VIDEO: State, local health authorities urge people to take the pandemic seriously

As mentioned in our pandemic roundup and daily preview, state and local health authorities are having a media briefing on COVID-19 response, announced as “urgent.” Watch it live above.

2:39 PM: State health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy says the surge has been particularly striking in the past two weeks, on both sides of the state. She says that the number of tests has remained flat, so this is not a case of {ore tests, more cases.” She suggests bluntly that people “stop socializing” for a few weeks. … Dr. John Lynch from Harborview Medical Center says keeping people healthy is not just a matter of keeping hospital beds available, but because they don’t want a rerun of spring when even important non-COVID-related care was deferred – they want to keep all aspects of the health-care system available, up and running.

2:47 PM: Also stressed: Any gathering is risky – but if you feel you have to have a Thanksgiving gathering, have it outside, and quarantine for the two weeks prior (as in, starting immediately). Participants are all acknowledging that while everyone is weary after eight months of this – “we may feel ‘done’ with COVID, but COVID’s not done with us.” Dr, Lynch noted that people in all age groups are still getting very sick – the hospitalized patients are NOT just older, high-risk patients

3:02 PM: King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin says, “We’re here because we’re worried.” He says the hospitalization rate in King County has gone up 30 percent in the past week. “At this time we all need to cut back on non-essential activities … and contacts outside the home.” He says “the status of our health-care system … in the coming days” will determine whether any additional directives are needed.

3:10 PM: In Q&A, Dr. Lofy was asked, so how much time do we have until additional measures would be required, and what might those be? She said “everything’s on the table,” and there’s no specific timeline, but stressed that they really want to be able to avoid further crackdowns, so everyone needs to realize that’s possible IF they take this seriously – wearing masks, avoiding socializing, etc.

3:21 PM: So what’s stopping the governor from announcing new restrictions? Nothing’s “stopping him,” was the reply – “it’s not like he has some secret plan, this IS the plan” – urging more responsible behavior. They really don’t want to have to shut down the economy, said Gov. Inslee’s chief of staff David Postman. Echoed King County’s Dr. Duchin, they would rather see people take action voluntarily. He also noted that the current high numbers aren’t even an accurate number of infections – there’s probably “four to five times” the number of cases out there. “You and everybody have the power to avoid more onerous restrictions,” reiterated Postman.

3:36 PM: The briefing has wrapped up; the archived video should be available soon in the window above. State Secretary of Health John Wiesman summarized the message to everyone in the state: “Take action today,” so government doesn’t have to.

4:38 PM: Video’s now available above.

35 Replies to "VIDEO: State, local health authorities urge people to take the pandemic seriously"

  • psps November 10, 2020 (3:55 pm)

    It would be nice if the dine-in restaurants, gyms, barber shops, bars, movie theaters, tattoo parlors, etc., would “take action today” but I’m not counting on it. They’re still in the “denial” stage, so the rest of us will have to continue to endure the resulting fallout for the foreseeable future.

    • wsresident November 11, 2020 (1:07 pm)

      There hasn’t been a single case of Co-vid at my gym. They are being so careful and have implemented MANY new features to make people safe. 

      • winniegirl November 11, 2020 (5:43 pm)

        How would you know if there was?  People aren’t required to report 

  • flimflam November 10, 2020 (4:05 pm)

    not sure i’m understanding why we aren’t “rolled back” yet, especially indoor dining. in fact, the quote above regarding Thanksgiving (“if you must have a gathering, do it outside”) makes this hit home even more. i understand financial implications are a real thing, but how is it “safe” to allow restaurants to serve indoors? the germs magically disappear once a customer sits down at their table, mask off?

  • Graciano November 10, 2020 (4:23 pm)

     Gov. Jay Inslee needs to step up. Either we take this virus seriously or go back to shelter in place.
    Too many people have let their guard down.

    • WMH November 10, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      Everyone needs to step up. Listen to the experts and do what they are advising. Jay can’t fix this. We ALL have to help fix this by being responsible and wearing a masks and staying away from people outside of your house.

    • KM November 10, 2020 (6:04 pm)

      What specifically should you like to see him do? I’d like to see us back at Phase 1. I’m more annoyed with our fellow neighbors, though. Obsession with freedom and the attitude of “it’s other people who spread it, not me and my family/friends, so our gatherings are fine” are really disappointing me.

      • Trickycoolj November 10, 2020 (8:23 pm)

        That “our gatherings are fine” attitude just blows my mind. A friend of a friend had a Seahawks party in Olympia. Gotta celebrate 5-0 right?? 17 people. They all “felt fine!” In a week 11 had Covid and one was dead and Thurston County Public Health was involved with contact tracing. I quite frankly am so thrilled to have an excuse to avoid shuttling around to multiple family holiday gatherings especially with divorced and remarried/partnered parents. For once we get to tell them all no and stay home and do what we want. 

        • KM November 10, 2020 (9:50 pm)

          Hear, Hear on the family/holiday issues! And what an awful story—I’m afraid these situations are going to be more common, unfortunately.

        • WSMom November 11, 2020 (9:53 am)

          a friend of a friend’s family (she didn’t go) had a family reunion in the midwest. Now her Dad is dead, mom is sick and several other family members are sick. It’s not worth it. 

      • Wsres November 10, 2020 (10:49 pm)

        Inslee can have more fines issued for businesses not enforcing the mask mandate. There are stores in Pierce county that are not enforcing the masks! My family that lives in the south sound tells me people outside of seattle are not wearing masks in stores!

        • HW November 12, 2020 (12:55 pm)

           confirming this on the east side too. I went to the Safeway in Cle Elum last weekend (following  a distanced hike) and saw several groups of people chatting with no masks or with masks under their noses. I’d guess the store had 90% compliance with masks and 50% compliance with people distancing.

  • Auntie November 10, 2020 (5:38 pm)

    I agree – it is obvious that people are not masking up, keeping distance, staying home and avoiding gatherings. Too many people are (understandably) bored but they need to take a step back and see what is happening around them. Would they rather cut back now, or wait until there is a mandatory shutdown of everything? There are also the COVID-deniers that simply will not accept the plain fact that this virus is here and not going away. Basically, I think selfishness is mostly to blame.

    • SunDevil November 10, 2020 (6:41 pm)

      This. Right. Here. The amount of people gathering blows my mind. And yes, it is selfish behavior. I cannot tell you how many members of my family continue to hold birthday parties thinking that the rules don’t apply to them. Furthermore, I understand that the overwhelming majority of us are happy about the election, but having a thousand people gather in the Junction is not a good idea. This only will get under control with masks AND social distancing. 

      • WSB November 10, 2020 (6:48 pm)

        There were not “a thousand people” gathered in The Junction, just for the record. Not even a hundred at any one time during our multiple visits for coverage. Still more than advised, obviously, but noting that for accuracy’s sake. – TR

        • SunDevil November 12, 2020 (6:31 pm)

          Sorry…hundreds. Some of the aerial photos made it look like thousands. In any case, way too many people. Although I am sure they are in the same household. 🙄

          • WSB November 12, 2020 (7:55 pm)

            No, there were not “hundreds.” The P-I is a shell and the person who wrote a couple grafs to go with those photos (and the same inaccurate “caption” repeated over and over and over again) is an editor, not a field reporter. We were there six times during the course of the day and also received reader videos/photos from other times; there weren’t hundreds, not even *a* hundred, at any of those times. Also, where did you see aerials? TV seldom flies on weekends. – TR

  • wessyattle November 10, 2020 (7:41 pm)

    I for one have never stopped socially distancing, staying home, wearing a mask, avoiding any indoor seating or socializing, curbside pick ups, deliveries, sanitizing etc and I’m not even in a high risk category.  Even some of my big mouth  neighbors who vocalize their support of social distancing and taking safety precaution to stop the spread of the virus etc. will still approach without a mask and start blabbing within less than 6 feet while I’m masked up… I just keep moving away and backing up while wrapping up any conversation until I’m waving bye bye and too far away to converse, lol! What really drives me nuts are those who are maskless and  keep coming closer and try to corner you as you’re backing away, wtf? 

  • sam-c November 10, 2020 (7:55 pm)

    As an at-risk individual, I take this all very seriously, (and set up boundaries with people back in early March before anything official was announced), so just clarifying that I am not making light of this….BUT, I found Dr. Chen’s portion of the briefing kinda comical, when he seemed to be throwing his brother under the bus for trying to plan a 95th birthday celebration for their father, over Thanksgiving.  What an opportunity to air dirty laundry/ make an example out of your family.  :)  (I am with him- I heard from someone planning on going to CA for “Thanksgiving with family” and thought that was a really bad choice.)

  • Karen November 10, 2020 (8:41 pm)

    I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner for three, not our usual 12-14, this year.   It hurts but I want all of us here in 2021.

  • KT November 10, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    Interesting that I get a Jury Summons for Seattle Municipal Court for the beginning of December and all these media repots stress the virus is raging again.

    • WSB November 11, 2020 (12:47 am)

      You’ve probably already read this page but to save anyone else the trouble of looking it up:

      • Sam-c November 11, 2020 (6:17 am)

        It seems like they have a lot of precautions in place.  But it I would still be uncomfortable to be forced into that position.  And that is not good enough excuse to get excused.  (I tried) So put it off til next year. (Not to mention being uncomfortable with the idea of getting on a bus)  crazy that your civic duty requires you to risk your life. 

        • HW November 12, 2020 (12:58 pm)

          They wouldn’t even let my pregnant and thus high risk sister out of jury duty. Seems insane to me.

  • Fed Up November 10, 2020 (10:53 pm)

    I have been taking this seriously since March, and so have a lot of others. The only people who aren’t stepping up won’t do so unless there are fines and difficult social ramifications if they don’t, or people who have no other choice financially. The governor should be working to create funds for people in need so that they *can* stay home, and create fines and other deterrents for people who refuse to do so. The idea that just asking politely will do anything to affect the selfish people still ignoring the virus is short sighted at best and mostly willfully ignorant. What use is an economy when people are dying and hospitals are at capacity?

  • Smittytheclown November 11, 2020 (5:43 am)

    It takes a lot to catch this, in my opinion.  My daughter caught it and quarantined for 14 days in our home.  The three of us living with her (mom, dad and a sister) did not catch it.  She stayed in her room for the most part, but did come out once in a while.  She wore a mask as did the rest of us.  We were good – but not obsessive – with sanitizing. My wife and I also go out and eat once a week.  Every other table full.  Indoors.  Still have never caught it.  Out of precaution we are extremely careful when visiting my parents(80s).  Our friends had the exact situation with the exact same results.  This can be done rather easily. – even  if you throw in a bit of “normalcy”.  Boggles my mind it keeps spreading.

    • HW November 12, 2020 (1:12 pm)

      um. that isn’t how it works. unless you are testing regularly you cannot be certain you have not caught it. It keeps spreading because unlike other diseases this can spread via asymptomatic people. One recent study profiled in the Wall Street Journal found that all of the cases they caught were in planned testing vs in response to people with symptoms. This is why we all must do our part to distance and stop the spread for our high risk neighbors and family members.

    • newnative November 12, 2020 (10:46 pm)

      SmittytheClown, you just illustrated how it spreads. thank you. 

  • newnative November 11, 2020 (7:40 am)

    i don’t understand why gyms are allowed to stay open and why some gatherings are banned and some are not. I run at Hiawatha and there are crossfit and aerobic groups meeting every time. There is a crossfit gym on 42nd and Admiral that holds large spin classes outside with no masks and a lot of yelling. We have to cross the street to avoid them because they are right there blocking the sidewalk. There are team sports going on at Hiawatha, with their accompanying families hanging out. However, the running group I belong to is not allowed to run outside. 

    • Gym member November 11, 2020 (8:27 am)

      As a member of LA Fitness in the Junction, I don’t see 100% compliance with the mask rule by my fellow members. Some days are better than others. Either way, this worries me.

      • newnative November 11, 2020 (11:23 am)

        My gym in Lower Queen Anne is still closed. I am thankful for that. It doesn’t look like I will be even returning until Spring.  I wouldn’t return even with masks. 

    • wsresident November 11, 2020 (1:11 pm)

      My gym, the WS health club has been more than compliant. New air scrubbers, cleaners everywhere, temp checks and screening for every guest, EVERYONE is wearing a mask, they stay at 25% capacity and I’ve felt nothing but safe there. I go 4-5 days a week, and NO-ONE has contracted co-vid. But I also know their mission was to be the safest/cleanest gym in Washington State. 

      • sb2780 November 11, 2020 (7:41 pm)

        That’s not exactly true about the masks. Everyone is wearing a mask in common areas, but once inside a group fitness studio you are allowed to remove your mask. No one at any of the classes I’ve attended at the WS health club has kept their mask on during any one hour class I’ve been at during the last month and a half. I do think they are doing a great job with cleaning, etc. but we all know that’s not really how this is spread–it’s aerosolized particles that are much easier to inhale with 6-12 people in an enclosed room breathing heavily without masks. And as far as no one getting covid–how would you know? They aren’t required to report it, and trying to trace where you got the virus in the first place is theoretical at best.

  • DiverLaura November 11, 2020 (3:10 pm)

    take a drive by Anytime Fitness on California after staffed hours any evening of the week and you’ll see basically zero or minimal compliance much of the time with folks on every couple machines (well within the transmission zone especially if you are breathing hard with exertion). 

  • Lincoln Park Mom November 12, 2020 (10:10 am)

    Glad you have your gyms, restaurants, retail stores.  Meanwhile, the numbers spike and the kids can’t go to school.  Thank you.

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