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Inslee issues travel advisory as COVID cases soar

Snohomish County see alarming increase

 
Series: Coronavirus | Story 304

Last updated 11/13/2020 at 11:36am

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington Friday, Nov. 13, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home. Inslee joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus.

"COVID-19 cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks. This puts our state in as dangerous a position today as we were in March," Inslee said.

"Limiting and reducing travel is one way to reduce further spread of the disease. I am happy to partner with California and Oregon in this effort to help protect lives up and down the West Coast."

Department of Health statistics show Snohomish County is one of the five counties in the state with the highest infection rate for COVID-19. State data is here: https://bit.ly/35qIwWA.

Snohomish County has seen a shocking increase in its 2-week case rate, statisitics show. With cases through November 7, the county had a 50% increase from the previous week. Ballooning to nearly 189 cases per 100,000 in a 2-week period.

Countywide test positivity has more than doubled in the past month and is now around 6%.

Cases in long term care facilities have increased from a few per week to over 20 per week in the past month

Chris Spitters of the Snohomish Health District issued the same 14-day quarantine advice as Inslee earlier in the week.

Inslee urged residents on Nov. 12 in a live-streamed fireside-chat style announcement that remote celebrating is advised for Thanksgiving and other usual times to gather, and mentioned new restrictions would be announced in the coming days.

COVID-19 infection rates are higher than they were in March, when Inslee issued statewide shelter in place orders, limiting activity to essential needs only in travel, social interactions, and work.

Other West Coast governors promote the same precautionary practices.

"California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down," said Newsom. "Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers, and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives."

"COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them," said Brown. "If you do not need to travel, you shouldn't. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home."

In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states' travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

Washington's neighboring state of Idaho was mentioned by Spitters in a recent press briefing. He said any uptick there could impact Washington hospitals as well, because if their resources are tapped, the neighboring states tend to help out.

Governor Brad Little signed a statewide public health order Oct. 27, moving Idaho back into a modified Stage 3, stating on its official website that "healthcare facilities throughout the state face alarming demand and capacity constraints due to increasing COVID-19 spread."

Little commented on the uptick.

"Hospitals throughout the state are quickly filling up or are already full with COVID-19 patients and other patients, and way too many healthcare workers are out sick with COVID-19," Governor Little said.

 

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