For athletes in several high school sports, the wait continues.
The Southwest Region will not be moving Monday to Phase 2 of the “Healthy Washington” reopening plan after data released Friday by the state department of health showed no region in the state hitting all four metrics required to advance out of Phase 1.
Return-to-play guidelines released last week by the athletic directors of the 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens League stipulated that the region must be in Phase 2 by Jan. 25 in order for seasons to begin Feb. 1 for high- and moderate-risk sports of football, girls soccer, volleyball and slowpitch softball.
Now, the earliest those sports could start their seasons is Feb. 8, provided the region reaches Phase 2 by Feb. 1.
The 2A GSHL has said practices for football, girls soccer, volleyball and slowpitch softball can start Feb. 1, even in Phase 1. However, competitions can’t be held until the region moves to Phase 2.
The Southwest Region, which encompasses Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, Klickitat and Wahkiakum counties, saw a 44% rise in new COVID-19 cases and a 36% rise in new COVID-19 hospitalizations. Both those metrics need to decrease by at least 10% to reach the threshold to move to Phase 2.
Also, the region saw its percentage of positive COVID-19 tests jump from 18% last week to 24%. The metric needs to be below 10% to reach the threshold.
The one metric the region was successful in reaching was the percentage of ICU bed capacity, which fell to 54% — well below the threshold of 90%.
No region in the state hit all four thresholds to move to Phase 2 next week. In fact, no region in the state reached more than two of four of the metrics.
Low-risk sports of cross country, boys tennis and boys golf, which can begin full practices and competitions in Phase 1, will still commence their seasons on Feb. 1.