MYNORTHWEST NEWS

WA’s COVID-19 state of emergency to end by Oct. 31, according to Gov. Inslee

Sep 8, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm

inslee mental health center...

Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine announce new mental health center in Kirkland. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Washington State, under Gov. Jay Inslee, will end the state of emergency and all remaining COVID-19 emergency proclamations by Oct. 31.

Approximately 75% of the governor’s 85 COVID-19 emergency orders have already been lifted, and an additional 13 health care-related orders will end Oct. 27. The remaining 10 orders are to be lifted on Oct. 31, including the underlying state of emergency.

“We’ve come a long way the past two years in developing the tools that allow us to adapt and live with COVID-19,” Inslee said during a press conference. “Ending this order does not mean we take it less seriously or will lose focus on how this virus has changed the way we live. We will continue our commitments to the public’s well-being, but simply through different tools that are now more appropriate for the era we’ve entered.”

Washington averaged 10 deaths per day related to the virus, while 300 people died per day nationwide.

Washington was the first state in the U.S. with a reported case of COVID-19, causing Inslee to enact emergency measures. Over the course of the pandemic, Washington has the fifth-lowest death rate in the U.S., trailing Vermont, Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska.

Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Delaware, Illinois, and New York all have emergency governance orders ending in August, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Rhode Island’s Disaster Emergency Plan expired last week.

Only California, West Virginia, and Washington have emergency orders in place with no official end date.

“Governor Inslee’s rescission of these remaining emergency orders marks an important transition for the state of Washington, but that does not mean that COVID-19 is not in our state anymore,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, M.D. “We must move forward from a pandemic response to adapting our behaviors to coexist with the COVID-19 virus. Through the continued diligence of Washingtonians, combined with access to resources like the Say Yes! COVID Test program, WA Notify, and Care-A-Van, we will continue our path to recovery.”

The statewide Face Covering Order issued by the state Department of Health will remain in place for health care and long-term care settings, as well as correctional facilities under certain circumstances after the state of emergency ends.

Vaccination requirements for health care and education workers will end, but employers will continue to be able to require them if they choose. Inslee has already announced that COVID-19 vaccination will remain a condition of employment for most Washington state agencies.

“I can’t express enough how grateful I am for all the health care workers, public health teams, and other frontline workers who have helped save thousands of lives during the past two years and will continue to support our communities in staying safe and healthy,” Inslee said.

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