VIDEO: Updates from the governor, but no June 1st decision yet

2:33 PM: For the second consecutive day, Gov. Inslee is having a mid-afternoon media briefing, this time described as “an update on the state’s long-term-care COVID-19 testing plan and farmworker protections.” But with three days left in the stay-home order, that’s likely to come up in Q&A at the very least, so we’ll be adding notes as it happens.

The agricultural topic is first, and he notes that 100,000 people work in that industry in our state; he’s issuing a “proclamation with clear guidelines” for both employers and workers. He makes note that workers are striking in Yakima. He and Labor & Industries director Joel Sacks mention a few points of the new rules, including access to face coverings and more handwashing stations.

2:45 PM: Erik Nicholson of the United Farm Workers is also speaking, detailing workers’ concerns and how they’re being addressed by the new rules. He says that the governor’s action reinforces the essential nature of farm work. … The governor then moves on to the long-term-care topic. He notes that his 103-year-old grandmother is in a facility. The state is issuing an order to broaden testing requirements in LTC and assisted-living facilities. All residents and staff must be tested by June 12th, except memory-care facilities have an extra two weeks – if they haven’t been tested recently. The state will send the facilities test kits and PPE, Inslee says, and will pay the lab costs for staff (for residents, he expects that insurance will cover the cost).

2:55 PM: Secretary of Health John Wiesman is elaborating on this. He notes that they’ve continued to see a decline in outbreaks at these facilities. He says it will enable them in particular to focus on facilities that haven’t had outbreaks, to be sure no one is infected but asymptomatic.

3:01 PM: On to Q&A. First one is about penalties for violating the new farmworker-protection rules. The governor stresses that while “sanctions are available,” he expects that won’t be needed as the “vast majority” of businesspeople are complying. … Second question notes that a judge is expected to rule Monday on the governor’s stay-home order; the governor says the filing of a lawsuit is not affecting his decisionmaking, but that aside, “We believe we’re on very firm ground” as he acted on an obligation “to save people’s lives.” … Next question, Snohomish County wants to seek a variance despite not meeting the current requirements, any comment on that? The governor says he’s been talking with people there but as for what’s next, he’ll have decisions “in the days ahead” about “what happens June 1” … He also says the state’s been getting testing supplies that will allow that to be ramped up. … Is the farmworker announcement too little too late? He says, “We’re making decisions on an hourly basis with huge ramifications on people’s lives.” … In response to another question, he says he’s looking into whether the state can create a relief fund for undocumented workers without legslation … Does the Employment Security department director still have his full confidence? Yes, he said, noting that the department has recovered $300 million. … What about the ongoing reports that some deaths counted as COVID were not? The governor says even with that, it could still be higher than reported, but to some degree the specific number is irrelevant – “hundreds of deaths …is a pandemic.” He also criticizes politicians (without naming them) who have claimed the pandemic was “a hoax” and/or going to end quickly. And he goes on to say masks can be very effective so it’s dangerous when “leaders …and I can think of at least one” deride them. Other questions from there focused on the protections for farmworkers and how those will be monitored/enforced. … Last questions include, what’s to keep people from Phase 1 counties in central Puget Sound “flooding” nearby counties that have been allowed into Phase 2? The governor says that hasn’t been seen yet and they’re hoping it won’t.

In closing, he says that “masking requirements” will be an increasing component of strategy to keep the virus from spreading even as things open up. Wearing one is a sign of your love for your community, he stresses. He wraps at 3:37 pm.

9 Replies to "VIDEO: Updates from the governor, but no June 1st decision yet"

  • Jim P. May 28, 2020 (8:07 pm)

    The “days ahead” *is* June 1. Someone needs to make some decisions here one way or the other so people can make plans.

    I’ve been happy, mostly, with how the Governor has handled stuff but this is getting a bit sticky.

    • Jen May 28, 2020 (10:12 pm)

      I’m sure the decisions have been made and now they are rolling out all the pieces in preparation for the announcement. I guess he’s giving the “good” news of opening some things up and then tomorrow or Saturday will give the “bad” news extending the order. Good and bad in quotes as the good and bad can be swapped based on personal opinion.  

    • Native May 28, 2020 (11:56 pm)

      I sense that although Inslee sounds like he is “reliant on science” that his arbitrary benchmarks like 10 cases per 100000 in pierce and 16 in king on a daily average over 2 weeks is basically impossible, both practically and mathematically. As testing increases so do case counts … so I expect if your trying to make plans … plan on a continued shutdown for weeks if not months. So we will see …but with 48 hrs left and no announcement …. we remain shutdown and the economy of Washington devistated.Go to Alki any day of the week and you can see life goes on with or without Inslee…. and it is unfortunate but reality. His targets are not.

  • BSJI May 28, 2020 (8:26 pm)

    Mostly happy with the way the Governor has handled stuff? This is what he does every time a deadline looms. It’s ridiculous! He consistently hints days out that we won’t be able to meet the current goal, and “it” will be extended…….and it always is. I just wish he would man up and  be up front and honest. There will never be some miracle in the nth hour that will allow us to meet whatever goal he has set.He’s the reason that I feel depressed about the whole situation. Then shoehorning his global warming agenda in……..Hope he is replaced in November.

  • bolo May 28, 2020 (11:06 pm)

    “…He also criticizes politicians (without naming them) who have claimed the pandemic was “a hoax” and/or going to end quickly. And he goes on to say masks can be very effective so it’s dangerous when “leaders …and I can think of at least one” deride them…”

    Yes we know that well, and maybe it makes us feel good somehow to broadcast that, but I wish we could just keep it to ourselves. What’s important now is to get federal funding to repair/replace the West Seattle Bridge, and apparently the only way to get it is to show “appreciation,” so that means no pronouncements of uncomfortable facts.

    It hurts me to say it but it has come to the point to where the governor should just go over there and kiss the ring. He doesn’t have to mean it, but just do it.

    • Anne May 29, 2020 (9:04 am)

      Oh for heaven’s sake -are you serious? 

      • bolo May 29, 2020 (3:31 pm)

        Yes serious, sadly. It worked for T-Mobile CEO John Legere who was also previously on the prez’ enemies list until he switched 180 and started the flattery, and after $200,000 spent at Trump hotel, finally got his merger approved.

  • David May 29, 2020 (7:07 am)

    The bottom line is Inslee loves power and doesn’t want to let go.   I was reluctantly with him for the first 4 weeks but now he’s completely lost me.  He mentions Data and Science continuously and it is important when trying to make decisions you know nothing about.  However there are states that have been open for 6weeks.  There is No need for science when real life examples exist to base your decisions on.  Also if he is truly using data and science, he would realize the majority of people dying are in nursing homes / long care facilities and these places are already quarantined.  Nothing we’re doing will stop the spread in those homes.  The govt should have 2 sets of Nursing home cases, hospitalization, and death #’s:  nursing homes and general population.   Once you take nursing homes out of the general population #’s, you seriously have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than dying from Covid-19.   It’s the lock down of nursing homes and increased awareness of the elderly that have saved lives and not locking down society.  I bet anything, other states have realized this and that’s why they’re moving more aggressively towards reopening.  Just my 2 cents.  

  • A May 29, 2020 (10:11 am)

    I have followed and agreed with the governor’s orders so far but it is time to slowly start to open up our economy!  At some point you have to trust the general population and businesses to wear masks and socially distance.  Or a huge number of businesses will go under.  If the city and businesses can be creative it can help as well.  For instance: letting restaurants use sidewalks or parking lots for patrons to eat, closing down the 2 blocks to traffic in the junction for the summer months so that restaurants can expand their seating outdoors.  This would also bring people to the junction to allow for socially distant shopping while wearing masks indoors.  We’ve flattened the curve it’s time to start opening up!

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