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Posts Tagged ‘Washington State Department of Health’

Maddie Georges drives the ball up-court during Coupeville’s last basketball game, a playoff tilt in February. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

To basketball, or not to basketball, that is the question.

As we wade through the Age of Coronavirus, the current plan for prep sports is this:

Winter sports (basketball in Coupeville) would start the last week of December, with games kicking off in January.

Then, traditional fall sports (football, soccer, etc.) follow in March, with spring sports (softball, baseball, etc.) starting in May.

But…

Positive cases for COVID-19 are spiking throughout Washington state, including Island County, where there were 15 new documented cases between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.

Deaths have not risen, with Island County sitting firm at 12, with 10 of those in long-term care facilities.

With that as a backdrop, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board met Monday, where it approved “a process for determining the status of upcoming WIAA seasons during the 2020-21 school year.”

The decision was based on feedback from Athletic Directors across the state.

Monday’s plan states for a season to take place, “50 percent of schools in a WIAA region (by classification) must be eligible to participate in league games per the COVID metrics in Department of Health guidelines.”

That means at least four of eight schools in the revamped Northwest 1B/2B League will have to be ready to go for basketball to begin in December.

Along with football and wrestling, basketball is rated a “high-risk” sport by the state.

To play games, schools have to be in counties that have less than 25 new cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period, and less than 5% positive cases overall.

NWL teams come from five different counties, and, as of Tuesday afternoon, two of eight schools would be eligible to play, with a third narrowly missing.

Friday Harbor and Orcas Island would be good to go, as San Juan County is at just 5.8 new cases over a 14-day period.

Chimacum narrowly misses, with Jefferson County at 25.1, while Coupeville has work to do, with Island County at 48.3.

Skagit County is at 57.3, making life tough for Concrete, La Conner, and Mount Vernon Christian, while Darrington is really hurting, with Snohomish County at 120.7.

But hey, at least no one in the league lives in Whitman County, which sits at 472.8.

The WIAA said if less than 50 percent of schools in a classification in a region are able to compete in a specific sport due to elevated cases, the Executive Board will “adjust the scheduled season in order to allow the chance for greater participation.”

That could mean moving up “low risk” sports such as cross country, while pushing back “high-risk” ones with the hope case numbers will come down as the traditional flu season fades.

Or not.

It’s all a mystery, and likely will remain so until the day things start, or shut down.

For basketball, the WIAA will send out a preliminary update Nov. 27 on where each region is, then make decisions on who can play between Dec. 4-11.

The first day of basketball practice is currently scheduled for Dec. 28.

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The return of Friday Night Lights could be a ways away. (Katy Wells photo)

Island County is in Phase 3 of Washington state’s four-phase COVID-19 reopening plan.

But it won’t be going to Phase 4 any time soon.

And, for that matter, neither will any other counties.

The Washington State Department of Health issued a press release Saturday announcing a “pause on counties moving to Phase 4.”

“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state,” Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in the press release.

“We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet.

“This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.”

State Secretary of Health John Weisman issued the following letter:

 

Dear Local and Tribal Health Leaders,

I am writing to let you know Governor Inslee and I have decided to pause progression to Phase 4 statewide. 

We decided to prohibit any counties from moving into phase 4 at this time due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state and significant rebounds in COVID-19 activity in several other states.

The changes between Phase 3 and Phase 4, especially with regards to gathering size and occupancy rates, could further increase the spread of COVID-19 in our state, even in communities that have very low rates of disease.

The progress we’ve made thus far is at risk, therefore we are making the prudent choice to slow down our phased approach to reopening.

In the next couple of weeks, I will work with Governor Inslee and his team to assess the need for a modified approach for moving beyond Phase 3.

I will communicate that decision to you when we have more information.

Counties that are currently able to apply to move from Phase 1 or 2 are still able to apply when eligible.

Thank you for your continued work to protect the health of Washingtonians during this unprecedented time.

 

For those looking at this from a sports perspective, current Washington Interscholastic Activities Association guidelines state “low risk” sports, such as cross country and swimming, can begin competition in Phase 3.

“Moderate risk” sports, such as volleyball, basketball, and soccer, can begin games when a county is in Phase 4.

Three “high risk” sports — football, wrestling, and competitive cheer — have no current timeline for when games will be allowed to restart.

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The Washington State Department of Health has confirmed 24 cases of COVID-19 at Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville.

Test results are pending for other residents and employees.

It’s the only known outbreak of the coronavirus associated with a long-term facility in Island County.

That raises the total number of confirmed cases in Island County, which includes Whidbey and Camano, to 54.

There has been one confirmed death – a woman in her 90’s with underlying health conditions, who passed away at home.

There are currently 2,469 confirmed cases in Washington state, with 123 deaths.

 

For more updates:

https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

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