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Gov. Inslee COVID-19 Update


March 19, 2020

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee today chastised Washingtonians for not doing enough to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, but stopped short of ordering residents to stay in their homes.

“I won’t be issuing any legally binding orders today,” he said during his 4:30 p.m. press conference. “That does not mean we won’t be back here soon.”

While Western Washington drivers have slashed their time in vehicles, he said he’s concerned about residents still going to dinner parties and teenagers hanging out.

“Some in our state are not taking the measures that are absolutely necessary,” he said. “Everyone needs to change their behavior if we are to prevent loss of life in our state.”

On Monday, the governor issued an executive order prohibiting large gatherings.

The order required restaurants, bars and recreational venues to limit public access; eateries were still allowed to provide takeout services.

“We are still seeing people ignore both these orders and common sense,” he said. “If people continue to ignore this common sense, I will go further.”

Inslee said all residents are potential transmitters and potential victims of COVID-19, also know as Wuhan Flu, or “WuFlu,” for the Wuhan, China, area where it originated.

“I am pleading with you, stay home. Stay home, unless it is necessary for you to go out,” Inslee said. “Not everyone has gotten the memo on this yet.”

Inslee encouraged residents, particularly those older than 65, to remain at home.

Additionally, he called on employers to voluntarily enact policies to allow older workers to perform their duties from home. Inslee said he’ll be issuing a proclamation – not an order – to encourage employers to find a way to help older employees work from home or work flexible hours to avoid contact with others.

“Employers have got to do their part to flatten this curve,” he said.

The curve to which he is referring is the bell-shaped curve experts say will chart the increase, apex and decline of the virus.

A step curve could overwhelm health care facilities, which may result in more deaths. A “flatter” curve would spread out the cases over time, giving health care professionals more time per patient.

Inslee demanded everyone get “serious" about this virus.

“If anyone is living a normal life today, you are not doing what we need you to do.”


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