PANDEMIC: Governor extends restrictions one more week; state health experts see ‘encouraging trends’

Governor Inslee has extended the latest statewide restrictions – such as no indoor dining, fitness, movies, and capacity limits for many businesses – one more week, until January 11th.

By that time, the restrictions will have been in place for almost two months. Inslee issued the extension proclamation today without an accompanying briefing, but state health officials did have their weekly briefing earlier this afternoon. Toplines included a vaccination update – so far, almost 60,000 people have been vaccinated. This week, another 100,000 doses of the two U.S.-approved vaccines are due to arrive in the state. New state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah described the pandemic response overall as at “halftime” – no time to let up. He and his team also described some encouraging trends – while key stats such as case counts and hospitalizations remain higher than ever, some are starting to move downward. But, Dr. Shah warned, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” You can watch the full briefing here.

13 Replies to "PANDEMIC: Governor extends restrictions one more week; state health experts see 'encouraging trends'"

  • Auntie December 30, 2020 (3:16 pm)

    My guess is that restrictions will be further extended when the inevitable surges from Christmas get-togethers and New Year’s parties/festivities hit home. 

    • WSB December 30, 2020 (3:24 pm)

      The Thanksgiving surges didn’t materialize, so there’s hope for this time too.

      • JES December 31, 2020 (8:37 am)

        What do you mean the Thanksgiving surge didn’t materialize? There were spikes all over the country from Thanksgiving. In King County we almost ran out of hospital beds.from KUOW:Hospital officials in Washington are worried that the state could run out of hospital beds if there’s a surge of critically ill Covid patients after the Christmas holiday, similar to the one that came after Thanksgiving.A couple weeks after Thanksgiving, hospital beds in King County and statewide were nearly full. Washington’s hospitals have less wiggle room now than they did in late November.

        • WSB January 1, 2021 (3:45 pm)

          That is how it was described in multiple briefings. And from the newest “situation report,” beginning of page 10:

          “It is clear that transmission of COVID-19 since mid-November has decreased sufficiently to flatten the exponential growth in cases and hospitalizations that was occurring in the first half of November. The timing of this reduction, starting just before the week of Thanksgiving, is consistent with the indoor dining and gathering restrictions that went into effect on November 17. Over the week of Thanksgiving, travel and gatherings were substantially lower than in previous years, with King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties seeing greater than 60% reductions in contacts on Thanksgiving compared to Thanksgiving 2019. This reduction appears to have been sufficient to prevent a large Thanksgiving-related increase in transmission in early December.”

          Very important to note that the case count is still high – but the fears of some massive post-Thanksgiving surge did not come true, and the attribution of that to a majority of people behaving responsibly is reason for some hope. – TR

  • flimflam December 30, 2020 (3:58 pm)

    we’ve still been seeing new cases coming in at about 500 per day…i guess thats better than 800 that we were seeing but if we resume indoor dining, etc it seems they’d just surge again.

  • Stay well December 30, 2020 (4:25 pm)

    There is now a new more contagious variant of the virus confirmed within the US.

    It’s already been circulating once it’s been found. So it will be circulating here in WA before we will know.

    Now is a good time to stay home or avoid crowds as much as possible.

    And while home, and ideally with fresh air, don’t forget to breathe. Deep breathing is good for stress and nervous system regulation.

    I don’t know about you, but I find myself breathing more shallowly these days.

    • WSB December 30, 2020 (4:42 pm)

      This was discussed in the briefing (I will include more toplines in tonight’s roundup). It has not yet been detected in WA. And they stress that while it is apparently more contagious, there is so far NO indication it makes you sicker, or that it’s vaccine resistant. So while it’s a reason to be concerned, it’s not a reason for panic. – TR

      • Peter S. December 30, 2020 (5:41 pm)

        Although no reason to panic, what concerns me is what hasn’t been said by any knowledgeable source, AFAIK:  although not vaccine resistant and no more virulent, there’s no indication this new variant makes you any LESS sick.  So, it’s more contagious and perhaps just as lethal?On the bright side:  I had two (scheduled) doctors appointments this week and both doctors and their respective nurses and physician assistants had already received their first round of (Pfizer) vaccines, and were scheduled to receive their second dose.  They were all appropriate recipients  because the first doctor works with a lot of elderly folks and the second is an allergist who treats immuno-compromised patients.    For the record, everyone was still fully masked and the clinic entrance screeners wore face shields.

      • Stay well December 30, 2020 (6:20 pm)

        Thanks WSB. Definitely don’t want anyone to panic,/span> But I do think its important for people to know this more contagious variant is out there and on the way. It will be easier to catch and spread, so it would make sense to be as cautious as possible, if we want to mitigate it.

        Awareness and prudence will help.

  • Bandana December 30, 2020 (5:20 pm)

    I wonder if the state is vaccinating frontline health care workers and long term care residents at a rate that is better than the national average. 

    • datamuse December 30, 2020 (5:39 pm)

      I’m curious about that too. So far the few people I know who’ve been vaccinated are frontline health care workers, but that’s just anecdote.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees December 30, 2020 (7:09 pm)

    “Encouraging trends”? All we hear on our local news is packed ICU’s full of COVID patients, a Thanksgiving surge (even though  there wasn’t), healthcare officials resigning in waves in Island County, doom and gloom, etc…

    • WSB December 30, 2020 (7:20 pm)

      If you mean TV, sorry, I can’t speak for them. Left that world 13 years ago. (One challenge is that local TV news mingles national and local coverage, and on the national level it IS doom-n-gloom, packed ICUs, etc., with many states in far, far worse shape than ours.) You can watch the briefing for yourself at the link above and see the graphics, hear the details, etc. – TR

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