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.
Governor Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” stay at home order will extend past the original May 4th expiration date. However, a relaxation of restrictions on the construction industry and specific outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing, has been accompanied by a list of a written guidelines by which previously withheld elective surgeries can now proceed.
“I do not believe that we will have the infection rate or the fatality rate or the hospital admission for COVID-like symptoms rate, none of those numbers will be low enough to justify removing major social distancing strategies,” Governor Inslee said on Wednesday. “One of the most frustrating numbers, I have to tell you, is our number of infections per day because that is stubborn and has not been going down as we would have liked in the last week to 10 days.”
Governor Inslee wants to, as soon as is reasonable, replace some physical distancing requirements with more robust testing, contract tracing and quarantine measures. Toward that end, the Federal government has committed to over 500,000 nasal swabs and other materials necessary per month, which would result in being able to reach the state’s goal of over 22,000 being tested per day.
Governor Inslee will announce at a press conference this afternoon how he will start to re-open the state in phases, as testing, tracing of people, followed by quarantine of the known sick, advance, using his office’s risk assessment dashboard to assess progress over time.
Governor Kate Brown will be holding a press conference this afternoon to discuss testing and tracking procedures as the state considers re-opening and phasing out its ongoing stay at home order, which presently has no end date. Guidelines for the public in general, and specifically for businesses in particular, are in draft at the moment but are also likely to be part of the press conference.
This includes such items as maintaining a six foot minimum distancing rule for individuals, using a face mask when outside and recommending that businesses keep a record of all customers visiting their facilities and when they did so, for potential tracking purposes. Four counties have asked for a resumption of economic activities and another four have endorsed the request from Douglas County, one of the first four counties to make a direct request.
This is the beginning of Governor Brown’s attempt to fulfill her statement of April 14th — “While we have to be careful, we also cannot stand still.”
Most stores and businesses will be allowed to reopen, but not such places as restaurant dining rooms, bars, nightclubs, hair and nail salons, indoor gyms, recreational sites, or convention or entertainment centers. Churches may be allowed to open, but only if they follow strict physical distancing and sanitation requirements in place per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Childcare facilities and youth activity facilities and camps may be allowed to reopen, though no specifics are as yet noted on how to minimize potential disease transmission.
While Governor Little stumbled badly when COVID-19 hit Idaho, he has tried to listen more to his Health and Welfare Director, Dave Jeppsen, and related public heath experts. Unfortunately, he also has had somewhat of a hands-off approach, which has led to challenges to his authority without response.
Governor Little also is being requested to have a more transparent effort toward providing a full and complete set of data regarding the numbers of those made ill and who have died as a result of the SARS-CoV‑2 virus.
Rapid response by provincial public health authorities have resulted in the province being ahead of the rest of Canada in its response to COVID-19. Consideration of under what conditions and by what means a phased reopening of the province may take place is under discussion, but no firm plan has been proposed as yet and the exciting lockdown orders are still in place. Various antibody tests are being examined for validity in deterring the rate of “herd immunity” within the province.
Today a press conference will be held by Finance Minister Carole James about a one-time benefit of $1,000 for citizens of the province and how the application process will work.
Washington state has had 14,327 cases and 814 attributable deaths.
193,981 people have been tested.
Oregon has had 2,510 cases and 103 attributable deaths.
56,512 people have been tested.
Idaho has had 2,015 cases and 63 attributable deaths.
28,240 people have been tested.
British Columbia has had 2,112 cases and 111 attributable deaths.
86,030 people have been tested.