When Gov. Jay Inslee and the WSDOH released the new repackaged Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan in January (a re-shuffle of his failed Safe Start Plan) it grouped us into 8 regions.

As of Sunday February 14, all but our region, the South Central, are moving to Phase 2.  According to the state, the South Central Region didn't move because the "trend in 14-day new COVID hospital admissions per 100K of population" was too high (dark blue on map).

Also, the region (like three others who DID move up) had too high of a "7-day percent positive of COVID Tests."

It appears the hospital admissions rate is the one that would the 'easiest' to attain in the next two weeks, as February 26 is the next time the state will consider us to move up.  However, the BFHD website as of 2-12-2021, does not readily show the hospitalization rates, like they have in the past.  We scoured the site, and could not find it.  These show the percentage of people in beds in the hospitals in B-F county .

This is likely due to B-F County now being lumped in with Yakima, Kittitas and Columbia Counties. A search of the roadmap to recovery state website also doesn't seem to display hospital in bed totals vs. those with COVID.

Then....there's the layman's citizen political opinion.   Although according to the state metrics we didn't qualify to move up, there is a lot of discussion about the questionable hospital rates.  Many believe, even civic and legislative leaders, Inslee is dragging his feet towards our region because of long time political opposition.

It's the elephant in the room, but by far Benton-Franklin Counties exhibited the most opposition and defiance to his policies--especially over COVID.  Remember the fishing protest the weekend after fishing was banned? 600 (estimated) boats on the river? The CBC press conference where he was heckled indoors? The list goes on.

Some seriously believe his foot dragging is politically motivated. Inslee, despite his strap on mask of attempted congeniality, is a very egotistical and vindictive politician. We've spoke to a number of state legislators (off the record) who confirm this...even some Democrats.  Some say he still has not forgotten his being blown out of Congress in the 4th District by Doc Hastings by a margin of over 60 percent in 1994.

So, we have the 'official' and the 'layman's reasons why we did not advance.