COVID-19 restrictions lifting to be like “turn of a dial,” not “flip of a switch,” says Inslee

By Luke Putvin | Lynnwood Times Staff

In his April 21 address to Washingtonians, Governor Jay Inslee said that the state health officer has informed him that the spread of COVID-19 is likely declining at this point.

“We know this crisis has shaken all of us,” Inslee said. He also said that, understandably, individuals want to know when they can move on and get back to daily life. Based on what Inslee said, “normal” will likely not return for some time.

“We are not going to be able to lift many of the restrictions by May 4,” Inslee said. In the coming days, he will receive more health modeling with the hopes that the models will give cause to lift certain restrictions. Inslee likened the reopening of the economy and lifting of restrictions to be more like the “turn of a dial” than a “flip of the switch.”

Provided the health modeling comes back with good news, Inslee said that there is hope to allow elective surgeries at hospitals as well as letting people partake in more outdoor activities. Additionally, there is the potential to allowing limited return to construction with some restrictions in place. Once again, if the health modeling in the next few days holds up to expectations, Inslee said these actions are likely to occur.

“We need healthy people in order to build a healthy economy,” Inslee said. He mentioned that the data shows if the state were to pull all restrictions now, numbers would begin to increase again. “To turn back now… would be disastrous.”

Between state and local health jurisdictions, Inslee said to expect approximately 1,500 workers to focus on contact tracing by the second week of May to keep control of the virus.

However, one main setback right now continues to be the shortage of testing supply. Inslee stressed that the governors are not wrong on this point, both republicans and democrats. “We need the federal government to help us more,” Inslee said.

Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is created, Inslee said that getting back to work will look vastly different than before. Some of these changes to be put in place include continued physical distancing, screening, teleworking, rigorous cleaning and others.

“We are going to have to steel ourselves against this virus for quite some time,” Inslee said. “We’re still here together, and we’re faithful to what we can accomplish as a community… We’re looking forward to making advances against this virus.”

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