2:04 PM: Click into the live feed to see and hear Gov. Inslee‘s latest briefing on the coronavirus crisis, happening right now. No hint of any major announcements to come, but for those who want to hear the latest about state action regarding the crisis as-it-happens, here you go. We’ll add toplines as it goes.
He notes it’s now been a month since the first COVID-19 case in our state. He says that everyone needs to “be on the team” to fight the virus, and they’re getting reports from people concerned about non-compliance, so he’s announcing guidance for how to report violations. He says it’s a three-step process:
-Citations and if necessary revocation of business licenses
-Referring to state Attorney General as an “absolute last resort”
If you think a business is violating the order, find a “one-stop form” at coronavirus.wa.gov. Otherwise, it’s a local decision – do NOT call 911 if you for example see a gathering that seems to be a rule violation.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson then takes the mic. Along with reinforcing what the governo said, he talks about the eviction moratorium and says they’re getting complaints that not all landlords are complying, so keep letting them know.
He’s followed by State Patrol chief John Batiste who says “as a last resort, we can arrest people,” but hopes they won’t have to.
2:18 PM: In Q&A, the governor is asked why he doesn’t just go ahead and extend the stay-home order, given the new White House guidance through April 30th. He says they look at data daily rather than making a “doctrinaire approach” – though “from the data we have today, it is highly likely” that measures will go past the current order’s April 6th end. He cites the positive-test rates from some non-urban counties as one “alarming” new factor.
Next question: Why is the enforcement plan focusing on businesses rather than “pulling over cars”? While the governor says he doesn’t really want to have to do the latter, they still need more people to reduce their non-essential trips.
Other questions include more discussion of enforcement – don’t call 911, it’s again stressed – and the availability of test kits. They’re trying hard to find local manufacturers, the governor says, but they really need a national effort to make more tests. … He’s also asked about educational equity, and concerns about so many kids having inequitable access to education wth schools closed. He voices regret for that but says the virus must be defeated so this is “once in a lifetime” situation, and that has to take precedence.
3:05 PM: The governor’s wrapped the briefing, after an hour. The video window above should before long show the archived recording of it.