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 across the country are working to mitigate.
On Wednesday, July 15th, a lawsuit challenging the emergency orders issued by Governor Jay Inslee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Slidewaters (a water park in Chelan County that has remained open in violation of state law) was dismissed by Judge Thomas Rice of the Eastern District Court of Washington.
The case was remanded to Chelan County Superior Court so that the state of Washington may seek a declaratory judgement that Slidewaters is in violation of the proclamations, to enjoin them from further operation, and to seek financial damages for related costs and attorney’s fees.
On Friday, July 17th, Home Depot required that customers in all its stores must wear masks within them, and that specific store personnel would be assigned to enforce compliance in each store. The move comes after numerous reports of noncompliance at Home Depot stores in south King County and portions of Pierce County, and a recent report about noncompliance at their Tukwila store.
Later that same evening, a small group led by militant right wing extremist Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer held a demonstration at Spokane Regional Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz’s house for enforcing mask-wearing rules issued by Governor Inslee and the state Department of Health.
On Sunday, July 19th, nine hundred and twenty new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within Washington state. On Monday, July 20th, seven hundred and ninety seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within Washington state. Every county within the state has now had at least one confirmed case.
The Department of Health says it’s concerned that the state is on a path towards “runaway growth” in COVID-19 cases.
There were a record four hundred and thirty-seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Beaver State on Thursday, July 16th, and another four hundred and thirty-six on Sunday, July 19th.
Republican officials are asking that Clackamas County not be subjected to the same restrictions as Multnomah and Washington counties. This is unlikely, though, as one of the first cases in Clackamas County was from a Washington County resident, and Clackamas County, like rural counties in Oregon, is suffering from increased rates of infection, which is straining local resources.
Meanwhile, Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, is struggling to keep up with tracing and testing requirements.
On Thursday, July 16th, Ammon Bundy, leading a group of demonstrators that declared itself People’s Rights, attempted to force their way into the facility where Southwest District Health normally holds their meetings.
After Bundy successfully forced his way in, he found that the meeting was being held remotely. Bundy demanded that in-person public comment be taken, but this demand was rejected and the meeting was rescheduled, whereupon Bundy and his group of militant right wing followers left the building.
On Friday, July 17th, the the Panhandle Health District declined Friday to adopt a mask mandate in the midst of demonstrations against the move by members of the public and resistance by members of its own Board of Health.
Bonneville County (which includes the city of Idaho Falls) may have to make outside wearing of masks mandatory, according to Eastern Idaho Public Health.
There were five hundred and fifty new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, July 18th, and five hundred and seventy-one new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, July 19th.
One hundred and two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within the province during the past weekend, with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (who delivers regular updates about the pandemic) warning: “We do have the possibility of having explosive growth here in our outbreak, if we’re not careful.”
Almost 4,400 people are being referred to enforcement authorities within the province for possibly not following through with their required fourteen day quarantine after entry into Canada through British Columbia.
Washington state has had 49,225 cases and 1,464 attributable deaths.
826,354 people have been tested.
Oregon has had 14,847 cases and 262 attributable deaths.
339,282 people have been tested.
Idaho has had 15,266 cases and 122 attributable deaths.
150,142 people have been tested.
British Columbia has had 3,300 cases and 189 attributable deaths.
236,669 people have been tested.