Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the third weapon for residents to use to fight COVID is to take their activities outside
Washington Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference Thursday afternoon and he did so outside the Executive Residence in Olympia for a reason.
Inslee asked Washingtonians to use a new weapon to help prevent the state from entering into a fourth wave of COVID cases. The latest weapon the governor has asked residents of the state to use is to “Take It Outside,’’ a mantra Inslee repeated throughout his press conference.
“This is a simple, cost-free, extremely healthy way to go about our business in the next several weeks, and frankly, it’s imperative” Inslee said. “These numbers are going to continue to go up unless something changes in our state. The status quo means an increase in COVID in our state. That is unacceptable.”
Inslee said that there is strong evidence to suggest Washington is headed into the fourth wave of COVID infections and that the state could fight against that by taking personal and even business activities outdoors, rather than indoors. The governor said Washingtonians have done a good job of using two other weapons to fight off the past three waves of COVID infections, referring to masks and vaccines, which he credited for pushing back the third wave earlier this year.
Inslee said positive COVID cases in the state have grown to more than 1,000 per day, which is up from about 700 a day in February. He is also concerned that “younger folks are now becoming people who are now ending up in our hospitals across the state of Washington. So, unfortunately, there is strong evidence of a fourth wave potentially developing in the state of Washington. We cannot and we will not wait till that wave engulfs the state. We have to prevent this from taking over the state of Washington.
“So, there are some things we need to do,’’ Inslee said. “We are asking Washingtonians in the upcoming weeks to take it outside, take whatever we’re going to do when we’re around other people and take it outside, whether it’s a coffee or a chance to see an old friend, or whatever recreation we’re going to have, or whatever me time you want to have just a goof off. Or even what business we want to get done. We want to ask Washingtonians to take it outside.’’
“This doesn’t seem like rocket science,’’ Inslee said. “But it’s frankly one of the things our Department of Health has thought about in the last few days. We’ve said, ‘what can we do to break this cycle of increasing COVID?’ We’ve got vaccine coming on like crazy. We now have about half of our adults in the state of Washington have received at least one dose. We’ve had tremendous success in our vaccine program. Thirty-two percent of Washingtonians over the age of 18 have already been fully vaccinated. And we know that anyone over 16 now is eligible. But this is something we can do. We should do what we really have to do to break the cycle of this increasing COVID infection rate in our state.’’
Inslee also encouraged Washington residents to get vaccinated, even though he acknowledged there was growing hesitancy by some members of the public to get vaccinated because of reports of adverse reactions to vaccines, primarily the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which the use of was paused earlier this week.
“We are approaching a transition in our challenge in the state,’’ Inslee said. “The challenge, heretofore, has been getting enough supply of the dosages. We now have enough where we can make everybody eligible in the state of Washington. But, we have another challenge coming on to us. And that is a hesitancy of some people to get this vaccine. And we are asking people, while you’re taking it outside, also take it over to your parents’ house, or your grandparents’ house and your uncles and your aunts and your neighbors and your kids. And remind them that getting vaccinated is imperative. It’s imperative for their health.’’
The governor also gave a quick legislative update, stating that lawmakers were close to completing an “extremely productive legislative session.’’
“A lot of folks thought that it would be impossible to produce meaningful legislation this year,’’ Inslee said, referring to how the pandemic has forced lawmakers to change the way they work and interact. “In the next week, we will possibly get over the goal line on homelessness issues, on police accountability issues, on a whole host of equity issues. Great progress is being made.’’