VIDEO: Governor, local leaders announce new orders to try to contain coronavirus

(11:20 AM NOTE: Video now available for playback – you may have to advance a while to get to the start)

10:17 AM: Click “watch” (and then “play”) to see live video from the news conference Gov. Jay Inslee is having in downtown Seattle right now with county executives and mayors from the metro area “to announce new community strategies and social distancing plans to contain COVID-19.” We’ll publish as-it-happens notes below.

10:23 AM: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan introduced the governor: “This will be hard … we’ll get through it.” Inslee thanks everyone for following guidelines on social distancing and cleanliness. “It is clear our state needs a more vigorous, comprehensive position” to stop COVID-19. “This is not your ordinary flu … this is a virus … at least 10 times more potentially fatal than the flu.” Starting today, he says, “certain events in King, Snohomish, Pierce Counties with more than 250 people are prohibited by order of the governor” – civic, recreational, faith-based, with more than 250 people. “This prohibition could be expanded in the days to come.” He says this will be an “effective tactic.” He says the “world scientific community” was consulted as well as “the experience of other communities.” The prohibition is in effect “through March” but “could be extended.”


10:32 AM: Inslee reiterates that he’s asking as many employers as possible to have workers telecommute. He’s also asking businesses to implement “social distancing … in a way that can … allow you to continue. This is key to success.” He’s asking public transit “to follow King County’s lead” in expanded cleaning measures. He also says you may need to talk with your health-care providers about delaying elective surgery.

About schools, he says: “The good news is that our children are relatively free of serious disease (with this) …” but can spread it. So he’s asking all schools “to begin contingency plans” for potential closures, including figuring out how to keep kids fed and cared for. “It is expected I will give more guidance in the next few days” and he will be talking to district superintendents in the three counties later today.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says Public Health will issue an order canceling SMALLER (than 250 people) events unless very specific health guidelines are followed. But he adds, “Business can and must continue … if they are able to meet these criteria.” If unstopped, the number can double “every 5 to 7 days,” he says. He thanks the business community for “finding ways … to make their workforce and the public safer.”

10:43 AM: Constantine makes way for Seattle-King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin.”I want to fully acknowledge the disruption these actions will cause in people’s lives.” He adds, “We expect a large-scale outbreak in weeks” and says this is like “a major earthquake that will shake us for weeks and weeks.” He says the social-distancing measures will “delay the spread” of the illness and adds that while most who get sick will have only “mild illness,” this is vital because those at high-risk will be much sicker. “Minimizing the number of people who become ill” will lessen the strain on the health-care system. “This outbreak will go on for weeks and likely for months.”

He says his order (the “fewer than 250” one) is NOT intended to apply to “grocery or other retail establishments” or to “family events.” He urges everyone to look at new CDC recommendations on “community mitigation.”

Duchin introduces Pierce Co. Executive Bruce Dammeier, who in turn is followed by Snohomish Co. Executive Dave Somers. Dammeier makes a point of note for all – this will affect many nonprofits that have fundraisers this time of year; please keep supporting them.

10:55 AM: Governor returns to the microphone and reads a message from Italy saying people shouldn’t underestimate this. It’s not the flu, the person in Italy told him – “people can’t breathe.” Following him, Dr. Duchin shows a chart from an expert showing what could happen in terms of the outbreak growing if social distancing is NOT implemented.

11 AM: Now Q&A with reporters – Inslee says his order is legally binding but “we don’t expect enforcement to be (necessary)” because he expects people to want to save lives. (“You might be killing your granddad if you don’t do it.” But there are steps that could be taken if needed. He’s then asked for the rationale behind choosing 250 as a threshold. “What we did after long consideration … this was a level (at which you can control crowds, social distancing).” He also repeated that the federal government is expected to issue some similar guidelines.

Will he use the National Guard? “As necessary … to supplement, where we need logistical help … (and) potential medical assistance” if hospitals become overloaded.

Asked again about enforcement, Constantine says “we’re not going to have public-health police running around.”

Asked for details on his forthcoming order re: smaller-than-250 gatherings, Duchin says people at higher risk will be asked not to attend, that employees are to be screened for symptoms each day, that sanitizer (etc.) be readily available for attendees/customers. “We realize we can’t stop all people from getting together in the community, and we don’t want to, life goes on …” they’re just trying to reduce the risk.

He also says, “If you don’t NEED to be in a health-care setting, don’t go.” That would include visiting people, non-essential medical services, etc. … Meantime, Inslee stresses that he’s asking people to do everything possible. And he says for decisionmakers, “This is not easy work.” In response to another Q, he says they are trying to avoid having to shut down cities (etc.) as has happened in other nations.

(Governor’s Office photo)

11:12 AM: News conference is over. We will add any related links we get – we’ve already added the governor’s proclamation above – and note that the video IS available for playback (above and here).

Governor’s summary here (including the chart mentioned above)

11:47 AM: Here’s more on the county health officer’s order.

12:40 PM: As we’ve reported separately, Seattle Public Schools is closing for at least two weeks starting tomorrow.

27 Replies to "VIDEO: Governor, local leaders announce new orders to try to contain coronavirus"

  • Joe March 11, 2020 (10:41 am)

    Thank you for the update

  • bloo March 11, 2020 (11:01 am)

    Has anyone heard anything about Washington state residents getting hand sanitizer and/or rubbing alcohol to make our own?  Local stores and online stores are sold out.  I have called many stores in West Seattle and cannot find any store with sanitizer or isopropyl alcohol.  Things are going to get worse, but no one I know has any hand sanitizer.  If the virus can live on surfaces for several hours, then people need to be able to clean their hands after touching “high-touch” surfaces, like at stores, gyms, libraries, etc.  We need to be able to clean our hands after walking out of these establishments and before we get back into our cars, touching things with our contaminated hands.  I know that washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water is the most important thing we can do to keep our hands clean, but there are no sinks outside.  Washington state residents need hand sanitizer so we can keep our hands clean, and break the chain of contaminating surfaces with unclean hands.   NY’s Gov. Cuomo has come up with the solution of having their own hand sanitizer made for New Yorkers.  Where is our hand sanitizer?

    • James March 11, 2020 (12:00 pm)

      Hi Bloo,You can make your own hand sanitizer with two ingredients: Everclear 190 and pure Aloe Vera Juice. I just checked the BevMo website and their stores in Ballard, Bellevue, and Redmond each have it in stock. I saw aloe vera juice available at Thriftway last week but call to confirm it’s still in stock.The CDC recommends a minimum of 60% alcohol content for hand sanitizer to be effective. To that end, you should use 4 parts Everclear 190 to 2 parts aloe vera juice. The math works out as so: (4/6)*0.95 = 0.633 or 63% alcohol content. If you want to add scent to the hand sanitizer, avoid using citrus oils as most are phototoxic. Never use lemon verbena oil as it’s both phototoxic and a skin sensitizer. A good, calming therapeutic blend is 1 drop each of lavender, rosemary, and mint.If you want to use 91% isopropyl alcohol, the recipe is still the same. For 70% isopropyl alcohol, the recipe is 11 parts alcohol to 1 part aloe vera juice. The sanitizer will be watery but it meets CDC recommendations.I hope this helps.

  • Anon March 11, 2020 (11:19 am)

    I wonder what it would take to have our local distilleries produce alcohol for disinfection and cleaning. I hope there has been discussion with them to eliminate any barriers to that.

  • Seaview neighbor March 11, 2020 (11:24 am)

    Thanks for all you do to keep us informed, WSB. So thankful for a great local news source at this time. The toplines posts and coverage of major announcements helps keep me from obsessing over new headlines all day.

  • PDX March 11, 2020 (11:46 am)

    I wonder how this is going to impact recovery related group (AA, NA etc).

  • James Clark March 11, 2020 (11:59 am)

    Much better off to just wash with soap frequently than sanitizer

  • savoirfaire March 11, 2020 (12:03 pm)

    Amen to that, Seaview Neighbor (from another Seaview neighbor). WSB, we are so grateful for everything you do. Truly a boon at all times, but especially in times like these.

  • Derek March 11, 2020 (12:08 pm)

    Support your local business during this time!  We need to keep our local economy afloat!  

  • Joshua's Mom March 11, 2020 (12:16 pm)

    Thanks TR for continuing to give West Seattle the most current and accurate information!!  Seems  like I was reading details in the WSB as it happened – you’re the best❣

  • rez March 11, 2020 (12:28 pm)

    Seattle Public Schools closed for minimum two weeks starting tomorrow.

    • WSB March 11, 2020 (12:29 pm)

      This report is widespread but I am still looking for it in writing. Thanks.

  • The King March 11, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    I just saw they will be closing all Seattle public schools tomorrow for a minimum of two weeks.

    • WSB March 11, 2020 (12:48 pm)

      We have that story up separately. Thank you!

  • J March 11, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    I would love to support local businesses who support our new mission of saving lives here, those who work very hard to screen for signs of disease, promote social distancing and remote services, and those who turn to emergency services and production, making sanitizer for our region, making cough-catching/anti-face touching masks, or sanitary food and medicine deliveries for the quarantined/isolated/vulnerable. If we work together perhaps we can avoid a Lombardy situation here. If you are doing those things or providing grants and support to make that happen, for the public good, then feel free to brag. I support you.

  • Yma March 11, 2020 (12:43 pm)

    Well woof – I stand corrected. has the info up. Schools closed for 14 days as of tomorrow. Well – at least now we’re not having to make the safe out there

  • Sillygoose March 11, 2020 (12:49 pm)

    @Bloo the point of trying to survive this epidemic is to eliminate face to face anything so why would you be touching surfaces at the stores, gym and libraries?  Stay home!!!

    • Floop March 11, 2020 (3:12 pm)

      Survive? Statistically we will mostly all survive. This isn’t a ‘if you go out you’ll die’ scenario.Go out, support business, open doors with your sleeve, wash your hands for 20+ seconds. Try to avoid coughing on people. Be responsible.

      • KBear March 11, 2020 (3:23 pm)

        Floop, you may survive, but you may pass your germs (which you may not even know you have) on to someone else who will not survive. It’s not all about YOU.

  • Bloo March 11, 2020 (12:51 pm)

    Thank you, James!

  • Bloo March 11, 2020 (1:57 pm)

    Sillygoose, I am not the only person in Seattle who needs to go to a store, pharmacy, clinic, library etc.  It is not necessary for you to tell me to stay home because I am asking reasonable questions that concern others in this community.  I am asking for input and help.  Your words are neither helpful nor kind.

  • AMD March 11, 2020 (3:59 pm)

    While we’re busy supporting small businesses, don’t forget about your local non-profit arts organizations.  The restriction on gatherings has a dramatic impact on performing arts and concert venues, as does the mandate to enforce social distancing (because performers and crew inherently work closely together).  If you have tickets to a performance that has been cancelled or postponed, please consider DONATING your ticket back to the organization rather than requesting a refund.  The donation is tax-deductible.  These organizations are not rich to begin with and work with the thinnest of margins.  This restriction is understandable, but it REALLY hurts organizations that exist to bring people together.

  • Frustrated March 11, 2020 (4:00 pm)

    My understanding is that the problem isn’t necessarily people going out in public. The problem is that they are not allowing that many people to be tested. So for everyone that tests positive they interacted with X people who could then be in that 2-14 day period with no symptoms where they could be contagious. But if limited people get tested, than “healthy” people don’t know they should be self-quarantining because they don’t know there was any contact with it.  So basically… all the people posting in this comment section could have it and have no symptoms. Then go to the gym, store or public transportation and spread it without knowing.  Any word on when they will allow people to start getting tested more? I had a coworker out 5 days due to cough and breathing issues that was declined when they requested a test. Until someone tests positive my work will remain open.  But no one can get tested so no one can test positive. Catch-22.

  • Jim P. March 11, 2020 (5:10 pm)

    I am curious if, at any time, the governor stated the actual legal authority he invoked. Simply saying ” Inslee says his order is legally binding” does not make it so even if this is the “done thing” by certain highly placed politicians elsewhere who feel their word is, by the nature of their being elected, law on all fronts.

    Note, I am NOT debating the wisdom of the order, only the legality of it. No matter how good and common sense a thing may be, if the government has no authority to order such, it has no authority.

  • Scubafrog March 12, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    Dow Constantine and Governor Inslee are both natural leaders, they’ve been working very hard

Sorry, comment time is over.