Governor Jay Inslee has extended his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order through May 4.
“The hard truth is that, since I announced our ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ initiative just over a week ago, the number of deaths and confirmed cases has roughly doubled,” Inslee said Thursday evening at a press conference.
May 4, he said, is the soonest Washingtonians could expect the order, which closed all non-essential businesses and asked the state’s residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus, to be lifted.
To date, Inslee said, 250 Washington residents have died from COVID-19 and 6,000 have tested positive for the disease.
“Each one of these Washingtonians is a loss and an inspiration in the days ahead,” Inslee said Thursday, adding that Washington residents “have yet to see the full weight of this virus” in the state.
“Epidemiological modeling from the University of Washington predicts we will have at least 1,400 deaths this year,” Inslee said. “We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modeling we’ve seen could be much worse if we don’t continue what we’re doing to slow the spread.”
Inslee reminded residents that, while it is still OK to go outside for walks and to get fresh air, the virus is still in the outdoors and physical-distancing of at least six feet is critical.
“The state parks closed for a reason,” Inslee said, “so people don’t congregate there and infect each other.”
Likewise, he said, the popular Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, Washington, has been canceled, but the governor has heard “large numbers (of people) are still trying to visit, and that’s not safe.”
The governor’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was originally set to expire April 6.
People who witness violations of the governor’s ban on public gatherings or closure of non-essential businesses to the public asked to refrain from calling 911, but may notify their local police department through a non-emergency number.
The non-emergency number for Camas police is 360-693-3111. For Washougal police, the number is 360-696-4461.
Residents or workers concerned about non-essential businesses remaining open may file complaints at this link.
The governor said Thursday that the state has worked to help those people experiencing negative financial impacts as a result of the “stay home” order.
“We have taken dozens of steps under my emergency powers to help people in this time – including moratoriums on evictions, mortgage forbearance, utility ratepayer assistance, unemployment extensions, flexibility on tax payments and cash assistance to families,” Inslee said. “We will do more.”
The governor also signed a directive Thursday asking the state’s Department of Enterprise Services and the Emergency Management Division to expedite the securing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect health care workers, first responders and others working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Inslee said he has every reason to be confident in the ability of Washington “to win this battle” and urged residents to “realize this is a hard road ahead of us.”
“We are going to reopen our parks, reopen our restaurants, reopen our schools,” Inslee said. “And today is a big step toward doing all those things.”
For more information on resources available to Washingtonians impacted financially by the COVID-19 outbreak, visit coronavirus.wa.gov.