Wash. State COVID-19 Guidance Roll-backs Critical to Limit the Spread

Wash. State COVID-19 Guidance Roll-backs Critical to Limit the Spread

Nov 15, 2020

Media Contact: Kelli Hawkins | | (509) 324-1539, c (509) 994-8968

Spokane, Wash. – Following Governor Inslee’s announcement Sunday morning of roll-backs to the state’s “Safe Start” plan to reopen Washington, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) reiterated the need locally in light of recent increases of COVID-19-positive cases in Spokane County.

SRHD officials say with nearly 2,400 positive cases over the past two weeks and hospital capacity hovering between 60%-65%, the measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that Spokane County residents can continue to have access to quality care.

“The roll-back of guidance is what we can do to curtail the exponential growth of COVID-19-positive cases and save lives,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez, interim health officer with SRHD. “With colder temperatures and the holiday season ahead, the risk of spread is that much greater.”

The governor’s rolled-back guidance had the greatest impact on those areas of most concern: gyms, restaurants, bars, churches and other indoor activities where multiple people could congregate. They also asked all residents to stop indoor social gathering at their homes, encouraging outdoor gatherings up to five people.

“Prolonged exposure indoors puts us most at risk, and that remains as true in our personal residences as it does in public places,” said Velazquez. “When we’re asked where we see the outbreaks, it’s difficult to pinpoint one or two main culprits. We’re seeing it everywhere. What we do know is the virus is spread in social gatherings where health measures aren’t being followed as closely. It’s then brought into schools and into workplaces.”

New guidance does allow for early learners who have already transitioned to in-person school to continue. However, the guidance at this time is to pause the transition for older grade levels until the virus spread is more under control.

Health district officials further explained that as guidance comes out from the state, more specifically on the roll-backs, SRHD staff are available to provide support in following them.

“We’re all tired, and we all have pandemic fatigue, but now is not the time to relax. We must continue to wear our masks, physically distance, wash our hands regularly, and avoid gathering outside of our household,” said Velazquez. “The team here at the health district is working tirelessly to provide the guidance you need to operate your business, to live safely and to protect those you care about.”

More details about the governor’s announcement can be found on his Medium Blog.