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COVID-19 updates: With metrics and models, Inslee says to prepare for extended Washington ‘stay home’ restrictions

Inslee acted surprised to be caught on camera in his COVID-19 mask before Wednesday’s conference

Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest conference on the state’s COVID-19 outbreak was about the “when and how” — Friday will bring the “what.”

In a discussion full of statistics and models showing falling but still dangerous infection rates in the state, Inslee said Wednesday that he will, indeed, extend restrictions set to end May 4th.

“The metrics that will inform us about when we start the next steps,” Inslee said.

The afternoon conference marked 100 days since the nation’s first COVID-19 case was identified in Washington.

Friday, Inslee is set to roll out specifics of an extended order for “stay home” restrictions and a “phased-in approach to reopening economy.”

Wednesday, Inslee walked through the five “buckets” of datasets and models state officials are considering in making their determination on stay home restrictions including “disease activity” with measures of infection rates, “health-care system readiness” focused on hospitalization measures and forecasts, testing, contact tracing, and the status of vulnerable populations like senior communities and long-term care centers, and communities facing a disproportionate level of infection from the outbreak. Many of the metrics are available online via the state’s COVID-19 site at doh.wa.gov.

UPDATE: The state has posted its new COVID-19 dashboard with the metrics being used to determine Washington’s restrictions.

 

CHS COVID-19 TIMELINE+ Feb. 29 First ‘presumptive positive’ COVID-19 case in King County + Mar. 11 Washington puts ‘over 250’ restrictions in place + Mar. 11 Schools closed + Mar. 15 Restaurants and bars closed, ‘over 50’ threshold + Mar. 21 Police begin clearing parks + Apr. 2 Washington restrictions extended + Apr. 6 Schools closed for rest of year + Apr. 8 Can’t relax those social restrictions yet but, exhale, Seattle — COVID-19 model says you’ve made it through this outbreak’s peak + Apr. 27 Washington eases restrictions on some outdoor activities but you’ll still need to give six feet on the trail

Inslee said state officials are also utilizing models CHS reported on here that show the COVID-19 infection rate dropping in Washington but still far enough from safe levels that restrictions here might need to be in place beyond the end of May unless a major increase in testing and contact tracing capabilities is put in place. The infection rate has “remained stable and that “the continued persistence at this level of transmission will lead to at best a slow decline in the daily case rate through the end of May and beyond,” researchers said.

Wednesday, Inslee said that Washington’s trends continue to show a stubborn rate of infection that can only be brought down by increased testing, better contact tracing, and better isolation. Previously, Inslee said a 1,500-person team including members of the Washington National Guard is being put together to tackle contact tracing in the state. Work on a smartphone app that would enable better contact tracing while maintaining privacy is also underway.

Inslee’s two-part effort to explain the state’s rationale for extending COVID-19 restrictions comes amid ongoing federal pressure for elements of the economy to reopen as soon as possible. For all of the numbers, Inslee emphasized that his decisions are focused on saving lives. “Each one of these numbers are a person,” he said.

Inslee said lifting restrictions will be “more like the turning of a dial than a flip of the switch” as he eased the first set of restrictions last week around the reopening of non-essential construction.

Earlier this week, Inslee also announced the easing of restrictions on some outdoor activities. The state is also ready to allow the return of non-essential medical procedures.

Washington’s economy has been battered by the crisis with unemployment reaching record highs and thousands of businesses waiting for federal aid.

Wednesday, Inslee said again that a major increase in testing and contact tracing capabilities must be in place for the state to fully reopen. CHS reported on the way much testing continues to play out in Seattle — a community drive-thru testing clinic put in place to try to stamp after an outbreak was identified related to four deaths in the Central Area senior community. At a “virtual town hall” last week focused on Capitol Hill and the Central District, Mayor Durkan called on President Trump to invoke executive powers to require the manufacture of COVID-19 testing kits.

Inslee also addressed questions about pressures to open elements like schools or factories like meat packing plants in the state but said Washington just does not have the virus under enough control at this time. “Let’s just do this once and get it over with,” Inslee said, adding it is better, he believes, to do something “100%” once than “90%” twice.

“We do not want to go through this pain again,” Inslee said.

Through Tuesday, 786 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Washington with 436 of those in King County. Six people have been reported to have died due to the virus in the ZIP codes covering Capitol Hill and the Central District. Tuesday, there were 128 new cases reported in King County and nine new deaths.

CHS COVID-19

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17 thoughts on “COVID-19 updates: With metrics and models, Inslee says to prepare for extended Washington ‘stay home’ restrictions

  1. What exactly are Inslee’s exit criteria for ending a lockdown that has already cost a million Washingtonians their jobs? Does he even know himself? What exactly must the metrics tell him?

    Remember when lockdown was all about 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘦? About making sure hospital resources aren’t overwhelmed?

    Yet the curves above are flat if not flatlined. Virginia Mason is so idled they’re furloughing staff. The overflow hospital at CenturyLink Field Event Center closed after only three days without seeing a single patient. Where is the crisis?

    What is Inslee’s rationale for further lockdown-induced ecocataclysm in Washington? Or is he making it up as he goes along. Rather looks that way, doesn’t it?

      • Did you watch it? Inslee most certainly did 𝙣𝙤𝙩 address the specific exit criteria for ending lockdown.

        For example, he presented the COVID new-cases-per-day chart, which shows a steeply-declining curve. Inslee said that before lockdown is ended, we must “wrestle the numbers down to the ground.” What does that mean? No new cases? 10 new cases a day? He did not say.

        Because he himself doesn’t know, obviously. He’s making it up as he goes along. But we can see for ourselves that the new-case and hospitalization curves are well past their peaks.

        In fact, daily new case numbers peaked at 435 on March 23—𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘐𝘯𝘴𝘭𝘦𝘦 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺-𝘢𝘵-𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳. World’s fastest-acting proclamation! Or more likely, a completely unnecessary lockdown that cost a million jobs, bumped up domestic violence calls to Seattle police by 21%, and ruined countless businesses statewide.

        Let’s hope Washingtonians remember that on the next gubernatorial election day.

      • @Bob… it’s totally untrue that new Covid cases peaked the day of the shutdown…..

        If you look at the trend line – the average of new cases reported over 7 days, the peak was around the beginning of April (and the day of the most reported new cases was actually April 1) – the new cases reported remained steady at that peak for a week or so and then began to slowly decline, right now we are not quite back to the level we were at *when we started* the stay at home order. It would make zero sense to reopen everything now….. when we are only back to the starting point. It would make all of the sacrifices that have been made to this time pretty pointless. We need more testing, better contact tracing and clear guidelines for people who’ve been exposed before we can fully reopen everything…. or a vaccine, but we know that is some time off.

        Don’t forget, every time you want to compare this to the 1918 flu – the first wave was mild, it was the second that arrived in the fall that killed most of it’s victims. Just because you think it’s only the old (that you appear to find useless) dying now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way…

    • What’s clear is Inslee is not a numbers guys. He looks at the chart and his interpretation is “here it is going up. And here it starts going down. And if we do this it goes kinda sideways”. Like a 4th grader at show-and-tell.

      Let’s be clear. Models are only as good as their data. Garbage in, garbage out. And to date the data is total garbage since we only test people exhibiting symptoms.

      Here’s the simple test. Who do you know who has died of COVID-19? In the Spanish Flu, few families or neighborhoods were spared. So many young adults died leaving tons of orphans.

      Now, it’s all about the massive deaths in the nursing homes. Not to be callous, but people don’t go to nursing homes for vacation. They are going because they are waiting to die. Having had many a loved one in the same situation. They are living, but not alive.

      We are far to obsessed with quantity of life, versus quality of life. Don’t be fooled – the good years are not at the end of your life.

    • It’s still about flattening the curve. We are now self-isolating to keep it flat until testing and tracing are fully ramped up. Yes, it may take another month or two, thanks mainly to the federal government’s abdication of leadership. Everyone knows we can’t stay locked down to this extent for very much longer. Everyone. But if we just say the hell with it and open it all up now that curve won’t stay flat for long, as poor Georgia is about to discover the hard way. Thank God I live in a place where crucial decisions are being made on the basis of data and expertise, not ideology and machismo.

      • “But if we just say the hell with it and open it all up now that curve won’t stay flat for long.”

        Really? Please cite your source for this assertion, MarciaX. Any peer-reviewed paper on the subject will suffice.

        Rather remarkable that we went from 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘦 to further locking down a state and wrecking its economy after the curve flattens 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴.

        Not sure where your assertion comes from, but it’s probably not from science.

      • “Please cite your source for this assertion…”

        I would point to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci, a public health expert as a source when he says, “…unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not gonna happen.” and “…as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s gonna backfire [if you don’t].”

        https://www.newsweek.com/dr-fauci-says-easing-lockdown-measures-too-soon-will-lead-big-spike-coronavirus-cases-its-1498944

        Even the president says we can’t just flip a switch on opening the country; it needs to be a phased approach. Again, based on advice of public health experts.

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

        I get that this is all frustrating and you are looking for one simple answer but the fact is that this NOVEL coronavirus doesn’t offer a lot of easy, quick answers/fixes. Some of this is being determined as we go along as science is getting a clearer picture of the virus and its spread.

        You say that MarciaX’s assertion is probably not from science but, neither is yours it seems. You seem to be using a lot of emotional opinion to shout down others trying to help you understand the situation. Let’s just stay a little calm and realize that there may be a bit more asked of us over the next few months before things can return to how they once were. If they ever really do.

    • I for one am glad that the Governor is “making it up as he goes along.” ….because he is doing this based on data and science. He has the wisdom to know that no one can predict what the future holds, so he is making decisions based on what we know so far.

      I would much rather believe in true public health experts like Dr. Fauci, than in amateurs like you who arrogantly assert that they know what is going to happen with this pandemic.

  2. Inslee is not the villain here, it’s Cheeto Jesus and his delusions and lies, especially the one that we have adequate testing. We need a competent president, or at least one who has some grounding in reality. If you don’t feel like spending two years in various stages of lockdown – start yelling at the White House to finally get real about testing.

  3. Nobody is “arguing with science”.

    When folks are advocating to start relaxing this stay home guidance in a responsible way, it’s based on data that is widely available.

    Why does everyone care about # cases?

    Why not base our decisions on # of hospitalizations and # of deaths?

    We flattened the curve. We’re not going to eliminate this thing by staying at home. But we’re going to eliminate a ton of jobs, and ruin a bunch of lives.

    • Caring about number of cases is important because each of those cases can then infect others and if the rate of transmission to others is > 1 (i.e. each infected person infects more than 1 additional person) then we will start climbing the exponential curve again and all the social distancing / stay at home / flattening the curve done so far will have been a waste of effort and just prolong this pain further.

      Right now we appear to be hovering right around 1:1 infection rate WITH social distancing / stay at home in place, meaning each infected person is infecting one additional person on average. This number needs to be driven to < 1 for the cascading of infection pass along to be eventually eliminated in time.

      If 100's or 1000's of infected people (including all the asymptomatic carriers that may not know they have COVID-19) are sent back out in to the world without testing and contact tracing, then they will just start infecting additional people all over again and we will have the second wave.

      • If you believe that infection rate, given the low testing we’ve done, then I’ve got some beachfront property in AZ that I think you’d be interested in.

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