Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the state’s actions in response to COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the state’s actions in response to COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Gov. Jay Inslee warned Thursday (July 16) that he could reimpose a stay home order in the near future if an alarmingly fast spread of the virus is not halted.

Inslee said he “cannot rule out another stay home order this year… maybe the not too distant future” if each of us do not adhere to rules to wear a mask, maintain physical distance and limit our contacts.

On the same day the state recorded another substantial increase in new coronavirus cases, Inslee ordered a reduction of the size of social gatherings allowed in counties in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Starting July 20, no more than 10 people can be at a social gathering, down from 50. Spiritual services, weddings and funerals are exempt from this change.

Inslee left intact the five-person maximum in counties in Phase 2.

Inslee also announced a ban on live entertainment, indoor and outdoor, for counties in the third phase of reopening. The change, which also starts July 20, will affect 17 counties that have reached that phases.

Inslee’s new guidance on social gatherings mirrors a recommendation in a report of the White House coronavirus task force obtained and published by the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative news nonprofit.

To combat a surge in the positivity rate, the White House task force also alls for continuing the governor’s statewide mask mandate and reducing social gatherings.

Inslee’s moves come amid a significant surge in the spread of the virus which health experts say is a result of large social interactions. Many involve young people, who now account for the largest bloc of new cases.

While they may become infected and show little signs of illness, Inslee said, they can spread to older friends and relatives. Now, he said, a birthday party or a barbecue can be dangerous, even deadly.

“Somehow we really need folks in this age group to help us,” he said. “We are simply seeing behavior that is too risky. I am seeing it. It’s very troubling to me.”

Inslee said if the trends continue, he could soon reimpose restrictions on bars and restaurants as well as bowling alleys and other recreational activities.

The governor sounded a similar alarm Tuesday when he put the brakes on any further reopening of the state by barring any county from advancing in his four-stage approach until July 28.

Statewide, as of July 16, there have been 44,313 coronavirus cases recorded since late January and 1,427 deaths. In King County, the tally of confirmed cases had reached 12,592 as of last week, including 621 fatalities.

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said paying attention to social distancing is “a full-time job” during the governor’s press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said paying attention to social distancing is “a full-time job” during the governor’s press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday. (TVW)

Secretary of Health John Wiesman said the state is starting to see the impact of the 4th of July weekend, as well as other social gatherings, including birthday parties and cocktail parties.

“The bottom line is our attention to this can’t be a part-time job,” he said. “Every interaction we have, we have to think about doing it safely.”

Herald writer Joseph Thompson contributed to the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in News

Pictured is a screenshot from the Luther Burbank Park waterfront-renovations charrette.
Overflow crowd participates in waterfront-renovations charrette

A virtual design charrette focused on Luther Burbank Park waterfront renovations was… Continue reading

Pictured is a screenshot of the Mercer Island School District board meeting on Aug. 11 via Zoom.
School board members, staff and instructors answer community’s questions regarding reopening plan

These are challenging times, said Mercer Island School District board president Deborah… Continue reading

‘The human connection piece, that hasn’t changed one bit’

Stroum Jewish Community Center camp is more important than ever.

Chamber ‘Working Wellness’ webinar set for September / Briefs

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce will hold its “Working Wellness” webinar… Continue reading

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

Courtesy of Mercer Island School District
Parents can now access Skyward school accounts

Parents of students can now log into their Skyward Family Access accounts… Continue reading

Reporter file photo
School Board to hold meetings this week

Three meetings are on tap this week for the Mercer Island School… Continue reading

City Council schedules second reading of moratorium ordinance

Mercer Island City Councilmember Jake Jacobson felt it was vital to schedule… Continue reading

Most Read