Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference late Friday afternoon, Mar. 20, 2020, where he discussed new protections and scolded those who are defying previous orders during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
While he has not yet declared a statewide shutdown like in California or New York, Inslee said he might take more extreme action very soon.
And the governor was blunt to those who are defying his previous orders to quarantine.
“Tell that 18-year old who keeps going out to wherever young people hang out, NOT to do it anymore,” Inslee said. “Tell them you’re going to cut them out of your will if they keep doing it!”
We are responding to COVID-19 based on science, and have taken unprecedented measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As the science demands, I will not hesitate to take further action. 1/6 pic.twitter.com/S1lM9YHtIo
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 21, 2020
The Governor also showed traffic data from WSDOT that shows the effects his previous actions are having on tolled roads since Mar. 1, 2020:
- SR99: steady decline, down –61% from the typical average
- SR520: consistent reductions over last 18 days, down –59%
- However, traffic on the Narrows Bridge is down only –24 percent
- SR 167 down by –28 percent
- Roads in Spokane are down only –20 percent.
“This is not enough,” he said. “What this points out to us is that we are capable of changing behavior, like in King County…but other places around the state are not doing enough.”
Inslee also showed a chart about COVID-19 testing, and with 20,742 completed so far:
- 93% negative
- 7% positive
“Whatever we’re doing, we’re not doing enough of it,” Inslee said.
He also sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he declare a federal major disaster in the state of Washington to unlock a host of additional federal assistance to benefit affected Washingtonians, such as expanded unemployment assistance and basic food benefits.
“Tens of thousands of individuals have found themselves unemployed and will require disaster unemployment assistance that is not otherwise available through state disaster unemployment programs, including many hourly workers who are unable to work because they are under quarantine or their business is closed,” Inslee said.
The 74-page letter (download it here) outlines more aspects of the tools provided in a major disaster declaration to help Washingtonians during these unprecedented times, including mass care for those most at risk for health complications from COVID-19 and emergency services for families of individuals who contract the disease and families affected economically from school and business closures.
“The state urgently requires additional supplemental federal emergency assistance in order to save lives, protect public health and safety, and limit further spread of the disease,” Inslee said.
Watch Inslee’s full press conference below: