant counties): The North Central region lost a little ground going from 2 down to 1 metric met. They fell in the admission rate stat from -12% to a whopping +41% a 53-point turn-around in the wrong direction. The 14-day trend in new cases improved slightly from 1 to 2%, Icu beds was also a slight positive gain from 86 to 84% and the positive percent stayed even at 14%.
Southwest (Cowlitz, Clark, Wahkiakum, Skamania and Klickitat counties): The Southwest Region was 1 of 2 regions with only one goal met last week and although they remain with one goal achieved they made clear progress across the board which bodes well for the next count in 2 weeks. They remained well under in the ICU beds although they went up a tad but still well under the 90% at 66% occupied. The other 3 metrics all showed improvement. In the 14-day trend of new cases they dropped from 44% to 13%, a 31 point change, the hospitalization rate dropped from 36% to 17% a 19-point swing and the 7-day average of positive tests went from 24% to 21%.
Governor Inslee News Conference