3:04 PM: In Olympia, Gov. Inslee is presenting a briefing, expected to be mostly about COVID-19 testing. We’re carrying it live since King County’s “modified Phase 1” state=approval request is pending – approval this quickly is not likely, but anything’s possible. Notes as this goes.
State Health Secretary John Wiesman is with the governor. Inslee says, “Our testing capacity has grown – we have now done more than 350,000 tests in our state.” He says he’s announcing “a significant broadening of our testing strategy” – the message is now, “If you think you’re sick, get tested.” That’s a big change from the early going, when some people with possible symptoms couldn’t get tested at all. He’s also urging people to get tested if a household member is suspected of having COVID-19, or had come into contact with someone who has it. Then – “stay home until you have a negative test.” He says science now shows much transmission happens before someone has symptoms. And he urges health-care providers to help patients get those tests.
3:15 PM: Secretary Wiesman elaborates – ideally, you’ll get tested within 24 hours of developing symptoms. The state insurance commissioner’s order waiving co-pays for COVID-19 tests will be extended at least through July 3rd.
The governor moves on to talk about ongoing county applications to move ahead in reopening phases, but hasn’t mentioned King County, except to say that “some modified Phase 1 applications are now in review.” He does urge everyone to “not lose intense focus” on the virus itself – wear your face covering, keep distancing, keep washing your hands, etc.
3:31 PM: In Q&A, it’s noted that some states have urged anybody who participates in the ongoing large protests to get tested, but ours is not. Wiesman acknowledged that but said they ARE urging high-risk people to stay home, and all others to take precautions – wear your face covering, take hand sanitizer, etc.
A reporter from Snohomish County noted that its modified-Phase-1 application was sent in Monday and no decision yet. The secretary says “a team of 9” is reviewing applications right now and has about a dozen, including some counties seeking to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3. “We know people are anxious to get their answers; we’re moving as quickly as we can, and we want to be thorough,” Wiesman said. The governor, asked something similar later, said, “The reason these can’t happen in nanoseconds is that we’re not a rubber stamp” and want to be sure the pandemic doesn’t make a comeback. “I don’t want to diminish the importance of doing this right.”
The briefing wraps up at 3:57 pm. The video window above should display the archived recording soon.
P.S. The mayor has a briefing at 5:15 pm about new testing availability, in a partnership with UW Medicine (which is doing weekly testing on Fridays here in West Seattle).