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WA Dept. of Health: Inslee will ‘dial restrictions up and down’ in days ahead

The Seattle skyline lit up in support of health care workers. (Getty Images)

The Washington State Department of Health acknowledged a “grim milestone” this week, with April 29 marking 100 days since the state’s first confirmed coronavirus case.

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That case was first reported in Snohomish County with the patient recovering at Providence Medical Center. The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management released a video on Wednesday looking back at the past 100 days.

The DOH also outlined the $1.5 billion in unemployment benefits the state has paid out since the start of the crisis. Meanwhile, students have been out of school for over six weeks.

In the weeks ahead, it noted that it’s still not quite time to relax Washington’s ongoing stay-at-home order.

“We are all looking forward to day when this disease is contained enough that the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order can be lifted,” it stated. “We have not quite hit this milestone yet.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would be extending the order past May 4. That said, doesn’t mean that some measures won’t be lifted in the interim.

“Over time, he’ll dial the restrictions up and down depending on how many people are getting sick and how well people are following the physical distancing rules,” the DOH described.

There a handful of other factors that will go into those decisions as well, including the ability to ramp up testing appropriately, trace cases as they occur, and ensure the health care system is prepared in the event there’s another surge in infections.

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Through all that, the DOH is looking to acknowledge how long the state has grappled with this crisis, while looking ahead to a day when all of us can safely leave our homes.

“Milestones aren’t always celebratory — some are grim,” it said. “Pause and take a breath and recognize how resilient and creative and compassionate we have been. And, yes, how far we have yet to go. Keep on being resilient and innovative — we were born for such a time as this, and we will come out the other end wiser and healthier.”

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