Gov. Inslee extends stay-at-home order into May
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that he will be extending Washington state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative through May 4.
Gov. Inslee said he’s not ruling out another extension past the May 4 order.
The original directive was slated to expire on April 6, but Inslee had hinted that an extension would be necessary as recently as last week. At the time, he noted that “we simply cannot allow this virus to be slowed, but then spring back upon us.”
Since last week’s stay-at-home order announcement, Inslee said “the hard truth” is that cases and deaths have nearly doubled. May 4 is the soonest we could achieve our ends to keep our loved ones safe, Inslee said.
The stay-at-home extension does not come with any new restrictions. It does not reopen schools, though Inslee did say schools are discussing next steps.
He asked everyone to continue to reduce non-essential travel and non-essential contact.
While areas like King County have been making positive strides in recent days to slow the spread of COVID-19, health officials have continued to emphasize that there’s a long way to go before the outbreak is fully halted.
“The main takeaway here is though we’ve made some great headway, our progress is precarious and insufficient,” Seattle-King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin said earlier this week.
Washington’s extended stay-at-home order will continue to exempt businesses deemed “essential,” including hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, and more. You can see full details on what’s allowed while the order remains in effect here. Inslee did not update that list on Thursday.
Stay-at-home orders in other states have been even more stringent than Washington’s, with Virginia’s in place through at least June 10. Experts have theorized the U.S. will continue to deal with fallout from the spread of the virus through June and July.
“We are going to reopen our parks, we are going to reopen our restaurants, we are going to reopen our schools,” Inslee said. “Tonight’s announcement is a step toward these goals,” Inslee said.
“We’re not just passive in the face of this virus. We’re not victims of data,” Inslee said. “We make our own reality here. We have a big say whether we’re done on May 4.”
Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer and the Chief Science Officer for Washington State, said that models show COVID-19 cases in Washington state to peak around April 11. Just Tuesday, she said, according to models from the University of Washington Health Metrics and Evaluation, that peak date was set at April 19. Lofy said the UW team continues to update their models on real time data.
Watch the full news conference: