On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Washington’s COVID-19 recovery plan during a 5 p.m. video, saying that “It will be the turn of a dial, not the flip of a switch…”
Inslee said it is unlikely that many of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” restrictions will be changed before May 4.
Rather, his new plan is intended to be a framework for the loosening of restrictions contingent on a steady decrease of the spread of COVID-19.
One month ago, the state faced an unmitigated public health and economic disaster when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but “Washingtonians have answered the call to slow the spread,” Inslee said.
Inslee added that “we can now plan how to recover from this crisis” – here’s the outline of his Recovery Plan:
We are encouraged by projections, but we aren’t ready to ease restrictions yet.
When we are, it will be slow. It will be the turn of a dial, not the flip of a switch.
We will not be able to lift all restrictions on May 4.
Our recovery will be guided by science, not politics. And protecting the health of Washingtonians comes first.
To ease restrictions, we need to ensure we can slow the spread and keep people healthy. 3/8
Before we adjust measures, we need to be able to:
➡️ Test widely
➡️ Isolate quickly
➡️ Identify contacts
➡️ Quarantine contacts
States across the U.S. remain wildly behind on testing capacity. 4/8
Coronavirus will remain a threat to Washingtonians until we have a vaccine.
Workplaces will continue to look and operate differently until one is available. We will provide guidelines for businesses so they can begin to reopen safely. 5/8
We must support our families, our workers and our communities during this recovery.
That means state and community leaders coming together to build an informed consensus on a safe and equitable recovery. 6/8
I am appointing three leadership groups to advise our office on:
➡️ Public health/health care systems
➡️ Safe work and economic recovery
➡️ Social supports for the most vulnerable and those affected by COVID-19 7/8
We continue to set the national standard in our coronavirus response.
Though it comes with tremendous suffering, Washingtonians are doing truly amazing things on the path to recovery.
Stay Home. Stay Healthy. And we’ll talk again soon. #WeGotThisWA 8/8
Below is raw video of Inslee’s Tuesday video:
LETTER TO PENCE ON TESTING
Inslee also sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday, requesting federal assistance to develop a robust national testing system to enable a safe return to public life amid COVID-19.
“We share your goal of a safe return to normal social and economic activity over time. Individuals, families, businesses, and communities are counting on leaders at all levels to work together to ensure this process is carried out in a manner that keeps the public safe and minimizes the risk of viral resurgence. This recovery can only happen safely, however, with the assurance of a strong national testing system that does not exist today.
“On April 20, your Administration provided governors with a list of in-state laboratories in an attempt to illustrate states’ apparent existing capacity. But this does nothing to answer the repeated calls from governors to address the lack of swabs, viral transport media, reagents, and other supplies and personnel needed to take advantage of that lab capacity. … Just as a driver cannot travel their full distance on a quarter-tank of gas, we cannot unlock the full capacity of our labs without additional testing supplies and infrastructure from the federal government.”
Inslee’s letter requests the federal government take a number of steps to rapidly build a robust national testing system, including the establishment of an at-home testing program, additional surveillance testing and validation of serological tests, and usage of the Defense Production Act to ensure an adequate supply of swabs, viral transport media, reagents and other supplies.
Read the full letter here.