Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the state’s actions in response to COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the state’s actions in response to COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Gov. Jay Inslee warned Thursday (July 16) that he could reimpose a stay home order in the near future if an alarmingly fast spread of the virus is not halted.

Inslee said he “cannot rule out another stay home order this year… maybe the not too distant future” if each of us do not adhere to rules to wear a mask, maintain physical distance and limit our contacts.

On the same day the state recorded another substantial increase in new coronavirus cases, Inslee ordered a reduction of the size of social gatherings allowed in counties in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Starting July 20, no more than 10 people can be at a social gathering, down from 50. Spiritual services, weddings and funerals are exempt from this change.

Inslee left intact the five-person maximum in counties in Phase 2.

Inslee also announced a ban on live entertainment, indoor and outdoor, for counties in the third phase of reopening. The change, which also starts July 20, will affect 17 counties that have reached that phases.

Inslee’s new guidance on social gatherings mirrors a recommendation in a report of the White House coronavirus task force obtained and published by the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative news nonprofit.

To combat a surge in the positivity rate, the White House task force also alls for continuing the governor’s statewide mask mandate and reducing social gatherings.

Inslee’s moves come amid a significant surge in the spread of the virus which health experts say is a result of large social interactions. Many involve young people, who now account for the largest bloc of new cases.

While they may become infected and show little signs of illness, Inslee said, they can spread to older friends and relatives. Now, he said, a birthday party or a barbecue can be dangerous, even deadly.

“Somehow we really need folks in this age group to help us,” he said. “We are simply seeing behavior that is too risky. I am seeing it. It’s very troubling to me.”

Inslee said if the trends continue, he could soon reimpose restrictions on bars and restaurants as well as bowling alleys and other recreational activities.

The governor sounded a similar alarm Tuesday when he put the brakes on any further reopening of the state by barring any county from advancing in his four-stage approach until July 28.

Statewide, as of July 16, there have been 44,313 coronavirus cases recorded since late January and 1,427 deaths. In King County, the tally of confirmed cases had reached 12,592 as of last week, including 621 fatalities.

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said paying attention to social distancing is “a full-time job” during the governor’s press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said paying attention to social distancing is “a full-time job” during the governor’s press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Secretary of Health John Wiesman said the state is starting to see the impact of the 4th of July weekend, as well as other social gatherings, including birthday parties and cocktail parties.

“The bottom line is our attention to this can’t be a part-time job,” he said. “Every interaction we have, we have to think about doing it safely.”

Herald writer Joseph Thompson contributed to the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

The COVID-19 outbreak closed schools statewide last spring and has led to many school districts opting for remote learning in the fall. Pictured: A Decatur High School staff member takes cover from the rain while celebrating the graduating class of 2020 in June. File photo
Study: Virus cases must drop for state’s schools to safely reopen

Bringing students back in any capacity will lead to new infections, the report found.

Alki Beach. Photo by Alabastro Photography
Heat wave is on the way this weekend

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-90s on Sunday.

Buckley’s six-year street plan includes plenty for bridge, trail

The council also banned the use of “unmanned aircraft” that can take pictures or audio.

Local raising funds for school supplies, internet connection for students

Low-income students and students of color have a higher chance of having only mobile internet access compared to their peers.

Skogen promoted from No. 2 to chief of Buckley Fire Department

The city is still looking for a new police chief.

Shaun Carey settling in as Enumclaw School District superintendent

Meet the “army brat” that started his career teaching at JBLM.

Black Diamond talks school impact fees

If passed by the council, these impact fees would require housing developers to pay thousands to local school districts for every single- and multi-family home.

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

Enumclaw Fire Department aids in Bonney Lake fire

More than 50 first responders tackled the brush fire off SR 410.

Most Read