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Gov. Inslee weighs ‘mandatory measures’ as coronavirus outbreak continues

WA Gov. Jay Inslee. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Gov. Jay Inslee stated in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation that local health officials are weighing mandatory measures for social distancing to curb the continued spread of coronavirus.

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“We are contemplating some next steps, particularly to protect our vulnerable populations and our nursing homes and the like — we are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required,” said Inslee.

What exactly that would look like remains unclear, but the Washington governor praised local events for opting to postpone or cancel over the last few days. That includes Emerald City Comic Con, which recently made the decision to delay the popular downtown Seattle convention until the summer.

Italy recently put in place social distancing measures, locking down millions of people there, including cultural sites.

When asked if the next step was quarantine, Inslee responded, “Not necessarily quarantine, but reducing social activities that are going on, and we need to make decisions about that looking forward.”

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Leading coronavirus researchers, like Samuel Scarpino at Northeastern University, said those measures worked wonders for China.

“Seattle is much earlier on in the outbreak than anywhere in China. However, because these pathogens can spread and grow very rapidly in terms of the number of cases, we need to be taking decisive action now to prevent a scenario where we end up having sizable number of cases in the thousands in the Seattle area,” Scarpino said in a Skype interview with KIRO 7.

While the governor’s spokesperson said no final decision has been made about mandatory social distancing measures, Inslee said his team will be looking at models of future infection rate, which will factor into any future decisions on such measures.

KIRO 7 TV staff contributed to this report

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