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Inslee “cautiously pleased” about latest COVID-19 trends in Washington

Gov. Inslee on Thursday morning provided a status update on COVID-19 spread in Washington, pointing to several positive trends across the state.

Over the last two weeks, Washington has seen both a decline in diagnosed cases as well as a decrease in the reproductive number (Re). After spending several weeks above 1, Inslee says they now believe that Re is equal to about one, indicating a slowing of the virus spread. He notes, however, that the goal is to have the reproductive number continue to drop.

Image: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

Inslee credits Washingtonians and business leaders’ willingness to wear masks and comply with related state orders for these positive trends.

But here’s a really important caveat, however: We have to be honest with ourselves to realize that we are so far away from success on this, and that we have to remain incredibly diligent,” said Inslee.

He says the target for a two-week period is to reach 25 cases per 100,000 individuals. Currently, the state sits at about 110 cases per 100,000.

Image: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

We have bent the curve down once before, but it has come back…We need these cases to come down and we need to try to keep them down. We cannot return to the way things were before this pandemic right now or in the immediate future,” he said.

Many individual counties’ cases are plateauing or declining, but some central Washington counties are still struggling, says Inslee.

On Tuesday, Inslee and other local health officials announced the state would set up a COVID-19 incident command team in Chelan and Douglas Counties due to their high rates of infections. Both counties currently have infection rates of nearly 500 per 100,000 over a two-week period.

The incident command team will assist the Chelan-Douglas Health District in managing the pandemic.

Inslee also discussed his recently updated proclamation related to COVID testing for agricultural workers. The proclamation now requires agricultural employers to broadly test employees if over the course of two weeks there are either nine positive COVID cases or if at least 10% of the workforce tests positive.

We owe it to these workers and their families to continuously improve the systems we have to reduce the risk of COVID as much as we possible can,” said Inslee.

Yesterday, the Governor’s office also announced that Secretary of Health John Wiesman had directed an order to Gebbers Farms in Okanagon County to test all employees after a recent COVID outbreak and the subsequent deaths of three of their employees.

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