NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, March 20th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Governor Jay Inslee holds off on “shelter in place” order… for now

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and through­out the coun­try are work­ing dili­gent­ly to mit­i­gate.

Unlike some of the non­sense that is unfor­tu­nate­ly cir­cu­lat­ing on social media, all the infor­ma­tion you’ll find here is accu­rate and based on sound sci­ence.

Governor Jay Inslee asks Washingtonians to stay home

Wash­ing­ton State’s chief exec­u­tive appealed to its sev­en plus mil­lion inhab­i­tants not to leave home unless absolute­ly nec­es­sary in a press con­fer­ence today, explain­ing that not enough peo­ple are doing a suf­fi­cient job of phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing.

“I’m ask­ing you, and you may say I am plead­ing with you, to stay home; stay home unless it is nec­es­sary that you go out,” Inslee said from his con­fer­ence room in the State Capi­tol, where a Cis­co WebEx sys­tem was set up and a pool cam­era rolling. “I am exer­cis­ing every ounce of the bul­ly pul­pit author­i­ty that I have.”

Gov­er­nors in sev­er­al oth­er states have now issued so-called “shel­ter in place” orders. Inslee has not, but he has closed schools and restau­rant din­ing rooms, and pro­hib­it­ed large gath­er­ings of peo­ple. Many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are anx­ious for him to go fur­ther, and Inslee hint­ed that he is prepar­ing to do so.

Work­ers in their six­ties and peo­ple with health con­di­tions that leave them par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to COVID-19 ought to be able to elect to stay home even if their employ­er wants them to come in, Inslee said. He explained that his staff are explor­ing whether he may issue an exec­u­tive order to that effect.

“If you are in one of these vul­ner­a­ble groups, I want to see to it you have the right to stay home … and I urge you to do so,” he said.

Watch Inslee’s press con­fer­ence.

Local authorities: Keep off playgrounds and sports courts

Mean­while, King Coun­ty and the City of Seat­tle announced that all play­grounds, basketball/racket courts and sports fields would be clos­ing.

“With schools closed and peo­ple adapt­ing to new work habits, our parks and open spaces can pro­vide an impor­tant break in these stress­ful times. It is clear, how­ev­er, that we must con­tin­ue to be vig­i­lant in these places as well, and make sure all our res­i­dents put into prac­tice Pub­lic Health direc­tives,” said King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine. “Go for a hike. Take the fam­i­ly for a stroll. Kick a soc­cer ball around with your kids. But use good sense and avoid gath­er­ings, team sports, pick-up games, and play­ground equip­ment.”

“Parks are beloved by all, but we must be smart about our behav­iors dur­ing this unprece­dent­ed pub­lic health emer­gency. We are in a new nor­mal. While indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies can bike, walk, or run, we can­not allow gath­er­ings at Seattle’s best loca­tions includ­ing Alki, Gold­en Gar­dens, Seward, Vol­un­teer Park or Mag­nu­son. Every sin­gle res­i­dent should take social dis­tanc­ing guide­lines to heart – it could save someone’s life,” said May­or Jen­ny Durkan.

Reporters from sev­er­al dif­fer­ent media out­lets have observed large crowds con­gre­gat­ing at Alki Beach, and the staff of The Seat­tle Times have observed peo­ple fail­ing to prac­tice phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing on bas­ket­ball courts.

More deaths, more cases in Washington State

The death toll from the nov­el coro­n­avirus con­tin­ues to increase in the Ever­green State, as does the num­ber of new­ly con­firmed cas­es. The Depart­ment of Health reports there are 1,524 con­firmed cas­es and eighty-three deaths. 21,719 indi­vid­u­als have test­ed neg­a­tive for COVID-19.

In King Coun­ty:

Pub­lic Health—Seattle & King Coun­ty is report­ing the fol­low­ing con­firmed cas­es and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 PM on 3/19/20.

  • 793 con­firmed cas­es (up 100 from yes­ter­day)
  • 67 con­firmed deaths  (up 7 from yes­ter­day)

These addi­tion­al deaths include:

  • A man in his six­ties, who died on March 19th
  • A woman in her nineties, who died on March 17th
  • A man in his sev­en­ties, who died on March 18th
  • A woman in her eight­ies. who died on March 18th
  • A woman in her sev­en­ties, whose date of death has not been con­firmed
  • A man in his sev­en­ties, who died on March 19th at Val­ley Med­ical Cen­ter
  • A woman in her six­ties, who died on March 19th at Har­borview Med­ical Cen­ter

Of the 67 deaths report­ed, 35 are con­firmed to be asso­ci­at­ed with Life Care Cen­ter of Kirk­land.

More cases in Oregon

Ore­gon’s con­firmed cas­es now num­ber in the triple dig­its.

Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty report­ed 26 new cas­es of COVID-19, bring­ing the state total to 114, as of 8:30 AM today, March 20th. The COVID-19 cas­es report­ed today are in the fol­low­ing coun­ties: Clacka­mas (4), Deschutes (2), Grant (1), Linn (1), Mar­i­on (4), Mult­nom­ah (5), Union (1), Wash­ing­ton (6), Yamhill (2).

Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Kate Brown is com­ing under pres­sure to issue a “shel­ter in place” order, just like Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee is, the Willamette Week reports.

More cases in Idaho

The Gem State is now begin­ning to grap­ple with the pan­dem­ic just like its west­ern neigh­bors. The state now has thir­ty-one total con­firmed cas­es.

Pub­lic Health Dis­trictCoun­tyCas­esDeaths
Pan­han­dle Health Dis­trictKoote­nai30
South­west Dis­trict HealthCanyon10
Cen­tral Dis­trict HealthAda40
South Cen­tral Pub­lic Health Dis­trictBlaine190
Twin Falls10
East­ern Ida­ho Pub­lic HealthMadi­son10
Teton20
TOTAL310

Employ­ees of Boise State Uni­ver­si­ty, Micron Tech­nol­o­gy Inc. and the Boise VA Med­ical Cen­ter have all test­ed pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus, the Ida­ho States­man reports.

Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle issued a state­ment fol­low­ing the dis­clo­sure of the new cas­es.

“My office and mem­bers of my Coro­n­avirus Work­ing Group are ful­ly engaged with the South Cen­tral Pub­lic Health Dis­trict, Blaine Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­ers, and may­ors in that area to ensure a strong response is in place. Our num­ber one pri­or­i­ty is to slow the spread of the virus in that com­mu­ni­ty and out­side of it. To ensure that hap­pens, the direc­tor of the Ida­ho Depart­ment of Health and Wel­fare will issue an iso­la­tion order for res­i­dents in the area. We are still work­ing on the details, and res­i­dents will still have essen­tial ser­vices avail­able to them, such as access to gro­cery stores and, of course, health­care.”

“I am firm in my com­mit­ment to mak­ing deci­sions in our coro­n­avirus plan­ning and response based on sci­ence, not fear. Every step of the way, we have made deci­sions based on the best infor­ma­tion and guid­ance from the Cen­ters For Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion and our nation’s lead­ers, and we will con­tin­ue to do so.”

“I urge every­one to be even more vig­i­lant of the pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures to slow the spread of coro­n­avirus. And most of all, I con­tin­ue to urge Ida­hoans to take care of each oth­er. Be mind­ful of our actions. Find some­one you can help. We will get through this togeth­er.”

More deaths, more cases in British Columbia

The news isn’t bet­ter north of the bor­der.

VANCOUVER — Adri­an Dix, Min­is­ter of Health, and Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry, B.C.‘s provin­cial health offi­cer, have issued the fol­low­ing joint state­ment regard­ing updates on the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) response in British Colum­bia:

“We are announc­ing 77 new cas­es of COVID-19, for a total of 348 cas­es in British Colum­bia.”

“Of the new cas­es, one patient is a health-care work­er at the Duf­ferin Care Cen­tre, a long-term care home in Coquit­lam. Fras­er Health author­i­ty pub­lic health and infec­tion con­trol teams are on site.”

“Every health region in British Colum­bia has patients with COVID-19: 200 are in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health region, 95 are in the Fras­er Health region, 30 are in the Van­cou­ver Island Health region, 19 are in the Inte­ri­or Health region and four are in the North­ern Heath region.”

“Addi­tion­al­ly, of the total COVID-19 cas­es, six peo­ple have com­plete­ly recov­ered, 22 are receiv­ing acute care, 10 are in inten­sive care and the remain­ing patients are at home in iso­la­tion.”

“As the num­ber of cas­es increas­es and the pres­sure on our health-care sys­tem inten­si­fies, we would like to acknowl­edge and thank our health­care work­ers as they sup­port all those in B.C. who require test­ing and care for COVID-19.”

“In step with World Health Orga­ni­za­tion rec­om­men­da­tions, the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada’s Nation­al Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee on Infec­tion Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol pro­vides clear guid­ance for all health-care work­ers to fol­low. They can be con­fi­dent that by fol­low­ing these guide­lines on appro­pri­ate use, we will have suf­fi­cient sup­ply of per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment.”

“We need every­body to be aware of the risk in every com­mu­ni­ty and every health region across B.C. And, equal­ly impor­tant, because of the incu­ba­tion peri­od and rapid trans­mis­sion, the self-iso­la­tion and [phys­i­cal] dis­tanc­ing that we do today will ben­e­fit all of us two weeks and two months from now.”

“Giv­en the chal­lenges social dis­tanc­ing presents for restau­rants, effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly, all dine-in food ser­vices are pro­hib­it­ed. Restau­rants must move to deliv­ery or take-out options only, or close.”

“We also want to be clear that while spend­ing time out­doors is impor­tant, peo­ple still need to stay away from groups in any envi­ron­ment — to pre­vent bring­ing the virus into their homes.”

“New resources are being made avail­able every day to sup­port every­one in our province as we con­tin­ue to work to stop the trans­mis­sion of COVID-19.”

Adjusting to life during a pandemic: Practical advice

This is unques­tion­ably a dif­fi­cult, stress­ful time. It’s hard for every­body. Here’s some prac­ti­cal advice for cop­ing with pan­dem­ic life.

Stay safe, keep your dis­tance, and be well.

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One Comment

  1. This is a ter­ri­ble virus that has hurt a lot of peo­ple. Please pray with me: Please, Heav­en­ly Father help us. We ask you to help us all us sin­ners. Look after our grand­mas and grand­pas. I pray to you 🙏 and I urge any­one else read­ing to pass on the call to prayer.

    This com­ment has been edit­ed by NPI to cor­rect gram­mar and for­mat­ting.

    # by Maryann Barne :: March 21st, 2020 at 1:38 PM