Gov. Inslee hopeful state could reach turning point in pandemic ‘in relatively near term’
Jan 30, 2022, 8:07 AM | Updated: Jan 31, 2022, 9:56 am
With COVID-19 cases beginning to decline in parts of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee expressed optimism regarding the state’s status in the near future.
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Most counties in Western Washington have reported waning case numbers for most of the last week. In King County, the seven-day daily average has dipped 29% in the one week period ending on Jan. 27, while hospitalizations have dropped by 20%.
Speaking during a Thursday press conference, Gov. Inslee pointed to other countries that dealt with omicron-fueled surges prior to the variant’s arrival in Washington, most of which experienced a rapid decline weeks later.
“We are hopeful that we will see a plateauing and, soon, hopefully a decline of these cases across the state of Washington,” he said. “The latest modeling suggests that may have already occurred in Western Washington.”
He went on to describe how he feels optimistic that the presence of the more infectious but less severe variant strain could be a precursor to a shift in Washington’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“I think in the relatively near term, we may be in a place to have a much more normal endemic approach to what will be with us for a long period of time, and I’m looking forward to that day,” Inslee said.
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That echoes recent sentiments out of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which predicted that “the era of major restrictions is coming to an end.”
That said, Inslee also clarified that even when Washington does arrive in a place where it can relax its COVID safety measures, vaccinations will still be a critical piece of ensuring the state doesn’t backslide.
“I can tell you this: When that day comes, it will still be really healthy for people to get the vaccination — I just cannot stress this enough,” Gov. Inslee said. “The people who are dying today in our hospitals, they’re dying because they were not vaccinated, and the evidence continues to mount for the importance of (the vaccine) and the efficacy of it.”